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Re: Anyone know of recent articles/books concerning the "Aramaic NT" hypothesis?

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  • JV
    In re textual arguments, Charles Cutler Torrey and Charles Fox Burney have both probably put out the strong textual arguments in several books in favor of the
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 16, 2012
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      In re textual arguments, Charles Cutler Torrey and Charles Fox Burney have both probably put out the strong textual arguments in several books in favor of the idea of an Aramaic origin to the Gospels. Neither men promoted the Peshitta as a superior text. Torrey wrote "Our Translated Gospels" (1936) and "Apocalypse of John" (1958). Burney wrote "The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel" (1922). And I think there is a lot of evidence in John they both missed. Both seemed to believe the Aramaic original of the Gospel(s) was no longer available.

      Torrey and Robert Scott have both written books alleging Revelation to have been originally written in Aramaic. Many of their arguments would work equally well towards the idea that it was originally written in Hebrew. Neither alleged that we have an extant Semitic version and neither seemed bother by that fact.

      There's others, but I am trying to jot down some that come to my mind first that have carried weight and are easy to find. I'm omitting several I'm sure, but it is good to start with the more ground breaking writings anyway in this area.

      The historical references testifying that Matthew and Hebrews were written in Hebrew are rather abundant. While many have tried to re-interpret the content of several writers who said it was written in Hebrew as MEANING Aramaic even though they said "Hebrew", this is flawed by several facts:
      (1) More than one Aramaic writer (Ephraim the Syrian (306-373 AD), Gregory Of Nazianzus (329-374 AD)) described it written in a foreign language.
      (2) Jerome made some detailed arguments that work in Hebrew and not in Aramaic.
      (2a) In commenting on Matt 2:23, Jerome cites the use of "nazwraioV" as evidence. His argument works in Hebrew, not in Aramaic.
      (2b) In his comments on Matt 6:11, he gives a Hebrew pronunciation for "MaCHaR" (transliterated into Latin) in a way that only works if we understand that he believed it to be Hebrew since it is not the word one would use in Aramaic.

      Not only did Ephraim and Gregory tell us that Matthew was written in Hebrew, but also said that Mark was originally written in Latin. Most of the earliest copies of the Peshitta also contain prefaces promoting the 4 language theory of the 4 Gospels saying that Matthew was translated from Hebrew, Mark from Latin and Luke from Greek, John containing no such notes suggesting it was originally Aramaic. But yes, many people do consider notes from actual manuscripts to be arguments from the "fringe" when it doesn't fit what they were handed down. In reality, opinions varied then and they vary now. But an open mind is the beginning of learning.


      --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "Danger" <sigebryht@...> wrote:
      >
      > Dear Colleagues,
      >
      > A friend recently asked informally if I could direct him to any articles or books on the question of whether the New Testament was written in Aramaic (or possibly Hebrew).
      >
      > I recall reading some refutations of this position quite a while ago in seminary, and thought that this was more of a "fringe" debate (if I may phrase it that way).
      >
      > However, this is the second time in recent months that I have been asked about this.
      >
      > I don't really have time to look for articles, but I thought someone on this list might already know of some resources.
      >
      > As I understand it, there are two questions:
      >
      > 1.) Is there evidence to support the notion of original New Testament documents in Aramaic (now no longer extant) from which the Greek NT was composed? (For instance, I'm aware that Papias believed Matthew's Gospel to have been composed possibly from "Aramaic sources," which led some to postulate that the Gospel of Matthew was itself first writen in Aramaic. Any articles on that?)
      >
      > and/or
      >
      > 2.) What relationship, if any, does the Peshitta have to those documents?
      >
      > If I understand correctly, the Nestorian Church apparently maintains that the Greek NT derives from a source in Aramaic that has given rise to the Peshitta. Perhaps a "Proto-Peshitta" is in view here?
      >
      > Any good articles critiquing this view? (Naturally, if there are some strong sources supporting Aramaic primacy, I welcome a balanced representation. The very suggestion that the Greek mss. are a translation has me at a loss, however.)
      >
      > Thank you in advance for any help.
      >
      > Sincerely,
      >
      > Chris
      >
      > PS - I mainly need articles in English. However, I would also appreciate any articles in Spanish, Russian or French. I expect that I will be asked that question at a later date by some people I know who only read those other languages.
      >
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