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Lamsa's statement in Introduction of his translation
Could someone please tell me how this could be true as stated by Mr. Lamsa in the introduction to his translation of the Peshitta?

Lamsa says: "Evidently Jesus and his disciples used a text which came from an older Hebrew original. This is apparent because Jesus' quotations from the Old Testament agree with the Peshitta text but do not agree with the Greek text. For example, in John 12:40, the Peshitta Old Testament and New Testament agree. "

John 12:40 has Jesus quoting Isaiah 6:40...but the Peshitta does not agree with the quote, whereas the Septuagint, DSS, Vulgate, and Masoretic does. The Peshitta stands alone with the term "Forgiven" rather than all the others having "Heal" or "Healed". If Jesus were quoting from The Aramaic text or a Hebrew Text that The Aramaic Peshitta was translated from, then it should match right?

Here are the verses in the various texts, so you don't have to look them all up.

Quote of Jesus: John 12:40
John 12:40 Lamsa's Peshitta in English: "...let them return and I will heal them."
John 12:40 KJV's Greek in English: "...and be converted, and I should heal them."

Source text of quote: Isaiah 6:10
Isaiah 6:10 Lamsa's Peshitta in English: "...and be converted and be forgiven."
Isaiah 6:10 Targum Jonathan in English "...and repent, and it shall be forgiven them."
Isaiah 6:10 Brenton's Septuagint in English: "...and be converted, and I should heal them."
Isaiah 6:10 Abegg's Dead Sea Scrolls in English:"...turn back and be healed."
Isaiah 6:10 JPS 1917 Masoretic in English: "...return, and be healed.
Isaiah 6:10 Douay Vulgate in English: "...and be converted and I heal them.

Question: In Aramaic, could the word for "Forgiven" be translated in English as "Heal" or "Healed" or is that not possible?

Since the "Hebrew" Old Testament was lost after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, whatever text Jesus was using was lost unless it was the Aramaic Peshitta Old Testament. The Masoretic Hebrew text now in use was reconstructed hundreds of years later.


"Reconstructed" from what? if the text was "lost", from what could the text be "reconstructed."

In The Peshitta, the quote Jesus makes of Isaiah 6:10 does not match even the Peshitta passage it is quoting if one believes Jesus indeed quoted from the Aramiac Bible. Where Jesus is recorded by John to have quoted it as "heal" where the Peshitta and the Targum both have "forgive/forgiven."

So, Otto, do you say that the Hebrew should be "Forgive" or "Forgiven" like in Peshitta Isaiah 6:10 or that The Peshitta passage in Isaiah should read like the Peshitta qoutation of it in John 12:40 and thus in the current Hebrew Text.

Lamsa's statement is not true to what is shown in his own translation of the passage. Is this just an oversight by him, or is their something I am missing here?

At the destruction of the Temple the principle copies of the OT were destroyed and those who escaped with copies of some or all of the text were dispersed. The Masoretic text was assembled and edited using available sources and the and oldest copies of the current Masoretic text date to the 9th Century AD. See <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

Lamsa's comments about the comparison of Isaiah 6:9-10 with respect to John 12:40 concern the nature of the of their "blindness" and ability to "understand". This is clear in his commentaries: Old Testament Light page 67, and Gospel Light page 363. The text reads "they have become blind" not "he made them blind" as in the Greek text or the Masoretic text. His point is that the Peshitta OT and the NT agree in this regard but do not match up with the current Hebrew version which has God making them blind rather than their blindness being a result of their condition.

Lamsa apparently saw healing and forgiveness as equivalent in the context of Is 6:9-10 and John 12:40. Either English word is apparently okay. That's not the point he was addressing or saw as a conflict.


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