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A 78 A.D. "Peshitta" New Testament?
I decided to transfer this subject I raised with Steve Caruso on another thread, which isn't related to it, so as not to distract the conversation over there.

Original post:
Quote:Q: If it wasn?t the Aramaic of the Peshitta New Testament, as seen in the Manuscripts, such as the Yonan and the Khabouris, then why does Mar Elia III, who was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1176-1190 A.D. in one of his Homilies, give witness to an ?old Edessian Gospel? which he saw sitting on the Altar of Mar Sawrisho in the city of Baghdad, where he states that it was better than any of the new copies with no missing letters, and which bore the date of 78 A.D., (?year 389 of the Greeks?) handwritten by Mar Akhai companion of Mar Mari, the disciple of Mar Adai (Thaddeus) the Apostle?

?Better than any new copies????

Copies of what? The Aramaic New Testament in the 12th century, which he was familiar with? This ?Edessian Gospel? was used in a Church in Baghdad 1,100 years after it was given to the Church of Edessa in 78 A.D. by companions of the Apostles.

Steve's responses and my further responses follow...

Quote:"New copies" is curious as then my question is "Which one?" there were 4 subsequent editions after the Peshitta by that time. The Philoxenian, the Harklean, and at least two others that were not named.

Steve, can you say that a Patriarch of the Church of the East would be talking about those 4 versions you mentioned? You do know somewhat of the COE?s history and Manuscript tradition right?

Quote:Anyways, each of the subsequent revisions were much more literal translations from Greek into Syriac (the Harklean even had an extensive apparatus with notes), and as a result a lot less fluid, which is why they never "stuck."

Do you say that any of these revisions from the Greek into ?Syriac? would be used in the Parishes of the Church of the East, which Mar Elia would call ?new copies?? Wouldn?t it be correct to say that he was speaking about the Eastern Aramaic text, and only it, as the western groups (Syrian Orthodox) had produced, and were using those others and any copies made from them??these were not considered true Peshitta texts of the Church of the East, even to this day.

Quote:I'm going to assume that regardless of what transpired, that Mar Elia was not intending to deceive anyone, but today we have no way of knowing what that manuscript was in relation to his preference. There are too many possibilities. :-)

I think it?s rather certain that he being a Patriarch of the Church of the East, would not be praising a Manuscript text, which was akin to those non-Eastern Peshitta texts, which he wouldn?t have held to be the original form of the Aramaic NT Scriptures?the others being corruptions of it.

Quote:The only possibility left under established consensus -- if we were to take Mar Elia III's account at face value, as we cannot examine this manuscript ourselves -- is perhaps an unknown Old Syriac edition, older than what we call "the Old Syriac Gospels" by quite some time (which are actually on the cusp of Old Syriac into Middle Syriac).

But Steve, think about it?if the account is true, it seems to me that something that was held to such a high regard by the Church of the East, would not have been left to itself, and not copied all those years being in use in the COE?and if it were copied and of some other sort than what is found today in the Eastern Peshitta, which Mar Elias was using, then where are the copies of it? He said that it was better than any new copies?then all these ?new copies? which were akin to it, have also disappeared along with the Edessian Manuscript that was used in the Parish of the COE in Baghdad. Or is it that it matched the text that we see today in the Eastern Peshitta. I think so. It makes alot more sense.

Quote:In 78 it could not be the Peshitta, as the Peshitta is in too young of a dialect (the consensus is that the form it's in today is 5th century, being compiled over the late 3rd and 4th; it's Middle/Classical not Old Syriac).

Has ?the consensus? ever been wrong, Steve? If such a Manuscript was found today, and it matched up with the Eastern Aramaic text, as witnessed to in the Diatessaron?s text of 165 A.D., then how would that effect your position?

Quote:Andreas Juckel from the University of M?nster did some serious work on this. From what I understand from seeing him at the Hugoye Symposium back in 2010 where he was showing the extensive work he's done on dating Peshitta manuscripts, he's also working on a critical edition of the Peshitta New Testament (with full apparatus, showing variants, etc.).

Steve, will this be a critical edition of the Eastern Aramaic text of the Peshitta, or a critical edition of the text of the Western Peshitto version, or perhaps a composite text of both? If it?s the Western version of the Peshitto, wasn?t this done already with the 1905/1920 BFBS/UBS text? Janet Magiera told me the other day that there are variants in the Eastern Aramaic Manuscripts, but didn?t say which ones, only pointed me to Barbara Aland?s work on that, which I have yet to get a hold of. Janet's English translation has mixed the Eastern text, with the Western text, as she saw fit, straying from the UBS text a number of times, and agreeing with the Eastern.

Did Mr. Juckel say about when it would be ready to publish? I would like to see what he comes up with.



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