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Comments from Isho'dad of Merv

This may have been brought up before, but I did not see it on a search, it might have been in was the NT really...etc book

2 notes, I find page 9 and 88 most interesting, and apologies for not actually putting the Hebrew and Aramaic characters, I don't know how to do this, when I do it my way It wont post.

Page 9. Matthew's Genealogy.
On discussing why Ahazia, Joash and Amazia are left out of the genealogy he gives various reasons, and then says: The interpreter says that it was an error of a careless scribe, and it was not the Evangelist who left it out, because the similarity and proximity of the name caused him to put instead of Ahazia, Uzzia. Because there is no Aiyn or Kheth in Greek, but instead of both of them he wrote alif.

Page 9. Matthew written in Hebrew/greek.
He says "everyone acknowledges that he [Matthew] wrote it with his hands in Hebrew1" the 1 in the foot note shows a different manuscript which say Greek.

Page 14. 'Born in her' Interpreted from Hebrew.
While discussing the the phrase 'Born in her' he gives various opinions and then says:

"Others say that he who interpreted from Hebrew to Syriac changed [the expression]; he put instead of that which is conveived in her, that which is born."

the words used are: interpreted=P-SH-Q, Hebrew='-B-R-Y-A, Syriac=S-W-R-Y-Y-A. I think that it is a significant quote, as he seems to mention it without any reserve or apology that this phrase came from a change in the translation from the original 'Hebrew'.

Page 66. "Church"
Some say that 'aada, the name [of the Church] is taken, according to the Syrian usage, from 'aada (a feast); and it is clare from this, that there is in the ancient Scriptures the name of 'Adta, written with two Alifs, as also the name of 'Aada, the difference being only that it is called 'adta in the feminine, and 'aada in the masculine; like Mar and Martha, ... Others say that the word 'Adta is Hebrew, which is translated synagogue in Syriac, that is to say, Assemble, come; but in Greek, ecclesia which is translated into Syriac, vocation...

Page 76. "Camel"
...but he calls a camel here the camel of the flesh, and not anything else, according to the opinions of fools. (Ouch! <!-- sBig Grin --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/happy.gif" alt="Big Grin" title="Happy" /><!-- sBig Grin --> I didnt post it to offend anyone!)

Page 80 "bethphage"
But Bethphage? some explain it as the partition of the ways, others as the corssing of the roads, others [say] Bethphage, that is to say, the house of the insipid fig tree; and they bring evidence from the Diatessaron, and from Greek transcripts; in the affair of Zakeouna, him who was short in bodily, as also in the spiritual stature, and it is said that to see Jesus he went up into sycamores, which are the Syriac insipid fig-trees.

Page 82. "Hosanna"
Now Hosanna is a Hebrew substantive, according to some on the one hand it is translated into Syriac as "Salvation"; according to others on the other hand and in reality it is "Praise".

Page 88. "The Lord says to my Lord" Matthew XXII 32-XXIII.5

...but the ineffable name was established by Moses as a law, that it should be written with special characters, and that they should not roll it about with their tongue, according to the honour of God; and it was written in the middle of the lines, YHYH1 (That is Yud, Heh, Yud, Heh from right to left in Hebrew Asshuri Letters -Sami) the 1 in the foot note reads in Codd. (what appears to be) ZMZM.

That is to say (In Aramaic letters now) YHYH, whose name is secret, they wrote above in honour, Adonai, that is to say, Mari, my lord, and when they came to that ineffable name, that is to say, the name of the Hidden One, they did not roll about these four signes at all with their mouth; and they did not write anything else with them, except the name of God; but they read Adonai or some other name which was written in honour above;

But after Symmachus, the changer of both these names that had been written in an ineffable name, interchanged them, and put MarYah and Mari, to be read, that is to say, "Sware Adonai to Adonai, sit at the [The text looks to me like My should be read here - Sami] right hand", also this, "Behold, [BTOLTA] a virgin shall conceive, and bring forth," he changed to "a [`LYMTA] young girl" and [he changed] "God" to "the Strong One of the Ages"; (Isaiah 9.6 Pesh) and instead of "the Messiah shall be put to death" "the oil shall be cut off" (Daniel 9.26) etc. Such things he established.

Page 102. Drachma.
This, that they convenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver, not thirty zoza, as some say, but thirty pieces of silver, with the addition and sign of Dalath, that is to say, thirty pieces of silver weighed...

Page 113. "Eli, Eli Lama Shabachtani"
This of Eloi, Eloi, Lama Shabachtani, not that He was forsaken of the Godhead, not even in suffering and death, which entered because of the transgression of the commandments, as it is written; but when He was weary and was strengthened by an angel, etc., the Godhead was with Him.

Page 121. Genealogy
And why does He not say in the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and in the name
of the Holy Ghost ; but He [mentions] one name about three Persons ? and why to each one of the Persons does He attach the conjunction and sign of Kai, and not without conjunction ? but about this first He admonishes, that they baptize in the name of the Father and the Son, and not in the name of the Begetter and the Begotten ?

We say that the name of the Father and of the Son brings in that of the Begetter and the Begotten ; Father and Son, moreover, apply only to animated beings, either in the Scriptures or in popular custom ; although in Syriac one says that unto us a child is born, etc., instead of a boy, as is said in Hebrew and Greek ;

Page 126. Malachi or Isaiah?
And it is asked, Why did Mark say, as it is written in Isaia the prophet. Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, etc., when it is written in Malachi ? Some say, that it was in Isaia and was lost; others say that he put to the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way, etc., this sign as an answer ; others, that because it was translated from Roman to Greek, and from that to Syriac, the interpreters made a mistake, and put Isaia instead of Malachi. Others say that it docs not matter to him [Mark] about the accuracy of the reference as is the custom of the Scriptures. Others say that in the book Diatessaron which was composed in Alexandria, instead of.

Page 143. John from Greek.
...others [say] because the third hour is said according to the custom of the Scriptures, which is often not careful about accuracy ; like this, that all the people saw voices and lightnings; and He of whom Moses wrote in the Law and in the Prophets, etc. ; others say that it is an error the scribe; but I say that this of Mark inclines to the truth better than that of John ; and Eusebius also testifies to this in his letter about our Lord's Passion, which he wrote to Marinus, saying that John's sixth hour (John 19.14) is an error of the scribe, who did not give heed in his heart when he was writing the Gospel; (He then goes on to show this by the Greek which I cannot reproduce here)

Page 241 "Careless Scribes"
...for they had come to these erroneous ideas, from one word that was put the Translator, saying that our Lord entered in the feast of Tabernacles, when it was really [the feast] of Unleavened Bread, from the carelessness of the scribe, it was changed to that of Tabernacles. And it is evident, that in the [days of] Unleavened Bread our Lord entered Jerusalem, from the words
of the Translator himself; for these things were done in the proximity of our Lord's Passion ; again, from the Gospel itself, which says that Jesus, (John 12:1) six days before the Passover, came to Bethany ; therefore it had been abundantly stated their speakers, that in the Passover [time] our Lord entered Jerusalem and Unleavened Bread was changed by the scribe to Tabernacles just as these things were [done] in Beth Abara (John 1:28) was changed to in Bethany, and this She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, Rabboni (John 20.16) to She turned [and said] Rabbouli, etc. ; such-like things are changed by careless scribes.

Page 283. "translation from Greek to Syriac"
But this, She turned and said, Rabouli, which she answered, and it is also Rabboni ; not that slie turned, as above, towards the Angels ; but that she returned an answer to our Lord, and called Him Rabboni, according to the custom of the Jews of that time and until now ; and these two readings have been changed by an incautious scribe, as if by the scribe who wrote the translation from Greek to Syriac.

His comments on Matthew vs Lukes Genealogy take the record of Arficanus. Which Eusebius says he got from Jesus family.

Commentaries on Acts and the Epistles

Page 1. "Syriac speaking disciples"
"... for it was a new thing too, and very much beyond belief, that fishermen, country born, acquainted only with the Syriac tongue.."

Page 26. "Timothy was an Aramean"
"Now Paul circumcised Timothy, although he was an Aramean, that is to say, a heathen..."

Page 29. "Tentmakers, not saddle makers"
"Now tentmakers are not saddlemakers, as some say, but makers of loin-belts and bridles etc"

Page 32. "Righteous Judge"
"Now Paul whenever he began to make his apology about what he was accused of, calls him a 'righteous* judge' Footnote says *Philoxenian and many Greek MSS

Page 33. "By a little"
Felix says "By a little thou persuadest me to become a Christian?" Interpreted as, with little trouble and with short words alone persuade me?

Page 34. "Greeks and Barbarians"
"Paul said 'Greeks and Barbarians, those who used this tongue, evidently, and those who did not."

The Epistles
Page.36 "James and the Canon"
"For about these three Epistles, Eusebius of Caesarea and others say that in truth they are by the Apostles, but others say they are not so at all, because their words do not square with those of the Apostles. Theodorus also, the Interpreter, does not even mention them in a single place; nor does he bring an illustration from them in one of the writings he made; although we see that he brings illustrations not only from the books that are written by the Holy Ghost; but also from the book about Job, and from the Great Wisdom, and from Bar Sira, those which are written by human learning."

Page 38. "very inferior"
"This Epistle also, which I write, is by a man of the name of Peter, although in word and in thought its doctrine is more sublime and perfect than the one before it, yet according to the exactness of the ideas that are found in the teachings of the Blessed Peter, as Luke wrote, they will be seen to be very inferior."

Page 39. "Rome = Babylon"
He here calls Rome Babylon, because of he frequency of the wealth of the gifts of tongues; like Babel also at that time; languages having been confused in it; it was frequent in the speaking of [foreign] tongues.

Page 40. "Many have erred that it is john"
"About this Epistles also many have erred, [supposing] that it is John, from the title which is attached and inscribed upon it; both in the beginning and the composition of the discourse, which its author borrows; yet they ought to have searched and found out how much humbler the idea and disposition and authority of the words of this letter are than the sound words of the evangelist..."

Now Ishodad says that the 70 evangelists wrote works also, so if this is not John the Apostle I assume he would say it was perhaps one of the 70.

Page 3. "fruits"
"..It is a custom with the Syriac, that instead of results, which is in the Greek, it says, fruit like that of Jotham to the Shechemites, from the person of a vine, saying, I will not leave my fruit, which cheereth the heart; and like this, that Assyria is a land of fruits and of produce, etc. thus also here, that I might have some fruit among you also."

Page 20. "My Gospel"
"This, Now God who is able to stablish you in the Gospel, etc., thus it ought to be arranged and be read, but not He who is able to stablish you in my Gospel..."

Page 21. "My Gospel again"
"This, 'My Gospel' he calls the Gospel of Luke [so] continually..."

Page 22. "Subscription This Epistle was translated from Greek to Syriac"

Mar Koumi translated this Epistle from Greek to Syriac for Mari
the Presbyter, with the help of Daniel the Presbyter, the Indian. The
Commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans are finished.

Bear in mind the statement we saw earlier on Peter "This Epistle also, which I write, is by a man of the name of Peter" Ishodad says he wrote this Epistle, on Peter. So this subscript appearing here only, could be an indication that it is not the book of Romans itself that is being referred to, although it could be, but why is it here alone mentioned and not of any other books?

The introduction by Rendel Harris has a good commentary on this:

"The next point of importance to which I desire to draw attention is a curious subscription, which is found at the end of the Epistle to the Romans, though there is nothing corresponding to it in any other Epistle. It runs as follows : Mar Koumi (or Kumai) translated this epistle from Greek into Syriac for Mari the Presbyter, with the help of Daniel the Presbyter, the Indian. The Commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans are ended. It is evident that this subscription is of the first importance in the history of the Syriac Version of the New Testament ; and in view of this importance I have published a brief discussion of it in the pages of the Expositor, some of the points from which may be reproduced here.

Up to the present time we have been without any clear landmarks for the history of the Syriac Version of the New Testament, which we call the Peshito. In the form which the New Testament has finally taken in Syriac, it is pretty evident that we have an authoritative Revision of a previously existing Old Syriac translation ; the latter must have been an early product, most likely of the second century, but at what time it underwent ecclesiastical change and became the beautiful Authorised Version of the East, is one of the questions which scholars have hitherto failed to solve, for lack of evidence.

The first step towards the unriddling of the problem was taken by Prof Burkitt, who shewed that (i) amongst the works which could be certainly ascribed to St Ephrem, there were no certain traces of quotation from the Peshito ; and this would make the version a product of a later date than, let us say-, the death of Ephrem, which occurred in A.D. 373. This brings us to the borders of the fifth century, instead of the second, to which it used to be the fashion of the older race of scholars to refer the venerable version ; and (2) Prof Burkitt carried the point further towards demonstration, by shewing that in the life of Rabbula, the great Monophysite leader of the Church of Edessa, there was a definite statement that Rabbula had made a new translation of the New Testament : this new version, according to Prof Burkitt, must have been the Peshito for which we have, accordingly, found a definite author, and approximate time of production, say the first quarter of the fifth century. It was a brilliant piece of critical investigation, and provoked a very general approbation.

There were still some unresolved difficulties, of which the chief lay in the fact, that the Peshito has always been the accepted version in both branches of the Syrian Church, the Jacobite and the Nestorian, and it is very hard to believe that the Nestorians would have accepted a version which came from the hand of one of their bitterest enemies.

This consideration has never been fairly met : it almost seems to require that the Peshito is anterior to the division of the Syrian Church into Monophysite and Dyophysite, unless we are able to shew grounds for believing that both sections had co-operated in the production of the new translation, something in the same way as the Puritans and the Anglicans co-operated in the production of the Authorised Version (the English Peshito) of A.D. 1611. The former assumption takes the work clear out of the hands of Rabbula ; the latter only allows him to undertake it with the assistance of colleagues from the other branch of the Syrian Church. The problem is a pretty one, and it is just at this point of uncertainty that the subscription to Romans in Isho'dad is so valuable and so informing.

I am assuming that the subscription refers to the text upon which Isho'dad comments, and not to the commentary itself, and that this text is the text of the Peshito. What, then, are we to say of the group of persons who here come before us ? They are three in number. Koumi, Mari and Daniel. Of these, the third is unknown, except that he comes from far away India ; this piece of information is not to be despised, for it shews us a native Syrian Church, with an educated clergy (for Daniel knows Greek, or else how could he help to translate it ?), and it shews us these things as early as the beginning of the fifth century '. The date is fixed by the identification of the other two persons employed in the translation, Koumi and Mari, of whom we have now to speak. We notice, however, that the two persons named are not the translators, one of them is the translator, the other is the patron of the work. Rabbula does not appear either as translator or patron.

The persons engaged in the work are a group of Nestorians : that, of itself, does not remove the difficulty, for how could the school of Rabbula accept a translation emanating from opponents, whom they had actually vilified and ill-treated ? Let us verify what we have said with regard to Koumi and Mari. If we turn to Duval's Litterature Syriaqiie- we shall find a statement that the works of Theodore of Mopsuestia were translated in the fifth century, soon after his death, at the school of Edessa, by Ibas and his disciples, Koumi, Probus and Mana. Here is the Koumi that we are in search of. Duval's information comes, in part at all events, from the catalogue of Syriac writers by Ebedjesu, where we find that the Syrians began to teach the Peripatetic philosophy at the Persian school in Edessa : here Ibas, Koumi and Probus translated the works of Theodore and the works of Aristotle.

Bar Hebraeus says that the translation of Aristotle was due to Magna, who may be the Mana of Duval: that may release Koumi and Probus for the works of Theodore, a sufficient task for any pair of scholars. Ibas, in the foregoing, is one of the great doctors of the Syrian Church, at the critical stage of its disintegration, and the chief pillar of support of the Nestorians.

Mari, of whom Isho'dad's commentary speaks, belongs to the same side, and is known as the recipient of a letter from Ibas, in which the latter describes the persecution which he had suffered at the hands of the fanatical Rabbula. The rupture between the two leaders can hardly have been final, since Ibas actually succeeded to the episcopate of Edessa, when Rabbula died in the year 423. There remains, therefore, a possibility that the Peshito may have been due to the co-operation of Ibas with Rabbula at some earlier period, and this co-operation might explain (i) the reception of the Peshito by both wings of the Church, (2) its attribution to Rabbula, according to Burkitt, (3) its attribution to a group of Nestorian scholars in the commentary of Isho'dad.

There are alternative hypotheses : for instance, it might be perhaps maintained that the Peshito is of an earlier date than the beginning of the fifth century, and that it has nothing to do with either Edessan school in that case, Koumi would be responsible for translating, not the New Testament or the Epistle to the Romans, but the commentary of Theodore upon the same. This would agree with what we learn from Ebedjesu's catalogue. It is quite possible that this may be the true solution. The test would be if we could find genuine quotations from the Peshito, at an earlier date, than, let us say, the beginning of the fifth century. We leave the problem, for the present, in this half-solved state. In any case, Prof. Burkitt's hypothesis will require some modification : it may have to be definitely abandoned, much as one would regret the step."

Page 24. "Daniel the less"
This, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, etc., is written in Daniel the Less.

Does anyone know who is being referred to here as Daniel the less?

Page 39. "Syriac first tongue"
Some hand down that the Angels have by their nature speech and a special tongue, which men do not possess ; and we, as long as we remain in this mortal body, are not able to hear it as it is in its kind ; but in speaking with us, they compose dense sounds by the operation of their power, and they speak ; because they have learnt the tongues that were given to us of old from the gradual division of tongues. Others say that first the Syriac tongue was given them, as also to the household of Adam ; but they did not speak it completely thus like ourselves ; but sharply and subtly according to their subtle nature.

Page 46. "Maran Atta, written in Greek characters"
[Paul] wrote this word Maranatha in Syriac; but in Greek letters, although all the Epistle was written in Greek ; but he wrote this sentence only in Aramaean ; first, to arouse them to diligence in searching the Scriptures ; second, to repress their pride, because they boasted of the tongue and the wisdom of the Greeks, and of the acumen of the syllogism.

Page 49-50. "God of this world"
ivhose minds God has blinded in this world, because they do not believe. But the Greek has those whose minds the God of this
world hath blinded of those who do not believe. This, God hath blinded is like, God gave them up to the pains of ignominy, and God gave them overto a vain mind, and, God hardened Pharaoh's heart, etc., and just as God did not force these people to do these wicked things, but as He neglected and left them, and did not hinder them, thus also here, instead of He left them to blind their own minds in the freedom of their wills, it is put that He blinded them. This, The God of this world, etc. In one sense, because this world is His, and He is its Creator. In others we ought to read the god in this world, etc. Now if a man understand thus, that God neglected and left them, and this world blinded their minds, he does not wander from the
sense ; and we ought to know, that in the Syriac also, in many books instead of in the world, of the world is written.

Page 55. "Third Heaven"
...that this [man] was caught up to the third part of heaven ; the Greek says, to the third heaven, that is to say, as much space as there is from Earth to Heaven, from all this third part I was lifted up, the third part being counted from above to below, that is to say, two parts above and one below, from which he was caught up...

Page 66. "He filleth in all"
This, He filleth all in all; the Greek, instead of filleth, says is fulfilled and it is truer, because He does not fill all things, but He is fulfilled in all things...

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Comments from Isho'dad of Merv - by Sami Rabia - 05-07-2010, 09:11 PM
Re: Comments from Isho'dad of Merv - by judge - 05-07-2010, 10:30 PM

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