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The Languages of the New Testament

Posted by Stephen Pidgeon on Friday, August 23, 2019 at 12:00 AM

 

One of the assumptions we have taken at the Eth Cepher, is that all scripture was conceived in Ivriyt, which we understand in modern terms as Hebrew.  There are those who disagree, claiming that the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) was breathed in Aramaic, or Greek, or even Latin.

The Aramaic New Testament Peshitta earliest extant versions date to the 5th century AD and exclude The Second Letter of Peter, The Second Letter of John, the Third Letter of John, The Letter of Jude, and The Revelation to John. None of these texts were canonical in the Syrian church.

However, the Asyriac church makes the case that their text existed as early as the 2nd century. There are translation reasons which may indicate the creation of certain letters of Pa’al were originally set forth in Aramaic, and that there were difficult translation issues when moving the text from Aramaic to Greek, and not the other way around.

The five excluded books were added in the Harklean Version (616 AD) of Thomas of Harqel. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Q-Z (1995), op. cit, pg. 976. However, the 1905 United Bible Society Peshitta used new editions prepared by the Irish Syriacist John Gwynn for the missing books.

The Greek New Testament does not show itself in a complete form until the early fourth century.  Allegedly, this form is the Codex Sinaiticus. The Codex Sinaiticus is a handwritten copy of the Greek Bible.  The Codex Sinaiticus wasn’t discovered until the 19th century by

Constantin von Tischendorf. Although much of the Tanakh is missing, all of the New Testament was included, together with all of the Deuterocanonical books, the Epistle of Barnabas and portions of the Shepherd of Hermas. Aland, Kurt; Barbara Aland (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, trans. Erroll F. Rhodes. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1.

The Codex Sinaiticus included Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus), Baruch including the Letter of Yirmeyahu, Additions to Esther, Additions to Daniel:[Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children (Septuagint Daniel 3:24–90), Susanna (Septuagint prologue, Vulgate Daniel 13), Bel and the Dragon (Septuagint epilogue, Vulgate Daniel 14); The Prayer of Manasseh; 1 Esdras; 3 Maccabees; and Psalm 151.

However, Tischendorf's "discovery" was directly challenged at that very time by  a well-known manuscript / language scholar, Greek by birth, by the name of Dr. Constantine Simonides, who claimed he wrote this Codex for the Czar of Russia. He challenged Tischendorf openly about the authenticity of Codex Sinaiticus for four years, in England.

On 13 September 1862, in an article in The Guardian, Simonides claimed that he was the real author of the Codex Sinaiticus and that he wrote it in 1839. According to him it was "the one poor work of his youth". According to Simonides, he visited Sinai in 1852 and saw the codex.

Simonides had written to The Guardian to give evidence that he was the creator of Sinaiticus, that he had done the work over a year at Mt. Athos monastery starting in 1839, and that a year or two later he gave the codex to the monastery at Sinai, and that after Tischendorf had published it he saw the Codex in Liverpool in 1860 and recognized it as his own work.

See, The Great Bible Hoax of 1881, https://greatbiblehoax.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-truth-about-constantine-simonides.html

The Codex Vaticanus is also suspect. The Codex Vaticanus was also a very late discovery, being first found in 1481, conveniently located in the Vatican library in Rome.  This is why it is called the Codex Vaticanus.  This manuscript however is like its corrupt partner Codex Sinaiticus, and is also riddled with omissions, insertions and amendments.

John W Burgon says this concerning this Codex: "The impurity of the text exhibited by these codices is not a question of opinion but fact...In the Gospels alone, Codex B(Vatican) leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 1,491 times. It bears traces of careless transcriptions on every page…"

According to The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, "It should be noted . . . that there is no prominent Biblical (manuscripts) in which there occur such gross cases of misspelling, faulty grammar, and omission, as in (Codex) B."

However, trying to find an extant text in Latin is an utter failure. Much of the Latin claim to credulity lies with hagiographical claims on the Epistle of Eusebius of Cremona (Epistola de morte Hieronymi), and the Epistle of Cyril of Jerusalem (Epistola ad Cyrillum de magnificentiis Hieronymi). However, all of these are forgeries which were created in the 14th and 15th centuries.

For instance, the three letters constituting the Epistle of Eusebius of Cremona were originally composed in Latin probably in the late thirteenth century by a Dominican in Rome. Fine calligraphic initials, a minute but very regular script, and a contemporary binding also grace this epistle. The manuscript was necessarily copied after the 1450 date of the canonization of Saint Bernardino of Siena, because he is mentioned in the rubric preceding his “Divota confessione.”

So, what do we actually have in the Greek to demonstrate that the New Testament was original composed and conceived in that language?

We find no extant text of anything dating from the first century.

Next, fragments from the second century are few and far between, and include only  Matthew 23:30-39; John 18:31-33, 18:37-38 18:36-19:1; 19:1-7; Revelation 1:13-20;

Now enter Marcion in 144 AD. Marcion accepted (and edited) the following writings in this order:

Gospel according to Luke

Galatians

I Corinthians

II Corinthians

Romans

I Thessalonians

II Thessalonians

Ephesians (which Marcion called Laodiceans)

Colossians

Philemon

Philippians

The Gospel according to Luke became the Evangelicon, and the 10 Pauline letters, the Apostolikon. Marcion specifically rejected the gospels of Matthew and John, and did not recognize Revelation in any respect.

It is likely, then, that our first Greek translator was Marcion.  He admittedly changed and edited text to accommodate his theology, based upon the premise that the New Testament writings openly contradicted the Old Testament, and were therefore inconsistent and exclusive of one another.

However, in the known fragments of the Greek, there are a few questions. Only one fragment exists for the Letter to Timothy (1 Timothy) (1 Timothy 3:13-4:8); no fragment exists at all for 2 Timothy, and the fragments for 2 John and 3 John do not appear in the record before 600 AD.

The Peshitta excluded 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation.

Marcion also excluded 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, James, Jude, Revelation, Matthew, Mark, John, Acts, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Hebrews.

Just for a moment, here, let’s take a closer look at the book of Galatians:

200-225:          Galatians 1:1–6:10 (University of Michigan)

All other fragments are 4th and 5th century fragments thereafter.

Marcion placed Galatians first in his canon of epistles that he called the Apostolikon, and decided that Galatians was the most important of Pa’al's epistles. But Marcion edited and modified the text of Galatians, removing whatever disagreed with his understanding of what Pa’al should have written. For example, Galatians 3:16-4:6 was deleted because of its reference to Abraham and its descendants.  See Evans, Ernest, Tertullian Adversus Marcionem, ii. Oxford. 1972.

Let’s put two and two together here. Marcion appears to be the very first to compile a “New Testament” having completed the task by 145 AD.  He openly edited, redacted, and modified whatever text of Galatians he had received to comport with his distinction and theology.  The only Greek fragments we have today of the Epistle of Galatians are all post-Marcion. 

Add to this equation the modus operandi of Marcion to make Galatians the very center of his ideology – the central premises of Marcion theology. Of all of the texts of the New Testament, the accuracy of this text – Galatians – is the most suspect of any of the letters retained in the Brit Chadasha.

However, given no extent text at all for the letter of 2 Timothy, the singular fragment for the letter of 1 Timothy, and the lateness of the appearance of 2 John and 3 John, one wonders how we received these letters at all.

But let’s answer that question, shall we? All of scripture – bad translation or good – is intended by Yahuah, for such a time as this. If such scripture was not intended, it would not exist.

Yet the initial testimony of the two eye-witnesses to the death and resurrection – Mattithyahu and Yochanon (Matthew and John) – most assuredly gave their testimony in Ivriyt, the language of Yahusha. The Ivriyt, however, does not appear to have been retained (although new discoveries may someday be found). There are several reasons why this could be so:

  1. The Ivriyt record was never written down. This is possible, if the Besorah was retained by oral tradition only for the generations of Yahudiy leadership of the kahilah (the called-out assembly) in Yerushalayim, beginning with Ya`aqov (James) the Just.

BISHOPS OF JERUSALEM

  1. James, (Yahudiy)
  2. Symeon (Yahudiy)
  3. Justus (Yahudiy)
  4. Zacchaeus (Yahudiy)
  5. Tobias (Yahudiy)
  6. Benjamin (Yahudiy)
  7. John (Yahudiy)
  8. Matthias (Yahudiy)
  9. Phillip (Yahudiy)
  10. Seneca (Yahudiy)
  11. Justus (Yahudiy)
  12. Levi (Yahudiy)
  13. Ephres (Yahudiy)
  14. Joseph (Yahudiy)
  15. Judas (Yahudiy)
  16. Marcus (Roman)

All Romans thereafter

  1. There was a record in the Ivriyt of the gospel of Mattithyahu and Yochanon, but such records were either 1) destroyed by the Romans with the rise of Marcus; or 2) secreted by the Romans in Rome. There are reasons to believe that the record may have been destroyed by the Jews with the siege against the assembly in 135 A.D.   Until the siege of the Jews, which took place under Hadrian, [996] there were fifteen bishops in succession there, [997] all of whom are said to have been of Ivriy descent, and to have received the knowledge of Mashiach in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge of such matters, and were deemed worthy of the episcopate. For their whole called-out assembly consisted then of believing Ivriym who continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at this time; in which siege (the Bar Kochba Revolt) the Jews, having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles.

  2. There may also be another reason that the record disappeared in Ivriyt, but appeared thereafter in the Aramaic – namely, to preserve the manuscripts from the destructive devices of the Jews, who may have been passionate about destroying any record of Mashiach. If such was the case, research concerning the Aramaic would be indispensable in understanding the text of the Brit Chadasha.

However for our purposes, we still nonetheless hold to the concept that the Besor’oth of Mattithyahu and Yochanon were conceived in Ivriyt – the language of creation.

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