You may be thinking that the Gospels may have been written
in Aramaic. But what about Paul’s epistle to Latin Rome or Paul’s epistle to the Greek speaking Corinthians? Wouldn’t
it make sense for these to be written in Greek? Maybe a Greek letter to the Corinthians would make sense, but the Greek Epistle
to the Corinthians shows that it is a translation from the Aramaic. Also, a Greek epistle to the Romans doesn’t make
sense because the common people there spoke Latin, not Greek. Only a few business merchants would have spoken Greek. It should
be noted that all 27 books of the New Testament show evidence of an Aramaic Original.
At the very beginning of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Paul said that the gospel of Christ…is the power
of God to salvation to every one who believes, whether they are Jews first, or Arameans (Syrians).” (Rom. 1:16 Lamsa).
So we see that the message in Paul’s letter was first directed to the Jews, then the Arameans. The Jews in the scattered
areas of Rome and Corinth spoke Aramaic.
Another proof that the epistle
to the Romans was originally written in Aramaic is that the Aramaic text clears up the following verse: “For scarcely for a righteous man will
one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.” (Rom. 5:7 NKJV). Why would it be hard for someone to give up their
life to save a righteous man? This verse doesn’t make sense in the Greek New Testament. The Aramaic New Testament makes
sense and says this: “Hardly would any man die for the sake of the wicked; but for the sake of the good,
one might be willing to die.” (Lamsa). The words “wicked” and “righteous”
are both five letter words in the Aramaic language. The three letters that are different from “righteous” to “wicked”
are similar in the Dead Sea Scroll Script; and obviously the Greek translator saw the word “righteous” instead
of “wicked” in this verse.
A third proof of an Aramaic
original of Romans is contained in the following verse: For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption
by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15 NKJV). Why would Paul be using a Aramaic
word, “Abba” if he was addressing Greek speakers in Rome? And I’m not saying I believe the residents of
Rome spoke Greek.
Paul’s letters to the Corinthians also show proof of an Aramaic original. In First Corinthians, Paul said his
letter was to the Aramaic speaking peoples (the Jews and the Arameans): “But for those who are called, both
Jews and Arameans, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God;” (1 Cor. 1:24 Lamsa).
A second witness of an
Aramaic original behind the Greek text of First Corinthians is at the following verse. “So if I do not understand
the utterance, I shall be as a barbarian to the speaker, and the speaker shall be as a barbarian to me.” (Rom. 14:11
Lamsa). The word Bar-ba-ros (Barbarian) is in the Greek text in this verse. Barbarian is actually a loan word from
the Aramaic, which literally means “an outer son” or “foreign son;” but in application, a “stranger
and uncivilized person.” Barbarian is from the Aramaic words bar “son”
and ba-ra-ya “outer, distant, further, foreign.” It is related to the Aramaic
word ba-ra, which means: “the outside, open country, wild.” Ba-ra-ya appears at the following places in the Aramaic Bible: (Matt. 8:12; 1 Cor. 5:12-13; 2 Cor. 4:16).
Barbarian is pronounced bar-bra-ya (Chaldean pronunciation) or bar-ba-ra-ya
(Syriac & Assyrian pronunciation) in Aramaic.
And a third witness that First
Corinthians was originally written in Aramaic is at the following verse: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus
Christ, let him be Anathema Maran atha.” (1Cor. 16:22 KJV). The Aramaic words maran etha (our Lord came)
were transliterated as maran atha here. Why are these words
in the Greek text if Paul was writing to Greek speakers in Corinth?
“…and the cry of the reapers has already entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.” (James 5:4 Lamsa). The Aramaic word Tswa-uth (hosts) is the same
as the Hebrew word Tse-va-oth (armies). Their meanings and spelling are the same but their
pronunciation is different. When the Divine Name YHWH appears before the word “hosts,” the Greek text many times
translated that statement as “the Lord of Sabaoth.” However, Sabaoth isn’t
really a Greek word. A Greek person may be taught that Sabaoth means “hosts, armies”
but this word isn’t used in the Greek Language outside of the above statement. The LXX translators interpreted the word
Tse-va-oth as: dynameon [of armies] (2 Kingdoms 6:2;
i.e. 2 Sam. 6:2), parembole [camp] (Judg. 8:10), et cetera elsewhere in the Greek Old
Testament outside of that phrase. Dr. Lamsa kept the word sabaoth from the KJV translation at this verse,
but the Aramaic text clearly says: “…the LORD of hosts.”
you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Abon, O Father, our Father.” (Gal.
4:6 Lamsa). The Aramaic
text ends with Abba, Abon. Dr. Lamsa just translates those two words by adding the words “O Father, our Father”
in our English Bible. What needs to be taken from this verse is that the word Abba is
found in the Greek text; proving an Aramaic original behind the Greek text of Galatians.
The Galatians were residents
of Galatia. Galatia was a place in Asia Minor. Ga-la-ti-a looks like the Aramaic word
gal-ta, which means “a mistake in writing.” The residents there spoke
Aramaic. So it wouldn’t make sense to send a Greek letter to the Galatians. The letters and books of the New Testament
were sent to people that spoke Aramaic, Greek and Latin. The letters and books sent to Aramaic speaking persons have a Aramaic
city (or region) name. And the letters and books sent to people that spoke Greek or Latin have a Greek or Latin name.
The proof of an Aramaic original behind the Greek text of Revelation will be based on the Aramaic text found in the Crawford
Manuscript. I believe the Crawford manuscript contains the original text of the five books (2 Peter, 2nd & 3rd
John, Jude & the Revelation) that were not included in the canon by the Church of the East. I have found proof of this.
Dr. Lamsa used the Harklean Syriac Version for the source of his Aramaic to English translation of those five books. Though
I will be quoting Dr. Lamsa’s translation of Revelation ; I will be using the Crawford Manuscript text of Revelation,
which is the original text for those books in the Greek translation.
The Harklean Version is a revision from the Philoxenian version
which was done in A.D. 616 by Thomas of Harqel. Thomas aimed at providing a literal translation of the Greek, even if that
meant unintelligible Syriac. The Harklean is considered a masterpiece in mirror translation; every particle in the original
Greek is somehow represented in Syriac. The Harklean Version along with the other Bible versions and revisions
into Syriac were done by the Monophysite bishops because of theological reasons; so their doctrine might agree with the doctrine
of the Byzantine Church, which was the powerful imperial sect. The Patriarch of the East expelled them and their works were
condemned. Dr. Lamsa states that: “in some provinces, owing to the pressure exerted by the Byzantine emperors, these
new revisions were introduced. But when the territory was occupied by the Persian government, they were destroyed.”
(Lamsa Bible Introduction p. viii). The following verses will show proof of an Aramaic original behind the Greek text
“And his feet were like the fine brass of Lebanon, as though they were burned in a furnace..” (Rev. 1:15
Lamsa). The Greek
text has the word chal-ko-li-ba-no, which was translated
as “fine brass” in the KJV. This word has troubled scholars because it appears no where else in Greek literature;
except in two places in the book of Revelation. Chal-ko-li-ba-no is actually two words
that got merged into one. It is from the Greek words chal-kos (brass) and li-ba-nos (Lebanon). There are at least two other instances where two or more Aramaic words were combined
to form a new Greek word in the Greek New Testament translation.
The Harklean and the Crawford Manuscript of Revelation both say “brass of Lebanon.” Thomas kept the words
“brass of Lebanon” in the text because he obviously believed chal-ko-li-ba-no was
saying “brass of Lebanon” in Greek. Thomas also may have been aware of this reading from
the Crawford Manuscript.
say, I am rich and my wealth has increased and I need nothing; and you do not know that you are miserable and a wanderer and
poor and blind and naked.” (Rev. 3:17 Lamsa). The additional words “ and blind” are in the
Greek text and in the Harklean version, but not in the Crawford Manuscript. The words “poor” and “blind”
look alike in the Aramaic text. A dreary eyed translator probably saw the word “poor” twice and thus translated
the word “poor” the first time and at his second look translated it as “blind.”
“And they had a king over them, who was the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abado,
but in Greek his name is Apollyon.” (Rev. 9:11 Lamsa). This verse from the Harklean Version matches
the Greek text. The underlined words in the Crawford Manuscript say: “And in Aramaic his name is sha-re”
Sha-re has a root meaning of: “to loosen
or destroy.” In this instance, sha-re would mean "the one destroying"
or "the destroyer."
I saw the dead, small and great, stand before the throne; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is
the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their
works.” (Rev. 20:12 Lamsa). The Harklean and Greek text has the words “of life” in this verse.
The Crawford Manuscript says: “..the book of judgment..” Those two Aramaic words
look very similar in the Dead Sea Scroll Script. How did the Crawford Manuscript get “..the book of judgment..,”
if it is not the original? The words “life” and “judgment” do not look alike in the Greek language.
If a book is
translated from one language to another, then there should be some evidence of this transition. The following verses will
show that the Crawford Manuscript of Revelation is the original, while the Harklean text of Revelation shows that it is a
translation. The Crawford Manuscript contains correct Aramaic speech while the Harklean text is greatly influenced by Greek
translation uses many of the same Greek words in the text of Revelation. Some examples include pud-re
(from po-de-re - ephod at 1:13, tro-nos (from thro-nos - throne) and lam-pe-de (from pl. lam-pa-des - lamps) at 4:5, and qros-ti-los
(from krus-tal-los - crystal) at 4:6. The Crawford
Manuscript has true Aramaic words for the previous examples plus more elsewhere within the text. The Crawford text has a-pho-dha (ephod), curs-ya (throne), na-hi-re (lamps) and gli-dha (crystal) in the place of the borrowed Greek
words in the Harklean text.
Aramaic words that got transliterated into the Greek text of Revelation received a Greek spelling and pronunciation. When
Thomas was translating from the Greek into Aramaic; he retained the Greek pronunciation significantly while departing from
the original Aramaic spelling and pronunciation. Some examples include Zmurna and Laodicea. Zmurna was translated as Smur-na in the Greek text. Thomas translated Smurna as Smurna
in his translation. Laodicea (Laodikeia), though a Greek word, is pronounced Ladiqia in
Aramaic. Since Thomas was translating from the Greek, he kept the Greek pronunciation significantly by translating that word
Note: Thomas did transliterate the word smurna
as smurna in his Aramaic translation. The common people that don’t know this Greek
pronunciation pronounce this word as smorna though. The sixth Aramaic letter has two vowel
sounds, which are “u” and “o.” Most names of people and places from the Hebrew Bible are spelled the
same way in the Aramaic Bible. Because the vowel points were not used then, the local people ended up pronouncing those words
differently than the Hebrew pronunciation. If a person knows Hebrew as well, then he would be able to pronounce those words
correctly by using the same consonants from the Aramaic transliteration. This pronunciation phenomenon is also true of Greek
and Latin names of people and places in the Aramaic New Testament. Most of those words can be pronounced correctly if a person
knows Greek or Latin by using the Aramaic spelling for those words.
Spirit of prophecy came upon me on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying,”
(Rev. 1:10 Lamsa). The Harklean text shows that it is a translation from the Greek because it contains the same words
(the Lord’s day), which are in the Greek text. Those words refer to Sunday. The Crawford text says: “the first of the week.”
CHURCH FATHERS & THE FORMER PATRIARCH OF THE EAST:
The Church Fathers bear witness that the New Testament was written in Aramaic.
A letter was sent
to the former Patriarch of the East asking him about the the Peshitta text. It should be noticed that he said the Peshitta
NT was never changed. This is from the Lamsa Bible (p. ii):
Patriarchate of the East, Modesto, California, April 5, 1957
“”With reference to your letter concerning Lamsa’s translation of the Aramaic Bible, and the originality
of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East we wish to state, that
the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original,
the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has
come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision.”
Mar Eshai Shimun
By Grace, Catholicos
Patriarch Of the East
1st Note: Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII became an American citizen in
1949. Because of the uncertainties caused in 1933 by the independence of Iraq from colonial rule, he ultimately relocated
to the United States. He was assassinated on November 6, 1975.
2nd Note: Because of persecutions, wars and illiteracy; a lot of Aramaic
speakers don’t know their own history concerning the originality of the Peshitta New Testament. That is however, changing
“Whom the LORD of hosts shall
bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people and ASSYRIA the work of my hands and Israel my heritage.” (Isa.
In order to conserve space, I have decided
that this is enough proof that the New Testament was originally penned in Aramaic. I encourage individual Christians to read
the original Aramaic text for themselves to be convinced and eliminate any doubt. The original Aramaic New Testament of course
has many more proofs that it is the original. Other evidence includes that the Aramaic contains much more meaning by its words
and manners of speech (idioms). There are also Greek names that are from the Aramaic pronunciation that are different
than the established Greek pronunciation from the Hebrew Old Testament. Textual Criticism is also another proof. A final proof
is that there are coded messages in the Aramaic New Testament that have been found by following the same procedure in
which the Hebrew text was put into Code finder.
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