Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Peshitta Foundation

The Peshitta Foundation offers a visually attractive NT Peshitta as well as of Targum Onkelos with Tiberian pointing. [I would not wish to endorse the site's claim: "Evidence leans toward the fact that the Greek (and eventually Latin) manuscripts were translated from the original Aramaic Peshitta and other Hebrew manuscripts."]

11 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Can someone provide some recommendations for curriculum for self-studying Syriac-Aramaic?

Thank you.

Randall Buth said...

For anonymous,

I recommend becoming fluent in Hebrew as the fastest and most complete doorway into Aramaic. Then reading and studying.

Takes about 12 months immersion, longer if considerable time is spent in other languages. Modern Hebrew is heavily influenced by Aramaic vocabulary and structures so that reading your parashot ha-shavua` in Hebrew and Aramaic in an edition like Rav Quq or BarIlan's, both with an accurate Onkelos text, can lead you right into at least one of the dialects. (NB [the obvious, though often confused]: several years of Hebrew grammar is not the same as fluency in Hebrew.)

Randall Buth said...

Thank you Pete,

the website is fairly accessible with its unicode.
when I pasted into Mellel on a new Mac that I am also learning, the Institute files always put the number of the first verse on the left.

1. If everything is working properly in a right-to-left formatted paragraph, what is wrong with number '1' formatting?

2. A warning on the PF's Pshitta-views is in order. Without repeating all of the widely accepted reasons for the priority of the Greek over the central-Aramaic (non-Western) Peshitta, I'll throw out one not commonly heard though relating to the PF website's arguments:

Does anyone know of a Jewish story parable published in Aramaic, anywhere between 200 BCE and 600CE? There are apparently close to 2000 attestations of Hebrew story parables, depending on how one counts, even within Aramaic contexts of rabbinic literature. (Targum Jonathan to Judges 9 wouldn't count, of course, as non-original. Likewise, stories about rabbis are not story-parables, nor are proverbial maxims, both of which occur in Hebrew and Aramaic within rabbinic lit.)

cseminarian said...

I'm having difficulty reading the Peshitta, though the Targum is coming through fine. Can anyone else with Mac OS X read it? It fails on both FireFox and Safari.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Buth,
Thanks for the recommendations. I'd love to be able to attend your Ulpans and gain fluency in Hebrew. Unfortunately, due to constraints of time and money, I'll probably never attain to true fluency in any other language than Spanish. Meanwhile, I want, though self-study, to at least become reasonably competent in languages in addition to Greek that involve scholarship in biblical texts, such as Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, and German. Given these limitations, what might be a good text for learning Syriac-Aramaic?

Thanks again.

Ian Myles Slater said...

Randall: you may need to change the paragraph direction, too, using the broad arrow on the Mellel toolbar (next to the "justify" button) in order to get the numbers in the proper position.

cseminarian: I haven't had that problem on my Mac (running 10.2.8) on either Safari or Firefox, so I can't help you troubleshoot.

The first thing that comes to mind is that you may not have some specific unicode Syriac font that the browsers can use to render the page; although I can't find such a specification on the site.

Secondly, you may need to re-set the browser's text encoding preference to Unicode, EVEN if it already is set there. From time to time I've had to switch settings, switch back to unicode [UTF-8], quit the application, and relaunch, to get Safari to work properly.

(In Safari, check the View menu for "Text Encoding," and be sure that UTF is selected in the sub-menu. Firefox is only slightly different.)

P J Williams said...

Robinson is good as the main grammar to give traditional English to Syriac exercises. Thackston is also highly recommended though I've not used it. If you have Hebrew and want to acquire a 'passive knowledge' of Syriac (Randall will disapprove) then I'd say that Muraoka's Classical Syriac for Hebraists would be worthwhile (probably not cheap). This vol. is not to be confused with his Classical Syriac. If you start with Muraoka and Robinson together they could make a strong combination since Robinson will give you a more active knowledge of the language.

P J Williams said...

RB: "Does anyone know of a Jewish story parable published in Aramaic, anywhere between 200 BCE and 600CE? There are apparently close to 2000 attestations of Hebrew story parables, depending on how one counts, even within Aramaic contexts of rabbinic literature."

Is this building towards a suggestion that Jesus may have given his parables in Hebrew?

Randall Buth said...

Several-
Thank you Ian, the paragraph was/is set correctly. Number one still doesn't work.

Anon-"Unfortunately, due to constraints of time and money, I'll probably never attain to true fluency in any other language than Spanish. Meanwhile, I want, though self-study, to at least become reasonably competent in languages in addition to Greek that involve scholarship in biblical texts, such as Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, and German. Given these limitations, what might be a good text for learning Syriac-Aramaic?"

You can get to that level if you set a goal. I've known some who gained Hebrew fluency thru good programs in schools. Takes more than 12 months. If you become fluent in Spanish first at least you will know what it is like and have something to aim for with the languages that you want to invest in. Pete Williams has listed some Syriac grammars. I don't diasapprove. They can do their job while you decide where to invest something for a longer commitment.

Ian Myles Slater said...

Randall:

Mellel is sometimes quirky. If it turns out using the buttons doesn't set up the page properly, it may be necessary work around it. One trick is to highlight the text, and then repeat the commands. In my experience, this usually (but not quite always) does the trick. Unfortunately, it applies to the highlighted material only, and may need to be repeated for later additions.

Randall Buth said...

PJW:
" RB: "Does anyone know of a Jewish story parable published in Aramaic, anywhere between 200 BCE and 600CE? There are apparently close to 2000 attestations of Hebrew story parables, depending on how one counts, even within Aramaic contexts of rabbinic literature."

Is this building towards a suggestion that Jesus may have given his parables in Hebrew?"

It's simply asking for an Aramaic story parable. I suspect that Jesus probably taught like all of the other first century Galilean teachers. It's just always struck me as curious that no one asks what yochanan ben zakkai teachings would sound like in Aramaic, but people reconstruct an Aramaic parable for Jesus as though Aramaic story parables were a dime a dozen in rabbinic lit.

And I am puzzled as to how such a language specific genre developed (Hebrew story parables) in a multi-lingual environment. Doesn't that strike others as needing explaining?