Skip to comments."Ancient" Syriac bible found in Cyprus
Posted on 02/06/2009 9:35:02 AM PST by Between the Lines
NICOSIA (Reuters Life!) - Authorities in northern Cyprus believe they have found an ancient version of the Bible written in Syriac, a dialect of the native language of Jesus.
The manuscript was found in a police raid on suspected antiquity smugglers. Turkish Cypriot police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript could be about 2,000 years old.
The manuscript carries excerpts of the Bible written in gold lettering on vellum and loosely strung together, photos provided to Reuters showed. One page carries a drawing of a tree, and another eight lines of Syriac script.
Experts were however divided over the provenance of the manuscript, and whether it was an original, which would render it priceless, or a fake.
Experts said the use of gold lettering on the manuscript was likely to date it later than 2,000 years.
"I'd suspect that it is most likely to be less than 1,000 years old," leading expert Peter Williams, Warden of Tyndale House, University of Cambridge told Reuters.
Turkish Cypriot authorities seized the relic last week and nine individuals are in custody pending further investigations. More individuals are being sought in connection with the find, they said.
Further investigations turned up a prayer statue and a stone carving of Jesus believed to be from a church in the Turkish held north, as well as dynamite.
The police have charged the detainees with smuggling antiquities, illegal excavations and the possession of explosives.
Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic - the native language of Jesus - once spoken across much of the Middle East and Central Asia. It is used wherever there are Syrian Christians and still survives in the Syrian Orthodox Church in India.
Aramaic is still used in religious rituals of Maronite Christians in Cyprus.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
A beta version?
Anything over 1,000 years old is “ancient” to me, but it’s true that the codex form didn’t catch on until the last days of the Roman Empire.
The earth is giving out a last cry that Jesus Christ is LORD! Let those who have ears hear!
Wow, that’s neat.
I'd guess there is a story behind that.
HAVE LONG BEEN EXPECTING
earlier manuscripts to come to light.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
Cool. Jesus spoke Aramaic, a Semitic language still spoken by some people in the town of Malula, Syria. Syriac is related to it and is the liturgical language of the Maronite Catholic Church.
"I'd suspect that it is most likely to be less than 1,000 years old," leading expert Peter Williams, Warden of Tyndale House, University of Cambridge told Reuters.Oh. Well. That's different then. Throw the thing away.
~~ pompous moron mocking OFF ~~
Syriac-Aramaic is still used in the Divine Liturgy of the Maronite Catholic Church - worldwide, as well as in the Syro-Malankar Catholic Church.
Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
Please freepmail me if you would like more information on the Eastern Catholic Churches.
Just curious, do you attend the dl at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in DC?
No, I go to a parish in Clarksville, MD. I didn’t know there was a Maronite Chruch in DC! I’ll have to check it out.
Cool...but these dates must be wrong...
2009-2000 yrs = 09AD
That would be a “Targum” wouldn’t it, if it were an Aramaic bible from the time of Christ. I would think it would be pretty easy to tell if it really were that ancient, and I thought all bibles were scrolls back then.
Not if it were an Old Testament Jewish text in Aramaic (a Targum).
The building is new - a bit too contemporary for my taste.
The Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus both date from the 4th century, and are the oldest known more-or-less complete manuscripts to bind most of the modern books of the Bible into a single codex.
Prior to the popularisation of the codex format there was no such thing as a “Bible,” since the different books were kept as separate scrolls.
Thanks for the info.
I agree; I prefer traditional buildings to modern ones.
I took a closer look at the inscription on the Bible, and it says: “To Yeshua, from Yusef and Miriam.”
Don't judge a book by it's cover. : )
It is not unusual to find scrolls that have been cut up and bound into books.
Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, dedicated the new structure on March 6, 2001
"Syrian Orthodox Church in India"
I'd guess there is a story behind that.
Look up Saint Thomas, AKA Doubting Thomas.
Eusebius of Caesarea (Historia Ecclesiastica, III.1) quotes Origen (died mid-3rd century) as having stated that Thomas was the apostle to the Parthians, but Thomas is better known as the missionary to India through the Acts of Thomas, written ca 200. In Edessa, where his remains were venerated, the poet Ephrem the Syrian (died 373) wrote a hymn in which the Devil cries,
...Into what land shall I fly from the just?
I stirred up Death the Apostles to slay, that by their death I might escape their blows.
But harder still am I now stricken: the Apostle I slew in India has overtaken me in Edessa; here and there he is all himself.
There went I, and there was he: here and there to my grief I find him. quoted in Medlycott 1905, ch. ii.
St. Ephraem, the great doctor of the Syrian Church, writes in the forty-second of his “Carmina Nisibina” that the Apostle was put to death in India, and that his remains were subsequently buried in Edessa, brought there by a merchant.
A Syrian ecclesiastical calendar of an early date confirms the above. The entry reads: “3 July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in India. His body is at Urhai [the ancient name of Edessa] having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. A great festival.” It is only natural to expect that we should receive from Edessa first-hand evidence of the removal of the relics to that city; and we are not disappointed, for St. Ephraem, the great doctor of the Syrian Church, has left us ample details in his writings. 
I used Wiki, because it is easy to find on line, but over the years, I have read other books with similar information, written by recognized scholars.
Also, look up George Lamsa at Amazon. He was an Assyrian Orthodox Church scholar, and wrote about the beginings of that church. Also, his people also still spoke Aramaic, so he did a popular, rather than scholarly, work on Aramaic idioms used in the Bible, aimed at helping Western Christians better understand what what was being said. They use the Syriac, not the KJV, in his church.
Here’s a link to part of the Liturgy in Aramaic
Interesting and we have a descendant of this in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Syro-Aramaic_Reading_Of_The_Koran
Arabic was rarely written prior to Islam but did exist as a spoken language 400 years before Muhammad was even born. However, the Arabic spoken prior to and during early Islam was classical Arabic; quite different from modern Arabic and the dialects.
The short vowels were not added to the writing until after Islam, by one of the caliphs. Also many letters were written without the dots, which distinguish some letters from others. It was assumed that the reader would just know what the word was supposed to be based on context. The assumption didn’t go over too well as many people had trouble reading the letters, and eventually the dots were included in written Arabic. Along with the short vowels, they were written in red ink to distinguish them from the skeleton of the letters which was written in black.
Saving the monastery of Mor Gabriel
(Muslims seek to close oldest Christian monastery)
Asia News | January 26, 2009 | Geries Othman
Posted on 02/02/2009 12:50:11 PM PST by NYer
ROMA - That Aramaic was the lingua franca of a vast area of the ancient Middle East is a notion that is by now amply noted by a vast public, thanks to Mel Gibson´s film "The Passion of the Christ," which everyone watches in that language.
But that Syro-Aramaic was also the root of the Koran, and of the Koran of a primitive Christian system, is a more specialized notion, an almost clandestine one. And it´s more than a little dangerous. The author of the most important book on the subject - a German professor of ancient Semitic and Arabic languages - preferred, out of prudence, to write under the pseudonym of Christoph Luxenberg. A few years ago, one of his colleagues at the University of Nablus in Palestine, Suliman Bashear, was thrown out of the window by his scandalized Muslim students.
In the Europe of the 16th and 17th centuries, mangled by the wars of religion, scholars of the Bible also used to keep a safe distance with pseudonyms. But if, now, the ones doing so are the scholars of the Koran, this is a sign that, for the Muslim holy book as well, the era of historical, linguistic, and philological re-readings has begun.
This is a promising beginning for many reasons. Gerd-Rüdiger Puin, a professor at Saarland University in Germany and another Koran scholar on the philological level, maintains that this type of approach to Islam´s holy book can help to defeat its fundamentalist and Manichean readings, and to bring into a better light its ties with Judaism and Christianity.
The book by "Christoph Luxenberg" came out in 2000 in Germany with the title "Die Syro-Aramäische Lesart des Koran" ("A Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran"), published in Berlin by Das Arabische Buch. It is out of print, and there are no translations in other languages.
You can read the rest of the article at the following link.
>> Turkish Cypriot police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript could be about 2,000 years old. <<
When Jesus was eight? I guess they mean the Old Testament? Does it include the Dueterocanonicals?
Interesting article. I was aware that Islam is a heresy of Christianity, but didn’t know many of the details.
On the linguistic side....
Aramaic comes from the Nothwest Semitic branch, if I remember right, and Arabic comes from the Central Semitic branch. Christ’s last words, “Abba, abba, lema sabachthani?” are Aramaic for the phrase we all know as “Father, father, why have you forsaken me?” Abba = father; in Arabic, ab means father. Lema = why; in Arabic, limatha. The -ni on the end of sabachthani refers to “me”; the same ending is used in Arabic.
The Hebrew (and Aramaic) amen means “I believe”; in Arabic, amanu (although the -u ending on verbs usually isn’t pronounced except in formal situations).
Just curious ... how long have you studied Arabic and are you familiar with some of the dialects?
I’ve studied it at my university for about a year. I know some differences in pronounciation and vocabulary between the dialects, but I don’t think I could communicate in them.
and a new hardcover edition due in April:
Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 2009)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1591027101
# ISBN-13: 978-1591027102
Here's a book I think you will totally enjoy! I stumbled upon it last year and could not put it down.
Journey Back to Eden - My Life and Times Among the Desert Fathers.
The author, Mark Gruber, is a Benedictine monk who decided to write his thesis on the Coptic monasteries in Egypt. Though fluent in Arabic, he was challenged to understand the various dialects in the different parts of Egypt. It is a fabulous book and I envy the person who will read it for the first time.
Thank you very much for doing the research! I will definitely order a copy of the edition when it becomes available in April. Thank you again!
It looks very interesting! I will definitely order it. Thanks for sharing!
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.