The New Testament was originally written in Aramaic. The Greek New Testament is a translation of the Aramaic New Testament.
If Jesus was preaching in Aramaic, would it make more sense to write down what he said in Greek or Aramaic? If Jesus' words
were written down in Greek, then that would only be a translation of everything he said. Readers would lose information. Also,
Jesus' disciples spoke Aramaic; they didn't know enough Greek to write down whole scrolls of teaching in Greek. Josephus,
a Jewish historian of the time, said that he only knew two or three people among the Jews that knew Greek; he was one of them.
The Jewish Rabbis also discouraged the Jews from speaking in a heathen language. Josephus said this: “I have also
taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and to understand the elements of the Greek language, although
I have so accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness. For our nation
does not encourage those that learn the language of many nations. On this account, as there have been many who have done their
endeavors, with great patience, to obtain the Greek learning, there have hardly been two or three who have succeeded herein,
who were immediately rewarded for their pains.” (Antiquities XX, X1 2).
The Assyrians imposed the Aramaic language on Israel in the 7th century B.C. Aramaic
was the language spoken at the time of Jesus in Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Persia and Egypt (Isa. 19:18). Aramaic
was also spoken by the Jews in other places such as Latin Rome (Italy). Remember, the Bible says that the Jews were scattered
abroad (James 1:1). Peter writes his first letter from Babylon, which was in Persia [or in modern day Iraq] (1
Pet. 5:13). The language there was Aramaic. The Aramaic spoken in Syria was called Syriac and the Aramaic spoken in Palestine
was called Hebrew, because the Hebrews were speaking it. A proof that the word Hebrew is referring to Aramaic is at John
20:16, which states: “Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned around and said to him in Hebrew, Rabbuli!
which means, My teacher.” Rabbuli is not a Hebrew word, but it is an Aramaic word. The Greek New Testament
transliterated this word as Rabbuni. The “l” and the “n” in the Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) script look
very similar, and a reader could easily misread them between the two. Remember, back then a scribe would have only had a candle
to use while translating in the dark.
The Aramaic Peshitta New Testament
was used as the source behind the Greek New Testament Translation and the Armenian Translation. The Greek New Testament was used as the source behind
the Latin Vulgate and other translations because the Greek language has vowels within its words like Latin and English. If
someone can’t pronounce the text, then it is very hard to read and make a translation.
The Greek New Testament has many Aramaic words within its contents, such as: Abba, raca,
Cephas, eli eli lama sabachthani, Maranatha, talitha cumi, rabbi, mammon, etc. Some of those words are pronounced a little
different in the Aramaic language, but nevertheless, they are Aramaic words, not Greek words.
The Greek New Testament is purged of the words “Arameans” and “Aramaic”
in the many places that they occur. For example, Romans 1:16 (Lamsa) says this: “For
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God to salvation to every one who believes, whether they
are Jews first, or Arameans (Syrians).” In the place of Arameans, the Greek New Testament has the word
Greeks. The Aramaic New Testament has reference to both Arameans and Greeks in its contents. So it is not about the Aramaic
New Testament being biased. However, the Greek New Testament has an obvious purging of the words “Arameans” and
The reason why the word Aramean(s) was translated as Greek(s) is because the Greeks
didn’t like the Arameans and the translators of the New Testament knew that a holy book praising Arameans wouldn’t
be accepted. In history, it was the Greeks that defeated the Aramaic speaking nations of Media and Persia. Also,
in the additional parts of Esther, we see some hostility between the Arameans and Greeks. After King Ahasuerus realizes that
Haman’s plot to kill the Jews was evil, he wrote this: “…Haman, son of Hammedatha, a Macedonian
(or Greek), certainly not of Persian blood, and very different from us in generosity, was hospitably received
by us…But, unequal to this dignity, he strove to deprive us of kingdom and of life; and by weaving intricate webs of
deceit, he demanded the destruction of Mordecai, our savior and constant benefactor, and of Esther, our blameless royal consort,
together with their whole race.” (Esther E:10,12-13 NAB).
In Jastrow’s Hebrew Aramaic
Dictionary, he states that Aram (Syria) is also a disguise for “Rome.” For the word “Aramean,” Jastrow
says this word also means “a Gentile, Roman.” However, there is no good reason to believe that the word “Aramean
- Ar-ma-ya” meant anything other than a “descendant or citizen of Aram (Syria)
and /or an Aramaic speaker” in the Aramaic writings of the Old and New Testament. Though it is true that the adverb
ar-ma-ith means” “Aramaically” or “as an Aramaen” at Galations
2:14 - “…If you as a Jew are living as an Aramean, and not as a Jew, why are you compelling
the Gentiles that they shall live as Jews.” This is because the Aramaeans were more Gentile in there manners and
The Roman Empire allowed freedom of religion and Christianity from its start was thought of being an offshoot of Judaism.
There was no need for any code words for “Roman – Ro-ma-ya” or “Rome
– Ro-me,” since the Aramaic New Testament uses both those words in its contents.
In the Aramaic text at Acts 16:1, Timothy is said to have an Aramean father. Additionally, Titus is said
to be an Aramean (Gal. 2:3). Are Timothy’s father and Titus really Romans or Gentiles? By adding
additional meanings to the word “Aramean,” it would make the author’s meaning undiscernable. However, the
verses in the New Testament are not obscure. Smith’s Compendious Syriac Dictionary and Oraham’s Dictionary don’t
define the word “Aramean” as also meaning “a gentile or Roman.”
Jesus said this: “….But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ (mo-re), shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matt. 5:22 NKJV). Jesus said not to
call someone a fool. Later, Jesus called the Pharisees and scribes: “Fools (mo-roi) and blind!…” (Matt. 23:17 NKJV). The
Greek word mo-ros (singular - fool) appears in both of these verses. Jesus is recorded
as calling the Pharisees and scribes fools, something he told his disciples not to do. If Jesus is an example to his
students, then he is not practicing what he preached and is a hypocrite. However, this is clearly a translation blunder that
can be explained by the Aramaic text.
The Aramaic text has two different words in the place of “fool(s)”
at the above mentioned verses while the Greek text has the same word. Both of these Aramaic words can be translated as “fool(s),”
but they also have a different shade of meaning from each other. Lila (at Matt.
5:22) means “a fool, brute” while sach-le (at Matt. 23:17)
means “fools, those lacking understanding.”
“…Do you not
remember the five loaves of bread of the five thousand, and how many baskets (Greek singular: ko-phi-nos)
you took up? Neither the seven loaves of bread of the four thousand, and how many baskets (Greek singular:
spur-is) you took up?” (Matt. 16:9-10 Lamsa). James Strong’s
Dictionary says that ko-phi-nos is of uncertain derivation. Ko-phi-nos
looks like the Aramaic word qo-phi-na, which is used at the same place in this verse.
Qo-phi-na (large basket) looks like the emphatic form for the word qo-phi (basket); the ending part na being the normal way to make some
Aramaic words emphatic. The Assyrian word for basket is qupa. So qo-phi-na
looks more Aramaic than Greek to me. Qo-phi-na is probably related to the words qpha “to collect, gather in heaps” and qo-pha-ya
“a carrier, porter.”
The second word looks like it is of Greek origin by
the way it is spelled into Aramaic. However, it is clearly a loan word into Aramaic and both Aramaic and Greek share the meaning
of this word and its root. The Greek word spur-is (basket) is from the word sphaira ( a sphere, etc), not the Greek word spear-o (to sow) which James
Strong connects in error. The Aramaic word Es-pri-dha means
“a round plaited basket” and the word Es-pi-ra means “anything
of round shape, a sphere, ball, etc.”
“And if your eye offends you, remove it and cast it away from you; it is better for you to
go through life with one eye, rather than to have two eyes and fall into the Gehenna of fire.” (Matt. 18: 9 Lamsa). Gehenna is a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic word Ge-han-na. Ge-han-na is the Aramaic transliteration of the Hebrew words
Gey Hin-nom (meaning: Valley of Hinnom). In addition to Ge-han-na
meaning the “Valley of Hinnom,” it also means: “[the] place of punishment for the wicked after death; the
abode of the evil spirits; the place of the dead” (Oraham). Gehanna also means:
“the place of torment” (Smith’s Syriac Dictionary). Gehanna (or Greek:
Gehenna) is translated as “hell” in the New Testament.
At Matthew 27: 9 (NKJV), it says: ‘Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they
took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,.’ All
three of the major Greek texts (Majority [Byzantine], NU and Textus Receptus) says this verse was written by Jeremiah the
prophet. But this is incorrect. This verse comes from Zechariah 11:13. The Aramaic New Testament says this: “Then
what was spoken by the prophet was fulfilled,…” The Aramaic New Testament doesn’t name
the prophet. The Greek translator thought Matthew was quoting Jeremiah, but he was wrong. So the Peshitta New Testament is
correct, while the Greek New Testament is wrong.
There was a tradition of naming the prophet quoted in the Greek translation of Scripture when the original language
that the text was written in didn’t name the prophet. Matthew 27:9 is one example. Another example is at Tobit 14:4.
The original Aramaic text says this: “..for faithful are the words of the prophet that spoke in the name
of the LORD concerning the Syrians and Nineveh..” Notice that the Aramaic text doesn’t name the prophet.
There are two main Greek readings for this verse. One Greek reading names the prophet as Nahum, and another names the prophet
“As it is written in (with) Isaiah the prophet, Behold I send my messenger before your face,
that he may prepare your way, (Mal. 3:1) The voice that cries in the wilderness: Make ready the way of the
Lord and straighten his highways (Isa. 40:3).” (Mark 1:2-3 Lamsa). There are many mistranslations
(or misinterpretations) in the Lamsa translation, just like there are many mistranslations in every English Bible. The Aramaic
preposition beh most of the time carries the meaning of “with.” Interestingly,
the Greek word en at this verse also carries the meaning of “with,” but also
means “by.” Because the first part of Mark’s quoting is not in Isaiah’s book, later Greek texts were
changed to read “As it is written in the prophets..” “As it is written with Isaiah the prophet”
is the correct reading because not only is it in the Aramaic text; it also agrees with the oldest Greek manuscripts.
Additionally, the Latin Vulgate (4th cent.) says the same thing, but exchanges “with” for “by,” reading:
“As it is written by Isaiah the prophet..” Aramaic, like English and
other languages, will express a message with words but the whole thought is not contained in those words.
The words “Isaiah the prophet” refer to “the writing of Isaiah the prophet.”
That verse should read: “As it is written with the writing of Isaiah the prophet..” One
example of the Aramaic language using a word that doesn’t contain the complete thought is at the following verse: “…Haman who rules over
all the provinces and is second in rank after the King…” (Esther 13:6 / B:6 [NAB]). The Aramaic text literally says that Haman
is “…second after the King…” The words “in rank” were needed to complete
the thought or give the correct meaning to the verse. The words “in authority” could have also been used.
All Mark is doing is combining a sentence from Malachi with
a sentence from Isaiah to establish a teaching. If Mark really was trying to say “as it is written by Isaiah the prophet,”
then he would have added an extra word to single out that prophet. Mark would have said “As it is
written by the hand of Isaiah the prophet,” like Matthew did at Matthew 4:14. The Aramaic text there literally says:
“…that was spoken by the hand of Isaiah the prophet, who said.” Dr. Lamsa translated
the words “by the hand” as “by” at this verse and at others (See Matt. 3:3, 8:17, 12:17, etc.).
“And they reached the port on the other side of the sea in
the country of the Gadarenes.” (Mark 5:1 Lamsa). The word Gadarenes also appears at (Luke 8:26,37). Gadarenes is the Aramaic understanding
of the descendants of Hagar (Hagarites). Gadarenes also appears in the Aramaic translation of Psalm 83:6. The Aramaic
Language sometimes calls different races by a different name than is understood by Hebrew, Greek or English speakers. Another
example is the word “Ishmaelites” which is translated as “Arabians” in the Aramaic Peshitta Old Testament.
was translated as Hagarenes (Hagarenoi) in the Greek translation. So Gadarenes is not
a Greek understanding of the Hagarites. This verse plus others prove that the Greek New Testament is a translation of
the Aramaic Peshitta New Testament.
The priests and Levites asked John the
Baptist this question “… Are you the Prophet? He answered, No.” (John 1:21 NKJV).
Many Christians think that the idea of the Messiah being a prophet comes from what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy. However,
notice that the priests and Levites didn’t ask John the Baptist if he was the Prophet “spoken of by Moses.”
Their idea of the Messiah being a prophet probably came from Isaiah 11:1-2: “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall
grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him…” (NKJV). The
phrase, “the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him” is indicating that this person will be a prophet; we see
this here: When
there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied…the
people said to one another…“…Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Sam. 10:10-11
(NKJV). The Masoretic Hebrew text is corrupted at this verse by its reading of “they came.” The Aramaic
and Greek texts of this verse both say “he came.” Dr. Lamsa however didn’t update the KJV text to reflect
what the Aramaic text says in his translation (i.e. he failed to update “they” for “he” at this verse).
Later, “Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, We have found that Jesus, the son of Joseph,
of Nazareth, is the one concerning whom Moses wrote in the law and [who is written about in] the prophets.”
(Jn. 1:45 Lamsa). Philip
realized that Jesus was the Messiah (see vs. 41-45) and stated that Jesus was written about by Moses and the prophets. Just
because Philip mentions Moses first as writing about Jesus doesn’t mean that Jesus is first called the Messiah (Anointed
One) by Moses, because that’s not true. The first prophecy calling Jesus the Messiah is written by the prophet David
in the Book of Psalms (Ps. 2:2). Philip used a common Jewish expression referring to Scripture. Jesus used the threefold
designation for Scripture (the Law of Moses, Prophets and Psalms) at (Luke 24:44) when he explained prophecies concerning
himself to his disciples. The writings of Moses that pertain to Jesus being the Messiah are in type. This is how Jesus
and his disciples understood them. For example, Jesus said this: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, so the Son of Man is ready to be lifted up; So that every man who believes in him should not perish, but have
eternal life.” (Jn. 3:14-15 Lamsa).
I disagree with Dr. Lamsa’s translation of this verse, which he translated as “.. Are you a
prophet?..” (John 1:21 Lamsa). The words at this verse; nwi-a
(the prophet) at (you?) literally translate as: “Are you the prophet?”
The way to say “Are you a prophet” in Aramaic is: L’ma
(Are) nwi-a (prophet) at (you?). L’ma is an interrogative particle and translates as “are,” “is” and
"will" into English. L’ma is used to ask a question. John wore the clothing of a prophet (Matt.
3:4), so he clearly knew he was a prophet. He would not have told the priests and Levites that he wasn’t a prophet.
So Dr. Lamsa’s translation is clearly incorrect. Jesus said John the Baptist was a prophet (Lucas 7:28).
Some nouns in the Aramaic language don’t have an indefinite form, like the words “the
prophet,” “the messiah,” et cetera. They don’t lose the final “a”
sound to show when they are indefinite. A way to make these words indefinite is to have the noun precede the verb in the sentence.
In Aramaic grammar, the verb with the attached singular or plural pronoun has to precede the definite noun to let the reader
know if the noun is singular or plural. For the most part, singular and plural nouns are spelled the same way in Aramaic.
The attached pronoun lets the reader pronounce the following noun either singular or plural. However, if the noun precedes
the verb in a sentence, then the noun is both singular and indefinite plus it retains the full (or definite) spelling.
In the Book of Acts, chapter 3, the word “prophet” is actually indefinite because it precedes
the verb. Simon Peter said this: “For Moses said, The Lord shall raise up a prophet like me for you from among
your brethren; listen to him in all that he shall say to you. And it shall come to pass that every person who will not listen
to that prophet shall be lost (perish) from his people.” (Acts 3:22-23 Lamsa). In the
previous verse, Peter said that heaven should receive Jesus until all the things which God has spoken by the mouth
of His holy prophets…should be fulfilled. The normal way for God to teach and warn His people was to
send a prophet; that is why Peter afterwards says “..The LORD shall raise up a prophet…”
In verse 24, Peter said that all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after him…were speaking…and
had preached of these days (Peshitta). All Peter was saying is that the
prophets in their Scripture (the Tanakh) spoke of Jesus and the then current days. He was saying that they had better
listen to them or God will destroy them. This is all in accordance with their office as a prophet as recorded at Deuteronomy
18:15,18-19. Peter was not making a prophecy out of those verses in Deuteronomy.
Note: The words have been moved around in our English translation to accommodate English expression, which is fine. The Aramaic
literally says: “..a prophet, the LORD shall raise up..;” though I have put the verb (shall
raise up) after the noun (LORD) here for teaching. This translates as: “…the
LORD shall raise up a prophet..” If the direct object (prophet) was definite, then
it would follow the subject noun (LORD) and literally read: “..the LORD shall raise
up the prophet..”
The Greek New Testament translated
the words “Jesus the Messiah (M’shi-kha)” as Jesus Christ in a lot of
places; leaving out the definite article. In some places, the Greek text does say “Jesus the Christ.” However,
the words Jesus Christ sound like a person’s first and last name. The Greek New Testament is incorrect because “Christ”
is a title and should have the definite article every time. The Aramaic New Testament text always says: “Jesus the Anointed.”
Messiah and Christ both mean “Anointed.” I can see how “Jesus the Messiah” got translated as “Jesus
Christ” because the Greek translation doesn’t always translate the word “the” into the translation.
This is because the Greek language along with Hebrew and English don’t always say “the” before a noun because
it may not sound right or the definite noun may need to be interpreted indefinite to sound right in the particular language.
‘Now when Jesus looked
at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).’ (John
1:42 NKJV). Read this verse again and again until you get it. The Greek New Testament is saying it is a translation
of the Aramaic original. The Aramaic New Testament doesn’t have the last part of: (which is translated, A Stone).
“And at the ninth hour Jesus
cried out with a loud voice, saying, El, El, l’ma-na shwaq-tan? which is (or means),
My God, my God, why have you left me?” (Mark 15:34 Peshitta). Mark translates Jesus’ words that he cried out from the cross
from the Palestinian Aramaic into the Chaldean, or southern Aramaic. The word El (God)
is not the normal word for God in the Peshitta Bible. El occurs in a minority of times
in the Aramaic Old Testament and could be construed as a name for God by an Aramaic speaker (see Gen. 33:20). For the translation,
Mark uses the word a-la-ha (God).
There is a final yod
after the n in shwaq-tan in written form. It is many times
transliterated as i, however, it is not pronounced in this case. The Greek text Hebrewnized
this word plus the word El here as Eloi and Eli (Matt. 27:46). There is also another example in the New Testament where the Greek text Hebrewnized
another Aramaic word but I have forgotten where that word is located. Shwaqt is “you
[have] left.” Shwaq-tan is “you [have] left me.”
The New Testament writers never quote the Greek Old Testament.
The problem is that the Greek Old Testament (translated in the third century before the Christian Era) was updated to match
the way the verses read in the New Testament. I will give examples of this. Romans 3:10-18 says this: “As
it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God. They
are all gone astray and they have been rejected; there is none who does good, no, not one. (Ps.
14:1-3; 53:1-3) Their throats are like open sepulchers; (Ps. 5:9; 140:3) their tongues are deceitful;
the venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. (Ps. 10:7) They are
overquick to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways. They have not known the path of peace. (Isa. 59:7-8)
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Ps. 36:1). The verses Paul quotes are not controversial and are
still in the Hebrew Bible at their respective place. The editor of the Greek Old Testament adds these six extra sentences
to Psalm 14: 1-3; he thought the Jews changed and deleted these extra verses in the Hebrew Bible. Also, it is important to
know how the New Testament writers quoted scripture. The New Testament writers didn’t always quote every word in a particular
verse, just the words in the verse to get their message across. Sometimes they changed the order of the sentences in the verse.
Sometimes they corrected the Aramaic Old Testament translation for what the original Hebrew said. And lastly, sometimes they
substituted a synonym for a word or phrase in a verse for better clarification. In Chapter 3 of Romans, Paul substituted the
word “righteous” for the words “that does good,” at the beginning of his quoting. The word “good”
refers to being good at something as well as righteous. For example, in the Aramaic language, a lyer, stealer and murderer
can still be called a “good” shepherd if he knew how to care and feed sheep. Paul wanted to clarify what
“doing good” meant at Psalm 14. It is no doubt that the words “does good” is used in Psalm 14. The
Hebrew Old Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls and the Aramaic Old Testament all say those words. However, the Greek Old Testament
has the word “righteous” in that verse and says exactly word for word what Paul said in Romans 3:10-18 in the
Greek New Testament. It should be noted that not every Greek New Testament quotation matches exactly with what the Greek Old
Testament says. Just some Old Testament verses were made to be copies of a Greek New Testament citation.
Another example of the updating of a OT verse in the Greek Translation to match the Greek New Testament verse occurs
at Hebrews 10:5, which says: “Sacrifice[s] and offering[s]
Thou didst not desire, but a body Thou hast prepared me.” The word “but” is used as a contrast
in the Aramaic language. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirms the Hebrew reading after offering[s]
as: my ears You have
opened (Ps. 40:6
NKJV). The Aramaic Old Testament says the same thing as the Hebrew with the exception of adding the word “but.” Dr. Lamsa translated
that verse as: I now have understanding;” (Lamsa), which isn’t literal.
The Greek Old Testament goes contrary to the three witnesses I just mentioned, and the verse at Psalm 40 reads
the same as the New Testament quotation; with the words: “…but a body Thou hast prepared me.” Paul
is only quoting the first part of Psalm 40; then he contrasts the idea of God not wanting sacrifices and offerings with Him
sending the body of a human to do His will and be His human sacrifice. This is in accordance with the next verse (v.7), which
I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book, it is written of me…”
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