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[tc-list] Lamsa Version

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  • Ron Minton
    The below is submitted for you interest. Subscribe if you wish. I have received several profitable entries from this monthly. It is not about TC and
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 4, 2000
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      The below is submitted for you interest. Subscribe if you wish. I
      have received several profitable entries from this monthly. It is not
      about TC and translations only.

      "AS I SEE IT" Volume 3, Number 1, January, 2000
      ["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and
      edited by Doug Kutilek.
      AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at:
      DKUTILEK@.... You can be removed from the mailing list
      at the same address. Back issues sent on request. They may
      also be downloaded at http://www.tegart.com/brian/bible/kjvonly.

      All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and may be
      reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are
      met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form;
      2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction
      must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any
      other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for
      reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.
      ----------

      "A Word about the Lamsa Version"
      From time to time, someone will ask me about the Lamsa
      Version of the Bible. Published by Holman decades ago, it
      is still in print.

      This translation is the work of one George Lamsa, a native
      of Syria. This version is based, not on any Greek text, but
      the Peshitta Syriac translation of the Bible, or maybe I
      should say, it is a revision of the KJV to bring it into
      conformity with the Peshitta.

      The Peshitta translation was made in the fourth century A.D.
      for Christians in the Middle East, especially in Mesopotamia.
      Syriac is one of the Semitic languages (along with Akkadian,
      Arabic, Hebrew, Phoenician, Aramaic, Ethiopic and others),
      and is a later development of Aramaic, one of the languages
      spoken by Jesus and the disciples in the first century (Syriac
      is related to Aramaic as our 20th century American English
      is a development of 17th century Shakespearean English).
      Central to the alleged value of the Lamsa version is the
      assertion that the Syriac text on which it is based virtually
      reproduces the exact original words of Jesus as He would
      have spoken them in Aramaic.

      While it is true that occasionally the rendering of the
      Peshitta helps us understand more clearly the force and
      meaning of passages in the NT, it is a "stretch" to affirm that
      the Peshitta is closer to the "real" words of Jesus that the
      inspired Greek text of the NT. It should be pointed out that
      Lamsa, in general harmony with the Syrian Orthodox
      Church, holds to the virtual inspiration and infallibility of the
      Peshitta translation, akin to the Greek Orthodox Church's
      "canonization" of the Septuagint Greek version of the Old
      Testament, the Roman Catholic Church's claims of
      infallibility for Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation, and the
      modern KJVO movement's claims of infallibility for that
      version.

      Lamsa himself was long-associated with Victor Paul
      Wierwille, the late founder of "The Way, International," an
      Ohio-centered cult which is Arian in doctrine (like the
      Jehovah's Witnesses, the Way denies the deity of Christ). I
      have seen reports that it was Lamsa who influenced
      Wierwille to adopt Arianism.

      As a translation of the Peshitta into English, the Lamsa
      version leaves a great deal to be desired. The rendering is
      often inaccurate, and inconsistent, and should not be trusted
      implicitly by the English reader as though it faithfully
      reproduces in English the Peshitta, though it is correct at I
      John 5:7, which is absent from the Peshitta and from
      Lamsa's version; at I Timothy 3:16 the Peshitta follows a
      Greek reading at odds with the textus receptus and so does
      Lamsa's translation. In contrast, Lamsa strangely inserts
      Acts 8:37 in his translation, though that verse is not found in
      the Peshitta. He blundered badly at John 1:18, giving "the
      first-born of God," where the Syriac has "the unique one,
      God." A bargeful of such examples could be given.

      The Peshitta and the Greek text it was based on are of
      interest in the area of New Testament textual criticism (the
      Peshitta is reported to be generally, but not always, in
      agreement with the Byzantine text, with some very notable
      departures). However, since most English readers will
      never learn Syriac, some other access, even if indirect, to
      the Peshitta must be found, namely through an English
      translation of the Peshitta. Unfortunately, Lamsa's version
      falls far short of the necessary level of reliability. In my
      experience, I have learned that it is never safe to rely on
      Lamsa's version for the reading of the text of the Peshitta
      without also checking the Syriac directly.

      Lamsa's version is not the only English translation of the
      Syriac New Testament. In the19th century, a John Murdoch
      made an English translation of the Peshitta New Testament,
      the 6th edition being published in Boston and London in
      1893 (see Bruce M. Metzger, THE EARLY VERSIONS OF
      THE NEW TESTAMENT. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977,
      p. 52, n. 1). I have not seen this version, but it cannot help
      but be more accurate than that of Lamsa.
      ---Doug Kutilek



      Ron Minton

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    • James Trimm
      ... Of course I strongly disagree with that statement as anyone who has read my book THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT knows. ... Of course I strongly
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 4, 2000
      • 0 Attachment
        >>The Peshitta translation was made in the fourth century A.D.

        Of course I strongly disagree with that statement as anyone who has read my
        book THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT knows.

        >>for Christians in the Middle East, especially in Mesopotamia.
        >>Syriac is one of the Semitic languages (along with Akkadian,
        >>Arabic, Hebrew, Phoenician, Aramaic, Ethiopic and others),
        >>and is a later development of Aramaic, one of the languages
        >>spoken by Jesus and the disciples in the first century (Syriac
        >>is related to Aramaic as our 20th century American English
        >>is a development of 17th century Shakespearean English).
        >>Central to the alleged value of the Lamsa version is the
        >>assertion that the Syriac text on which it is based virtually
        >>reproduces the exact original words of Jesus as He would
        >>have spoken them in Aramaic.
        >>
        >>While it is true that occasionally the rendering of the
        >>Peshitta helps us understand more clearly the force and
        >>meaning of passages in the NT, it is a "stretch" to affirm that
        >>the Peshitta is closer to the "real" words of Jesus that the
        >>inspired Greek text of the NT.

        Of course I strongly disagree with that statement as anyone who has read my
        book THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT knows.

        >> It should be pointed out that
        >>Lamsa, in general harmony with the Syrian Orthodox
        >>Church, holds to the virtual inspiration and infallibility of the
        >>Peshitta translation, akin to the Greek Orthodox Church's
        >>"canonization" of the Septuagint Greek version of the Old
        >>Testament, the Roman Catholic Church's claims of
        >>infallibility for Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation, and the
        >>modern KJVO movement's claims of infallibility for that
        >>version.
        >>
        >>Lamsa himself was long-associated with Victor Paul
        >>Wierwille, the late founder of "The Way, International," an
        >>Ohio-centered cult which is Arian in doctrine (like the
        >>Jehovah's Witnesses, the Way denies the deity of Christ). I
        >>have seen reports that it was Lamsa who influenced
        >>Wierwille to adopt Arianism.
        >>
        >>As a translation of the Peshitta into English, the Lamsa
        >>version leaves a great deal to be desired.

        But this is very true.

        >> The rendering is
        >>often inaccurate, and inconsistent, and should not be trusted
        >>implicitly by the English reader as though it faithfully
        >>reproduces in English the Peshitta, though it is correct at I
        >>John 5:7, which is absent from the Peshitta and from
        >>Lamsa's version; at I Timothy 3:16 the Peshitta follows a
        >>Greek reading at odds with the textus receptus and so does
        >>Lamsa's translation. In contrast, Lamsa strangely inserts
        >>Acts 8:37 in his translation, though that verse is not found in
        >>the Peshitta. He blundered badly at John 1:18, giving "the
        >>first-born of God," where the Syriac has "the unique one,
        >>God." A bargeful of such examples could be given.
        >>
        >>The Peshitta and the Greek text it was based on are of
        >>interest in the area of New Testament textual criticism (the
        >>Peshitta is reported to be generally, but not always, in
        >>agreement with the Byzantine text, with some very notable
        >>departures). However, since most English readers will
        >>never learn Syriac, some other access, even if indirect, to
        >>the Peshitta must be found, namely through an English
        >>translation of the Peshitta. Unfortunately, Lamsa's version
        >>falls far short of the necessary level of reliability. In my
        >>experience, I have learned that it is never safe to rely on
        >>Lamsa's version for the reading of the text of the Peshitta
        >>without also checking the Syriac directly.
        >>
        >>Lamsa's version is not the only English translation of the
        >>Syriac New Testament. In the19th century, a John Murdoch
        >>made an English translation of the Peshitta New Testament,
        >>the 6th edition being published in Boston and London in
        >>1893 (see Bruce M. Metzger, THE EARLY VERSIONS OF
        >>THE NEW TESTAMENT. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977,
        >>p. 52, n. 1). I have not seen this version, but it cannot help
        >>but be more accurate than that of Lamsa.
        >>---Doug Kutilek
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >>Ron Minton
        >>
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        >>leave-tc-list-445P@...-certr.org
        >>
        >
        >
        >
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