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Greek words in Peshitta
(06-11-2019, 10:31 PM)jdefrancisco Wrote: I would like to hear various opinions on this question:  There are various Greek loan words in the Peshitta.  Examples are pentecosta (Acts 2), namosa, Christiana, etc.  These words beg several questions.  Were they in common usage by Jews in the 1st century?  Were they put into the Peshitta text later?  Why were words like Shavuot, Oreta, Meshikya not used in their place?  This should be especially important for Peshitta primacists.  All viewpoints are welcome and will be helpful to me.  Thank you.

Hello jdefrancisco,

These types of questions have been answered elsewhere in the forum previously, when it was more active many years ago (i.e. before social media took over).  Nevertheless, with a bit of digging you will find lots of useful discussions.  For now, below is a brief summary of of few things others have explained previously.

First, most of the Greek loan-words found in the Peshitta (148 in total) fall into fairly predictable categories:

(a) units of measure and weight in use at the time in the Roman empire;

(b) items bought/sold/traded in the Roman empire;

© titles of officer ranks, government officials, etc.;

(d) names of locales; or

(e) cross-cultural or commonly known terminology, including some religious expressions.

This is to be expected since these Aramaic-speakers lived on the eastern edge of a Greek-language dominated empire.

Next, the word "Christyana" specifically is only used in three places in the Peshitta (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16).  In all three cases the writer is either referencing to or writing to Greek speaking people, hence using the term in context.

For a modern example of this happening, think about the below scenario.

Many Neo-Aramaic (Assyrian - Syriac) speakers here in the U.S. will commonly say something like:

"Ahu Poleesa qam yawillee ticket. Zilee court oo preelee 100 dollare".

(Translation: That policeman gave me a ticket. I went to court and paid 100 dollars.)

Notice that of course we have English loan-words here in America that they do not use in Iraq (i.e. poleesa, court and dollare). This is to be expected of all languages based on context.

In short, if we did not see Greek loan-words (especially of that nature) in the text of the Peshitta, then it would be impossible that it were written by Jewish Aramaic-speakers living in 1st-century Palestine.

Lastly, the PowerPoint presentation found in the below link can also help clarify many misunderstandings when it comes to the origins of the Peshitta.


Nimrod Warda

Messages In This Thread
Greek words in Peshitta - by jdefrancisco - 06-11-2019, 10:31 PM
RE: Greek words in Peshitta - by Nimrod Warda - 06-14-2019, 07:32 PM
RE: Greek words in Peshitta - by Thirdwoe - 06-14-2019, 07:33 PM
RE: Greek words in Peshitta - by Thomas - 02-19-2020, 08:43 AM

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