the Peshitta confluence with the Greek Byzantine manuscripts

Steven Avery

Major elements of Peshitta studies

Early date of Peshitta supports early date of Greek pure Bible readings - the Peshitta generally supports the Byzantine over the Alexandrian

Hortians had to try to change the date of the Peshitta from 2nd century to 4th century

Hort tried to claim a [URL="[/URL] (or two) that would also be in league with the phantom Syrian (Lucian, Byzantine Greek) recension

Burgon gave an incredible double decimation of the Hortian nonsense, ahistorical and a special classical ad hominem section as well.

Oxford Debate of 1897 focused largely on Peshitta date


(It is hard to determine definitively when the Peshitta was translated from the Greek from 150-350 AD)

The missing five books are a strong indication closer to the 2nd century.
Also the fact that the OT is thought to be quite early, perhaps 2nd century


Confluence with Greek manuscripts - 75-80% - my study using omission variants from the Magic Marker page on textualcriticism forum

Peshitta has some important corruptions (e.g. 1 Timothy 3:16, omissions in Pericope Adulterae, Acts 8:37, heavenly witnesses)

Peshitta can be said to be on a "good line" of manuscripts .. up to a point.


Aramiac primacy approach - some good points (belief in Bible, arguments support early date for Peshitta)

Five books (2-3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, Revelation) only came to the Syriac later (Philoxenian, Harklean updates)

Philoxenian, Harklean updates helped bring some more pure Greek readings into the text.

Aramaic primacy has many fundamental, conceptual errors, they really are fighting the Alexandrian corruptions, and their text is far superior to Alex.

The internal translations within the text of Aramaic and Hebrew words, explained in the Greek and Latin manuscripts, shows the text was not written in the Semitic language. Rather Greek (and Mark may have Latin elements).

The differences between the western and eastern Peshitta mss (beyond the canon issue) are relatively small


The Diatessaron Gospel harmony originally may have been Syriac, and is thought to be an early Syriac edition, 2nd century.

The two "Old Syriac" manuscripts (Curetonian, Sinaitic) are interesting junque manuscript curiosities. They are highlighted by confused textual critics in much the same way as their blindness latches on to Vaticanus veneration.

There are early Syriac writers like Ephrem and Aphraates who are studied historically and textually.

The Aramaic primacists can be helpful on the scholarship of the issues above.

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Steven Avery

Peshitta confluence with the Greek TR/Byzantine text

Facebook - New Testament Textual Criticism - Aug 30, 2015
How close is Lamsa's translation of the Peshitta to the Byzantine text?{tn:R}

Back to the OP, all Peshitta translations agree with the Byzantine text and the TR about 75%-80% against the Alexandrian-CT (Vaticanus usually) variant 20-25%. However, some of the differences are qualitatively very significant, like the Pericope Adulterae and 1 Timothy 3:16.

The Lamsa edition rarely fudges that aspect of the text, it is usually criticized for sounding more AV-like in English translation than you would expect from a clean-room translation, which is not really a variant issue. However there might be a couple of fudges.

I did a study once of about 200 significant omission variants (from the Westcott-Hort Magic Marker binge) where the Byz-TR text differs from the CT and got those pcts and posted it on the textualcriticism forum and basically got agreement.

This is an example of triangular 3-way comparisons that can have a sound comparison methodology of affinity, which is difficult with 2-way. The study checked Murdock and Etheridge, from the 3-version site given above, to be sure it was not getting a Lamsa fudge.

(I don't think the small differences in Eastern and Western Peshitta arose in the omission verses. There are differences when you get to the Harklean, so I am going to conjecture that the western text of Murdock is non-Philoxenian and non-Harklean. If I revisited the issue, I would go into this more.)


The Peshitta agrees about 75% with the TR-AV Reformation Bibles contra the Vaticanus corruptions in the Critical Text. The Vulgate is more on the 50% mark, although it lacks the really horrid corruptions like the loss of the Mark ending and the Pericope Adulterae and most of the hard errors (although it does have Gerasa for the swine marathon in three spots, still different than Vaticanus).

My numbers come from a study I did of major variants, simply using the Magic Marker omission variants and comparing the English of the Peshitta translations. And I posted it on the Textualcriticism forum as well.

[textualcriticism] Peshitta confluence with the Greek TR/Byzantine text
July, 2007
Change the last numbers to 3259, 3264, 3265 and 3270 although it is more funky now under Neo.

And I also broke it down by book, the bottom line is that the Peshitta is in the 75% TR-Byzantine plus range when compared to the Critical Text.

(Numbers are sensible when done in triangular comparisons, often such numbers are gobble-speak since methodologies in straight-line dual comparisons are so variable.)

AV defenders often put the Peshitta on the good tree line of Bibles. That is a bit of an oversimplification, since it has various significant corruptions (1 Timothy 3:16, Pericope, heavenly witnesses, etc) however it is far more sensible than Dr. Hooey.

The real studies on the Peshitta were in the early 1900s. My view is that all ideas that it is in some sense derivative of the Diaessaron or the Old Syriac are ultra-problematic. The originally missing five books is very strong evidence that it was translated from the Greek in the 2nd or 3rd century rather than the 4th, by which time the canon was far more settled.

Textual theories used to agree with an early Peshitta, this was changed because of the bogus theories of Hort, such as the Lucian recension (he also proposed a bogus Syriac recension). Hortian nonsense could not accept an early Peshitta, the text is far too Byzantine, so their trickster "solution" was to call the Peshitta late.

Thus the Metzger garble-talk. The "6th or 7th century translations" refers to the Philoxenian and Harklean revisions, which were not a factor in my studies, as Lamsa's English (actually reliable for these purposes and it can be checked with Etheridge and Murdock) was based on the earlier Peshitta. Despite the Metzger garble-talk, the early Peshittas were very Byzantine, and were likely Ante-Nicene, thus they represent a text from quite a bit before Vaticanus.

(Although to be fair, Vaticanus represents an Egyptian 3rd-century Origenic or post-Origenic gnostic-region, sloppy text, also allowing that Origen could have -- possibly -- inherited errors from earlier sloppy scribes, who skipped over thousands of words. In this type of analysis "two lines" makes some sense, but the Old Latin and Vulgate are in the middle, they are not in either the good and bad lines.)

[KJBD] Peshitta --> 75% Byzantine, over Alex
Steven Avery - Aug 20, 2006

Hi Folks,

A little study this AM.
Small changes for here.
Peshitta - Bzyantine mostly, or split even ?

The Peshitta is a lot more Bzyantine than is being acknowledged here on the (Crosswalk) forum
And it really is pretty easy to do a good fundamental check.

First take a couple of biggies, sections, and discuss them separately.
The two full sections are split...

Ending of Mark, always in Peshitta,
Pericope Adultera, generally not.
1-1 split.

We can easily check the multiple verses and phrases that are in the Byzantine Text and not in the Alexandrian. Which really is a good chunk of the significant variants.

(Yes, it would be good to augment this with about 25-50 "alternate" word choices, to see if the % is similar, where one word or phrase is replaced with another. My conjecture is that the proportion would be quite close to what we find here.)

Use the Magic Marker page of Brandon Staggs as a guide.
Would you take a magic marker to your Bible and cross out words from passages?

(and a couple of these variants could be the TR non-Majority variants, however that would help the Alex side so we will ignore that for now, since the Byz wins hands down anyway.)

Compare it to the Lamsa Peshitta (or Etheridge or Murdoch) and the numbers are very clear. I worked by hand with Lamsa, although it is on the Net, too. There were about three that were "grey" areas in about 170 variants, such as if the Peshitta reading were different from both the Byz and Alex.



Matthew 16-6 Byzantine over Alex.
Mark..... 15-3 (handling ending separately)
Luke..... 16-5 (one unclear, some are multiple on a verse)
John..... 10-1
Acts..... 13-3

GOSPELS-ACTS 70-18 80% Byzantine

Romans.. 6:4 Byzantine.
1 Cor..... 8:2
2 Cor..... 2:1
Galatians 5:1
Ephes.... 4:1
Phillip.... 1:0
Colosians 4:1
1 Thes.... 3:1
2 Thes.... 1:0
1 Timothy 1:5 (I added 1 Tim 3:16 for Alex)
2 Timothy 3:0
Titus....... 1:0
Philippians 2:0
Hebrews... 7:0
1 Peter..... 3:2
2 Peter..... 1:0
1 John...... 5:1 (Comma included - 4:19-'love God' unique, close to Byz, omitted)
Jude........ 0:1

EPISTLES 51:16 = 76% Byzantine

Revelation 7:6 = 54%

TOTAL 128:40 = 76 %

And the two sections make a small adjustment ..

General figure ..
Peshitta is 75% Byzantine to 25% Alexandrian


The TR/KJB view of this is correct,
although of course the 25% difference
should not be minimized or trivialized.


Also a related point that is in these discussions is the date of the original Peshitta translation from Greek.

(Not the date of 6th century updates .. the differences between these two (sometimes called Peshitto and Peshitta) are well known and generally do not effect our analysis .. except that we have included the five books that were not in the original translation in our analysis above).

These 75%-25% numbers are very significant even on the late date (c. 400 AD) since that is the time of a supposed Alexandrian text supremacy, per modern textcrit. If so, then why was the translation to Aramaic essentially Byzantine ?

On top of that there is a good case for the Peshitta translation being much earlier (c. 200 AD). Some have stated that the reason for moving back the dating later till the 5th century was not so much any external or historical or manuscript reasons but that the early date was discomfiting for the alexandrian Westcott-Hort 'modern scientific textual criticism'. I do not claim to be at all an expert on this question, but would love to see a fair discussion of the history and positions.

Even the later date is very discomfiting for modern version proponents who really care about the textual evidence. While the earlier date, combined with the 75% Byz figure, would be simply a death-blow to all their theories (if yet another were needed).

btw, this is the type of straight-forward study that is in a sense too easy for the textcrit scholars and professionals and seminarians. Hard to morph into a doctorate paper since you don't need theological words, years of microscopic analysis, ancient languages, and high-falutin words. :) Simple analysis, direct. And it is methodologically sound, although of course folks can always raise a couple of issues and counterpoints. Any good study can use a bit of tweaking and follow-up.


Note to KJB forum.

It would be interesting to do the same with the Vulgate, but the problem is we don't
have in English the early texts as consistently as with the Peshitta, which was quite
a uniform text. It is still doable, simply needs a little searching, checking, deciding,
maybe some extra nuance.

[textualcriticism] Peshitta confluence with the Greek TR/Byzantine text - July, 2007
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Steven Avery

Some places where the Peshitta disagrees with the Byzantine and/or the TR-AV

The Peshitta Syriac Bible has the different reading "Titus" at Acts 18:7.


John 6:11 (KJV)
And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks,
he distributed to the disciples,
and the disciples to them that were set down;
and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

Because of a likeness of ending, a line of Greek is said to be omitted from some Greek manuscripts at John 6:11, and this copying error can be found in the Peshitta Syriac Version. Thus, at John 6:11 the Lamsa Bible and Glenn David Bauscher’s translation of the Peshitta have Jesus distributing the bread to the multitude rather than to the disciples who distribute it to the multitude.

This is a blunder that could be added to the Magic Marker


At Luke 8:12, Murdock’s New Testament, the Lamsa Bible, and the Peshitta as translated by Glenn David Bauscher have "the enemy" where the KJV has "the devil."


Bob Ross cited John Gill as noting: "The Syriac version here [John 1:18] renders it, 'the only begotten God'" (Trinity and the Eternal Sonship of Christ, p. 257). The Lamsa Bible has "firstborn of God" at John 1:18 while Murdock's translation and Bauscher’s translation of the Syriac have "the only begotten God."


Murdock, Lamsa, and Bauscher have "Isaiah the prophet" at Mark 1:2 instead of “the prophets.”


At John 1:28, Murdock, Lamsa, and Bauscher have “Bethany” instead of “Bethabara.”


Murdock has “a certain Jew,” Lamsa has “a Jew,” and Bauscher has “a certain Judean” instead of “the Jews” at John 3:25.


Murdock’s has “Joseph of Ramath” at John 19:38 instead of “Joseph of Arimathaea.”
Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ Ἁριμαθαίας

John 19:38 (KJV)
And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.


At Matthew 11:19, Lamsa and Bauscher have “justified by its works” where the KJV has “justified of her children.”


At Luke 7:35, Lamsa and Bauscher have “justified by all its works” where the KJV has “justified by all her children.”


Murdock’s and Lamsa have “gospel of God” at Acts 12:24 where the KJV has “word of God.”


Murdock’s and Lamsa have “Barnabas” at Acts 13:13 where the KJV has “his company.”


Murdock’s, Lamsa’s, and Bauscher’s translations of the Peshitta have “the day of our Lord” instead of “the Lord’s supper” at 1 Corinthians 11:20.


Murdock’s has “Cephas” instead of “Peter” at Galatians 1:18.


Instead of “bishops” at Philippians 1:1, Murdock, Lamsa, and Bauscher have “elders.”


At Revelation 1:8, Murdock and Lamsa have “the Lord God” where the KJV has “the Lord.” Murdock has “O Lord our God, the Holy,”


Lamsa has “O our Holy Lord and God,” and Bauscher has “Our Lord and Our God” at Revelation 4:11 where the KJV has “O Lord.”


Murdock, Lamsa, and Bauscher have "eagle" at Revelation 8:13 instead of "angel."


At Revelation 14:4, Murdock and Lamsa have “redeemed by Jesus” where the KJV has “redeemed.”


These three English translations of the Peshitta Syriac Bible have “tree of life” instead of “book of life” at Revelation 22:19.


Along with other differences, there are also several other omissions besides the whole verses listed earlier and some additions in the Peshitta when compared to the KJV.


At Matthew 27:9, Murdock’s, Lamsa’s, and Bauscher’s translations omit “Jeremy.”


As translated into English, the Peshitta does not have "God" at Mark 12:32,


and it does not have the last half of Matthew 27:35.


Two phrases [“by them of old time”] are omitted at Matthew 5:27. At Matthew 25:13, a clause [“wherein the Son of man cometh”] is omitted. Another clause [“as they went to tell his disciples”] is missing at Matthew 28:9. Several words [“into the fire that never shall be quenched”] are omitted at Mark 9:45. At Mark 11:20, Murdock’s and Lamsa omitted two phrases [“in the name of the Lord“]. The first half of Acts 9:6 is omitted. At Acts 28:16, several words [“delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard”] are omitted. One commandment [“thou shalt not bear false witness”] is omitted at Romans 13:9. At Colossians 1:14, a phrase “through his blood”] is not found. Several words [“I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last”] are missing at Revelation 1:11. The clause “which are in Asia” is also omitted at Revelation 1:11. The phrase “unto me” or “to me” after “saying” at Revelation 1:17 is not found in the Peshitta.

In some verses, English translations of the Peshitta may have additional words such as “the river” at Matthew 3:6, “it is I; be not afraid“ or “do not be afraid“ at Luke 24:36, “in Hebrew“ at John 20:16, “over Egypt” at Acts 7:18, “surnamed Agrippa“ at Acts 12:1, “to Antioch“ at Acts 12:25, “of the Lord” at Acts 14:25, “of Jesus“ at Acts 16:7, “in him“ at Romans 3:22, “the son of Nun” at Hebrews 4:8, and “a third part of the earth was burnt up” at Revelation 8:7.


Matthew 28:18 (KJV)
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

At Matthew 28:18, the Peshitta Syriac added the following words as translated in the Lamsa Bible: "just as my Father has sent me I am also sending you."


At Acts 14:10, the Lamsa Bible has the phrase "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" which is not found there in the KJV.


At Matthew 10:8, the Lamsa Bible and Bauscher’s translation do not have "raise the dead," which is also not found in the Greek Majority Text. Murdock’s has “raise the dead” in brackets with a marginal note that stated “omitted in most copies.” In Edward Miller's Textual Commentary, the Peshitta, Sahidic, Armenian, and Ethiopic versions are listed as not having this clause along with many Greek manuscripts (p. 75). Edward F. Hills listed this clause "raise the dead" in his list of readings where Erasmus followed the Latin Vulgate, and he also noted that this clause "is omitted by the majority of Greek manuscripts" (KJV Defended, p. 200).


Steven Avery

Full Verses

Ending of Mark
Pericope Adulterae

Matthew 17:21
seems to be in original Peshitta
Matthew 17:21 (AV)
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Matthew 18:11
yes in original Peshitta
Matthew 18:11 (AV)
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

Matthew 23:14
not sure

Mark 7:16
Mark 7:16 (AV)
If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Mark 9:44
Mark 9:44 (AV)
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:46
Mark 9:46 (AV)
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 15:28
Mark 15:28 (AV)
And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

Luke 17:36
Luke 17:36 (KJV)
Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Luke 23:17
Luke 23:17 (AV)
(For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

Luke 24:40 - western non-interp
Luke 24:40 (AV)
And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

John 5:3-4
John 5:3-4 (AV)
In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

Acts 8:37

Acts 9:5-6

Acts 24:6-8
maybe no

Acts 28:29
no Harklean
Acts 28:29 (KJV) And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.

Romans 16:24
yes sort of

1 John 5:7


Luke 22:17-18 (KJV)
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

Scrivener observed that the first printed edition (1555) of the Peshitta by Albert Widmanstadt was "apparently based on manuscript authority alone" and that it did not contain the second epistle of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, Jude, Revelation, John 7:53-8:11, Luke 22:17-18, and doubtful clauses in Matthew 27:35, Acts 8:37, 15:34, 28:29, and 1 John 5:7-8 (Plain Introduction, II, pp. 8-9). Scrivener again asserted that Acts 15:34 “is wanting [lacking] in the Peshitto (only that Tremellius and Gutbier between them thrust their own version into the text)” (Ibid., p. 373).
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Steven Avery

Christopher Yetzer charg
John 7:53-8:11 *
Acts 8:37, *
Acts 15:34, *
Acts 28:29, *
1 John 5:7, *

Luke 22:17-18,
Matthew 27:35,

Terry Falla wrote: "Though given in printed editions, these passages [Luke 22:17-18, John 7:53-8:11] are wanting [lacking] in all MSS. of the Peshitta, and so far as now known, were not originally included in that version" (A Key to the Peshitta Gospels, pp. xix-xx). In the second appendix of a reprint of Murdock's translation, Isaac Hall maintained that none of the manuscripts of the Peshitta "contain the story of the adulteress, John 7:53 to 8:11, nor the text of the three Heavenly Witnesses, 1 John 5:7, nor Luke 22:17, 18" (p. 495).

Scrivener observed that the first printed edition (1555) of the Peshitta by Albert Widmanstadt was "apparently based on manuscript authority alone" and that it did not contain the second epistle of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, Jude, Revelation, John 7:53-8:11, Luke 22:17-18, and doubtful clauses in Matthew 27:35, Acts 8:37, 15:34, 28:29, and 1 John 5:7-8 (Plain Introduction, II, pp. 8-9). Scrivener again asserted that Acts 15:34 “is wanting [lacking] in the Peshitto (only that Tremellius and Gutbier between them thrust their own version into the text)” (Ibid., p. 373).
Some later printed editions of the Peshitta added or interpolated some of the verses and clauses that are not found in any of the existing manuscripts of the Peshitta.


Steven, above you write that:
> (It is hard to determine definitively when the Peshitta was translated from the Greek from 150-350 AD)

What do you base the idea that the PeshittA was definitively translated from the Greek, on? The Holy Aramaic Church of the East has a tradition that the the Gospels in Aramaic made it eastward much earlier than that, even directly from the apostles. By one tradition it came from
Thomas around 56AD and another holds that it came a little later. And I'll dig up the reference to an Aramaic/Hebrew Gospel being in India in 180AD, and you point out some of its early roots in

But the question remains: Was the New Testament Really Written in Greek?
Have you seen:

I find it convincing, and add to it my KJV favourite: Philemon 7.


I think you could choose better examplars of the PeshittA.

I wouldn't use Bauscher for anything - he makes clear that it is more of an interpretation than a translation.

Murdoch is a PeshittO not a PeshittA. John Wesley Etheridge is primarily The PeshittA except for a very few changes like Hebrews 2:9.

Lamsa's is good but he willingly took personal liberties. It was good when it came out, but I feel that there is better now.

I want an Eastern PeshittA if it is to be free from Western/Roman corruption.
My choice is I have a version that puts the english into the primary text, and relegates the transliterated Aramaic to footnotes.

Below are the stats on how often an English translation or text goes with
The Eastern Peshitta vs The Western Peshitto from

The Khabouris Text:
Eastern Peshitta readings = 29 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 0

The Aramaic Scriptures Translation: Eastern Peshitta: = 29 vs Western Peshitto = 0

John Etheridge: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 25 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 4

Andrew Roth: Eastern Peshitta readings = 25 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 4

Lonnie Martin: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 21 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 8

Victor Alexander: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 20 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 9

George Lamsa: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 19 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 10

James Murdock: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 18 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 11

Kiraz’s Antioch Bible: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 8 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 21

The Way Translation: Eastern Peshitta readings = 7 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 22

Janet Magiera: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 7 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 22

David Bauscher: Eastern Peshitta readings: = *1 vs Western Peshitto readings: = *29

The BFBS/UBS Text:
Eastern Peshitta readings = 0 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 29

Herb Jahn: Eastern Peshitta readings: = 0 vs Western Peshitto readings: = 29
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Steven Avery

I wouldn't use Bauscher for anything - he makes clear that it is more of an interpretation than a translation.

I want an Eastern PeshittA if it is to be free from Western/Roman corruption.
My choice is I have a version that puts the english into the primary text, and relegates the transliterated Aramaic to footnotes.

The Aramaic Scriptures Translation: Eastern Peshitta: = 29 vs Western Peshitto = 0

Hi Ebion,

Those urls are not going anywhere.


Hi Ebion,

Those urls are not going anywhere.

Sorry, there was a cut-n-paste error with the first url - the part I wanted was:

At least David Bauscher, whose website called, (nearly identical in name as yours), has a certain hybrid version of the actual Aramaic New Testament, albeit a heavily influenced one by the Greek NT text. His isn't The Aramaic New Testament i.e. The Peshitta either, but a version of it, with added books, and interpolated verses translated from the Greek text.​

David Bauscher says he is using

Codex Ambrosianus, the world’s oldest complete Semitic Bible manuscript (6th century AD), is the basis for the Old Testament translation.​

I don't know that Codex.

I can't seem to find anyone who has pinned him down on what NT base he is using.

Sorry, I'm having trouble with the url too unless through a proxy; works at this url:

I have a few small corrections to it but very minor (my scales). Paul Younan liked it, but no one seems to know exactly is behind it or what texts they are using, although they're clearly Eastern.

In a version with the Aramaic transliteration recast as footnotes, it reads very well.