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Re: Peshitta Bible : Matthew 27:46

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  • Dr Thomas Joseph
    George Lamsa s translation is regarded by Syriac Biblical scholars as lacking rigor and generally deficient. His translation of this verse supports this
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 7, 2011
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      George Lamsa's translation is regarded by Syriac Biblical scholars as lacking rigor and generally deficient. His translation of this verse supports this criticism well.

      First, the transliteration of the Aramaic that we find in the English Bibles for Matt. 27:46 and Mark 15:34, ""Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" " is not precise - a. Eli => [e][y][l][y] b. lama => [l][m][n] and c. sabachthani => [sh][b][q][t][n][y]. Here I transliterate the consonants only and deliberately avoid the vowels since the script of that time would not have had vocalization. Our Lord spoke the Palestinian dialect of Aramaic (Syriac, being the Edessan dialect.) Scholars attribute an East Syriac style vocalization (e.g., l-mana instead of l-mono) to the Palestinian Aramaic of Christ's time, although I'm not certain that there is conclusive evidence for that premise. The [y] ending indicating the first person singular possessive (e.g., [e][y][l][y] - _My_ God] or object pronoun suffix {e.g., [sh][b][q][t][n][y] - you forsook _me_) is not pronounced at least in later Syriac (e.g., "Mor" - 'My Lord' ends with a "y" which is not pronounced). I would have to defer to an Aramaic scholar on whether the [y] ending would have been pronounced (e.g., "Eeyly" vs. "Eeyl"- My God) in that period.

      While Lamsa's transliteration (as well as Kaniamparambil achen's) is accurate if you ignore the vocalization, the translation of [sh][b][q][t][n[y] - "My God, my God, for this I was kept" is questionable. A footnote in Lamsa's translation further explains this as, "This was my destiny."

      The root is [sh][b][q] which means to leave, to leave behind/abandon, to send away/to dismiss, to let loose, to forgive, to forsake, etc. (see the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon - http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/ [search for "$bq"] and J. Payne-Smith's Compendious Syriac Dictionary p. 557.)

      [sh][b][q]t] is the second person singular perfect tense - "You forsook." or "You abandoned me" or "You left me." The [n][y] ending indicates the first person singular object pronoun suffix (e.g., as in kathban(y) - "He wrote me".) [l][m][n] is the interrogative. So, the KJV, NIV, Murdoch, etc., have translated [sh][b][q][t][n[y] more accurately than Lamsa.

      And as you have rightly pointed out, the same verse appears in Psalms 22:1.

      My general advise is to use Lamsa with a great deal of caution.

      Regards,
      Thomas
      ---
      Thomas Joseph, Ph.D.
      Tech. Editor, Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies [ http://bethmardutho.cua.edu/Hugoye/ ]
      Web Master, Syriac Orthodox Resources [ http://sor.cua.edu/ ]
      ID: 0202

      --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Mathew G M wrote:
      >
      > I have couple of questions about the Peshitta Bible. I don't know Syriac, and hence have to go by translations available. The translations that I am relying on are:
      > 1) Lamsa translation
      > 2) Murdock translation
      > 3) Vishudha Grandham (Fr. Kaniamparambil)
      >
      > My question is with respect to Gospel of St. Matthew 27:46. This verse refers to the words that our Lord Jesus Christ, cried out from the cross.
      >
      > Murdock translation of Peshitta (refer to (XXVII : 46 in the link below) says:
      > http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/Murdock/murdock_matthew.htm
      >
    • Mathew G M
      Dear Dr.Thomas Joseph, Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. It s very helpful. To the doubt that you expressed regarding would the pronoucing
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 8, 2011
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        Dear Dr.Thomas Joseph,

        Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. It's very helpful.

        To the doubt that you expressed regarding would the pronoucing at that time be Eeyl or Eeyly, I have to guess it must have been the latter. This is because the people that were there, suspected that Jesus was calling on Elijah or Eli. If it was pronounced as Eeyl, they would not have confused it with the prophet Eli, right ?

        It would be great if future editions of Vishudha Gandham will include the Malayalam translation in Matthew 27:46. Hopefully Moolayil Achen or someone responsible for the publishing of Vishudha Grandham will take note.

        In Christ,
        Mathew G M

        --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Dr Thomas Joseph wrote:
        >
        > George Lamsa's translation is regarded by Syriac Biblical scholars as lacking rigor and generally deficient. His translation of this verse supports this criticism well.
        >
      • Georgey Thomas
        Dear Mr. Mathew, I do not know how far this will help you as I also did not study this very carefully. But found that the author has taken time to explain the
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 9, 2011
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          Dear Mr. Mathew,

          I do not know how far this will help you as I also did not study this very carefully. But found that the author has taken time to explain the meaning of each word. This made me think it might help you in your studies.

          That was a wonderful observation. Let us hope this will help you in your research.
          Georgey
          3084

          Eloi, Eloi Lama Sabachthani
          Mark 15:34 records some of the last words of Jesus as he was on the cross. They have been used to support the claim that Jesus spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew. "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, `Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which is translated, `My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'" These words closely parallel the words in Psalm 22:1 in both the original Hebrew and in the Aramaic Targumim, though His words, as recorded in Mark 15:34 match neither exactly. Many scholars have glossed over this utterance as Aramaic without even really taking the time to see if it indeed is.

          The table below lists Jesus' phrase according to Mark and Matthew and then gives the text from Psalm 22:1 in the Hebrew original, the Targum (Aramaic) and then the Christian Syriac version (Syriac and Aramaic are basically the same). Notice that none of the aforementioned texts is exactly the same. Matthew's version is exactly the same for the first three words: Eli Eli, lama but then differs with sabachthani. The Targum of Ps 22:1 has shabachtani like in Mark and Matthew but then differs on the following: Eli Elahi instead of Eli Eli, and metul ma instead of lama. While these are similar in meaning, it must be conceded that they are significantly different to merit investigation. The Syriac version is the closest but again, it is not an exact match since lama is written lamna. It must not be overlooked, however, that the Syriac version was written as a translation to the New Testament and thus cannot be used conclusively to prove one way or the other the exact words of Jesus. The rest of the table lists the different ways of saying God in Hebrew and Aramaic (Syriac).

          Table 3 Eloi, Eloi Lama Sabaktani

          To read more: -
          http://www.thefirstsixdays.com/LanguageofJesus/EloiLamaShabachtani.htm
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