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Some AENT 1st Edition Aramaic Anomalies

By Jeremy Chance Springfield There are some issues worthy of noting in the Aramaic text in the 1st Edition. This is the only edition I actually have, so I cannot speak to the more recent publications and their content. This is not meant to be in any way an attack on the AENT or the translators, just a noting of some of the hurdles that are present in the 1st Edition in need of correction. An involved instance is found in Hebrews 2:9. In order to appreciate the issue here in the AENT, tho, it is helpful to see the differences between the Western Peshitto text and the Eastern Peshitta text. There are subtle differences and major differences, and these are highlighted below in corresponding colors.


OTTIHEEP

SIRUPBAHT
Taking each difference-set separately, we can better appreciate the nuances: PESHITTO: PESHITTA:

KHAZENAN (we behold) KHAZEN KHNAN (behold we) BTABUTHEH ALAHA (by the grace of Alaha) STAR MEN ALAHA (apart from Alaha) KULNASH (all men) KUL NASH (every man)

PESHITTO: PESHITTA:

PESHITTO: PESHITTA:

As can be clearly seen, of the three variations between the Peshitto and Peshitta, only one really matters and affects the translation - the second set, which is a legitimate variant, while the first and last are mostly different presentations of the same Aramaic terms. While typically the first and last set are examples that would be passed over in discussing what makes up a true disparity between texts, they are highlighted here because they aide in showing precisely what is going on. Indeed, this specific example serves as a prime evidence of the problem facing the Aramaic text of the AENT 1st Edition, as it is rather convoluted, yet contains details that show exactly what is taking place in the Aramaic text of this version. The problem with the 1st edition AENT in this instance is that the English translation on the left side of the page (p. 400) presents the Eastern Peshitta reading, while the Aramaic text on the right (p.401) has an issue present. The Aramaic text on page 401 in the 1st edition AENT, reads exactly like this:

RTiE dET T1NTNEA


Unless you can read the Aramaic text, you might not notice the significant details that exist in this verse. Here they are with highlights for the sake of clarity:

RTiE dET T1NTNEA


The first green highlight is the reading from the PESHITTO:

KHAZENAN (we behold) STAR MEN KULNASH (all men)

The third highlight, the purple, is the reading from the PESHITTA: ALAHA (apart from Alaha) The fourth highlight, the blue, is the reading from the PESHITTO:

Thus we see a mixing of the Western and Eastern texts here. Obviously, the AENT went with the Eastern reading on the significant variant, which is most assuredly to be commended. But what this displays is that the Western Aramaic text has merely been edited and had an Eastern reading inserted in place of the Western. This is glaringly seen by the presence of the single red

Gimel in the AENT 1

st

Edition

of this verse. This is a leftover remnant of the word

GER (for) that originally appeared in both the

Peshitto and the Peshitta texts, but was unfortunately excised in the editing of the AENTs base Western text, so that the Aramaic text here is missing the term (for) in this verse.

Another instance in the 1st Edition AENT is found in Acts 8:37. On page 328, the AENT has in the English translation the following: 37. Verse 37 is nonexistent in the Peshitta.98 The translation is not lying when it makes this statement the 37th verse that is commonly found in the Peshitto version, as well as in some Greek texts, is not found in Eastern Peshitta readings. There is no problem here. The problem arises when one looks over at verse 37 in the Aramaic text on page 329, and it reads exactly as follows:

RTiE dET T1NTNEA


The text translates into English as: And Pheeleepas said, If you are believing from all your heart, it is allowed. And he replied, I am believing that Eshu Msheekha is the Son of Alaha! The above Aramaic verse is exactly what we find as the 37th verse in the Western Peshitto manuscripts. This verse is not found in Eastern Peshitta texts. The AENT 1st Edition, however, preserves it in the Aramaic text.

Another instance from Acts is found in 15:34. On page 352, the AENT 1st Edition reads exactly as follows: 34. Verse 34 is nonexistent in the Eastern Peshitta.143 The translation is again correct. This verse does not appear in the Eastern Peshitta. It does, however, appear in the Western Peshitto. Looking across to the next page in the AENT 1st Edition p. 353 we read the following in the Aramaic text:

The text translates into English as: However, it was the desire of Sheela that he remain there. The AENT preserves the Western Peshitto reading in the Aramaic text, yet provides the Eastern lack thereof in the English translation.

These are examples of some of the problems the AENT 1st Edition faced. I do not know if the further editions rectified these unfortunate areas. I can only hope they were caught and corrected. As a translator of Biblical text myself, I understand the ease with which error can creep into a translation all too well. In light of this, the translator and the editing team of the AENT have my strongest sympathies. Andrew Gabriel Roth, as well as Baruch, were both entirely receptive to feedback I had given immediately following the publication of the 1st Edition. It was minimal feedback on my part, admittedly, based solely off of what caught my own eye in scanning the text, but they received it warmly and I felt were appreciative of all efforts to make the best version they could possibly present. So in no way do I believe they are trying to pass off an inferior product to the public. Rather, every translation will have issues at the beginning, and there is always the possibility for improvement for any translation effort. What concerns me about such examples as these, however, is that the translation and the text provided are quite disparate in the AENT 1st Edition. To the casual reader of English, this is thankfully not so much of a problem. But if an individual who can read the Aramaic decides to read it alone, or follow along with the English, or just desires to compare the two at leisure, they are going to be met with time and again a Western Aramaic text at odds with a largely Eastern-based English translation. This unfortunate condition is prone to breed confusion and error in promulgating what the Peshitta actually does say which is markedly different at times from the Peshitto. I have attempted to make it clear that these examples provided herein are all from the AENT 1st Edition. I cannot speak to the subsequent editions, but I do hope such details have been corrected in order to give the reader the finest, seamless reading experience in the English and the Aramaic that can be had today. The examples provided herein are by no means exhaustive, but I hope will alert the reader of the AENT 1st Edition to be mindful of the Aramaic text, that it is a Western Peshitto text modified only at certain points to read as an Eastern text, while other passages remain distinctly Western. As long as the reader of the AENT 1st Edition is aware of this factor, there should be no real issues other than what any reader of a translation of Scripture faces.