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Aphrahat's style of Biblical Citation - the FINAL word.
Shlama Akhay,

At the conclusion of his Fifth Demonstration, Mar Aphrahat tells his audience:

Mar Aphrahat Wrote:[font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]rbt0 0hl0d htlmb Kl tb4xd Nyhlk Nylhw[/font]

"All these things that I have listed for you were created in the Word of God."

This declaration is proven by the cascade of biblical citations which inundates all of his extant literary treasures. Although Mar Aphrahat does occasionally alert his reader to an upcoming citation, more often than not the line between direct citation and allusion/targum/allegory is blurred, as he weaves biblical language into his natural Semitic style of exegesis.

The more important question is how Mar Aphrahat handles citations from the Peshitta. Goshen-Gottstein noted that early Syriac writers ???often quoted from memory, omitted parts of verses, and, of course, changed verses to fit their homiletic needs.??? (M. H. Goshen-Gottstein, ???Prolegomena to a Critical Edition of the Peshitta,??? in Text and Language in Bible and Qumran (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv: Orient, 1960): 197)

In fact, after a very thorough study of OT citations in Mar Aphrahat's "Demonstrations", Owens concluded that the Persian Sage cited the biblical text from memory: ???The looseness of so many of the citations suggests indeed a general pattern of memoriter rather than transcriptional quotation.??? (Owens, The Genesis and Exodus Citations, 241)

Herein lies the danger. When citing the Peshitta NT and OT, Aphrahat can, and more often than not does, adapt the citation to the argument he intends to develop, even at the expense of the accuracy of quotation.

This along with the lost text of Tatian's Aramaic Diatesseron, of course, creates a rich opportunity for people to associate quotes from Aphrahat to the missing text.

There are, however, numerous indications in his Demonstrations that the text he used was the Peshitta for both the OT and the NT. Although Mar Aphrahat???s homiletic interests prevailed over accuracy when citing the biblical text, he occasionally quoted directly from the underlying text of both the Peshitta OT and NT as we have shown on this forum.

A remarkable example is included in his Fifth Demonstration. that undoubtably proves that Mar Aphrahat is citing directly from a Peshitta OT manuscript.

In strophe 14, he cites Daniel 2:44 and then directs the reader to an earlier verse (Dan 2:34) with the indication "and above it said." He then points the reader to the verse that follows (Dan 2:35) with the phrase: "the text that follows it reads."

His notations regarding the location of the citations in relation to one another within the biblical text proves that he has a Peshitta OT under his eyes as he writes, as these quotations read word-for-word like the Peshitta OT. Unfortunately, a similiar locational notation for the Peshitta NT does not exist in his currently extant works.

We can, however, examine both his direct quotes from the NT (as listed on this forum), and even his exegetical paraphrases - and be assured that their ultimate origin is from the very same Peshitta NT we currently have today, without the need to look to missing outside sources.

Our study is therefore scientific, and not arbitrary. This study leads us to the conclusion that the Peshitta text of the NT, as we have it today, existed and was in popular use during Mar Aphrahat's lifetime (280 - 341), and undoubtedly much earlier.
+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
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And which Peshitta NT text might this be in English?
Perhaps you wll find what you are looking for at <!-- w --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- w -->, on the Peshitta Tool Page.

Is there an Aramaic-English way to view the writings of the Assyrian theologians like Aphrahat and Ephrem? It'd be nice to be able to compare the Aramaic of the Peshitta and these men to see the quotes and paraphrases.

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