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Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Mike Kar - 10-16-2012

Hello folks,

If I am not mistaken, the Khabouris manuscript (in Aramaic) is just like any other Peshitta manuscript with the exception of an important feature, and that being some comments written down by the scribe in the margin of the Khabouris manuscript (the colophon or something like that - ?). The comments that the scribe made was something to the nature that the manuscript that he was copying from - (the scribe's exempler or base copy) was a manuscript dated at approximately 120 - 130 A.D.(or early 2nd century AD of Eastern Aramaic dialect for the whole contents of the Peshitta New Testament). am I on the right course here?

Well, can anyone give me a translation (word for word please, or close to it) of those comments made by the scribe in the margin of the Khabouris manuscript, please??

Thanks; take care. Yeshua loves you!

Mike Karoules

Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - The Texas RAT - 10-18-2012

This would be a really good thing to know as most laying claims to what it says say "it says to an effect _____" instead of saying it says "______". By not quoting it directly they easily can then say it says stuff it really doesn't. Others have said that they have not seen where these others make their claims but have not given a translation so that many others could come to know exactly what it does say.

Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Mike Kar - 10-18-2012


Tks, but I have not gotten a response yet and I don't think if I go to the site that I will see the note in the margin of the Khabouris manuscript (clicking to the Dukhrana tool produced by Stephen Silver). But I think of all people Stephen would have shown the note at the Dukhrana site being that his work include other marginal notes(translated of course).

So, let me as it this way (I would like to get something):

Is the marginal note on the Khabouris manuscript that gives the approximate dating of the manuscript (a real brief history of it and mentions that it was copied during one of the persecutions of Christians in the East) a brief note? And can someone give me/us the basic contents of what it says?

I still wait(if possible) if someone knows the entirety of this marginal note and even give a praphrase of it.

Thank you.


Mike Karoules

Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Thirdwoe - 10-19-2012


Have you read this thread yet Mike?

look at the thread called "Kaboris Munuscript" and the thread "name of Bishop of Nineveh"


Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - The Texas RAT - 10-20-2012

Thirdwoe Wrote::

Have you read this thread yet Mike?

look at the thread called "Kaboris Munuscript" and the thread "name of Bishop of Nineveh"


Chuck, I followed your leads and there is no colophon translations any where within them. There are more than one dating being assigned but no colophon translation in any of the quotes!

The Khabouris Manuscript is a copy?of?a second century New Testament, which was written in approximately 165 AD (internally documented as 100 years after the great persecution?of?the Christians by Nero, in 65AD). Carbon dating has found this copy?of?the New Testament to be approximately 1,000 years old. Given its origins, this would make it a copy?of?the oldest known New Testament manuscript.

1) Unpublished writings?of?Abbott Gerrit Crawford, PhD, MSJ, Western-Rite Syrian Orthodox Church in America?
2) fr. michael ryce, N.D., D.C.P.?
3) Enlightenment, Khabouris Manuscript, The Yonan Codex Foundation, Inc. Atlanta, GA 1993

Paul Younan Wrote::
I went back and re-read the colophon and I don't find any reference at all to "100 years" - I think somebody is making that part up. It simply refers to the original copy being made during the Great Persecution, which would make the Khabouris an?11th-century copy?of?a well worn 4th century manuscript, which was most likely a copy?of?the very original 1st-century manuscripts.?

So with the Khabouris we have, I believe, a 3rd-generation text which was very close to the original since only 2...or a maximum or 3 scribes in total had their hands in there. That's why its so valuable. It's only the 3rd link in the chain. Paul Younan?
Site Admin

Qashisha Dave Wrote::
Khabouris is actually a 12th century manuscript which, according to its scribe, was copied from a 4th century manuscript (pre AD 360).
The other dates are correct. There are several other 5th century Peshitta mss. as well. These Peshitta mss.?agree?extremely closely with each other;?far more closely than any two Greek manuscripts agree together.?There are several hundred Peshitta mss., many?of?which can be dated from the 5th, 6th,7th and 8th centuries.

Qashisha Dave

Dawid Wrote::
The information you need is actually right here on Go to "introduction." Sinai Syriac 2 [/code]dates to the fifth century, Codex Ambrosianus is fifth century, the Khaboris ms is dated to the fourth century.
These are about the oldest extant Peshitta mss, I think.


?SP Silver Wrote::
provenance(1) According to the most popular interpretation?of?the difficult colophon, this manuscript was copied in?Nineveh, the capital?of?the Assyrian empire, from a now-lost manuscript which may have dated to the second century AD, and bears the authenticating seal and signature of?the?bishop?of?Nineveh?as a true and accurate copy. Carbon-dating has now shown that this copy was made in the eleventh or twelfth century.(2) Acquired by Norman Malik Yonan?of Richmond, Virginia, and sold before his death in 1970 to D. McDougald, and by descent to the present owner.?

Mr. Yonan interpreted the worn and damaged colophon?of?the manuscript and a subsequent inscription to date it between 195 AD and 410 AD; making it, as he explained in his press-release, potentially older than the Yonan Codex, the Codex Syriac Sinaiticus, the Cureton Codex and the Jerusalem Codex. However, doubt was raised by a number?of?scholars after Yonan?s death in 1970. Correspondence from 1986 shows that the British Library experts had dated it paleolographically to about the twelfth century, and this has now been confirmed by a research team assembled in America in 1995, as well as by carbon dating by the University?of?Arizona in 1999 (giving the date range 1000-1190 AD). Some belief has remained, however, and debate has persisted over the reading?of?the colophon, which if Yonan?s decipherment is accurate indicates that the manuscript?s ultimate exemplar was written in the period 195-410, making it (and the readings in this text) older than the earliest known Greek canons?of?the New Testament.?

SP Silver?

The Aramaic Colophon can be found here:
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Can anybody translate it "word for word" (with approximations as to where the watermarks are)?

Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Mike Kar - 11-06-2012

So, in summary (and in essence) we really ARE NOT SURE at all what the colophon of the Khabouris says. This has been guess work all along? With words like "difficult colophon," and "the worn and damaged colophon," and also comments (by Stephen Silver), ". . . some belief has remained and DEBATE HAS PERSISTED over the reading of the colophon, . . ."

what can we conclude of all this? Basically that the Khabouris manuscript is a copy of another manuscript of which we really don't have any cold hard facts of its' DATE (the exempler) AT ALL. Nothing from what I have seen establishes anything on any solid basis pertaining to the date of the Khabouris' exempler copy. And also that we really don't know how many generations of manuscripts that the Khabouris' exempler had: could be 2, or 3 or 5 or 6.

Take care all.


Mike Karoules

Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Mike Kar - 11-06-2012

Nevertheless, I still wish to express thanks to you guys who provided me some information on this, and who may also provide any further information on the Khabouris manuscript and the reading/translation of the colophon. tks for the discussion.

Mike Karoules

Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Thirdwoe - 11-07-2012


Mike, have you sent a personal question to both Stephen Silver and Paul Younan?...they don't always read up on these threads often.

The Aramaic Scriptures are from the 1st century, no matter if we ever find a manuscript dated as such. There are too many witnesses that point to a 1st century Aramaic NT. But, you have to learn about that yourself, not just be told it by others...if you really want to know for certain. I have seen the evidence, both internally and externally, as to dispel all doubt about it. And the Khabouris text IS faithful to the original form of the text that has been passed down from the time of the Apostles till today.

The Church of the East, have always had these 22 books of the NT in their possession and will until The Messiah returns.

If you ever find one problem with its text, please let me know, so I can look at the problem. So far, I see none. It is The Word of God in The Aramaic Language...and if you don't think so...please show me where it?s not The Word of God, and then give your reasons.


Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Mike Kar - 11-08-2012


Thank you chuck. I read a few days ago that there are no extant Aramaic manuscripts that date older than the oldest New Testament Greek manuscripts. I mean, of all the EARLY manuscripts of the New Testament, the Greek manuscripts are older. But I don't think you were trying to make that point (that the extant Aramaic manuscripts are older and just as old). But I read this point on this forum a few days ago and the conclusion or the point a couple of folks were trying to make is that we DO NOT have any of the originals from either of those texts types (Aramaic or Greek).

But I would (if we can) like to stick to the reading of the colophon in the Khabouris manuscript. I feel that, from the information (new) that I have read is that we have no solid or clear evidence that the exempler of the Khabouris is an early Aramaic Peshitta manuscript. I was just under the impression for quite some time that the Khabouris was unique Aramaic manuscript mainly because of the comments in the colophon.

Chuck, thank you.

Take care;



Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Thirdwoe - 11-08-2012



The Khabouris manuscript faithfully represents the original Aramaic NT, as given to The Church of the East by The Apostles of Christ.

This Eastern Aramaic text is nearly exactly the same letter for letter in the whole NT from the 1st century to the 21st century. It agrees with the readings of the 170 A.D. Diatessaron text of the four Gospels, which was produced by Tatian from The Eastern Aramaic NT text.

There is a reliable witness of an Aramaic NT dated as early as 78 A.D. which has gone missing since the middle ages. We know that the Church of the East has had an Aramaic NT since the 1st and on through the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries, as witnessed by a number of Church fathers, who speak of it and quote from it. And we have the copies of these much older Aramaic NT's in the surviving 5th-7th century Aramaic NT copies of them.

This same Eastern Aramaic text has come down to us, through a very faithful transmission of copies by the scribes of The Church of the East. When an older copy had worn out, it was buried, not destroyed or kept on the shelf.

The Greek texts are all over the map as to its multitude of variant readings, many times showing that they are variant translations of the same Aramaic source, where an Aramaic word can mean two different things in Greek...and we see this time and time again.

We can be very certain that the Khabouris is as close as you can get to the Aramaic NT that existed in the time of the Apostles...which I believe wrote the very Aramaic words themselves and had them translated into the Greek and Latin languages during their lifetime.

Based on what Paul Younan has said here, after he looked closer at the Colophon, The Khabouris looks to be a 10th century copy (if the carbon 14 dating is right) of a mid-5th century copy, made during the "great persecution" as it states, which perhaps itself was a copy of a 1st century Manuscript. They kept these copies for a very long time and were very careful with them.

The oldest copy we have today of the Hebrew OT, is from the 900s A.D. And Mike, the oldest "Dated" NT in existance, is an Aramaic NT, all other dates of manuscripts are speculative.

If you like the Greek text best, then go with it, it has the very same Message over all in it's readings as the Aramaic NT does...but which one do you say is the most right of all the various Greek versions? I choose to go with the Eastern Aramaic NT, as I have found it to be the best text, and witnessed to be the earliest text in its readings.


Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - distazo - 11-08-2012

Mike Kar Wrote:[b]Chuck,
But I read this point on this forum a few days ago and the conclusion or the point a couple of folks were trying to make is that we DO NOT have any of the originals from either of those texts types (Aramaic or Greek).


Being the oldest manuscript is not always the best argument though.
Take for instance the Alexandrian Greek NT and compare it with the majority text of the Greek, which is in opinion to many, a better text and even better in sync with the Peshitt(a)/(o). The sina?ticus also is very old but in a very bad quality looking at the many errors which are there.

So, if some early scribe ruined the copy, later copies also got the mistakes.

Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Paul Younan - 11-09-2012

Hi everyone,

Sorry for my delay in writing, my father-in-law recently passed away and is now enjoying the presence of our Almighty Father.

Regarding the colophon to the Khabouris, I was in possession several years ago of a copy of the colophon that was enhanced by the work done at the imaging studio. I can't seem to find it at the moment in my library, but as soon as I do I'll take another look at it. I do hope I still have it.

Please keep in mind that I've received warnings from the former owners of the manuscript, to not publish or make available any digital copy of any page without their consent. So even if I am able to find it, I will not be able to post the enhanced imagery to the website. You simply cannot read the colophon from the poor-quality scans that are widely available on the internet. It is too badly damaged to make anything out of it. And what I was able to make out of it was vague and could be misleading, which is why I'm not an advocate of the many exuberant claims regarding its age.

I've said many times in the past that I'm unimpressed by it, being that it is a 11th-12th century manuscript, and that there are certainly others that are much older.

It's my understanding that an Armenian collector currently owns it, and lives in Arizona. He seems to be a collector of these types of things. James Malikian I believe is his name. He purchased it at an auction in London, there is a post on this forum about the details. I think he bought it for $25,000. Not a large amount of money.

In any case, if I find the email or copy from several years ago I'll try to post the exact wording I see (but not the image), but I honestly don't understand the enthusiasm this one late copy has generated across the internet. It's a great 11th century copy of maybe a 4-5th century copy. But we already have verified 4-5th century copies. Certainly 6th century. So this isn't that big of a deal.

I don't put much weight on age of manuscripts or fragments. I pay attention to the clues in the text, which are far more important.


Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Thirdwoe - 11-09-2012


Shamasha Paul, I'm sorry to hear about the temporary loss of your Father-in-Law, but glad to know he's at rest now, and his trials are completed.

Do you know of anything that is wrong with the Khabouris manuscript, as to its text readings? And does it deviate from the readings of the other older Eastern witnesses that are still extant?

I think The Khabouris is talked about so much, because there seems to be no access to anything else that is in the museums...and there seems to be very little if any work done to bring their readings to the public. We have no idea what they contain as to their text, as a whole, and have to go on a smattering of others who might mention this or that about them. This needs to change please.

I know that the BFBS/UBS critical text, which has all the western readings is said to be constructed from about 70-80 Aramaic manuscripts, but do we know which ones and where each part comes from? Does the British Museum, which looks to have the oldest Eastern Mss tucked away, allow for digital copies to be made? Or maybe they already have made digital copies and might be available?

There is just so little done in this field. If it's true that The Eastern text has very little variations between the Manuscript Texts, then The Khabouris should be a fine example of all the others, which are older than it. Stephen noted that his transcription of a part of The Yonan Codex, which is said to be from the 5th century, was near identical with the Khabouris text in John.

I have recently got hold of the late 1800s, early 1900s English translations of both The Sinai Palimpsest "Old Scratch" and the "Curetonian" version (Aramaic text as well) of the "Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe", which seem to be copies of Bishop Rabbula's separated Gospels which replaced Tatian?s Gospel harmony, which came to be used in the western Syriac churches.

I like the Khabouris text...what's wrong with it? <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->


Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Paul Younan - 11-09-2012

Shlama Akhi Chuck,

Thank you for your condolences. It's been a very trying time for the past few weeks, especially for my wife and I've tried to be there the entire time as I, like many of you, know what it's like to lose family over a long and drawn out illness. We're still recovering in many ways.

I'm not aware of anything wrong with the Khabouris, it's a fantastic 1,000-year old witness, making it a contemporary in age to the Aleppo and Leningrad codices of the Torah. That's not an insignificant age. The fact that it reads nearly identical to the modern printed versions of the eastern Peshitta is also great.

I too would like access to the older manuscripts in the Vatican and British museums. I know that the entire Vatican collection is being digitized by Brigham Young University (, so that is fantastic. Here is an example of their digitizing work (an entire NT manuscript from the Brown Collection): (large download)

I don't expect anything but negligible minor variances between the much older manuscripts and the Khabouris, as everyone who has examined it at length says it's a well-transmitted copy of the Eastern Peshitta.


Re: Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin - Paul Younan - 11-09-2012

An important quote from William Wright:

[Image: books?id=OH0iAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA19&img=1&zoom...604&edge=0]

An excerpt from page 19 of the book "A short history of Syriac Literature", which can be found here:

So as you can see, the "Nestorian" Patriarch Mar Aba tried to introduce a new revision in the middle of the 6th century, to replace the "Old Peshitta" - which was "obstinately adhered to". If it was "old" in the 500s, how old exactly ?

BTW, I love the "utter failure" part. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->