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Biblia Peshitta review, with images

This is a personal review I am making concerning the Spanish translation of the Peshitta made by an organization known as "Institute Cultural Alef y Tau" and published by Broadman & Holman Publishing Group, out of Nashville, Tennessee. Copyright 2006. This review is part one of possibly two. Below I give some details about this particular edition and its content. The second review will deal mostly with translation issues and certain words and/or phrases the translators chose.

In brief: While the translation appears to be very good and follows closer to the Aramaic than does Lamsa, giving a very literal translation rather than a paraphrase or "doctrinal translation" (as does Lamsa sometimes), this translation does have some peculiarities within that are usually not welcomed by some within the Aramaic community; but it also has some very nice features worth taking a look at.

Here are some points to consider about this edition:

1. The books of the "canon" follow that of the Hebrew Masoretic

2. The books are in the same order as the Protestant translations (Genesis through Malachi)

3. The translation is missing some books that are present within the Pshitta Tanakh (what some might call "Apocrypha")

4. Fails to mention its use of Leiden-Brill text (as far as I have seen thus far)

5. The translation of certain names and phrases for both the Tanakh and the NT are in common Spanish terms ("Jesucristo" instead of "Yeshua M'shija", "Profeta Zacarias" instead of "Zekarya Nebya", etc.). This translation into Spanish DOES use "Yahweh" in BOTH the Tanakh and many areas of the New Covenant.

6. As far as I know there is no electronic text (either online or on CD/DVD)

7. While the copyright is a bit more liberal than most other translations, it is still quite restrictive and does not permit the scholar or student to make a good use of the text in printed media or electronic/online resources.

8. The copy I have is printed in a quality hard back, full color cover (very nice). The publisher also offers the translation in other editions such as imitation leather, etc. The front says (translated to English) "Peshitta Bible in Spanish, Translation of the Ancient Aramaic Manuscripts"

9. The price is much more affordable than many translation (especially compared to the price of a copy of Lamsa's translation), however, there are many people who should have a copy of the Peshitta who would still not be able to afford this particular edition.

10. Printed on standard "Bible paper"

11. Nice, clear typeset (10.5 font size)

12. 1,405 pages from Genesis to Revelation; 1,471 full pages counting the Appendix

12 pages for list of Books, preface, introduction, abbreviations list and other explanatory materials

13. Front matter contains thick presentation ("Holy Bible presented to"), matrimony, births and deaths pages

14. A single page "Plan of Salvation" in the back from the same text used in the back of most Protestant translations and evangelical tracts.

15. 12 blank pages for notes (has the word "Notas" at the top of each one)

16. 8 color maps which include: 1) The travels of Abraham, 2) The route of the Exodus, 3) Lands assigned to the Tribes of Israel, 4) The kingdoms of Israel and Judah, 5) "Palestine" in the time of "Jesus", 6) The ministry of "Jesus" throughout the Galilee, 7) The path of the Passion in Jerusalem, 8) a map of the mission of Paul

17. Certain passages in the Tanakh are printed in red to indicate the translators believed these to be Messianic passages

18. The words of Yeshua Meshikha are printed in red in the New Covenant Scriptures

19. At the bottom of the page you will find notes and references including the transliterated names of the Books of Peshitta from Aramaic as well as cross references

20. The appendix includes: 1) "Table with the most relevant verses of the Peshitta text" 2) "Differences between the Peshitta text in Spanish and popular translations from Hebrew and Greek manuscripts", 3) chart of "Chronological order for writing of the books of Peshitta", 4) Weights and measures table, 5) List of Aramaic characters (the Aramaic alphabet with their numerical value)

21. Sections of Scriptures have sub-titles, for example, above the text of Matthew 4:18 are found the words: "Jesucristo llama a los primeros discipulos" (Jesus Christ calls the first disciples) - in my personal opinion, I find some of these (not the example that I gave here) to be misplaced theologically because sub-titles often serve as a means for "teaching" or "interpreting" for the translator.

22. And finally, it uses the "Western Five" whereas the Eastern Aramaic does not have these

In summary:

The translation appears, on the surface, to be quite well if you can get passed some of the sub-titles throughout the text. The footnotes and other references are valuable to a sincere student of Peshitta and if you are already familiar with Aramaic or have someone to guide you in confirming the statements made in the foot notes. The appendix is good too. So, if you are able to read Spanish, this volume would be good to have for your Peshitta library. I believe the translation in Spanish is monumental for the Spanish speaking community who loves Peshitta. Now if we can just get a Ladino version. :)

Low resolution scans can be found on the bottom of the page here: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m --> where I made the review. If you are familiar with this edition in Spanish I would also like to get your thoughts on it so that I can compile these for an updated review.


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