Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation
Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation is a new translation of the New Testament into English that is based on the Gwilliam text. This translation includes explanatory footnotes marking variant readings from the Old Syriac, Eastern text, and other Peshitta manuscripts. Other footnotes provide cultural understanding and a system of abbreviations that mark idioms and figures of speech so that they are easily recognizable. The translation is as literal as possible, but with readable English, giving the flavor and rhythm of Eastern language. Aramaic is the language of the first century and the Peshitta is the earliest complete manuscript of the New Testament.
About the Author
Janet M. Magiera has been studying the Peshitta for over 35 years and has developed an entire database of the New Testament, which includes an interlinear, concordance, parallel translations, and lexicon, as well as the Light of the Word Ministry translation. Her database is currently being published with BibleWorks software. Magiera is an ordained minister and has been teaching Bible studies and classes throughout the country.
A Valuable New Testament Resource
First of all, I am aware of the limitations of one person translations and first editions. With that said Magiera's book seems to be well along the evolutionary path with minimal typos. The book is of good quality print and binding. As a result, for this early review which includes spot checking of the text and notes, a 4 star rating is possible.
Magiera has started with a critical western text of the Peshitta. She has produced a translation that reads comparably to the word literal Greek translations like the NASB, ESV, and NKJV. There is some slight awkwardness in some verses which is what one would expect in this case. Overall the reading is straightforward and easy to follow with chapters and verses clearly delineated. Where additions are needed to have readable English, the additions are visible. I found some words that are translated differently from what I expected based on other Peshitta translations and interlinears (e.g. Younan). But this does not seem to be a case of trying to develop and justify some aberrant theology. Magiera successfully eliminates the quirkiness of the Lamsa Bible and the earlier translations which forced a translation to read like the KJV.
What makes Magiera's book stand out positively for me is the wide use of text notes to cover manuscript and translation variations. Variants in the eastern and western texts, the Old Syriac Gospels, and even a few of the Greek-Aramaic challenges are covered. This has the potential to greater simplify the need for multiple Aramaic-English resources. Many idioms are noted and explained. I spot-checked some items from Burkitt's and Lewis' versions of Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe and Magiera seems to have covered key Old Syriac differences. The interesting variations with the Greek text such as Ro 5:7 and Matt 5:12+ are visible in Magiera's version. I am very hopeful with Magiera's book that routine use of Murdock, Etheridge, Lamsa (Lamsa and Mahar), and Burkitt can be avoided.
Magiera does state that she believes the Gospels and likely Paul's letters were originally written in Aramaic. Don't let this scare you off. She is not pushing Aramaic primacy at the expense of reason. Don't dwell on the history lesson in the Introduction, but review the translation and grammar aids and jump into the text. I hope further study will continue to justify the high rating for this publication and for the followup software tools. Magiera's book is a pleasant surprise so far.
A Refreshing English New Testament from the Aramaic.
In the Introduction of "The Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation" Janet Magiera details her objective for this book.
That objective is to promote further understanding of the message of the New Testament through understanding the language of Jesus, it's idioms, and figures of speech.
I think that she succeeded for the most part.
This translation is refreshing and makes many passages more clear. She uses the generic titles (God and Lord) and the name Jesus Christ instead of the Aramaic or Hebrew names. I understand that this translation is viewing Christians as the prospective audience.
She provides an educational brief history of the Aramaic language.
The Idiom chart has four columns: English-Aramaic-literal translation-Scripture example.
The differences in the Eastern and Western Peshittas are described also. This translation includes the 27 New Testament books.
Appendix 1 has Figures of Speech in five categories. Appendix 2 has money, weights, & Measures. There is also a Bibliography. The text has loads of footnotes. A great example is the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.
Some of the renderings of note:
Matthew 6:13 has "and do not let us enter into trial" rather than "lead us not into temptation" which contradicts James 1:13.
Rev.1:10 is one passage that may be questionable. The subject is the "Lord's day". The translator has it meaning a day of the week where it alternately can be the day of judgment. Was it referring to the event that John saw or the day that he saw it?
I prefer this Peshitta New Testament Translation over Lamsa's. The charts and other additional information are both helpful and educational.
Very readable and consistent
This translation is exceptionally readable and consistent. I have been a student and a teacher of God's Word for over 30 years, and this translation receives very high marks in its scholarship and consistency. Certainly, no one translation may be properly rendered as the "God-breathed" Word; however, this work merits attention in its presentation of the Word of truth. The beauty of the flow from Aramaic to English gives the reader the sense of the original language with its nuances, which the KJV and other translations from Greek lack.
There have been several translations of verses that clarified what was quite unclear from Greek translations for me. Although there is the continued argument over which came first, Greek or Aramaic, this work gives us a very clear understanding of the Aramaic texts and God's original intent as He spoke His Word.
I highly recommend this translation to any student of God's Word.