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Remarks in the Khabouris manuscript margin
If it is truly a copy of a 2nd Century Aramaic text that reads exactly like the Peshitta, the implications of that are not to be underestimated! Seeing the freaking colophon would be nice though, because I know that what it actually says is a matter of controversy. Andrew Gabriel Roth hasn't made it better by stating it claims it is a 2nd Century manuscript and not correcting himself.
Last I read it, it said it was a copy of a manuscript produced during the "Great Persecution", which in the CoE refers to the massive killing during the reign of Shapur in Persia. This persecution began in 339 and ended in 379. It nearly wiped out the CoE.

It was during this persecution that Mar Shimon bar Sabbai, along with dozens of bishops, was martyred. The bloodshed continued for 40 years.

So just to be clear: the colophon, if I read it correctly, would have made it a copy of a copy from some time during 339-379 AD. That doesn't mean the Manuscript is that old. It could be from the 11-12th century. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the original lasted from 350 AD ( for instance ) until the 11-13th century. After which it was copied into the manuscript in question.

So if the colophon is correct, we have a copy of a very old copy of the Peshitta. It would certainly place it before the time of Rabbula (born in 411, outside of Persia in the Roman Empire).

Also it would make it very close to the original autographs from the apostles.

I will be contacting Eric shortly to see if I can obtain a copy of the colophon in enhanced image. Only God knows if it is still even legible. They could have manhandled it during all these years.

Ps. AGR incorrectly attributes the "Great Persecution" to that of Nero in the Roman Empire. Eastern Peshitta manuscripts do not reference Roman (western) persecutions, they were produced in a different empire (the Persian), and there was very little persecution before the Shah Shapur.

Shamasha Paul, I talked with Eric Rivera again on Tuesday morning, and he said he will be ready to talk about it and share the Colophon images with you. He said they are very high res though, and won't be able to be sent through email, but, he has an idea on how to do it over the internet somehow. He said he has some infra-red images and another type, which enhances the letters about 50 percent better then what can be seen in natural light. I think he said the image is over 150 times larger than the codex Colophon page itself.

He said it would be best to call this coming Saturday morning at the number I gave you, as he will have things set up then. I think Stephen Silver is also wanting the look at it too, so maybe you both can have a conference call set up with Eric on that day. Anyway, this may be our best shot at deciphering as much as can be read from the Colophon. May God's will be done in this regard.

Akhi Paul,

Aye the handwriting and vowel pointing of the Khabouris, itself, is certainly 11th-12th century (and the replacement pages younger, but that's expected) so it's most likely the era it was copied/produced. Provided that's the date for its parent MS (and it hasn't been embellished a bit, which is always possible when it comes to dating things by major catastrophic events) then it's still in line with the range of the conventional understanding, i.e late 4th century before assuming popularity by the early 5th. At any rate, the date that is mentioned far more often vis-a-vis the colophon (164AD) is quite dubious.

Anyways, this is why good images and a quality transcription of the colophon are so desperately needed and I hope Rivera's images do the trick.

Rabbula became Bishop in 411 (his birth year is unknown and he died in 435). The Peshitta's attribution to Rabbula was only a tradition; it's more likely (at least in my opinion) that Rabbula merely played a large hand in cementing its popularity thereby creating the tradition in retrospect. :-)

Steve said:
Quote:The Peshitta is an Aramaic New Testament tradition -- along with the others I have mentioned.

Speaking of tradition, we know the tradition that The Eastern "Peshitta" text has, which I say is The REAL Aramaic New Testament, as its tradition goes back to that 1st copy, which tradition says was given to the leaders of The Church of the East, in the 1st century, by the Apostles and their helpers, and then copied down through the centuries... without change.

I don't see that it was made from any copy of the Greek NT at all. If you think it was, then can you show us which Greek text (in its various families), has the Khabouris' readings? I can't pinpoint one myself.

But, even if it were a copy of a Greek NT, then it must have been before all the Greek copies went off into their various families of textual variants, as The Aramaic New Testament i.e. The Eastern Peshitta Text, as given in The Khabouris, has a mixture of some of all of the various Greek readings in its text.

And....We know what tradition those other versions of the New Testament in Aramaic, have...they have come from those who translated the text from certain Greek NT copies which they had used at the time, and some are versions of The Aramaic New Testament which came before it, with various inserted portions translated and interpolated in, from the Greek NT they had in front of them at the time, and this is one reason they don't line up with the text in a number of places, as found in The Eastern Peshitta text, which is the much older text.

This can be shown easy enough, just by looking at the text itself. They were all produced by those west of the Euphrates, not by The Church of the East, which have maintained the original form of The Aramaic New Testament text all this time from the 1st century on.

As for me, The Aramaic New Testament, is that text which we find copied and maintained meticulously by the monks of The Church of the East. Their copies did not add the W5 books, which they didn't have, and were not given to them by the Apostles, (those long disputed books in Greek, circulating in the Western Churches), as the Syrian Orthodox Church did add to their versions, these which agree more with the Greek text than with the original Peshitta Text, which they used as a base for their new version of it.

And they do not contain a number of questionable passages (The PA for instance...among others) which were later transferred into the printed text as late as the 1900's, by the editors of the UBS' patchwork of a text, which is a really a hybrid Aramaic/Greek NT.

So, which is The REAL Aramaic New Testament??? I know which one.

It is the same as we see right here in The Khabouris, The Goodspeed, The Yonan, The Houghton, and The Mingana manuscripts...etc, etc...

Which one do you say it is? The Curetonian, The Sinaitic Palimpsest, The Harklean, The Philoxenan, The Christian Palestinian, etc, etc?

These don't even agree with themselves, which one is the right one? Which one would you choose as being the more Original version of what you would call "The Aramaic New Testament"?

Quote:the handwriting and vowel pointing of the Khabouris, itself, is certainly 11th-12th century

I'm looking here at the Goodspeed Manuscript, and it is said to be from the 6th-7th century (500's-600's) and the handwriting, letters, and the vowel pointing are much the same as is seen in the Khabouris Manuscript. And since it is said that the vowel system/dots were added to the older manuscripts around the 900's I think I read, to the older texts which lacked them, how can we not be sure that the Khabouris manuscript had these features latter added onto its earlier non vowel-ed text?

I'm not sure just by looking at it if it must be dated to the 11th-12th may be much earlier than that. What I recall being stated is that the Colophon is said to say it was produced 100 years after the Great persecution (339-379). Anyway, hopefully Paul and or Stephen can verify exactly what can be read there. If so, then it could be a manuscript from as early as 450 or so, and lacked the vowel points until they were later added to the manuscript.
Shlama Akhi Chuck,

The Khabouris is certainly not anywhere near the oldest manuscript. It is almost certainly an 11th-12th century copy. In fact I believe it was carbon dated to that period.

What's important about the Khabouris, is that like all manuscripts, it is copied from one that became too old to continue using. The investigation into the colophon (which, contrary to what Akhan Steve said, are usually very accurate) is important because they usually contain the name of the scribe, his bishop/elder, the date he made the copy and sometimes what he made it from.

Unfortunately for the Khabouris, the colophon was the most severely damaged, wrinkled and water-damaged page in the entire manuscript.

So again, it's not the age of the Khabouris that is important. It's the age of the parent manuscript that it was copied from. If that date was, say, 350 - then we have a manuscript that is (at most) 2-3 copies away from the original 1st century autographs.

The same thing is what is important about the Arabic translation of the Diatesseron. It's not that the Arabic copy age is important. It's that the colophon states the name of the translator, the fact that he translated from an Aramaic source that reads exactly like the Peshitta Gospels, and that gives us insight into the age of the Peshitta itself which Tatian the Assyrian from Nineveh, used.

I'll be callin Eric on Saturday. Then Qasha Antwan Latchin and I can examine the contents on Sunday when I head into Mar Yukhnannan Church. I can also take it to the Patriarch for examination.


That sounds great, Shamasha Paul, I really am hoping that the images will make it possible to decipher what it says there. I too am not concerned so much about the age of the manuscript, but rather, it's contents, and like you said, the age of its exemplar, giving us some idea of about how many copies/hands were involved in the transmission/coping process from the 1st century, down to the time of the Khabouris was copied.

Some people seem to think that this text of the Peshitta just appeared in the late 4th century, and before that time The Church of the East had some other text they were using, or none at all they will say, during the 1st and 2nd, and into the early 3rd centuries. I tell them, what Gospels and Apostolic letters did all the Aramaic speaking Christians in The Church of the East have to read then, during the liturgy? Do they think it was the Greek version? <!-- s:tellme: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/tellme.gif" alt=":tellme:" title="Tell Me" /><!-- s:tellme: -->


Isn't the Qurbana the oldest liturgy? It quotes the Peshitta does it not?
Is there an update to the original intent of this thread? I'm very interested as to what was determined from the images.
The colophon is so badly deteriorated now, that it isn't possible to make out what it says, even with the best imagining techniques, done a few years back. Last year I was able to get hold of Eric Rivera, the person who had imaged the Khabouris with advanced equipment and had the original files, and asked Shamasha Paul Younan to look at it closely. He told me it was illegible.

The Khabouris manuscript itself is most likely scribed sometime between the years 900-1100 A.D. And may or may not be a copy of either a mid 2nd century, or a mid 5th century copy.


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