Pronouns, Nouns, Other Words and the Aramaic?

Written By Thomas Perez. August 20, 2020 at 1:47PM. Copyright 2020.

This is an article pertaining to where and why I have gotten to this point. And what is that point, you may ask? It is the point concerning the work I am currently undertaking. The work that I am speaking about is in reference to a new study Bible entitled ‘The All Restored Study Bible.’

This particular new study Bible will be something that no one has ever seen before. It will feature various interpretations concerning verses of Scripture when applicable. It will not only cover the Christian interpretation and their various sub-categories of exegesis, but it will also cover interpretations as seen and read in Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Islam and others when necessary.

Each interpretation will be highlighted by a specific color sheme to reflect the religions viewpoint for a particular passage of Scripture. For example, Christianity will be in dark red, Hinduism will be in purple, Judaism will be in blue, Islam in green; and so forth. Moreover, this study Bible will be printed with a new version. A version never before seen; but it will remain faithful to the overall text, context and continuity of thought.

It is my belief that a new version is imperative if we are to truly be united in Christ as one united Humanity. With that in mind, all exclusive pronouns, nouns and some other words have been deleted and replaced with inclusive word renderings. Words like He, She, Him, Her, But, A, An, And, They, To, From; & so forth, have been omitted. That being the case, the reader will also find additional word replacements. This is done in order to maintain the overall context of a given passage of Scripture.

Many might object to this, claiming that the ommission is a violation of Scriptural authority. But I say it is not. And what makes me so bold as to proclaim such? Well, it started sometime ago when I was working on my John Chapter 3 verse 36. As I was conducting a cross reference research of the verse, I came across, as I am sure we all did at one point, the words; “But the wrath of God abideth on Him.” I started to concentrate on the word “Wrath” and realized that the word really isn’t what most people think it means in the original Greek New Testament. But as I came to that realization, I had to deal with the word “But.”

Realizing that the word “But” is a conjunction used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned, and knowing that it is a common transitional word and that sometimes it begins a sentence, I had to look into the word itself since it was written in as a transitional phrase with reference to the word “Wrath.” I consulted my Hebrew and Greek Strongs Concordance of the Bible to find out where and when the word “But” was used. But to my amazement the concordance cited that the word did not appear in the original Greek text – it was merely provided for clarification purposes by the translators.

As I kept following this train of thought, I came across other words (pronouns, nouns, etc) that are also cited as not being in the original text. On my own, I discovered 35 words not in the original text. However, as of the making this article, I just found out that I could saved myself some time: They were all listed in the Concordance already on page 1262 in the appendix. I was short by 12. For there are 47 words not found in the original Hebrew or Greek texts.

Now, I do realize that some might ask; “And what is your citation or proof for such an outlandish statement?” The answer is clearly provided in the Strongs Concordance itself. But before we look into the Strongs Concordance for proof of this, I would like to give a brief background as to who Mr. Strong was.

The following is from Wikipedia. Long story short…

“James Strong was born in New York City and graduated, in 1844, as valedictorian from Wesleyan University. Subsequently, he was mayor of his hometown on Long island. Later, having settled in Flushing, NY, he pursued biblical studies, held various local offices, and organized, built, and was the president of the Flushing railroad. In 1856 Wesleyan University granted him the degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). From 1858 until 1861, Strong was both Acting President and Professor of Biblical Literature at Troy University. In 1868 he became Professor of Exegetical Theology at Drew Theological Seminary, where he remained for twenty-seven years. In 1881 the Wesleyan University honored Strong with the degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.). He died at Round Lake, NY in 1894.”

“Legum Doctor (Latin: “teacher of the laws”) (LL.D.; Doctor of Laws in English) is a doctorate – level academics degree in law, or an honorary doctorate, depending on the jurisdiction. The double “L” in the abbreviation refers to the early practice in the University of Cambridge to teach both canon law and civil laws (Doctor of both laws), with the double “L” itself indicating the plural. This contrasts with the practice of the University of Oxford, where the degree that survived from the Middle Ages is the DCL or Doctor of Civil Law (only).”

Canon law (from Ancient Greek: κανών, kanon, a ‘straight measuring rod, ruler’) is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members.”

Doctor of Sacred Theology (Latin: Sacrae Theologiae Doctor [STD]; formerly Professor of Sacred Theology, Sacrae Theologiae Professor [STP] is the final theological degree in the pontifical university system.

The following is a picture of Dr. Strong…

(Wiki).

Now Unto the Findings

Here is a picture of my personal copy of the Strongs Concordance of the Bible. You will note Strongs credentials – LLD and STD. The edition that I use is the 1990 © edition with the Appendix to the main concordance © 1984. They are in the same book. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Now, as mentioned prior, let us take a look at the word “But.” Here is the verse (in the KJV) as itappears in the particular verse I was studying.  This is just one of many instances where the word “But” appears. Notice the rendering BUT the wrath of God abideth on him.” Hence indicating a transitional rendering from the word “Wrath.”

However, as I mentioned prior, when I looked up the word “But” I could not find it. Instead what I found was an explanation next to the word saying, “See Preface.” As you can see, there are no Hebrew or Greek corresponding numbers on the right like you have with the other words found…

Here is the explanation given in the Preface, under the category “Instructions to the Reader.” Read number 2 carefully. It actually says “If no number appears, the word may have been supplied by the translators to clarify the meaning, even though NO specific Hebrew or Greek word was used to express it.”

As I continued in my work, I discovered that other words were missing too; giving the reader the same explanation: “See Preface.” Observe the following picture. The word “Us” is also no where to be found. There are No Hebrew or Greek corresponding numbers on the right to be found like you can with the word “Use.”

Other instances of non-existentance can be found in reference to other words; namely pronouns and idioms. There are 47 words that do not appear in the Hebrew and Greek. Observe the following from page 1262. Count them.

Now, this is not to say that they do not appear in English at all in the Strongs Concordance. They all can be found in the back of the book under the heading “Appendex to the Main Concordance.” However, of the 47 mentioned prior (as seen in the pic above), there are 6 words that absolutely have NO corresponding Hebrew or Greek word for them. These include the words: “A” &“An” as the two pictures demonstrate below and the words “By” “Of” “Shall” & “Shalt.”

The Appendix was provided to save time and space in the Concordance, hence their provision. Here are the two pictures depicting the Appendix showing the words “A” & “An” but yet they still do not have any corresponding Hebrew or Greek texts number references next to them for one to look up. The same holds true for the words “By” “Of” “Shall” & “Shalt.”

However, the other 41 words DO have corresponding Hebrew and Greek numbers but they are still NOT in the main concordance. They are also in the Appendix. See the following picture. The number 2532 is in italics indicating that it is in the Greek concordance of the Strongs. Anything in non-italics is in the Hebrew concordance of the Strongs.

The following 41 words of the 47 are found in the Appendix and the Hebrew and Greek concordance as follows:

And – 2532 Greek (G) (as seen in the pic above).

Are – 1526 G

As – 5613 G

Be – 1961 Hebrew (H), 1510 G

But – 235 G

For – 3588 H, 1063 G

From – 575 G 

He – 1931 H, 846 G

Her – 846 G

Him – 846 G

His – 848 G

I – 589 H, 1473 G

In – 1722 G

Is – 1961 H, 2076 G

It – 846 G

Me – 1691 or 3165 G

My – 1700 or 3450 G

Not – 3808 H, 3756 G

O – 5599 G

Our – 2257 G

Out – 4480 H, 1537 G

She – 1931 H, 846 G

That – 834 or 2088 H, 1565 or 3754 G

The – 3588 G

Thee – 4571 G

Their – 846 G

Them – 846 G

They – 1992 H, 846 G

Thou – 859 H, 4771 G

Thy – 4674 or 4675 G

To – 1519 G

Unto – 1519 G

Up – 4605 H, 507 G

Upon – 1521 H, 1909 G

Us – 2248 G

Was – 1961 H, 2258 G

We – 587 H, 2249 G

Were – 1961 H, 2258 G

With – 5973 H, 4862 G

Ye – 859 H, 5210 G

You – 5209 G

However, I still wasn’t convinced. I decided to consult my Thayers Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (NT). For example, in reference to our word “But” we find that Thayers also has the same number: The number is 235 G. Thayers is a lexicon coded with Strongs numbers. See the two pics below. I highlighted in green where the word “But” appears.

To learn more about the abbreviations that you see in the Thayers, visit this site…

https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/thayers.cfm

As you can obviously see, both; the Strongs and the Thayers, contain the word “But.” But does the word appear in the NT? To answer that question I had to consult my interliner NT books. I have two versions. One is taken from the Majority Text – in this case, the New King James Verson (NKJV), and the other is from one of the many Alexandrian Texts, in this case the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The 1st & 2nd pic is from the (NKJV). The 3rd & 4th pic is from the NRSV. The word “But” is highlighted in green…

Now, let us return to the Strongs. The following two pictures depict the word “But” in the GK dictionary and Appendix…

So why all the fuss? Why am I making this an issue? The answer to that question is that most, if not all, of these works are all built upon the Strongs Concordance and its Hebrew & Greek dictionaries. Most lexicons are based and built upon this foundation; even various expository dictionaries and word definition books, like Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, are all based upon the Strongs. It is the standard in the world of theological academics. Those that are not solely based upon the Strongs still utilize the work from time to time.

But with all this at our disposal, why does the ‘Preface’ in Strongs Concordance say “If no number appears, the word may have been supplied by the translators to clarify the meaning, even though NO specific Hebrew or Greek word was used to express it.” Moreover, why does it also say; “In other instances more than one word in the original language was included in the English?”

Which translators: St. Jerome? Wycliffe? Erasmus? Luther? Tyndale? The 47 scholars who gave us the ever popular King James Version? Or was it Hort & Westcott? Feeling still preplexed, I decided to go back a bit further. Further into the origins of our NT and the language of Christ and His Apostles. The movie, ‘The Passion of Christ’ wonderfully depicts this. Naturally, the ‘Peshitta’ came to mind. Did you know that there are two opinions as to what language the NT was written in?

Of course, the popular opinion is that the NT was originally written in Greek (Gk). The less popular and 2nd opinion is that of Aramaic. After 40 years of accepting the popular view of the NT being originally written in Gk, I am beginning to see the difference; even by dates and the word of our Patristic fathers – for they were quoting the books of the NT in the 1st & 2nd Cent in their writings and letters. So far, the Aramaic scholastic consensus seems to be the more realiable – Hence, the ‘Peshitta’ written in Syriac. “Syriac (/ˈsɪriæk/; ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Leššānā Suryāyā), also known as Syrian/Syriac Aramaic, Syro-Aramaic or Classical Syriac, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic of the Northwest Semitic languages of the Afroasiatic family that is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet” (Wiki).

The most used version is the Peshitta, which is in Syriac-Aramaic, i.e. the Christian version of Aramaic, which originates from the region of Edessa. But if we are going to go down this road, we need to ask ourselves four basic questions:

1. What Bible is directly translated from the Aramaic?

“The most used version is the so-called Peshitta, which is in Syriac-Aramaic, i.e. the Christian version of Aramaic, which originates from the region of Edessa / Urfa. The translation of the Old Testament is based on Hebrew texts (not the Greek Septuagint – which was used for the Vulgate and then the “Catholic” Bible), the New Testament was used on a translation of the Greek texts.”

“Although there were earlier translations into Syriac and later revisions of the Peshitta, by and large this is still the go-to Aramaic version of the Bible. The translation is not always word-for-word and sometimes reflect older or alternative versions of the Greek and Hebrew Books we know today – and sometimes is simply wrong – note the later revisions were not only for ideological reasons.”

“Note that originally II Peter, II John, III John, Jude, and Revelation were not part of the Peshitta and were later added on the basis of various revisions (which is reflected in that you find different translations of these books in Bibles used within the Churches).”

“If you want a translation closer to the original texts in Hebrew/Greek you need to locate those later revisions (by Philoxenos of Mabbug, Thomas of Harqel or Jacob of Edessa) although up until now we haven’t found a full Bible of any of these revisions. Also the issue of the Deuterocanonicals is complicated. Note: in 1930’s George Lamsa published his version of the Aramaic Bible, but that is his revision of the Text, not based on old manuscripts per se. In reference to the Targumim, they are not translations from parts of the Tenach (what Christains call the Old Testament) but tend to be paraphrases and explanations.”

https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-best-Aramaic-translation-of-the-Bible

“Biblical Aramaic is the form of Aramaic that is used in the books of Daniel and Ezra in the Hebrew Bible. It should not be confused with the Aramaic paraphrases, explanations and expansions of the Hebrew scriptures, which are known as targumim.” (Wiki).

2. Is Aramaic older than Hebrew?

“Aramaic is the oldest continuously spoken and written language in the Middle East, even older than written Hebrew and Arabic. It is among the oldest written languages in the world.” https://www.globalizationpartners.com/2016/05/04/aramaic-the-oldest-living-middle-eastern-language/

3. Is Aramaic the same as Hebrew?

“Aramaic and Hebrew are from the same family; the former’s script likely informed both written Hebrew and Arabic. Like most languages, Aramaic spread through centuries of conquest, spurred by the invasions of the Assyrian and later Persian empires.” “Aramaic language, Semitic language of the Northern Central, or Northwestern, group that was originally spoken by the ancient Middle Eastern people known as Aramaeans. It was most closely related to Hebrew, Syriac, and Phoenician and was written in a script derived from the Phoenician alphabet.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/05/27/what-language-did-jesus-speak-the-pope-and-israels-prime-minister-disagree/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Aramaic-language

4. What happened to the Aramaic language? Does it still exist today?

“In the 7th century AD, Aramaic stopped being the most important language in the Middle East. The Arabic language became the new important language. Aramaic is still spoken by scattered communities of Jews, Mandaeans and some Christians.” “…Today, between 500.000 and 850.000 people speak Aramaic languages” (Wiki). Which brings us back to the origins of the Peshitta.

Peshitta: The Aramaic Original New Testament Theory

The Peshitta (Classical Syriac) is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition, including the Maronite Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Syro Malankara Catholic Church, Assyrian Church of the East and the Syro Malabar Catholic Church.

“The consensus within biblical scholarship, though not universal, is that the OT of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from Hebrew from Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD, and that the NT of the Peshitta was translated from the Greek. This New Testament, originally excluding certain disputed books ( II Peter, II John, III John, Jude Revelation), had become a standard by the early 5th century. The five excluded books were added in the Harklean Version Harklean Version (616 AD) of Thomas of Harqel” (Wiki).

Sebastian P. Brock The Bible in the Syriac Triadition St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute, 1988. Quote Page 13: “The Peshitta Old Testament was translated directly from the original Hebrew text, and the Peshitta New Testament directly from the original Greek”

Bromiley, Geoffery W. (1995). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Q-Z. p. 976. Printed editions of the Peshitta frequently contain these books in order to fill the gaps. D. Harklean Version. The Harklean version is connected with the labors of Thomas of Harqel. When thousands were fleeing Khosrou’s invading armies…

Kiraz, George Anton (2002) [1996]. Comparative Edition of the Syriac Gospels: Aligning the Old Syriac Sinaiticus, Curetonianus, Peshitta and Harklean Versions (2nd ed.). Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias Press.

“In a detailed examination of Matthew 1–14, Gwilliam found that the Peshitta agrees with the Textus Receptus only 108 times and with the Codex Vaticanus 65 times. Meanwhile, in 137 instances it differs from both, usually with the support of the Old Syriac and the Old Latin, and in 31 instances it stands alone.”

To this end, and in reference to the originality of the Peshitta, the words of Patriarch Shimum XXI Eshai are summarized as follows:

“With reference to the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and 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.”
Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament: Their Origin, Transmission and Limitations (Oxford University Press 1977), p. 50.
Mar Eshai Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East. April 5, 1957.
In the first century CE, Josephus, the Jewish historian, testified that the Aramaic was widely spoken and understood accurately by Parthians, Babylonians, the remotest Arabians, and those of his nation beyond Euphrates with Adiabeni. This is recorded in ‘Jewish Wars’ (Book 1, Preface, Paragraph 1 (1:3). It is also found in (Book 1, Preface, Paragraph 2 (1:6). Note the following citation from Josephus.

Quote: “I have proposed to myself, for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, ‘to translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians’. Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth a Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterwards, [am the author of this work].” Unquote.

Quote “I thought it therefore an absurd thing to see the truth falsified in affairs of such great consequence, and to take no notice of it; but to suffer those Greeks and Romans that were not in the wars to be ignorant of these things, and to read either flatteries or fictions, ‘while the Parthians, and the Babylonians, and the remotest Arabians, and those of our nation beyond Euphrates, with the Adiabeni, by my means, knew accurately both whence the war begun, what miseries it brought upon us, and after what manner it ended.” Unquote.

“Yigael Yadin, an archeologist working on the Qumran find, also agrees with Josephus’ testimony, pointing out that Aramaic was the lingua franca of this time period.” Josephus’ testimony on Aramaic is also supported by the gospel accounts of the New Testament (specifically in Matthew 4:24-25, Mark 3:7-8, and Luke 6:17), in which people from Galilee, Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Tyre, Sidon, Syria, Decapolis, and “from beyond Jordan” came to see Jesus for healing and to hear his discourse.

Bar Kokhba: The rediscovery of the legendary hero of the last Jewish Revolt Against Imperial Rome”, 234

A statement by Eusebius that Hegesippus “made some quotations from the Gospel according to the Hebrews and from the Syriac Gospel,” means we should have a reference to a Syriac New Testament as early as 160–180 AD, the time of that Hebrew Christian writer. The translation of the New Testament is careful, faithful and literal, and the simplicity, directness and transparency of the style are admired by all Syriac scholars and have earned it the title of “Queen of the versions.”

Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament: Their Origin, Transmission and Limitations (Oxford University Press 1977), p. 50.

Mar Eshai Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East. April 5, 1957.

“Syriac Versions of the Bible, By Thomas Nicol.” http://www.bible-researcher.com. Retrieved 2019-11-11.

Note: The Gospel according to the Hebrews and the Syriac Gospel appears in the Pershitta. Some would make the arguement that the earliest papyrus manuscript we have today is the from the Greek; namely “P52 and P457 of John’s Gospel; date c. 127AD to 175AD. However, recent research points to a date nearer to 200 AD.” Others claim a fragment of a Mark in Greek manuscript is the earliest, but this is not true.

https://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/search-resources/special-collections/guide-to-special-collections/st-john-fragment/what-is-the-significance/

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/may-web-only/mark-manuscript-earliest-not-first-century-fcm.html

With this in mind, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one claiming ommission. According to ‘Catholic.com’ I found an interesting question concerning the topic of this article. See the following 4 pictures…

https://forums.catholic.com/t/aramaic-and-pronouns/23456

Aramaic is a Semitic language, a Syrian dialect of which was used as a lingua franca in the Near East from the 6th century BC. It gradually replaced Hebrew as the language of the Jews in those areas and was itself supplanted by Arabic in the 7th century AD. But since the Greek NT was used to translate the Greek into Syriac as a stand alone version; then its form of Aramaic is questionable. Perhaps true Aramaic really doesn’t contain the 47 words as recorded in Strongs Concordance. Perhaps the blogger above, as recorded in Catholic.com, is correct. I mean, why would he get such a thought? – unless he truly researched it himself.

It is unclear. But if we were to continue down that road, creating a version of Scripture without the use of pronouns and so forth, we will begin to see Scripture in a totally different light. One that is harmonius and inclusive, as opposed to being exclusive. There is no blasphemy in such an approach. See the following examples of a world of Scripture without pronouns, nouns and other words as listed in the list of 47 omitted words.

Hence my decision to proceed and continue its work.