The Aramaic Peshitta: Is It the Autographic Bible?

Obviously, the answer is no for the NT, since the Peshitta NT shows up in the fifth century. This would leave an autographic Bible in two languages, whereas God's people must be "one people, speaking one language." (Gen. 11). Revelation 5 shows them praising God from every tribe tongue and nation, out of their provincial languages into Greek. This actually happened in the early Christian Church. Worldwide its tongue was Koine as a general rule. The prophecy was fulfilled in Koine.

The John Rylands fragment, original part of a much larger unit, dates from AD 125 in Greek. There is nothing that early in Syriac. Justin Martyr wrote in Greek (AD 145) and quoted the LXX. He explains in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew that the Church held that the Hebrew had become corrupted and that it needed replacement by the LXX. The LXX was in fact the Bible quoted most often in the GNT.

In Jerusalem, where Luke tells us (Acts 1.18ff) that the language of that city was Aramaic, the Jerusalem council declared only in Greek (Acts 15), not in Aramaic. This proves that Aramaic is not the catholic tongue, but Greek, the language of the LXX. There was no NT in Greek at that time. The Revelation shows 7 churches, eventually comprising the one true Church (of chapter 21), and each city-church has a Greek name only, comprising the "city of my God," A pyramidal "temple," which we know to be Greek by its seven-fold Greek name. This Greco-Egyptian city is no other but Alexandria"

"Now there was a certain native-born Alexandrian, a Jew named Apolos, who was mighty in THE SCRIPTURES." (Acts 18). James writes to "the 12 tribes [Jews] scattered abroad [diaspora]." Peter writes "to the pilgrims of the diaspora." The diaspora Bible is the LXX. These letters are canonical, meaning intended for all Christians of all times. Recall the Jerusalem council declaring in Greek upon dietary laws and circumcision. This is Greek Judaism. The capitol of Greek (diaspora) Judaism is Alexandria. Revelation shows the transfer of the capitol of Judaism, from Jerusalem to New [covenant] Jerusalem (Alexandria). The praise the Lamb in Koine in the NJ (Rev 5). Jesus is the "alpha and omega," not the aleph and tau.

Every Hebrew word, and every Aramaic word, which appears in the NT and is translated, translates always and only the same direction -- OUT OF -- Hebrew/ Aramaic INTO Koine. It never translates the other direction. This is the translation pattern of the LXX.

The diaspora Jews in Mark's Gospel at the foot of the cross during Passover believe that the Lord Jesus is calling for Elijah when he cites Aramaic Psalm 22. They have no idea what simple Aramaic means and they are diaspora Jews. Nor do the ministers of Revelation know what lanaguage "Armageddon" is in. They must be told. Nor can they translate "Abaddon." John translates it INTO GREEK so that they can know it.

The Chester Beatty Papyri and Bodmer Papyri hail from EK 200-250 in Greek. These together make up more than half a New Testament. One such MS, P75 shadows Vaticanus (B) about 93% faithfully. This shows that from 200 to 350, no real variance occurs. Most variance occurs later, not earlier in a copyist trajectory. This means that the 150 years earlier than P75 generated even less MS variance, perhaps 2%. This makes P75 -- even on a hypothetical worst case scenario -- 95% faithful to the autographic readings of the LXX-GNT.

To all practical intents, B is the apostolic LXX and GNT (up to Hebrews 9.14). Where it lacks, A can fill in the gaps with great accuracy, with the exception of the Gospels -- late Byzantine add-ons. The most likely corrector is either Sinaiticos, E.S. Rescriptus or else Minuscule 33 for the NT, and Aleph for the OT. 

Much more could be said in favor of the LXX-GNT comprised of B, A and one other MSS as the primary restorative elements. Ergo, this blog?  Please browse at will.

What may be said of Aramaic is that something like a proto-Aramaic was the actual language God spoke in the beginning, both to call into existence the elements and to speak to Adam. God restored Aramaic, preserving it through the Babylonian kingdom, to His people so that His Son -- the second Adam -- would speak the tongue of Adam. This established Christ (in part) as the New Covenant federal head of all men. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But the tongue of divine choice for all men in Christ is canonical Koine, since God carefully crafted it over the history of a specific Hellenic-Hellenistic culture whose language was invested with the history of Hecataeus, Herodotos, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, etc, with the Math of the Orphics, Pythagoreans, Euclid and others, with Alexandrian sciences and technology, with the philosophical reasoning and logic of Plato and Aristotle, the Epicureans (Atomists) and Stoics and the many other intellectual innovations with which the Greek tongue was rendered uniquely capable.

God's eudokia in this was to prepare a tongue, which when its canonical paradigm would be ariculated, would put on display his people as the pillar and ground of truth. Only one language can do this -- canonical Greek.

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  1. Neighsayer

    Do the Dead Sea scrolls have anything to say about this? Have you seen Theiring’s ideas?

    September 09, 2012