قام المعهد البريطاني للدراسات الشرقية والأفريقية التابع لجامعة لندن وبالتعاون مع
مركز المسيحية الشرقية والارثودوكسية والمعهد البريطاني للدراسات العراقية ، بتنظيم
الحلقة الدراسية الخامسة عن المسيحية في العراق. وذلك يوم السبت المصادف 5 نيسان
2008 في قاعة بروناي غاليري في المعهد البريطاني للدراسات الشرقية والأفريقية. وقد
هذه الحلقة أساتذة مهتمين بالمسيحية المشرقية من مختلف جامعات ودول العالم وألقيت
دراسات وبحوث قيمة في هذا المجال. حيث أفتتح الجلسة الصباحية الساعة العاشرة صباحاً
البروفيسور بول ويبلي مدير المعهد بكلمة رحب فيها بالحضور، ثم تحدث د. تيد
بروفيريز، و الدكتورة إليانور كوغيل . وبعد ذلك إستمع الحاضرون على مقطع عزف على
العود من المقام العراقي للعازف تقسيم شريف محي الدين. وتحدثت د. إيريكا هنتر عن
الكتاب المقدس باللغة السريانية . وبعدها تحدث د. جورج كيراز ( من جامعة بيسكاتوي )
الولايات المتحدة عن الكتاب المقدس باللغة السريانية وكيفية تنضيده وحفظه
إلكترونياً . وبعده تحدث د . باس تير هائير روميني ( جامعة ليدن / الهولندية) عن
تفاسير الكتاب المقدس السرياني (بشيطتا) . وتحدث د . إسطيفان بيرزيل ( من بودابيست)
عن مخطوطات الكتاب المقدس السرياني ( بشيطتا ) في الهند . و د . مارك ديكينز ( من
لندن ) تحدث عم النسخ المكتشفة من الكتاب المقدس السريني في آسيا الوسطى والتي تعود
إلى العصر المنغولي . وبعدها تليت تقارير ممثلي الكنائس والجمعيات العراقية
السريانية في بريطانيا. وختمت الجلسة الصباحية بمعزوفة من المقام العراقي عزفت من
قبل تقسيم محي الدين. وبعد تناول طعام الغداء، عاد المشتركون ثانية إلى الغاليري
للإستماع إلى بحوث ودراسات الجلسة المسائية التي استهلها الاركيذياقون د . خوشابا
كوركيس بدراسة عن نسخة الكتاب المقدس السرياني ( بشيطتا ) والتي هي النسخة المعتمد
لحد اليوم في الكنائس ذات التقليد السرياني في الشرق الأوسط والهند. وننشر أدناه
دراسة الأب خوشابا كوركيس. تلى ذلك إلقاء بحث الدكتور روبين بيت شموئيل عن تأثير
الكتاب المقدس السرياني في المدارس العراقية في القرن العشرين قرء من قبل د .
إيريكا هنتر لأنه لم يتمكن من الحضور لعدم استطاعته الحصول على تأشيرة الدخول إلى
بريطانيا. وبعده تحدث الأستاذ جوزيف سيفيرتا عن دور الآباء اليسوعيين في عملية
التعليم المسيحي في العراق. وبعده تحدث السيد نينوس وردة ( من المجلس الآشوري
الأوربي) عن أحوال الآشوريين في العراق منذ التحرير 2003 ولحد الآن. ثم تحدث د .
شفيق أبو زيد (جامعة أوكسفورد ) عن هجرة المسيحيين العراقيين . وبعدها تمت مراسيم
نهاية الحلقة الدراسية بمعزوفة من المقام العراقي من قبل السيد تقسيم محي الدين.
of the East, London / UK.
Peshitta Aramaic Bible
1. What Language
did Jesus speak?
Jesus Christ taught his Good News of the Kingdom of God almost two thousands
years ago. Jesus was born and raised a Jew and lived most of his life in the
land we now know as the Holy Land. The life of Jesus is the most important life
ever lived. His words are the most important words ever spoken. According to the
Bible, Jesus spoke a language that is now called Aramaic. This is a very special
and important language. Thousands of years ago Aramaic was the most commonly
spoken in the world. Now it is still spoken by the Assyrian Christians of Iraq
and Iran and in the certain other isolated Christian villages in the Middle
East. Aramaic is similar to Hebrew and Arabic but it is a distinct language.
Hebrew and Aramaic both evolved out earlier now extinct, language called
Proto-Semitic. They both evolved separately. Sometimes people get confused about
Aramaic and think it is Arabic or Armenian because the names of these languages
sound alike. In reality these languages are totally different. We shouldn’t
confuse languages because the names of these different languages sounds alike.
You may ask, “ If Aramaic is so important then why haven’t I heard of it
before?. Well, you have heard of Aramaic, or at least heard Aramaic words if you
go to church often or have read the Bible. Words such as “ Abba, Father”
Maranatha and Golgotha are Aramaic. Actually, Thomas, Magdalane, and Barabas are
Aramaic names. Also, if you have seen Mel Gibson’s movie “ The Passion of the
Christ” you have been exposed to Aramaic since most of the Film is in Aramaic
Some people mistakenly assume that Jesus spoke Hebrew, Greek of perhaps even
Latin but the Bible says Jesus spoke Aramaic. You might ask, “why this is
important? Why does it matter what language Jesus spoke?” Well, it is important
for many reasons. First, historians are on a quest for historical Jesus. If we
want to know and understand Christ the man we need to get basic facts about his
life. One of these basic facts is his mother tongue. Another reason that this is
important is that sometimes things get lost in translation. Sometimes certain
nuances get lost when sayings are transmitted from one language into another. By
going back to the Aramaic we can see the words as Jesus originally uttered them.
Also, the Bible presents Jesus speaking Aramaic. If Jesus spoke some other
language then that would mean that the Bible not a reliable testimony of the
life of Jesus Christ. However, archaeological discoveries have confirmed the
historical reliability of the New Testament. The Bible specially states that
Jesus spoke Aramaic in the Acts of the Apostles. Judas Iscariot committed
suicide for his betrayal of Jesus. The place where her died was called Aqel Dema,
which is Aramaic and not Hebrew, for “ Field of Blood”. Luke the author of the
Acts of Apostles, says in Acts 1:19 “ Every one in Jerusalem heard about this,
so they called that field in their common language Aqel Dema, that is Field of
Blood”. Here Luke says that Aramaic was the common spoken language of the people
of the Holy Land at the time of Christ. Luke actually lived in the Holy Land and
knew the Apostles personally. Luke is first hand testimony and a reliable
source. If you want to see Aramaic in the New Testament and look up these
passages. Turn with me your
Bible to the Gospel of Mark 15:34. Here we find Jesus Christ on the cross of the
Golgotha suffering for the sins of all world. “ And at the ninth hour Jesus
cried in a laud voice Eloi Eloi Lamana Sabachthani?” which means “ My God, My
God why have you forsaken me?”.
There is no doubt that these words spoken by Jesus from the cross are Aramaic.
The question is, for those who refuse to believe what the Bible clearly teaches
about Christ speaking Aramaic, why would Jesus speak some other language than
his mother tongue, when he is crying out to God in anguish and agony? Jesus
spoke these words shortly before he died. Many have been confused at the meaning
of these words. Some people wrongly believe that Jesus cried these words in
despair as he neared death and realised that his messianic hope was false. The
reason why Jesus said this is because he was fulfilling prophecy that the
Messiah had to die and rise again. When Jesus said “ My God, My God, why have
you forsaken me?. He was quoting Psalm 22 from the cross. This prophetic Psalm
was written 1000 years before the birth of our Lord. It perfectly describes
everything Christ endured on our behalf upon the cross. When comparing Psalm 22
with the story of Jesus crucification amazing parallels appear:-
Jesus is mocked for his trust in God
Psalm 22: 6-8 and Mark 15: 29-32
Jesus suffers thirst
Psalm 22: 15 and John 19: 28-29
Jesus hands and feet are pierced
Psalm 22:16 and Luke 23:33
Roman soldiers took Christ’s clothes, divided them up and
gambled for them
Psalm 22:18 and Mathew 27:35
We also have verses of Scripture with Jesus quoted speaking Aramaic in the New
Testament. Mark 7: 34 “ Ethpatha” which is “ Be opened”. And Mark 5:41 “ Talitha
Koumi” which is translated “ little girl, I say to you get up”.
Eusebius is known as “ The Father of Church History”. He wrote his “History of
the Church” around the year 325 AD. He studied many ancient writings that we no
longer possess, written by those who lived nearest to the apostles, such as
Papias, who personally knew some of the elderly apostles and Hegissipus, a
Christian Jew who wrote accounts of the Apostles, and specially James the just,
the Brother of Jesus. In his book Demonstration of the Gospel, Eusebius
describes the twelve Apostles as “ quite common men, and barbarians [non-Greeks]
with no knowledge of any tongue but Aramaic. Greek was never the language of
Palestine. Even though a number of Jews had tried to learn the language of
Greeks, hardly any one of them succeeded. Josephus wrote ( 42 AD) “ I have
also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of Greeks, and
understand the elements of the Greek language; although I have to accustomed
myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient
exactness. For our nation dose not encourage those that learn the language of
many nations”. Indeed the teaching of Greek was forbidden by Jewish Rabbis.
It was said that it was better for a man to give his child meat of swine than to
teach him the language of the Greeks.
The term Peshitta means straight, simple, sincere and true, that is, the
original. This name was given to the ancient authoritative text to distinguish
it from Bible revisions and translation which were introduced into of the
churches of the East, after the
division at Ephesus and Chalcedon in 431 and 451 AD respectively. This ancient
Peshitta is still the only authoritative Bible text of the Old and New Testament
for all the Churches of Syriac tradition in the Near East and India. This is
because this text was in use for 400 years before the Christian Church was
divided into several sects. The Peshitta Old Testament contains what is known as
the Books of the Apocrypha, which have been handed down in the Peshitta
manuscripts together with the Books of Prophets, and since these Apocryphal
books are included in the text they are looked upon as a sacred literature, even
though they are not commonly used as the others. Peshitta text should not be
confused with 5th century Bible revisions in Aramaic and new versions
which were made from Greek. None of these new revisions and versions made by
some bishops in 5th century has ever been accepted by the church of
the East. More over, these bishops who left their church and joined the Greek
church and produced these versions for theological reasons so that their
doctrine might agree with the doctrine of the Byzantine Church, which was the
powerful Imperial sect, were expelled by the Patriarch of the East and their
works were condemned.
Had the Peshitta been made by order of one of the rival Churches, the others
would have rejected it. But since all Christians, even Muslems, in the Middle
East accept and revere the Peshitta text, it proves beyond a doubt that it was
in use many centuries before the division of the church.
Mar Eshai Shimun ( Assassinated 1975), the Patriarch of the Ancient Church of
the East, in his letter dated April 5, 1957. Addressing the publishers of the
English translation of Peshitta is saying:” With the reference to your letter
concerning Lamsa’s translation of the Aramaic Bible, and the originality of the
Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and the 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”.
The originality of the Peshitta text is strongly supported by early evidence.
Aphraates quoted it. St. Ephraim wrote a commentary on it, and the doctrine of
Addai placed it at the apostolic times.
Manuscripts. A very large number of syriac biblical manuscripts survive. The
manuscripts vary in size, from the enormous pandects containing the whole OT or
whole NT (very rarely both together), to miniature manuscripts written in a tiny
script containing single book, or small group of books.
The four earliest manuscripts containing the complete Peshitta Bible (Old and
New Testaments) are:-
The codex Ambrosianus, in the Ambrosian Library,
Paris Bibliotheque Nationale, Syriac ms 341, this
is written in Estrangelo script belonging to the 8th century, and it
contains some illustrations.
University Library, this is written in Estrangelo script which can be dated to
the 12th century, it also contains some illustrations in the form of
small portraits of biblical persons. This manuscript has important connections
with India. For it was once in Kerala. Although it was written in north Iraq.
The manuscript was taken to India, perhaps some time in 18th century.
Printed Editions: The
first printed edition of the Syriac New Testament was published by Johann
Widmanstetter in 1555 at Vienna. In the work of preparing the edition
Widmanstetter had been assisted by Syrian Orthodox priest, Moses of Mardin, who
spend some time in Europe acting as teacher of Syriac to various scholars. The
text of this edition was often reprinted, some times in Hebrew characters.
For the Peshitta Old Testament the earliest printed editions were of the
Psalter, the first was prepared by Martin Trostius in 1662, to followed by two
other editions both of which were published in 1625 on in Leiden prepared by
Thomas Erpenius, and the other in Paris prepared by Gabriel Sionita.
Another edition of Peshitta using the East Syriac manuscripts was published by
the Domanican Fathers at Mosul 1887 – 1889 in three volumes, prepared by Clement
Joseph David, Syrian Catholic Bishop of Damascus and George Abdisho
Khayat Chaldean Bishop of Amid.
edition of the Peshitta (1952) is largely based on the Mosul edition.