Debtor (Ron) on the Peshitta
shella at cswnet.com
Thu Nov 4 15:15:46 EST 1999
Dear brothers, sisters, and friends please study these notes and let me know which ones you feel
may be incorrect. I greatly appreciate your help very much, Debtor (Ron Pound).
Here are what I understand to be the oldest translations from the Ancient Hebrew Text, not the
MT which came after the New Religion:
1. The LXX finished by at least BC 132.
2. The Peshitta, finished near the close of the First Century;
3. The Italic (not Origin nor Jerome, but sometimes called the Waldensian Bible) finished about
the same time as the Peshitta.
Gleanings from the Jewish Encyclopedia
The Jewish Encyclopedia, Ktav, ed.,
Article: Bible Translations, The Peshitta, pps. 188-
Subject, The None-Greek Translations; The Peshitta, note that there were two Peshittas, the
first made near the close of the first century A. D. was clearly anti-Trinitarian, being the
product of Judo-Christians (later called Ebonites) while the next Translation was made by
Trinitarians. The anti-Trinitarians produced Peshitta No. 1 while Trinitarian Christians
produced Peshitta No. 2. In this case the older translation was very faulty, coming from faulty
New Testament manuscripts. Most, if not all of the so-called questionable portions of the N. T.
Canon were missing from Peshitta No. 1, and they make up the common anti Trinitarian or
1. The Peshitta, or Syric translation of the Old Testament came directly from the Hebrew; p.
188. NOTE: The Hebrew does not mean the original Hebrew Text, but copies made from the Mesoratic
Text of that Hebrew which Text was assisted by the LXX, see Conybeare's and Strock's Grammar of
Septuagint Greek, page iii. This basis for this translation was the Mesoratic Hebrew text
developed after the Maccebean era.
2. At Antioch, during the third century A. D. and at still later periods, it was revived so as
to make it conform to the LXX, p. 188.
3. Its history is obscure:
a. It was probably made in Mesopotamia during the first century;
b. As to who first translated it, there is much uncertainty;
c. Perles, Progert, Gottingen and Bacher believe it is a Jewish work, p. 188;
d. Dathe, Eichhorn, Hitzig, Noldcke, and Renan, claim that it owes its origin to
4) The Judo-Christian view seems more probable p. 188;
5) Peries shows the unmistakable evidences of the Targum's influence upon the Peshitta,
especially in Genesis; p. 188.
6) Cornill shows this in Ezekiel; (Das Buch's Ezekiel, p. 154), p. 188;
7) S. Frankel shows this in Ezekiel, (Jahrb. Fur Protestantische Theologie 1879);
8) Stenig-Job (De Syriaca Libri Jobi, Interp. Hesingfors, 1887)
9) Mandl (Peschitto Zu Hiob Leipsic, 1892)
10) Hauman in Stade's Zeitschrift xix, p. 29;
11) The closest agreement is found in the Book of Proverbs;
12) In Proverbs the Targum reflects the Peshitta and not vice versa, p. 188. (Pinkus in Stade's
Zeitschrist, Duval, Litterature Syriaque, p. 1899. pps. 31.)
Studies about the Peshitta are important because it is a very old Translation. It's New
Testament is one of the oldest Translations. It was one of the main Translations used by
anti-Trinitarians to discredit I John 5:7, and it is relied upon strongly by the Oxford Movement
which produced the Westcott-Hort Text. The Unitarian views of Peshitta No. 1, and the
corrections made in it from Peshitta No. 2 are discussed by Dr. Gill in his Body of Divinity
when he defends the doctrine of the Trinity. In is interesting to note that the Peshitta No.
1's New Testament came forth with a very faulty Text. The large omitted parts of the New
Testament were replaced from No. 2. These omissions in the first translation clearly shows
Peshitta No. 1 to be the work of Judo-Christians, later called Ebionites. In points note:
1) The Psehitta is a very old Translation, with a faulty New Testament; showing that the older
texts are not reliable simply because they are old texts;
2) The first Peshitta was later corrected from the second Peshitta as John Gill points out in
his Body of Divinity;
3) The Jews give us the documentation about the second Peshitta and help us realize that the
first Peshitta was the work of Judo-Christians, later called Ebionites.
End of These Notes
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