Syriac Peshitta early witness to the Hebrew Masoretic Text - John Tors

Steven Avery

Syriac Peshitta early witness to the Hebrew Masoretic Text . The pure AV works off the Reformation Bible excellence, which is based in the OT on the Hebrew Masoretic text. . A fellow named John Tors has interesting, but uneven, material on Bible textual questions. Tors has a series where he writes contra Floyd Nolen Jones on the "LXX". For now, one sentence is of interest: .

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On The Merits of the Septuagint: A Response to Floyd Nolen Jones’ the Chronology of the Old Testament John Tors | January 4, 2010 .

"FNJ also asks why the early translators of other versions did not use the LXX (p.15). Actually, the Old Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Slavonic, Old Georgian, and Old Armenian translations (in other words, all the major ones) all used the LXX." .


Some of those versions are pretty late, and their being translated from the Greek not at all surprising, since there was little Hebrew scholarship in the church at the time and place of the Coptic, Slavonic, Georgian and Armenian OT versions. The Coptic may have been early centuries AD but it likely was a translation in Alexandria, a centerplace for Greek texts. . Tors somehow totally omits the most important "early translator", Jerome. Jerome dumped the Greek as corrupt and unworkable and studied Hebrew with the Jewish in Israel, living in Bethlehem and using the library at Caesarea c. 400 AD and translated from the "Hebrew Verity". (This is one reason why broad-based attacks on Jerome, sometimes by AV defenders, are faulty, here he laid the foundation for the Reformation Bible approach. Although his NT was translated for the bishop of Rome, this was in an earlier day and he was rather a scholastic independista. The Latin Vulgate line made important preservational contributions towards the pure Reformation Bible) . (Tors also totally leaves out Psalm 14 copying in Romans 3, however that may be first Nolen's omission. This is a fulcrum section example.) . The Syriac reference from Tors I found especially puzzling, since it is well known that the Peshitta is overall an early witness to the Masoretic Text. And the original translation could well have been around 100-200 AD and it is unclear whether the translators were more Jews or Christians.


Job (2005) Manlio Simonetti, Marco Conti,

"scholars mostly agree on the fact that the Peshitta is generally a faithful, but not slavish, translation from the Masoretic Hebrew text"


The Peshitta As a Translation: Papers Read at the II Peshitta Symposium , Held at Leiden, 19-21 August 1993 (1995)

Yeshayahu Maori

P = Peshitta MT=Masoretic Text
"Furthermore, several studies published in recent years concerning the relation of P to the MT in different books of the Bible show that the Hebrew text upon which P is based generally reflects the state of the Hebrew text in the first century CE, a text which differs from the MT only with respect to minor details."


Good quotes on this to use in response to such a claim are a bit hard to track down, so I am including a couple here. Now, there are small influences in the Peshitta that may be related to the GOT, or the Targumim, but overall there is not doubt that it is essentially reflecting a Hebrew text much like our MT. . Beyond the wildness and corruption of the Greek, there are a number of affirmative evidences for the Masoretic Text accuracy and reliability that are back in those antiquity days.

Tors mentions but not in a clear and fair manner the amazing fealty of the Isaiah of the Great Isaiah Scrolls. The DSS would take a whole separate post or essay. . My point here is to correct the Syriac, with at least a couple of sources, and point out the Latin Vulgate omission.

Steven Avery
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"scholars mostly agree on the fact that the Peshitta is generally a faithful, but not slavish, translation from the Masoretic Hebrew text"

I'm having a couple of problems with Simonetti's quote. In the sentence before he says:

"the standard Syriac translation of the Bible that is generally
defined as Peshitta (that is, the simple version)."​

The first is, he doesn't define what he means by Peshitta well enough for me.
Church of the East, Diatesseron (which was based on the Eastern Peshitta),
or the Westernized versions, and their recensions? If the time-period
he's talking Peshitt* is greater than say 6 c., then that includes the
Philoxenian/Harklean does it not? In which case he can say anything because
it's Not My PeshittA (to the tune of Not My King at soccer matches :,).

The second is that his word Masoretic means to me 8 c. to 10 c.,
(i.e. post Babylonian Talmud), which is way later than the CoE PeshittA
was known to be extant in Persia and India, <= 4 c., even earlier for
Matthew (< 3 c. according to Pantaenus). In fact, the early Christians
were Hebrews, and lived with (or alongside) Hebrews, and their scrolls,
in an environment that was often extremely hostile (Shapur Kings).

If look at the PeshittA difference to the Masoretic version of Matthew,
I would hope the CoE Peshitta OT is NOT Masoretic, and Paul Younan is firm in saying the the CoE OT was translated by the
Syriacs from the Hebrew (I don't follow those threads in detail).

Is there an extant Hebrew OT Codex from > 0 c. <= 4 c. to compare?

PS: Did Jerome say that the Gospel writers worked from the Hebrew rather
than the LXX?