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The New Testament Peshitta and Peshitto
Shalom all--

In terms of Peshitto and Crawford Revelation, this is how I see it:

1) BOTH versions are translations from the Greek.

2) Crawford, in spite of heavy promotion to the contrary, has its own colophon and other evidence tag it as very late, like 12th century. Here is an excerpt on this topic from an essay I did a while back:

Evidence of the actual age and provenance of Crawford is not unknownTrimm begins his essay quite nicely, and does so in a style that seems open and honest. However, as with many things, it is what is not said that sometimes holds the key to true understanding. Take the statement "How this manuscript made its way to Europe in unknown" as an example. There is nothing untruthful in that fact at all. We don't know, as Trimm says, the exact year the manuscript found its way out of the Middle East. Nor do we know if it went to any intermediary countries before settling in Britain.

Although, my point is this: Trimm neglects to include any reference to known history about the environment that gave birth to Crawford. Instead, he simply leaves his statement hanging which, while being accurate on its face, nevertheless presents a false impression that Crawford is so mysterious that it could be close to an original autograph of Revelation, or at least an ancient copy of one. I mean, gee, we don't know how it got to Europe! Oh my! Why, it could have taken a steam ship in April (or was it October, since that could change our perspective of the facts)? The point then seems to be that, since it's a mystery, it must therefore be so ancient as to come from the pen of Yochanan himself!

Instead, why not focus on what we do know about the manuscript, not the itinerary it may have taken in the 19th century?

First of all, Revelation was one of five books never included in the Eastern Peshitta canon, and so the Aramaic copies that have come down to us are translations from Greek sources. In the year 508, Philoxenius of Madbug did the first translation of Revelation into Aramaic for his Syrian Orthodox Church, an ancient body that had just aligned itself with Rome and changed their canon to reflect their new allegiance. However, Philoxenius' work was hated and very quickly fell out of favor, resulting in the Harkalean revision of 616, which is the current accepted version of the Syrian Orthodox Church to this day. Also, due to the Syrian Orthodox Church's alteration of their Aramaic dialect, the name of their New Testament is "Peshitto", so as not to confuse it with the older "Peshitta" preserved in the East.

As a result, no Aramaic manuscript of Revelation existed before the sixth century, and this is according to the records of the Church that actually changed their canon to include it in the first place! We know why it was done, when it was done, and who did it.

Now Trimm will no doubt argue that Crawford is different, the "unique and little known version" as he says, tucked away like the seventh seal awaiting the Lamb to open it up. Well James, I've got news for you: Crawford is different, but not the way you want it to be. In fact, Crawford is later than the earliest copies of Peshitto Revelation.

This is what the John Rylands Library had to say about the manuscript:

Fol. 250b has a colophon also not all legible, in a Serto hand???

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, p. 119

Let's stop here for the moment so I can relate two key facts. First, the colophon is a kind of a bookmark that is kept with the manuscript, and it is used to tell us the author, age, and location of the document it is attached to. Now, while Rylands says it is not completely legible, what follows will be what they can clearly read from it.

However, a second key point is the notation that the colophon is in Serto script, a vowel-pointed system not developed until at least the fifth or sixth century. While this is also about the time of the split of the Church of the East and the Syrian Orthodox Church due to the Councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcidon (451), an older script, called Estrangela, was also used in colphons and special headings on religious documents. Therefore, the Syrian Orthodox Church still sometimes uses Estrangela, the script the Eastern Peshitta is preserved in. Although, the fact that even the colophon was then put in Serto shows it to come from a later time, when that script had more influence.

With this basic foundation established, we can now continue:

The scribe was Stephen, a monk of the monastery of Mar Jacob the recluse of Egypt and Mar Barshabba near Salah in Tur 'Abdin. He mentions the names of some of his relatives and his teachers???

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, p. 119

So, while we don't know exactly when the manuscript came to Europe, we sure as heck know a lot about where it came from and can check the history and circumstances of its production. These facts, along with internal evidence in the text itself, caused the Rylands Library to conclude:

On the date of the manuscript see Gwynn, Apocalypse, where it is argued to be the end of the 12th century.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, p. 119

3) Many of the "original" readings that are alleged to be unique to Crawford are actually identical in the Peshitto version, which even Trimm admits was translated from the Greek.

Here are some examples:


Crawford: ???I will cast her onto a coffin (aore)???

Greek: ???I will cast her into the bed???

The Aramaic word aore is ambiguous. It can mean "bed" as the Greek translator mistakenly took it, or it can mean "coffin" (as in the Aramaic of Luke 7:14 and Targum Jonathan 2 Samuel 3:31). Here it actually means "coffin".


Trimm is correct about the word in question. However, here is what he does not say:

Haw rama ana leh b'airsa

Peshitto Revelation:
Haw rama ana leh b'airsa

These are identical! As a result, it is clearly to his advantage that James does not include Peshitto Revelation. If he did, then the reader might think Crawford was also a translation from the Greek!


Crawford: ???six wings filled round about, and from within, with eyes???
(anye Nylm wnl Nmw tyanrdwh Nypg ats)

The Greek translator mistranslates the passage:
??????six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within??????


Let's see what Peshitto Revelation says, and this time I will use Hebrew letters:

anye Nylm wnl Nmw tyanrdwh Nypg ats

Once again the two sources are identical. Also, the variance between the Greek and the Aramaic is so minor as to make it impossible to posit one as an original reading over the other. Instead, the variance more closely resembles the slightly different ways that two languages will express the same thought.


Crawford: ???and his legs like pillars of fire??? (yhwlgrw )
Greek: ??? his feet like pillars of fire???

The Aramaic lgr can mean ???foot??? but less often ???leg??? but in this case the context
demands ???legs??? (being like ???pillars???) The Greek translator was apparently unaware of
this less common meaning and took the phrase to refer to ???his feet???.


Again, it is possible Trimm is correct. On the other hand, the other side also has a good argument. We could say, for example, that the base of these fiery pillars actually does look like feet, as opposed to looking up at the whole structure, which could resemble legs. The fact that the shape is outlined by fire would tend to support the Greek reading, with jets of flame resembling extremities in the feet.

Also, if the Greek were the original text, we could easily see how "feet" would get translated into yhwlgr, rather than the other way around, since the Aramaic word means both "feet" and "legs", as Trimm also stated.

Finally, Peshitto Revelation again has the same reading:

arwnd adwme Kya yhlgrw (Crawford)
arwnd adwmg Kya yhlgrw (Peshitto)

As the reader can see, the only difference is a scribal error in Crawford, which has adwme rather than adwmg. The Hebrew fonts I am using don't really showcase the confusion well. However in Aramaic script the difference between a gimel (g) and an ayin (9) is a lot subtler. Allowing for variations in individual scribes, it is easy to see how one might be mistaken for the other.

Now though let's move on to Trimm's favorite proof:



Crawford: Because her sins have reached (wqbdd) up to heaven???

Greek (literally): Because her sins have stuck (ekollhqhsan) (?!?!?!?!?) to heaven???

This may well be the plainest and most obvious evidence that the Greek Revelation is a translation from the Crawford Aramaic.

The Hebrew/Aramaic word qbd usually means "stick to" and is generally rendered in the LXX with Greek kollashai. However, the word wqbdd has a much broader meaning than its Greek counterpart, and can also mean "overtake" or "reach". Similarly we read in Zech. 14:5:

Hebrew: the valley of the mountains shall reach (qbd) to Azel

LXX Greek: the valley of the mountains shall stick (egkollhqhsetai) to Azel

Thus the translator of the LXX makes the same mistake by translating qbd with kollashai even though its meaning is not "stick" but "reach".


Remember what Rylands said, Crawford is a thousand years younger than the Greek manuscripts that it is supposed to pre-date. The other consistent and vexing piece of evidence that Trimm continually ignores is this:

Mittil d'debaqaw khatehih aidma l'shmaya w'atdekar Alaha laiolih
(Peshitto Revelation 18:5)

Mittil d'debaqaw khatehih aidma l'shmaya w'atdekar Alaha laiolih
(Crawford Revelation 18:5)

So, once again we have identical readings in Peshitto and Crawford Revelation.

4) What I believe is that neither Crawford nor Peshitto Revelation is the long lost Aramaic original, or even close to it. Actually the Greek really is closest to what we probably lost. All three of these versions, I believe, hark back to the lost Nazarene Revelation. It gets murky when my favorite proof (COFFIN/BED) is actually in both versions, and also the famous 666 only works in Hebrew and Aramaic as a cipher for "Nero Caesar" and not in Greek.

That's how I see it.

Peace and blessings
Andrew Gabriel Roth
Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth

Messages In This Thread
Re: The New Testament Peshitta and Peshitto - by Larry Kelsey - 02-06-2004, 06:58 AM
. - by drmlanc - 02-06-2004, 12:49 PM
Re: . - by Zechariah14 - 02-06-2004, 01:24 PM
. - by drmlanc - 02-07-2004, 12:33 AM
Re: . - by Zechariah14 - 02-07-2004, 01:07 AM
. - by drmlanc - 02-07-2004, 01:10 AM
Re: . - by Zechariah14 - 02-07-2004, 01:36 AM
Re: . - by judge - 02-07-2004, 09:33 AM
. - by drmlanc - 02-07-2004, 10:25 AM
[No subject] - by HoffmanS - 02-10-2004, 12:27 AM
. - by drmlanc - 02-10-2004, 01:17 AM
Crawford Revealtion - by Andrew Gabriel Roth - 02-10-2004, 01:33 AM
. - by drmlanc - 02-10-2004, 02:11 AM
Re: . - by Zechariah14 - 02-10-2004, 03:02 AM
. - by drmlanc - 02-10-2004, 04:23 AM
[No subject] - by HoffmanS - 02-10-2004, 05:53 AM
. - by drmlanc - 02-10-2004, 07:53 AM
Re: 666 - by Zechariah14 - 02-10-2004, 12:57 PM
. - by drmlanc - 02-10-2004, 01:00 PM
[No subject] - by gbausc - 02-10-2004, 03:42 PM
[No subject] - by HoffmanS - 02-10-2004, 03:50 PM
[No subject] - by HoffmanS - 02-11-2004, 01:05 AM
[No subject] - by Dan Gan - 02-12-2004, 01:58 PM

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