Keith Hunt - Peshitta (Aramaic) Bible - Introduction #3   Restitution of All Things
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Peshitta (Aramaic) Bible - Introduction #3

The Jewishness of the New Testament

All CAPITAL letter words are mine, for emphasis (Keith Hunt)



     Even fifty years ago (Lamsa writing in 1957 - Keith Hunt),
the knowledge of Western scholars relative to the Eastern
Scriptures in Aramaic and the Christian Church in the East was
CONJECTURAL. Moreover, these scholars knew very little of the
Eastern customs and manners in which the Biblical literature was

     For centuries translations from Semitic languages have been
subject to revision.....Let me just take one instance which I
consider very important. In the King James version, we read in
Numbers 25: 4:

     "And the Lord said unto Moses. Take all the heads of the
people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that
the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel."

     The Aramaic reads:

     "And the Lord said to Moses, Take all the chiefs of the
people and expose them before the Lord in the daylight that the
fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from the children of

     Some noted Greek scholars in recent translations have
changed the word hang to execute, but this is NOT what the
original writer said. God could not have told Moses to behead or
execute all Israelites. The Lord was angry at the princes of
Israel because of the sin of Baal-peor. They had been lax in
enforcing the law and also guilty in joining the sensual Ball

     And in 1 Corinthians 7: 36 and 38, King James, we read:

     "But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely
towards his virgin, if she pass the flower of age, and needs so
require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not; let them
     "So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he
that giveth her not in marriage doeth better."

     The Aramaic reads:

     "If any man thinks that he is ashamed by the behavior of his
virgin daughter because she has passed the marriage age and he
has not given her in marriage and that he should give her, let
him do what he will and he does not sin. Let her be married."
     "So then he who gives his virgin daughter in marriage does
well; and he who does not give his virgin daughter in marriage
does even better" (I might add that the context Paul was speaking
under was the context of the "present distress" verse 26. Under
some present distress of the time they were as Christians under,
Paul thought it the better not to marry, see verses 32, 33. You
have more to be concerned with under outside distress if you are
married than not married, if you are not married when outside
distress comes upon you, Paul thought it better not to get
married. Obviously within the whole context this was a very
serious and large distress they were facing and under as a
Christian church - Keith Hunt). 

     Some of the scholars use "betrothed" instead of "virgin
daughter." The American Standard Version of 1901 correctly used
the term "virgin daughter." Certainly the King James' translators
would have known the difference between "virgin daughter" and
"betrothed." Paul, in this instance, is referring to a virgin's
vow. Numb. 30: 16. (Maybe this is so, but it may also simply have
been instructions to a father concerning a virgin daughter that
was passed the usual marriage age of the time and custom, and the
present distress they were under, and whether such a daughter
should marry....instructions on how a father should guide and
instruct his daughter as to marriage, while under a very large
and real distress upon the local church and Christian area of
that particular time - Keith Hunt).

     .......After all the Bible is an Eastern Book, written
PRIMARILY for ISRAELITES, and then for the Gentile world.

     When we come to the NT, the New covenant, we must not forget
that Christianity GREW OUT OF Judaism. The Christian gospel was
another of God's messages, first to the Jewish people, and then
to the Gentile world. For several centuries, the Christian
movement was directed and guided by the Jews. All of the apostles
and evangelists were Jewish. These facts are strongly supported
by the gospels and history......
     Paul, on his journeys, always spoke in the Jewish
synagogues. His first converts were Hebrews. Then came Arameans,
the kindred of the Hebrews, as in the case of Timothy and Titus.
Their fathers were Aramean and their mothers were Jewish.
     Jesus and his disciples spoke the Galilean dialect of
Aramaic, the language which the early Galileans had brought from
the other side of the river Euphrates. 2 Kings 17: 22-25. Mark
tells us in his Gospel, 14: 70 that Peter was exposed by his
Galilean Aramaic speech.

     Paul, in all of his epistles, emphasizes Hebrew law, Jewish
ordinances and temple rituals. He refers to Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob as "our fathers."  In his letters and teaching he appeals
to Jewish people to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. 
     Paul's mission was FIRST to his own people. When they
REFUSED to listen to him, he shook his garment and went out among
the Gentiles.  Acts 18: 6.
     Paul preached the Christian gospel in Aramaic. His epistles
were written years later when Christianity had spread into Syria
and parts of the Near East and India......
     Paul was educated in Jewish law in Jerusalem. He was a
member of the Jewish Council. His native language was western
Aramaic but he acquired his education through Hebrew and Chaldean
or Palestinian Aramaic, the language spoken in Judea. He defended
himself when on trial in his own tongue and not in Greek Acts 22:

     The Epistles were translated into Greek for use of converts
who spoke Greek.....

(This may be only partly true, as Paul used various Greek MSS of
the OT in quotes from the OT. This must be carefully studied by
the reader. I have on my Website an in-depth study of how Paul
used the OT, from a very in-depth book I have in my library. The
study is called "How Paul Used the Old Testament." The fact is
that Greek, at least outside of Palestine was the common language
of the Roman Empire, even the Druids of Britain could speak and
read Greek. God used eventually the Greek language to teach and
preach His NT word to the Western world and to the Greek Orthodox
Church of the East. I think Lamsa is being somewhat bias here for
Aramaic. We had the Hellenists of Jesus' day who were Jews that
spoke Greek, and many of them were outside Palestine in the
"dispersion" so-called, the scattering of the Jews from the time
of the Babylon captivity, many of which never returned to live in
Palestine. Josephus was being very narrow in his claims of
practically no Jews mastering the Greek language. He was probably
only looking at the overall state of things in Palestine, and
having some bias also within all upon which he spoke concerning
the Greek language.   Keith Hunt).

     I believe that this translation of the Bible based on the
Eastern text of the Scriptures, written in a Semitic tongue which
for many centuries was the lingua franca of the Near East and
Palestine, will throw considerable light on many OBSCURE passage
and that it will elucidate many other passages which have LOST 
their meaning because of MIS-translations......

     Since World War One, when the Aramaic people were brought to
the attention of the Western world and some of their ancient
books brought to America, more facts from the ancient past have
come to light......

     The translator wishes to express his sincere and deepest
gratitude to Dr. Walter D. Ferguson of Temple University for
editorial work....for his rich knowledge and understanding of the
Biblical background.....I am also indebted to many others for
consultation, among them, my countrymen, Archdeacon Saul Neesan
and the Rev. Isaac Rehana; also to a number of Jewish

     I also wish to state that I FIRMLY believe in the Bible as
the INSPIRED Word of God......May the Holy Word of God give us
faith, wisdom, and understanding to grasp the inner meaning of
God's Holy Word and to make us partakers in His Kingdom. May
God's richest blessings be upon the readers and students of this
translation. May God's richest blessings be upon this country
without whose freedom and democratic institutions, this
translation could not have been made.

     "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Psalm 119: 105.

May 1957.

George M. Lamsa



Compiled 2003

I will now, which I have not done before this date, compare verse
by verse, the New Testament of my 1960s Cambridge edition of the
King James Version, with the Lamsa English version of the New
Testament from the Peshitta. I will upload to this Website any
major differences that I may find, in due time.  


For those who are wanting a deeper study on the Peshitta topic, 
please go on the Internet, type in the word "Peshitta"
and let Google (or others like it) bring up MORE studies
than you probably ever want, or maybe ever need,
but they are there by the cart load.
Some of the "links" within the first number of studies
should also be looked at for further insight into the Peshitta topic. ALSO NOTE Those who may be led to compare THE ARAMAIC BIBLE ON LINE
with the KJV (or studies by others who have already done so)
need to note carefully that the translation in MANY
"words" - "phrases" - "sentences" is NOT
the same as the Lamsa transaltion from the Peshitta into English.
The Lamsa translation of 1957 is MUCH closer to the KJV,
but there are indeed differences with Lamsa (from the Peshitta)
than the King James Version.
The student really should have IN HAND the Lamsa
translation and the KJV to compare for themselves both translations.
But remember the "The Aramaic Bible Online" and the Lamsa
1957 transaltion from the Peshitta into English are NOT one and the same. Keith Hunt

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