Dear Jinesh John,
I would like to reply� Vishudha Grandham by Very Rev.Kaniyamparambil Malpan posted by Mr. Jinesh John.In his posting he has asked one question. I have seen many replies for this post. But nobody has answered his question. On the contrary it had lead to some other needs and some people had taken that opportunity to attack our Bishops and leadership.
Anyway his request was
BUT MANY OF US DOESN'T KNOW WHAT IS PSHEETO BIBLE. CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN ABOUT THIS MATTER.
I would like to pen down what little I found about it.
The Peshittais the official Bible of the Church of the East. The name Peshitta in Aramaic means "Straight", in other words, the original and pure New Testament. The Peshitta is the only authentic and pure text which contains the books in the New Testament that were written in Aramaic, the Language of Messiah and His Disciples.
The words of His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the Church of the East, about the originality of the Peshitta, are as follows:
"With reference to....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
April 5, 1957
In reference to Aramaic, the Latin Patriarch Maximus at Vatican II, stated:
"Christ, after all spoke in the language of His contemporaries. He offered the first sacrifice of the Eucharist in Aramaic, a language understood by all the people who heard Him.� The Apostles and Disciples did the same and never in a language other than that of the gathered faithful."
Most scholars and theologians acknowledge that Messiah, the Apostles, and the Jews in general spoke Aramaic. But Western Christianity believes that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. Still today a vast majority of Christian denominations believes so. The Church of the East has always rejected this claim.� We believe that the Books of the New Testament were originally written in Aramaic, and later by first- century translated into Greek by Gentile Christians in the West. But it never happened in the East, where the Aramaic was the official language of the Persian Empire.� We also believe that after the books were translated into Greek, the Aramaic originals were discarded, because the Church in the West was almost completely Gentile and Greek-speaking.� This was not the case in the East, which had a Jewish majority (especially in Babylon and Adiabene) for a much longer period.� Even when the Church of the East became mostly Gentile, the Aramaic was preserved and used rather than translated into the various languages of the regions to the East of the Euphrates river.
Even to the West of the Euphrates river, in the Holy Land, the main language was Aramaic.� The weekly synagogue sections, called sidra or parashah, with the haphtarah, were accompanied by an oral Aramaic translation, according to fixed traditions.� A number of Targumim in Aramaic were thus eventually committed to writing, some of which are of unofficial character, and of considerable antiquity.
The Gemara of the Jerusalem Talmud was written in Aramaic, and received its definitive form in the 5th century.
The Babylonian Talmud with its commentaries on only 36 of the Mishnah's 63 tractates, is four times as long as the Jerusalem Talmud.
These Gemaroth with much other material were gathered together toward the end of the 5th century, and are in Aramaic.� Since 1947, approximately 500 documents were discovered in eleven caves of Wadi Qumran near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea.� In addition to the scrolls and fragments in Hebrew, there are portions and fragments of scrolls in Aramaic.� Hebrew and Aramaic, which are sister languages, have always remained the most distinctive features marking Jewish and Eastern Christian religious and cultural life, even to our present time.
The Aramaic in which the Bible called "Assakhta Peshitta" is written, known as the Peshitta Text, is in the dialect of northwest Mesopotamia as it evolved and was highly perfected in Orhai, once a city-kingdom, later called Edessa by the Greeks, and now called Urfa in Turkey.� Harran, the city of Abraham's brother Nahor, lies 38 kilometers southeast of Orhai.� The large colony of Orhai Jews, and the Jewish colonies in Assyria in the kingdom of Adiabene whose royal house had converted to Judaism, possessed most of the Bible in this dialect, the Peshitta Tenakh.� This version was taken over by all the Churches in the East, which used, and still use Aramaic, as far as India, and formerly in Turkestan and China.� The Peshitta Tenakh was completed during Apostolic times with the writings of the New Testament.
Peshitta New Testament Ms. Variously identified in 6th or 7th Century.
Peshitta Old Testament MS. - A.D. 464. Oldest dated Biblical Manuscript is available in British Museum, Add. Ms. 14,425.�
Peshitta MS.(Exodus. xiii. 14-16)--A. D. 464is present in British Museum, Add. MS. 14; 425.)
Four books or the Pentateuch, viz: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy according to the Peshitta version, in the Estrangela characters was written in the city of Amid, Assyria in A. D. 464: the oldest dated Biblical manuscript in existence and is present in the monastery of St. Mary Deiyara in the Nitrian Desert of Egypt.
You can go through the first few pages of vishudha grandham. Achan has explained about it.
In one of the replies Mr.Mathew G.M.has written -
I REALLY WISHED THERE WERE MORE STUDY NOTES AND QUOTES FROM THE EARLY CHURH FATHER'S : ST. ATHANASIOUS, ST. CYRIL, ST.JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ETC INCLUDED.
I too have both Orthodox Study Bible and Vishudha Grandham. As a matter of fact if we are looking for a complete study bible ,Orthodox study Bible also is not complete and perfect. There is not much geographical and archeological explanations in it. I have an Archeological Bible and Geographical Bible.Those points you can not find in Orthodox Study Bible. Geographical Bible gives us the old and new maps and we can understand the new names of places that are mentioned in the Bible. Archeological Bible gives us all archeological discoveries. You cannot get everything in one book. In Vishudha Grandham we can learn the mistakes in BSI Bible. Malpan Achan has written Puthiyaniyama Vyakanangal which gives explanation for all our doubts in new testament except revelation. I found it very useful for my studies. What our Malpan Achan has given us is a treasure for us. We can never forget his books regarding the church histories, our faith, our forefathers life histories,� prayers, songs etc, etc� It is a grand collection. Unfortunately we cannot get all his books now. I hope and pray that someone will publish the list of the books our Malpan Achan has written and make all of them available.
(A)BUT VISHUDHA GRANDHAM WAS MOSTLY A ONE MAN PROJECT, BY VERY REV KANIAMPARAMBIL ACHEN. THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH ANY SINGLE PERSON CAN DO. TO HAVE A COMPLETE STUDY BIBLE WITH ALL QUOTES FROM THE EARLY FATHERS INCLUDED IT HAS TO BE A TEAM EFFORT.
(B)BUT WHO IN THE CHURCH HAS THE TIME FOR THE HOLY BIBLE, WE ARE SO BUSY WITH COURT CASES, APPEALS ETC.
(A) We all have internet. Everyone of us can buy referral books. We can contact our Sreshta Bava and tell Him our need for a study Bible and request Him to form a group and be a part of it and work for it. Sreshta Bava will definitely encourage it But� all of us including me have no time. It is easy to point at someone without even thinking of moving our little finger for that cause.
(B) who has given more than 420 cases against our Sreshta Bava? How many cases our Sreshta Bava have given against them? If someone comes and claim the ownership of our house will we just tell him you can have it and walk out? When we say something just try to personalize it and think how we will act in that position.
I think translating VISHUDHA GRANDHAM in English must be thought of first. Because we have a generation of children growing up who cannot read and write Malayalam.Then to all the other languages. We can pray to give us a good study Bible based on Peshitta Bible. I am sure God will raise someone for that, because it is HIS Holy Church
I want to thank Mr.Michael poe for sharing these valuable information.
Dr. Leena Mathew.