THE ARAMAIC VERSION

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EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

As a brief overview of versions, we have the Syriac versions (an Aramaic dialect) from the second century onward, the Latin versions with the Old Latin from the latter part of the second century onward. Eusebius Hieronymus, otherwise known as Jerome gave us a revision of the Old Latin version in 383 C.E. By the third century, the first translation of the Greek NT was published in Coptic. The Gothic version was produced during the fourth century. The Armenian version of the Bible dates from the fifth century and was likely made from both the Greek and Syriac texts. The Georgian version was finished at the end of the sixth century, which exhibited Greek influence, but it had an Armenian and Syriac source. The Ethiopic version was produced about the fourth or fifth century. There are various old Arabic versions. Translations of parts of the Bible into Arabic were produced about the seventh century, but the earliest evidence is that of a version made in Spain in 724. The Slavonic version was produced in the ninth century by the two brothers, Cyril and Methodius. Keep in mind, most scholars would argue that the Syriac versions and the Latin versions are generally speaking the most important when it comes to textual studies.

Bible Translations into Aramaic covers both Jewish translations into Aramaic (Targum) and Christian translations into Aramaic, also called Syriac (Peshitta). Some prominent Aramaic manuscripts would be The Yonan Codex, The Khabouris Codex, The 1199 Houghton Codex, and The Mingana 148 Codex.

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Jewish Translations

Aramaic translations of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) played an important role in the liturgy and learning of rabbinic Judaism. Each such translation is called a Targum (plural: Targumim). During Talmudic times the targum was interpolated within the public reading of the Torah in the synagogue, verse by verse (a tradition that continues among Yemenite Jews to this day). Targum is also an important source for Jewish exegesis of the Bible and had a major influence on medieval interpreters (most notably Rashi). Maimonides (Hilchot Ishut 8:34) writes that the Talmudic definition of a “person who knows how to read and translate the Torah into Aramaic” refers to “the Aramaic translation of Onkelos.”[1]

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Christian Translations

See: Syriac Versions of the Bible

In the Syriac (Eastern Aramaic) language the Peshitta (Syriac: “common version”) is the standard version of the Christian Bible. It continues to serve as the Bible of churches in the Syriac tradition (Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic, and Syriac Orthodox) to this day. The history of Christian Translations of the Bible into Syriac language includes: the Diatessaron, the Old Syriac versions (Curetonian and Sinaitic), the Peshitto, the Philoxenian Version, the Harklean Version, and the recent United Bible Societies’ modern Aramaic New Testament.

About AD 500 a Christian Palestinian Aramaic version was made. It contains 2 Peter, 2-3 John, Jude, and Apocalypse. It is a representative of the Caesarean text-type and is a unique translation different from any other which was made into Syriac. These are among the manuscripts used by John Gwynn in 1893 to complete his edition of the Catholic Epistles. In 1892 Agnes Smith Lewis discovered the manuscript of the Palestinian Syriac lectionary in the library of Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai. It is designated by Syrpal.

The first revision of the New Testament from the Syriac into Turoyo language (Western Aramaic in Syriac and Latin script) was made by Malphono Yuhanun Üzel (Bar Shabo), Benjamin Bar Shabo, and Yahkup Bilgic in 2009 with notes from Harclean and Philoxenios. This commission “Sihto du Kthovo Qadisho Suryoyo” works especially to preach the Gospel in Aramaic all over the world.

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Khaboris Codex

Khaburis Codex (alternate spelling KhaborisKhabouris) is a 10th century Classical Syriac manuscript which contains the complete Peshitta New Testament.

Colophon

There have been claims that the earlier document’s colophon identifies it as being a ‘copy’ rendered from a manuscript dating 164 CE, internally documented as 100 years after the great persecution of the Christians by Nero, in 64 CE – however, the colophon is unreadable. To this day, there is no published transcription.

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS I AM John 8.58

Provenance

The Khaboris codex was obtained by Norman Malek-Yonan and attorney Dan MacDougald in 1966 for $25,000. It “was purchased from the library of an ancient Assyrian monastery atop one of the mountains of Assyria, near the River Habbor, or in Aramaic, Khabur, hence the name ‘Khaburis’.”[1] It seems both men went overseas looking for a more intact Aramaic version of the New Testament following Malek-Yonan’s experiences surrounding the Yonan Codex in the 1950s.[2] Malek-Yonan’s prior codex had been repaired with newer materials at some point in its history. He claimed the Yonan Codexb had been in his family since the 4th century. In his account of the controversial history surrounding the Yonan codexb, Christian Greek-primacist Bruce Metzger tells of dating it to the 7th century at its earliest.[3]

The stories of the Yonan Codexa and the Khaboris Codexb are linked by the involvement of Dan MacDougald. On page 115 of the Society of Biblical Literature’s reprint of The Saga of the Yonan Codex, Metzger tells of getting news of the Yonan Codex in the late 1970s. (Bruce Metzger – The Saga of the Yonan Codex) He writes,

“Curiously enough, several years [sic] later while I was attending sessions of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Dr. Paul L. Garber, professor of Bible at Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia, casually inquired of me whether I had ever heard of the Yonan Codexa. This led to a most astonishing disclosure. A medieval copy (Khabourisb) of the manuscript, Garber told me, was in the possession of the Emotional Maturity Instruction Center, Decatur, Georgia. The center had transliterated the Syriac text of the Beatitudes in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–12) and was making a copy of this available for four dollars with the assurance that, by concentrating each day on these sentences in Aramaic, one’s personality would become adjusted and more mature. In fact, according to Garber the center had even persuaded magistrates in Atlanta to buy copies of the transliteration for use in attempting to quell obstreperous prisoners!”[4]

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

Western Queens Gazette article from August 8, 2004, states that Dan MacDougald was the one who started the Emotional Maturity Instruction course referred to by Metzger. According to Timms, Norman Malek-Yonan died in the 1970s. Apparently, MacDougald had purchased the Khaboris codex from Yonan and started a few organizations dealing with psychology in the 1970s. After the 1999 dating by the University of Arizona, the Khaboris Codexb transitioned into the hands of Dr. Michael Ryce at the Heartland Institute. Ryce co-authored an updated version of the Emotional Maturity Instruction course with MacDougald called Laws of Living. This course continues to be taught, annually, by Ryce at Heartland, his teaching center in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri.

The Heartland’s website states on a page about the Khaboris Codexb, “Before Dan MacDougald passed away, he left the Khabourisb in the stewardship of the Western-Rite Syrian Orthodox Church, in order that the validation, documentation, conservation, translation, publication, and exhibition could be completed. Work continues on these processes, as well as the development of several related books.”[5] The manuscripts appear to have remained physically at the Heartland Institute. A page titled “The Khabouris Manuscript Ceremony at Heartland” has several small images of a woman posing with the “b” codex. At some point during this time, someone there seems to have taken low-resolution digital photos of all 500 plus pages of the codex.[6]

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS BIBLE DIFFICULTIES

At some point around 2004, the codex was sent to New York have high-resolution photos taken by Eric Rivera, director of the Khabouris Institute, working at the Better Light Company, a digital imaging company. Their website has a description of Rivera’s work and a few high-quality image samples. During this time the Khabouris Manuscriptb was on display for public view as an exhibit in the Queensborough Community College Art Gallery in Bayside, New York.[7] This likely generated the Western Queens Gazette article referenced above. Rivera mentions working on the manuscript in 2005, after which it appears to have been stolen. The Heartland website states, “The Khabouris Manuscript(b) was removed from QCC (without our prior knowledge) and was taken to London for auction by Sotheby’s back in June 2007. The sale was not completed at that time; however, we have lost track of where the actual Manuscript is now located.”[8] It appears to have been purchased by Arizona collector James Melikian.

On December 11, 2007, the Phoenix Art Museum hosted a display of old manuscripts, including the Khaboris Codexb. The article announcing the display described it as being part of the James Melikian collection.[9] Melikian, a resident of Phoenix, is Armenian and has cultural interests in collecting ancient Oriental Christian artifacts. He talks about this in the January 12, 2008 edition of the Armenian Reporter. In the article, which covered the Phoenix Art show, the author describes Melikian showing the Khaboris Codexb to visitors in a private viewing.[10] Presumably, the Khaboris Codexb is still in the Melikian private gallery. Melikian states in his inventory listing that his copy is a different manuscript than the one owned by the Library of Congress.[11]

The Epistle to the Hebrews Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

Page 360 of the Khaburis Codex is the end of the I Epistle of John and the beginning of the Letter to the Romans. The rubric connects the two books. KEEP SCROLLING FOR THE TRANSLATION.

Kaburis-p360-syriac

JWE360rev003 - Translation Khaboris Codex

The Yohan Codex - Aramaic Version
The Yohan Codex opened to Matthew 5:1ff. (the Beatitudes begin at the middle of the last line on the right-hand page and continue at the top of the left-hand page; see p. 115)

John 8:12-18

The Aramaic Text used to translate here is from Eastern Aramaic Manuscripts, such as The Khabouris Manuscript

ܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܝܢ ܕܩܒܠܘܗܝ ܝܗܒ ܠܗܘܢ ܫܘܠܛܢܐ ܕܒܢܝܐ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܢܗܘܘܢ ܠܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܡܗܝܡܢܝܢ ܒܫܡܗ
12 But, those who have received Him, He has given Shultana {Power} unto them, so that they may become The Sons of Alaha {God}; unto those who are believing in His Name.
ܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܠܘ ܡܢ ܕܡܐ ܘܠܐ ܡܢ ܨܒܝܢܐ ܕܒܣܪܐ ܘܠܐ ܡܢ ܨܒܝܢܐ ܕܓܒܪܐ ܐܠܐ ܡܢ ܐܠܗܐ ܐܬܝܠܕܘ
13 Those who, neither from blood, nor from the desire of the flesh, and neither from the will of a gabra {a man}, but rather, were begotten from Alaha {God}.
ܘܡܠܬܐ ܒܣܪܐ ܗܘܐ ܘܐܓܢ ܒܢ ܘܚܙܝܢ ܫܘܒܚܗ ܫܘܒܚܐ ܐܝܟ ܕܝܚܝܕܝܐ ܕܡܢ ܐܒܐ ܕܡܠܐ ܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܘܩܘܫܬܐ
14 And The Miltha {The Word} became flesh {i.e. a Human Being}, and pitched His tent {lit. tabernacled/sheltered} among us, and we saw His Glory, Glory as of The Only Begotten {lit. The One} who is from Aba {The Father}, who is full of Taybutha {Grace} and Qushtha {Truth}.
ܝܘܚܢܢ ܣܗܕ ܥܠܘܗܝ ܘܩܥܐ ܘܐܡܪ ܗܢܘ ܗܘ ܕܐܡܪܬ ܕܒܬܪܝ ܐܬܐ ܘܗܘܐ ܠܗ ܩܕܡܝ ܡܛܠ ܕܩܕܡܝ ܗܘ ܡܢܝ
15 Yukhanan {John} testified concerning Him, and cried out and said, “This is that One whom I said would come after me, for, He was before me, because He is older than me.”
ܘܡܢ ܡܠܝܘܬܗ ܚܢܢ ܟܠܢ ܢܣܒܢ ܘܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܚܠܦ ܛܝܒܘܬܐ
16 And from His fullness we have all received, and Taybutha {Grace} for Taybutha {Grace}.
ܡܛܠ ܕܢܡܘܣܐ ܒܝܕ ܡܘܫܐ ܐܬܝܗܒ ܫܪܪܐ ܕܝܢ ܘܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܒܝܕ ܝܫܘܥ ܡܫܝܚܐ ܗܘܐ
17 Because, The Namusa {The Law} was given through Mushe {Moses}, but, Shrara {Truth} and Taybutha {Grace} came to be through Eshu Meshikha {Yeshua, The Anointed One}.
ܐܠܗܐ ܠܐ ܚܙܐ ܐܢܫ ܡܢ ܡܬܘܡ ܝܚܝܕܝܐ ܐܠܗܐ ܗܘ ܕܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܒܥܘܒܐ ܕܐܒܘܗܝ ܗܘ ܐܫܬܥܝ
18 No nash {man} has ever seen Alaha {God}. The only one Begotten {lit. The unique one} of Alaha {God}, He who is in the bosom of His Father; He has Declared Him.
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES APOLOGETICS CONVERSATION EVANGELISM

List of Syriac New Testament Manuscripts

Manuscripts housed at the British Library, Additional Manuscripts

A small cross (†) shows the content of the nearest chapter, while other times the verses are sometimes listed. For example A manuscript that might read 1 Corinthians 1-7 † because it has many verses throughout chapters 1-7: 1:17-22, 25-27; 2:6-8, 9-12, 14; 3:1-3, 5-6, 8-10, 20, 4:3-5; 5:7-8; 6:5-9, 11-18; 7:3-6, 10-14.

# Date Contents
BL Add. 7157 767/768 Pauline epistles †
BL Add. 7163 8th/9th Gospels †
BL Add. 12137 6th/7th Gospels †
BL Add. 12138
BL Add. 12140 6th Gospels †
BL Add. 12141 8th Gospels †
BL Add. 12177 1189 Gospels
BL Add. 14425 463/464 Gospels †
BL Add. 14445 532 Gospels †
BL Add. 14448 13th New Testament
BL Add. 14449 6th/7th Gospels †
BL Add. 14450 7th Gospels †
BL Add. 14451 10th Gospels †
BL Add. 14452 8th Gospels †
BL Add. 14453 6th Gospels †
BL Add. 14454 6th/7th Gospels †
BL Add. 14455 6th Gospels †
BL Add. 14456 8th Gospels †
BL Add. 14457 6th/7th Gospels †
BL Add. 14458 6th/7th Gospels †
BL Add. 14459 (folios 1-66) 6th Gospels †
BL Add. 14459 (fol. 67-169) 6th Gospel of Luke-Gospel of John †
BL Add. 14460 600 Gospels
BL Add. 14461 6th Gospel of Matthew-Gospel of Mark †
BL Add. 14461 (fol. 108-212) 6th Gospel of Luke-Gospel of John †
BL Add. 14462 6th Gospel of Matthew-Gospel of Mark
BL Add. 14463 823 Gospels †
BL Add. 14464 Gospels †
BL Add. 14465 12th Gospels †
BL Add. 14466 (fol. 11-17) 10th/11th Gospel of Mark Gospel of Luke †
BL Add. 14467 10th Gospel of Matthew-Gospel of John †
BL Add. 14469 936 Gospels
BL Add. 14470 5th/6th New Testament
BL Add. 14471 615 Gospels
BL Add. 14472 6th/7th Acts, James, 1 Peter, 1 John
BL Add. 14473 (fol. 1-139) 6th Acts, James, 1 Peter, 1 John
BL Add. 14473 (fol. 140-148) 11th 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude
BL Add. 14474 11th/12th New Testament (Except Gospels and Revelation)
BL Add. 14475 6th Pauline epistles
BL Add. 14476 5th/6th Pauline epistles
BL Add. 14477 6th/7th Pauline epistles
BL Add. 14478 621h/622 Pauline epistles
BL Add. 14479 534 Pauline epistles
BL Add. 14480 5th/6th Pauline epistles †
BL Add. 14481 6th/7th Pauline epistles †
BL Add. 14666 (fol. 1-10) 12th Gospel of Matthew 1:1-6:20
BL Add. 14666 (fol. 47) 12th Gospel of Matthew 1:1-11
BL Add. 14666 (fol. 48) 10th Gospel of Matthew 1:1-16
BL Add. 14669 (fol. 26) 12th Gospel of Matthew 1:1-13
BL Add. 14669 (fol. 27-28) 7th Gospel of Matthew 1:12-2:6; 4:4-24
BL Add. 14669 (fol. 29-33) 6th/7th Gospel of Matthew †
BL Add. 14669 (fol. 34-36) 6th Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke †
BL Add. 14669 (fol. 38-56) 9th Gospels †
BL MS Add. 14680 12th/13th Acts, Cath., Pauline epistles †
BL Add. 14681 12th/13th Acts, Cath., Pauline epistles
BL MS Add. 14706 13th Lectionary (Evangelistarion, Apostolarion, Old Testament)
BL Add. 14738 (fol. 6-7) 13th Acts 12:20-13:5
BL Add. 17113 6th/7th Gospels
BL Add. 17114 6th/7th Gospels †
BL Add. 17115 9th/10th New Testament †
BL Add. 17116 9th/10th Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark †
BL Add. 17117 5th/6th Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark †
BL Add. 17118 8th Gospels †
BL Add. 17120 6th Acts, Cath., Pauline epistles †
BL Add. 17121 6th Acts, Cath., Pauline epistles †
BL Add. 17122 6th Pauline epistles
BL Add. 17124 1234 New Testament
BL Add. 17157 767/768 Pauline epistles
BL Add. 17224 13th Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark †
BL Add. 17224 (fol. 37-42) 13th Gospel of Matthew 10:16-12:11; 12:44-14:3
BL Add. 17224 (fol. 43-57) 1173 Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of John †
BL Add. 17226 13th/14th Catholic epistles †
BL Add. 17228 (fol. 38-64) 13th James, 1 Peter, 1 John
BL Add. 17922 1222 Gospels
BL Add. 17983 1438 Gospels †
BL MS Add. 14717 13th Lectionary (Evangelistarion, Apostolarion, Old Testament)
BL Add. 18812 6th/7th Acts, James, 1 Peter, 1 John

Manuscripts housed in the Bodleian Library

  • Dawkins 27,
  • Huntington MS 133 — Bodleian Library
  • Huntington MS 587, Bodleian Library
  • Marsh 699, Bodleian Library

Manuscripts housed in the Vatican Library

  • Codex Vaticanus Syriac 12
  • Codex Vaticanus Syriac 19
  • Codex Vaticanus Syriac 267
  • Codex Vaticanus Syriac 268
Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

Manuscripts housed in other collections

  • Egerton 704 — Old Testament, 17th century
  • Codex Phillipps 1388 — the four Gospels, 5th/6th century
  • Khaburis Codex — 22 books of the New Testament, 12th century
  • Rabbula Gospels — the four Gospels, 586
  • Morgan MS 783
  • Morgan MS 784
  • Paris syr. MS 296, Io
  • Schøyen Ms. 2080 — 1 Corinthians-2 Corinthians
  • Schøyen Ms. 2530
  • Ms. Sinai syr. 3
  • StL München syr. 8

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[1] Yonatan Kolatch Masters of the Word: Traditional Jewish Bible Commentary from the … 2006 – Volume 1 – Page 163 “See Rambam, Hilchot Ishut 8:34, where he writes that the Talmudic definition of a “person who knows how to read and translate the Torah into Aramaic” refers to “the Aramaic translation of Onkelos the proselyte.” E.Z. Melamed lists the many …

[2] “Why Is This Happening To Me… AGAIN?! – History.”. Whyagain.org. Retrieved Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

[3] Bruce Metzger – The Saga of the Yonan Codex (PDF).

[4] Bruce Metzger – The Saga of the Yonan Codex (PDF).

[5] “Why Is This Happening To Me… AGAIN?! – History.”. Whyagain.org. Retrieved Tuesday January 28, 2020.

[6] Susan G. “Why Is This Happening To Me… AGAIN?! – Khabouris Pictures”. Whyagain.org. Retrieved Tuesday January 28, 2020.

[7]  The Khabouris Codex Reproduction Project.” http://www.betterlight.com Retrieved Tuesday January 28, 2020. What makes this opportunity particularly compelling is the fact that this manuscript, based on preliminary information gleaned from its colophon page, is a handwritten duplicate of an original canon written as early as 165 AD. If continuing research corroborates this, the Khabouris codex would predate (by more than a century) the oldest known Greek canons of the New Testament and could provide a more original source of the commonly accepted Aramaic New Testament canon. If its source proves to originate from the third or fourth century, it would still place the codex among the most original New Testament copies in existence today.

[8] Susan G. “Why Is This Happening To Me… AGAIN?! – An Introduction to the Khabouris”. Whyagain.org. Retrieved Tuesday January 28, 2020.

[9] Jim Davila. “PaleoJudaica.com”. Paleojudaica.blogspot.com. Retrieved Tuesday January 28, 2020.

[10] The Melikian Family Helps to Preserve and Show Armenian Manuscripts (PDF) Retrieved 4 October 2014.

[11] “Selections from the James Melikian Collection”: One of the foremost private collections of ancient illuminated texts, the James Melikian Collection features several rare objects of note. “The Khabouris Codex” is one of only two Assyrian New Testament manuscripts predating the 11th/12th centuries, written in Aramaic, and still in existence in the Western Hemisphere (the other is housed in the Library of Congress).”

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