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eastern and western

is the western peshitto and the eastern peshitta the same? i know the eastern doesn't contain 1 peter, 2+3 john, jude and revelation, but of the books that are in both, are there any differences between them? and since the eastern doesn't contain these, are they considered less likely to be actual writings?

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Shlama Yochannon,

I found this interesting post from several years ago which MIGHT answer some of your questions.

Acts 20:28 Says: "The Church of Messiah....." instead of "the Church of God".

Hebrews 2:9 says: "Apart from Alaha, He tasted death for every man".

Hebrews 2:16 (Verse B) says: "He assumed His nature from the seed of Abraham".

NOT "He assumed his DEATH from the seed of Abraham."

As the PeshittO says.

There may be even more changes than I searched for here, but these are the one's that I inked in for change.

Paul Younan or Stephen Silver can probably answer you easier than can I, but from my little knowledge these are the three main changes.

But I believe that both Paul's Interlinear Translation and Magiera's PeshittO translation have several *other* differences between the Peshitta and the PeshittO.

Hope that this helps a little.


Postby HoffmanS on Wed May 05, 2004 6:29 pm
Shlama, Paul,
On my question
You wrote the answer "There are a lot more than just 3 differences between the Peshitta and Peshitto. There are 3 major differences, and a whole lot of minor ones"
Well, John Marucci has different opinion "While it is true that the Western Tradition added the five disputed books to its canon (2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude, and Revelation), and agrees with the Byzantine and Latin readings in Acts 20:28 and Hebrews 2:9, the rest of the text is virtually identical with the Eastern text."

Paul, what do You mean by "and a whole lot of minor ones"?
If there is more differences than John Marucci says, then for example which ones are they and this is serious!!!
Some more Peshitta/PeshittO Variants:

I finished reading 'The Way International Aramaic/English Interlinear' gospels last night.

The good news:

It seems to follow the word order of the Eastern text of the P'shitta N.T. EXCEPT near the end of John's gospel (John 21: 15-17) where in the P'shitta it is:

"feed my lambs"

"feed my sheep"

"feed my ewes"

In this version it is:

"feed my lambs"

"feed my sheep"

"feed my sheep"

Maybe I'm straining at gnats here, I don't know.

The bad news:

Looking forward to Acts 20:28, It has the Western (Monophysite) variant of this verse:

"Watch therefore, over yourselves and over all the flock over which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, that you feed the church of God which he purchased with his blood."

The Eastern P'shitta text has "that you feed the church of Messiah", of course.

On the other hand, I THINK that this *might be* the Eastern text of the P'shitta of Hebrews 2:9:

"But we see him who was humbled lower than the angels, this same Jesus, because of the suffering of his death, both glory and honor are placed on his head. "For APART FROM God, he tasted death on behalf of everyone."

(The PeshittO has "By the Grace of God, he tasted death on behalf of everyone.").

Here's Hebrew's 2:16

"For he did not assume [his nature] from the angels, but he assumed death from the seed of Abraham."

To give credit where credit is due, these Assyrian translators hired by The Way International said:

"This Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament is presented to the workman of God's word to assist him in rediscovering the original word of God.

THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL (my caps), but the text is similiar to the Peshitta version in use during the fifth century in the Eastern church........."

I still think that this is a very powerful translation, but one must realize that SOME of it follows the Western (Monophysite) Peshitto and NOT The Eastern Peshitta.

With THAT said, I still endorse this version.........but I can't wait for Andrew's MARI/P.E.A.C.E. translation of the Eastern P'shitta text to be released!!

Postby Albion on Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:11 pm
And yet one more from Stephen Silver:

One of the doctrinal/theological overwrites between the Peshitto and the Peshitta is in Hebrews 2:9.

The Khaburis Manuscript reads, "s'tar min Eloah", "apart from/beside God",
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Page 490, line 13, 4th and 5th words.
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while a later Western reading is, "b'taybutah Eloah", "by the grace of God".

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Also, "sh'bakhtani" (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34) , in that it can mean "left me" can contextually mean the same as "forsaken me". In this normal context, it is a synonym of the Hebrew "azavtani" (Psalm 22:2).

In Romans 8:32, Paul affirms, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered him up for us all".

In conclusion, the lengthy study that you have invoked, is in my opinion, an unfounded emotional response to the fact that the Messiah "became sin for us" (II Corinthians 5:21), and the Father could not look on sin (Habakkuk 1:13).

Warm Regards,
Stephen Silver
And here is yet another view:

by judge on Thu Aug 05, 2004 9:06 pm

oozeaddai wrote:Hello would you please refresh my memory, on the amount of differences between the texts.

I was talking about Aramaic primacy on another board, and I remember reading here somewhere (Or so I thought). That the there's a huge difference between the ancient Greek codexes vs. those of the Peshitta and Peshitto.

Anyway I was hoping to quote that figure again. I thought there was only a few word differences, minor words between Peshitta and Peshitto, while you have many, many more ones when comparing Greek texts. I tried doing some key word searches to look this up, but didn't want to spend a few hours sifting through threads and various posts.


Hebrews 2:9 was changed from 'apart from God' to 'by the grace of God'.
Acts 20:28 was changed from .'Be shepherds of the church of Christ which he bought with his own blood', to 'Be shepherds of the church of God which he bought with his own blood'.

As far as I am aware most of the time the differences are due to different dialects.
Luke 24(?) may contain extra words or an extra verse (?)

This might help explain some of these differences between the PeshittA and the PeshittO, and the tension of the spirituality behind them.

And here's Paul Younan's first part of his debate with the Greek Primacy person Darrell Condor??

It's appropriately entitled: "First Blood":

Dear Darrell,

In your writing you cited the Encyclopedia Britannica, in which you quote:

Encylopedia Brittanica wrote:Rabbula's revision is now used by both the great divisions of the Syriac-speaking Church: to distinguish it from the elaborate later revision of the (Jacobite) Old and New Testament it is usually called Peshitta, i.e. the simple version . . .

First thing I would like to point out to you is that the Encyclopedia Britannica is very dated in regards to Syriac~Aramaic studies.

I would like to give you a little historical background on the historic division of the Syriac~Aramaic speaking churches, which is a topic I am well-versed in since I belong to one of those two major traditions.

In 431 A.D., the coucil of Ephesus was held in the Roman empire to address a theological dispute which arose concerning the title given to Mary, "Mother of God." This council condemned a man by the name of Nestorius, who was a Greek and the Patriarch of Constantinople, for refusing to use that title and referring to Mary as the "Mother of Christ" instead. ( for a detailed treatment, see the minutes from Pro Oriente at <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m --> )

The decisions of this council reached the Church in the Persian Empire (a.k.a, the "Church of the East") shortly thereafter and they categorically rejected the decrees this council made.

This isolated the Church of the Persian empire theologically from it's sister Aramaic-speaking churches in the Roman empire for the first time in history. The Aramaic church within the boundaries of the Romans was later nicknamed "Monophysite", and the Church of the East in Persian was later nicknamed "Nestorian", even though they had nothing to do with Nestorius.

This caused a major break in relations and the churches from that point.
Rabbula, who was bishop in Edessa during 411-435, sided with the Monophysites. In and around Edessa the theological strife raged hotly. He was hated by the "Nestorians" because he persecuted them relentlessly, so much so that he earned the nickname "The Tyrant of Edessa." (c.f., Han J. W. Drijvers in Journal of Early Christian Studies 4.2 (1996) pp 235-248 , Johns Hopkins University Press.)

Needless to say, even till today these two communities (the "Syriac Orthodox Church, Monophysite" and the "Church of the East, Nestorian") are hostile to one another.

At the turn of the 20th century, a textual scholar by the name of F. C. Burkitt , a Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, revised the early date of the Peshitta and theorized that it was the work of Rabbula. (see Journal of Theological Studies 36(1935), 225-254, 337-346.) This soon became the standard position adopted by most textual scholars. It is, in fact, Burkitt's very own hypothesis that the Encyclopedia Britannica is citing in the quote you provided.

Since then, the hypothesis of Burkitt has been thoroughly answered and disproved by Arthur Voobus of the Lutheran School of Theology and the University of Chicago.

In a series of special studies (1947???54), Voobus argued not only that Rabbula was not the author of the Peshitta but that he did not even use it. (c.f., lnvestigations into the Text of the New Testament used by Rabbula of Edessa, Pinneberg, 1947. Researches on the Circulation of the Peshitto in the Middle of the Fifth Century, Pinneberg, 1948. Neue Angeben Ueber, die Textgeschicht-Zustande in Edessa in den Jahren ca. 326-340, Stockholm, 1951. Early Versions of the New Testament. Stockholm, 1954.)

Concerning Burkitt's hypothesis, Voobus writes:

Arthur Voobus wrote:"This kind of reconstruction of textual history is pure fiction without a shred of evidence to support it" (Early Versions of the New Testament, Estonian Theological Society, 1954, see pp. 90-97)

To this reseach by Voobus, Dr. Bruce Metzger adds:

Bruce Metzger wrote:The question who it was that produced the Peshitta version of the New Testament will perhaps never be answered. That it was not Rubbula has been proved by Voobus's researches. . .In any case, however, in view of the adoption of the same version of the Scriptures by both the Eastern (Nestorian) and Western (Jacobite) branches of Syrian Christendom, we must conclude that it had attained a considerable degree of status before the division of the Syrian Church in AD 431. (Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament (New York: Claredon, 1977), p. 36).

Both sides claim the Peshitta as Holy Scripture and their official version, even till today. Such unanimous acceptance is unthinkable if the leader of one side (the Monophysite "Tyrant of Edessa") had created it. Since this division took place in Rabbula's time and since Rabbula was the leader of one of these two sects, how could his opponents (the "Church of the East") have adopted his creation?

Regarding the universal adoption of the Peshitta as the official version of both branches of Aramaic Christendom, Edward Hills writes:

Edward Hills wrote:It is impossible to suppose that the Peshitta was his (Rabbula's) handiwork, for if it had been produced under his auspices, his opponents would never have adopted it as their received New Testament text. (The King James Version Defended, 1956; Des Moines: The Christian Research Press, 1984), 172-174p.174).

It must have been that the Peshitta was a very ancient version and that because it was so old the common people within the Aramaic Church continued to be loyal to it - regardless of the factions into which they came to be bitterly divided after 431 A.D. - precisely during the episcopate of Rabbula.

I therefore respectfully submit that you do not quote the dated material in question from the Encyclopedia Britannica. The Peshitta was not the creation of Rabbula.

I eagerly await your answer.

Paul Younan

You said about the Eastern Text (of the P'shitta NT):

"I am amazed at the Western nature of the text. It definitely retains the distinctly Eastern readings of Acts 20:28, Hebrews 2:9 and 16, as well as Matthew 6:32 (1 extra word) and others."

Could you please include here how Matthew 6:32 reads in the EASTERN TEXT?

I came upon an old note in the archive's that suggested that that was one extra letter (in Yohannon's gospel) *that changed the number of angels at Yeshua's Resurrection* (when He spoke to Maryam), but as soon as I found it to copy again, I lost it again! lol

But it's really THERE, for someone who might care to chase it down, because I found it initially.

This note was from an old member (maybe from John Marucci?) several years ago (maybe from 2003?).

As far as I can tell, these 4 or 5 points of difference, are the ONLY differences from the Eastern to the Western Texts of the P'shitta NT.

Are there MORE changes that I MISSED, from the Eastern Peshitta NT?

Or are these few, the only one's?

Shlama, Albion
Shlama Akhi Albion,

Matthew 6:32 in the Eastern Peshitta has one more word -"d'alma" ("of the world") after "amma"-"people".
The following is from a recent post of mine on the subject:

Quote: I have Stephen Silver's transcription of The Khabouris, which I have compared with The 1905 Peshitta in the 22 book canon. After tallying the differences of abbreviated spelling of common compound words in the 1905 which are split into two words in Khabouris, I find about 834 letters separating the two versions, after excluding the Pericope Adultera from the letter count for the 22 books both versions share. That is 0.2% of The Letter count of The Khabouris. That leaves 99.8% agreement in letter number between the two Peshitta versions. Most of these 0.2% do not change the meaning of the text significantly, if at all. If half of them change the meaning somewhat, that would leave 99.9% agreement; only 0.1% of any meaningful difference. Out of approx. 100,000 words, that represents about 100 words of any meaningful difference between the two Peshitta's.
The two Peshittas- (Eastern Khabouris and Western critical edition) are practically identical in the texts they share in common. 0.1% difference is not significant at all.
The Church of The East has not pronounced the Western Five books as apocryphal or uninspired. They accept that they may be apostolic. They just never had them in their original canon, perhaps because their canon was settled very early (AD 50) before those books were written.

The fact that those books and even the pericope adultera is in The Eastern Assyrian Peshitta NT should tell us that we should not be quick to reject what may be the inspired word of God in those epistles.

And I am glad you are writing to me again.

Shlama lak,


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