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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    I checked the Peshitta, and the word טננא (tanana) occurs in 15 verses. In every case but one, it corresponds to some form of the Greek zeletos (whence zealous). In one case it corresponds to the Greek epipotheo which means "desire, long for." In no verse in the Bible does it correspond to the word "follower" (except in the variation you cited, of course).

    This makes the solution you suggest seem rather unlikely. Of my fifteen Biblical witnesses, I have none that support the translation of tanana as "follower."

    We have no example of tanana translated as mimetai in the NT and every occurrence of mimetai in the NT (that I checked) corresponds to tdmy.

    Richard
    In those 15 cases of the Peshitta, the same Aramaic word is used "tanana." In the single case you cited, Jas 4:5, it actually does not correspond to epipotheo, but to phthonos, meaning "jealousy, envy." We know this because the Greek pros phthonos is the Greek phrase for the word d'batana in Aramaic. Epipotheo is equivalent to ragaa in Aramaic "desire, lust."

    I agree that there is no case where it could have the meaning of "imitator," except in 1Pe 3:13. There it could make sense, which appears to be the reason why, when a Greek translator looked at the original Aramaic word Peter used, Tanana, looked at the context, and thinking that Peter meant imitator, chose the word mimitai in his translation. This meaning got passed down into the texts we have today with this reading, the 1550 Stephens Textus Receptus, the 1894 Scrivener Textus Receptus, and the Byzantine Majority Text. That is why I do not understand your assertion that there is no example of Tanana translated as mimetai in the NT. These 3 families of manuscripts provide us with that exact example in 1Pe 3:13.

    The Aramaic Tanana, with those 2 meanings, easily explains the reason for the two Greek words used, mimetai and zelotai. That is what I am trying to establish, is that when you have 2 totally different words from the Greek in a series of manuscripts, and there happens to be a word in Aramaic which has both of those meanings, then we can deduce that the Greek was the translation from the original Aramaic word, with different translators choosing different meanings for the original Aramaic word. That is not the only explanation, but it does at least deserve to be considered.

    I will await any response you may have for either this post, or post 9, before moving on.

    Thanks brother,

    Ron
    Last edited by gregoryfl; 02-08-2010 at 09:44 AM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    In those 15 cases of the Peshitta, the same Aramaic word is used "tanana." In the single case you cited, Jas 4:5, it actually does not correspond to epipotheo, but to phthonos, meaning "jealousy, envy." We know this because the Greek pros phthonos is the Greek phrase for the word d'batana in Aramaic. Epipotheo is equivalent to ragaa in Aramaic "desire, lust."
    Thanks for that correction!

    I read the verse too quickly. It says "lusteth to envy" - I mistook "lusteth" for the word "envy."

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    I agree that there is no case where it could have the meaning of "imitator," except in 1Pe 3:13. There it could make sense, which appears to be the reason why, when a Greek translator looked at the original Aramaic word Peter used, Tanana, looked at the context, and thinking that Peter meant imitator, chose the word mimitai in his translation. This meaning got passed down into the texts we have today with this reading, the 1550 Stephens Textus Receptus, the 1894 Scrivener Textus Receptus, and the Byzantine Majority Text. That is why I do not understand your assertion that there is no example of Tanana translated as mimetai in the NT. These 3 families of manuscripts provide us with that exact example in 1Pe 3:13.
    I'm sorry for the confusion. I thought that I was clear that I was talking about no example outside of 1 Peter 3:13.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    The Aramaic Tanana, with those 2 meanings, easily explains the reason for the two Greek words used, mimetai and zelotai. That is what I am trying to establish, is that when you have 2 totally different words from the Greek in a series of manuscripts, and there happens to be a word in Aramaic which has both of those meanings, then we can deduce that the Greek was the translation from the original Aramaic word, with different translators choosing different meanings for the original Aramaic word.

    Ron
    Yes, I understand your method and think it has merit. But I am not sure that this particular case is the best example because if tanana was translated in mimetai then it would be the one and only example of this translation in the NT, and it would be inconsistent with the normal use of mimetai which in all other cases corresponds to tdmy.

    I do not rule out the possibility that you are correct in this case. It's just not sufficiently clear to be very convincing to me.

    Talk more soon,

    Richard
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post


    I'm sorry for the confusion. I thought that I was clear that I was talking about no example outside of 1 Peter 3:13.
    Ah, I guess I missed the "outside of" part. Thank you for the clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Yes, I understand your method and think it has merit. But I am not sure that this particular case is the best example because if tanana was translated in mimetai then it would be the one and only example of this translation in the NT, and it would be inconsistent with the normal use of mimetai which in all other cases corresponds to tdmy.

    Richard
    I agree that whoever chose the Greek word there was being inconsistent, especially if he had been translating other parts of the NT which contained the word Tanana as well. I am only guessing that he honestly thought that Peter was writing about being an imitator of good, instead of zealous for good. Why I guess we will never know.

    Good to chat again as well

    Ron

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    I agree that whoever chose the Greek word there was being inconsistent, especially if he had been translating other parts of the NT which contained the word Tanana as well. I am only guessing that he honestly thought that Peter was writing about being an imitator of good, instead of zealous for good. Why I guess we will never know.

    Good to chat again as well

    Ron
    I admit your argument has merit. It makes sense that a translator could use either imitator or zealous in that verse. But I also agree that we will probably never know for sure.

    In general, I see this method as offering some evidence for an Aramaic original. But the evidence is indirect. What is the earliest existing Aramaic fragment of the NT? I know that we have Greek fragments from the first century. If there are no Aramaic fragments of similar age, it would suggest that the Greek came first. It seems that the direct evidence points to Greek originals.

    This method of analysis involves evaluating a wide variety of independent sources of the variations. The primary source of textual variations seems to be simply scribal errors in copying. And sometimes it seems that the scribes might have tried to harmonize verses. Metzger used this explanation for the difference between "children" and "works" in Matthew 11:19:
    The Committee regarded the reading te,knwn (widely supported by B2 C D K L X D Q P and most minuscules) as having originated in scribal harmonization with the Lukan parallel
    Given the fact that the evidence is both indirect and mixed with other sources of variation, it becomes very difficult to believe that this one method would be sufficient to settle the case.

    And this brings up another question - since we don't have the Aramaic originals, or even a broad class of early copies to compare and analyze like we do in the Greek, how does the question of Aramaic originals impact our study of Scripture?

    And I still have the nagging feeling that the truth of the Aramaic hypothesis would indicate that God has largely left us in the dark with regards to His Word. Why did he give us this mountain of Greek manuscripts as the representative of His inspired Word if in fact it was originally inspired in Aramaic? In what sense is the Greek inspired if it is only a translation, and a fallible one at that?

    And what about the evidence of the holographs that show passages of the Greek NT were designed letter-for-letter by God and integrated with the alphanumeric structure of the OT?

    And what about the fundamental principle that the central message of the NT was to all the nations? That's why God wrote it in Greek. The OT was in Hebrew and to the Hebrews. The NT was in Greek and for all nations (including the Hebrews, of course).

    I hope I haven't asked too many questions. I don't want to overwhelm you. I very much look forward to examining other examples you have, but I also want to mix in these other high level hermeneutical questions about "what it all means" and "how it impacts our understanding of Scripture" etc.

    Many blessings my friend! This is an excellent conversation.

    Richard
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    In general, I see this method as offering some evidence for an Aramaic original. But the evidence is indirect. What is the earliest existing Aramaic fragment of the NT? I know that we have Greek fragments from the first century. If there are no Aramaic fragments of similar age, it would suggest that the Greek came first. It seems that the direct evidence points to Greek originals.
    I agree that the Greek copies do indeed precede the Aramaic. There are 2 copies of papyri dated to the 2nd century (the earliest known) while the earliest known copies in Aramaic are dated to the 4th century. If we were to base the origin solely on which language were found first, and nothing else, then I would be compelled to agree with you. However, I do not believe that we should look solely at that, for the following reason:

    Imagine we are in 1940, 60 years ago. The oldest Hebrew copy of the OT we knew of back then was the Masoretic text, dated to the 10th century. However, the earliest copy of the OT in existence back then was the Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus of the 4th century, and these were in the Greek language. Using the same thinking, that the earliest language used for a manuscript is most likely the original language, and no other indirect evidence, I would have to conclude that the original language of the OT was Greek as well. At that time, the reason no one did was because there was quite a bit of indirect evidence, from the Bible itself, as well as other writings, testifying to the fact that Hebrew was indeed the originating language of the OT.

    We know of course, of the wonderful explosion of discovery starting in 1947, but think about the fact the for centuries upon centuries, with no direct manuscript evidence of either an original Hebrew writing, nor of any even remotely known to exist anytime near the 1st century or before, we had to rely on and trust the indirect evidence that told us that Hebrew was the original language of the OT.

    That is why I believe it is a mistake to say that based on manuscript evidence alone, that Greek must be the original language for the entire NT. There is much plausible, indirect evidence pointing to a Semitic origin, and it is that evidence that I am trying to convey here for consideration.
    Possibly one of the reasons why there are so few copies is what is revealed in the Babylonian Talmud and Tosefta, where the Rabbis debated how to destroy the NT writings, because they contained the actual name of God, something forbidden to them. (t.Shab. 13:5; b.Shab. 116a; j.Shab. 15c) It is possible that most manuscripts were destroyed, explaining the reason for so few. Just something to consider.
    One final point. Concerning Matthew, of which we have several witnesses claiming he composed his gospel in Hebrew. Do we disregard this as true because we have no copy of it? Why would they lie about this, and about it quickly being translated quickly into other languages? That at least gives me pause to consider that maybe other books, if not the entire NT, was written first in Aramaic (what they called Hebrew). There are a few witnesses claiming that Paul wrote Hebrews in the Hebrew tongue as well, so that is why I feel it should at least be taken into consideration, even if indirectly. We do that with many, many other things right? I believe that the Ten Commandments existed on tablets of stone, even though it has never been found. There is enough indirect evidence to convince me that it did indeed exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    And this brings up another question - since we don't have the Aramaic originals, or even a broad class of early copies to compare and analyze like we do in the Greek, how does the question of Aramaic originals impact our study of Scripture?
    To date, while we do not have thousands of copies, as we do in Greek and Latin, there are around 360 known copies in Aramaic to compare and analyze. I believe it has value to be considered ALONG WITH the Greek and Latin copies, because the more witnesses you have, especially those witnesses which might explain at least some of the textual variations, it all goes toward helping us arrive at a more accurate text.
    Also, I would liken it to studying the OT only in Greek. You would miss so much of the Semitic flavor and understanding that only the source language can provide. I believe it is the same in the NT. Just as one example:
    This does affect doctrine at all, but when you read the NT in Aramaic, you will find many, many instances of poetry, and wordplays, that you simply cannot find by reading it in the Greek. Again, this is not of life and death importance, but you can get a greater sense of connections and contrasts and such. As with any translation, you always lose something in the translation. Again, I am not suggesting ditching the Greek altogether, but using it alongside the Aramaic. It certainly can't hurt, and we might find ourselves pleasantly surprised by embarking on such an endeavor.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    And I still have the nagging feeling that the truth of the Aramaic hypothesis would indicate that God has largely left us in the dark with regards to His Word. Why did he give us this mountain of Greek manuscripts as the representative of His inspired Word if in fact it was originally inspired in Aramaic? In what sense is the Greek inspired if it is only a translation, and a fallible one at that?
    That is something I simply cannot agree with at all, brother. For one thing, I do not believe we need originals, nor necessarily even copies very close to the time of writing, in order to understand the text. I think the scholars throughout the centuries have, for the most part, done admirably in transmitting the Hebrew text, for example, and giving much understanding, despite not having anything in Hebrew closer than the 10th century to consider during that time. I believe that the Septuagint, although a mere translation, has so much to offer in helping us understand what the original text is likely to have said. It is very invaluable. And remember that most of that mountain of evidence we have now is a product of less than 100 years ago, so are we to conclude that God left previous generations in the dark?
    Personally, I wish there were originals. Personally, I wish that there were no differences in the manuscripts which people use to say the Bible can't possibly be inspired. As far as the Aramaic copies go, from what I understand, from what tradition says, the church of the East copied the Aramaic bible painstakingly similar to the way the scribes did the OT. While it is just their claim, they say that they have kept the text intact throughout the centuries. At one time, the Church in the East was the largest group of Christians, even though after the Muslim invasions and such, they are very much in the minority now. I had not even heard of them personally until coming across the Peshitta in my studies. So I believe that God has indeed kept the witness intact, not only with regard to the Greek and Latin languages, but also with the Aramaic. Just as with my understanding that the Lord has come, I do not need to see it for myself to believe it. There is enough indirect evidence to convince me that it is true. I just know for me personally that taking the Aramaic into account, along with the Greek I use, has given me insights into the mind of the writers I would not have otherwise had.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    And what about the evidence of the holographs that show passages of the Greek NT were designed letter-for-letter by God and integrated with the alphanumeric structure of the OT?
    I have really no understanding of that. Could you direct me to where I could read up on that more to try to understand it?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    And what about the fundamental principle that the central message of the NT was to all the nations? That's why God wrote it in Greek. The OT was in Hebrew and to the Hebrews. The NT was in Greek and for all nations (including the Hebrews, of course).
    Depending on one's understanding of the phrase "To the Jew first, and also to the Greek", I agree that it was to be for all the nations. Coming from the Hebrew people, it would make sense to me that they would have rendered it in the language they knew, then quickly translated into Greek for those who did not know Hebrew, or Aramaic, and afterward also into other languages, including ours today. I do indeed agree that God directed it to be rendered in Greek for the benefit of those who needed it in their own language. I just don't see that as a reason not to believe it to have been rendered originally in Aramaic.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    I hope I haven't asked too many questions. I don't want to overwhelm you. I very much look forward to examining other examples you have, but I also want to mix in these other high level hermeneutical questions about "what it all means" and "how it impacts our understanding of Scripture" etc.).
    Not at all. Questions are necessary to gain understanding. I will stay on track as far as providing what I believe to be direct evidence so that at the very least, you have more to consider together with what you already have, but will try to answer any questions you may have along the way.

    Ron
    Last edited by gregoryfl; 02-09-2010 at 06:48 AM.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    I agree that the Greek copies do indeed precede the Aramaic. There are 2 copies of papyri dated to the 2nd century (the earliest known) while the earliest known copies in Aramaic are dated to the 4th century. If we were to base the origin solely on which language were found first, and nothing else, then I would be compelled to agree with you. However, I do not believe that we should look solely at that, for the following reason:

    Imagine we are in 1940, 60 years ago. The oldest Hebrew copy of the OT we knew of back then was the Masoretic text, dated to the 10th century. However, the earliest copy of the OT in existence back then was the Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus of the 4th century, and these were in the Greek language. Using the same thinking, that the earliest language used for a manuscript is most likely the original language, and no other indirect evidence, I would have to conclude that the original language of the OT was Greek as well. At that time, the reason no one did was because there was quite a bit of indirect evidence, from the Bible itself, as well as other writings, testifying to the fact that Hebrew was indeed the originating language of the OT.

    We know of course, of the wonderful explosion of discovery starting in 1947, but think about the fact the for centuries upon centuries, with no direct manuscript evidence of either an original Hebrew writing, nor of any even remotely known to exist anytime near the 1st century or before, we had to rely on and trust the indirect evidence that told us that Hebrew was the original language of the OT.
    Hey there bro!

    You made some good points, but I think that the situation with the Greek NT is entirely different than that of the Hebrew OT. We had an overwhelming mountain of evidence for Hebrew originals before the discovery at Qumran. We had the prima facie evidence of the universal testimony of the Jewish tradition, going back to the Talmud and earlier. We had the 2nd century BC testimonies of the Wisdom of Sirach and the Letter of Aristeas that the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek. We had Origin's hexapla which had the Hebrew text aligned with various versions of the Greek, indicating that he had access to the Hebrew text in the 2nd century AD. And Jerome translated from the Hebrew in the 5th century AD. There is nothing like this kind of evidence for an Aramaic original NT. The only direct testimony we have concerns Matthew and Hebrews. I know of no early testimony that suggests Paul's other epistles were written in Aramaic, and there is reason to presume they were written in Greek because his audience was primarily Gentiles who knew no Aramaic.

    We should also discuss the citations from the LXX. Lee Martin McDonald says that 94 percent of the NT quotations from the OT are from the LXX. This would be very unlikely if the originals were Aramaic.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    That is why I believe it is a mistake to say that based on manuscript evidence alone, that Greek must be the original language for the entire NT. There is much plausible, indirect evidence pointing to a Semitic origin, and it is that evidence that I am trying to convey here for consideration.
    I think the case goes well beyond mere manuscript evidence. As pointed out above, there is very little "primary evidence" that would initially prompt us to think there was an Aramaic original. McDonald classes the Peshitta along with all the other early translations of the Greek NT. And according to him. the Peshitta had only 22 books. It is missing 2 Peter, 2,3 John, Jude, and Revelation. These are the books that were still being disputed in the 4th-5th century when the Peshitta was (according to scholars) translated from the Greek. This seems like more evidence that the Peshitta was not the original. If it were, why is it missing books, and where did the Greek NT get those books?

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    Possibly one of the reasons why there are so few copies is what is revealed in the Babylonian Talmud and Tosefta, where the Rabbis debated how to destroy the NT writings, because they contained the actual name of God, something forbidden to them. (t.Shab. 13:5; b.Shab. 116a; j.Shab. 15c) It is possible that most manuscripts were destroyed, explaining the reason for so few. Just something to consider.
    This seems unlikely because the Jews had no power to destroy Christian books after the first century.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    One final point. Concerning Matthew, of which we have several witnesses claiming he composed his gospel in Hebrew.
    Do we have several independent witnesses, or several witnesses who simply copied one original witness?

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    One final point. Concerning Matthew, of which we have several witnesses claiming he composed his gospel in Hebrew.
    Do we disregard this as true because we have no copy of it? Why would they lie about this, and about it quickly being translated quickly into other languages?
    There is no need to reject this claim. It could be a record of one of the steps God used in the process of bringing us the inspired Greek NT. The Bible was a "work in progress" for a long time. There was a time when it existed as an unordered collection of books. Then after many centuries, it was finally published in the 66-book complete form which exhibits the supernatural structure of the Bible Wheel. God works "behind the scenes" in ways that most folks don't even imagine. The Jews wanted a 22 book canon to fit their alphabet, and here we are millennia later, and we see that God fulfilled their desire in a way they never could have imagined.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    That at least gives me pause to consider that maybe other books, if not the entire NT, was written first in Aramaic (what they called Hebrew). There are a few witnesses claiming that Paul wrote Hebrews in the Hebrew tongue as well, so that is why I feel it should at least be taken into consideration, even if indirectly. We do that with many, many other things right? I believe that the Ten Commandments existed on tablets of stone, even though it has never been found. There is enough indirect evidence to convince me that it did indeed exist.
    I admit the evidence for Matthew and Hebrews. But I see nothing that would suggest the entire NT was written in Aramaic. We have no tradition that says that, and we have the vast majority of OT quotes coming from the LXX. And Paul had reason to write his letter to the Hebrews in Hebrew and his letters to the Greeks in Greek.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    To date, while we do not have thousands of copies, as we do in Greek and Latin, there are around 360 known copies in Aramaic to compare and analyze. I believe it has value to be considered ALONG WITH the Greek and Latin copies, because the more witnesses you have, especially those witnesses which might explain at least some of the textual variations, it all goes toward helping us arrive at a more accurate text.
    I agree completely. In a serious study of Scripture, more manuscripts means better study. For example, there are times when the LXX seems to preserve a tradition lost in the Masorettic text.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    Also, I would liken it to studying the OT only in Greek. You would miss so much of the Semitic flavor and understanding that only the source language can provide. I believe it is the same in the NT. Just as one example:

    This does affect doctrine at all, but when you read the NT in Aramaic, you will find many, many instances of poetry, and wordplays, that you simply cannot find by reading it in the Greek. Again, this is not of life and death importance, but you can get a greater sense of connections and contrasts and such. As with any translation, you always lose something in the translation. Again, I am not suggesting ditching the Greek altogether, but using it alongside the Aramaic. It certainly can't hurt, and we might find ourselves pleasantly surprised by embarking on such an endeavor.
    Yes, that is exactly correct. I very much agree. The most obvious example is the play on ebenim (stones) and benim (sons) in Matthew 3. It is obviously a play on Semitic words, regardless of the language that God used to transmit it to us.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    And I still have the nagging feeling that the truth of the Aramaic hypothesis would indicate that God has largely left us in the dark with regards to His Word. Why did he give us this mountain of Greek manuscripts as the representative of His inspired Word if in fact it was originally inspired in Aramaic? In what sense is the Greek inspired if it is only a translation, and a fallible one at that?
    That is something I simply cannot agree with at all, brother. For one thing, I do not believe we need originals, nor necessarily even copies very close to the time of writing, in order to understand the text. I think the scholars throughout the centuries have, for the most part, done admirably in transmitting the Hebrew text, for example, and giving much understanding, despite not having anything in Hebrew closer than the 10th century to consider during that time. I believe that the Septuagint, although a mere translation, has so much to offer in helping us understand what the original text is likely to have said. It is very invaluable. And remember that most of that mountain of evidence we have now is a product of less than 100 years ago, so are we to conclude that God left previous generations in the dark?
    They were not "left in the dark" for the very reason you stated - God had preserved the Hebrew text.

    I think you missed my point. I didn't say that we need the "originals." All we need are well preserved and transmitted copies of the divine revelation in its original language. We don't have that if the originals were Aramaic. All we have then are well-preserved Greek translations with relatively few poorly attested originals. And if that is the case, then yes, God most certainly has "left us in the dark" because I have little or no access to His Words in the language in which He inspired them. Mere translations are not sufficient for the kind of study to which I am accustomed.

    I've got more to say, but this post is already getting too long!

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #17
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    Rev 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

    Rev 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, he that hath power over fire; and he called with a great voice to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Send forth thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

    Byzantine texts have the phrase κραυγη, meaning cry, or shout.
    Alexandrian texts have the phrase φωνη, meaning voice.

    The message is the same, but the meanings are different. And κραυγη looks nothing like φωνη.

    The Aramaic word בקלא means voice and also cry. Once again, the indirect evidence seems to point to an Aramaic original that one translator translated the meaning as shout, while the other translated it as voice.

    Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    Rev 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

    Rev 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, he that hath power over fire; and he called with a great voice to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Send forth thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

    Byzantine texts have the phrase κραυγη, meaning cry, or shout.
    Alexandrian texts have the phrase φωνη, meaning voice.

    The message is the same, but the meanings are different. And κραυγη looks nothing like φωνη.

    The Aramaic word בקלא means voice and also cry. Once again, the indirect evidence seems to point to an Aramaic original that one translator translated the meaning as shout, while the other translated it as voice.

    Ron
    This is a very interesting interesting case. The phrase used is wq[a bqla rba which literally reads "and cried with voice great." This precise phrase appears three times in Revelation, with one occurrence being found just three verses earlier:

    Revelation 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice [kreizen en phone megale] to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

    I checked all my textual criticism resources and did not find any relevant variations in the Greek words used in this case. This means that the translator of the Byzantine text would have been inconsistent within the space of three verses! Why would a transator use phone in vs. 15 and krauge in vs. 18 for the same Aramaic word used in the same Aramaic phrase in the space of just three verses?

    We are confronted with two fundamental problems when trying to sort this out. According to Lee Martin McDonald, the original Peshitta did not contain Revelation. So what is the source of this Aramaic text that we are using? What is its date? And how many copies of the Aramaic version of Revelation do we have? How do we know there was not a strange textual variation in the Aramaic "original" that is the basis of this strange variation in the Greek?

    I also think that your basic assertion in this case is flawed. The Aramaic phrase in question uses two words: q[a (cry) and qla (voice) - I can not think of a logical reason that a translator would have translated both using the word "cry" - especially since the correct words were used for each just three verses earlier. It seems to me that there probably is another explanation for this variation.

    Great chatting!

    Richard

    PS: Are you finding these variations yourself, or are you getting them from some other source?
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
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  9. #19
    Join Date
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    Romans 5:7

    Romans 5:7 For one would hardly die for a righteous δικαιος (dikaios; righteous, upright, lawful, or just) man; though perhaps for the good αγαθος (agathos) man someone would dare even to die.
    One of the most popular examples of evidence for an Aramaic original is the Peshitta reading of this verse (here's a discussion from the Aramaic New Testament blog):
    Romans 5:7 Nor one would hardly die for a wicked רשעיא man; though perhaps for a good טבא (tâbâ’; good) man someone would dare even to die.
    The Peshitta makes much more sense to me, especially when read in context:
    6 For while we were yet weak, at the right time the Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a wicked man. Yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    The blog argues that the error crept in by a misreading of reshe-ya (wicked) as reshnaya (righteous). At first glance this is an appealing solution because the difference is based on a single misreading of a Nun for an Ayin. But there is a big problem with this suggestion. I have not been able to find any example of reshnaya (righteous) anywhere in the Peshitta, and every instance of dikiaos (righteous) corresponds to the Aramaic tzadiq. This means that the suggestion of misreading reshe-ya as reshnaya fails on two fundamental points: it is not used anywhere in the Peshitta, and dikaios always corresponds to tzadiq.

    There is another solution that seems much more likely to be true. The difference between righteous (dikiaos) and unrighteous (adikaios) rests upon a single letter in the Greek. We have a perfect solution to the problem if we assume that the letter alpha has been dropped from the Greek text.
    Romans 5:7 For one would hardly die for an unrighteous αδικαιος (adikaios; unrighteous) man; though perhaps for the good αγαθος (agathos) man someone would dare even to die.
    I like this solution for two reasons. 1) It is a simple and believable explanation. 2) There is an aliteralism between adikaios and agathos. But there is a fundamental problem with this solution too. As far as I know, there is not a single Greek text that has any textual variation of this verse! If every manuscript has "dikaios" then it is pretty hard to argue that it is an error under any scenario. It is particularly difficult to imagine that it is a misreading of the Aramaic original because that would mean that every translation into Greek made the same error! Highly unlikely indeed.

    It seems therefore that dikaios is the original reading. The odd ring of the statement that "one would hardly die for a righteous man" doe not necessarily mean the text is wrong. It could be that we just don't understand what it would have meant to the first century audience. On the other hand, I am drawn to the idea that Paul intended an alpha that he (or his scibe) simply failed to transcribe and that the correct original reading would have been adikaios. Perhaps the alpha in the original autograph got smudged so that all copies are flawed.

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    747
    Thanks for providing an example of your own from Romans. You may notice that I am not trying to defend against the points you are bringing out, as my only purpose is to provide examples for you to consider, nothing more.

    You asked a very good question about 2nd Peter, 2nd, 3rd John, Jude, and Revelation not being in the Eastern Peshitta. Even today those books are not there. That has indeed stumped me personally, and the only reason I can think of as to why they are not there is the same reason that some scribes fit Ruth with Judges and Lamentations with Jeremiah, in order to have a 22 book count, corresponding to the Hebrew Alephbet.

    Regarding Revelation, the Crawford manuscript is one I have in my possession. It is dated to around 1100 AD roughly.

    Oh, and by the way, when I made the statement that we do not need Aramaic originals, I was not attributing that statement to you. I was merely making that observation myself.

    You also asked if the witnesses concerning Matthew being written in Hebrew were independent witnesses, or merely repetitions of an original witness. Of that I cannot be certain, although Ephiphanius, of around 370 CE writes:

    They have the Gospel according to Matthew quite complete in Hebrew, for this Gospel is certainly still preserved among them as it was first written, in Hebrew letters. Panarion 29:9:4

    And Jerome, of around 382 CE similarly writes:

    Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Borea to copy it. Of Illustrious Men 3

    Now, one could say that this was a mere translation into Hebrew from Greek, and unfortunately due to the library being destroyed with the contents in it, whatever copy was preserved is lost, as far as we know, but since those very people claim to have preserved and transcribed from the original, and that the semitic source was seen even into the late 300's, can we not at least see that Matthew was originally a semitic document, and not Greek?

    I do understand the contention that the other writings do not have a similar witness, but I am merely suggesting that if Matthew, and possibly Hebrews, can make a case for a semitic original, even without any living copies of such, then it is at least possible that the other books have the same origin, as seen in comparing the Aramaic we DO have access to with the Greek.

    Ron

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