Saturday, October 29, 2005


The late George Lamsa claimed to be the first person to translate the Bible into Aramaic. He was not. Two important translations of the Aramaic New Testament were made almost one hundred years before Lamsa made his translation.
In the original introduction to the King James ‘Authorized’ Version of 1611 entitled “The Translators to the Reader”, the translators noted that they had indeed consulted the Syriac or Aramaic version of the New Testament, although they did not translate directly from it. Lamsa makes it seem that he and he alone has brought the Aramaic text of the New Testament to light.
English translation of the Aramaic New Testament are available through an organization called “Light of the Word Ministries”. They have a “Parallel Version of the Aramaic Peshitta” (see ). First is the Peshitta text in Aramaic script. It is followed by the Light of the Word translation by Janet M. Magiera. Secondly, they present the translation from the Old Syriac by Agnes Lewis Smith dated 1896. This is followed by the Lamsa translation that was originally published in 1933. The Lamsa version is an untrustworthy, unscholarly and undependable so called ‘translation’. The next two translations are the Murdock and Etheridge translations respectively.
James Murdock published his translation in 1851. He used Shakespearean English. It is a good translation and is available from Gorgios Press. In column notes he uses the Western Syriac font.
The best translation from the best text that is currently available is the John Wesley Etheridge Translation that was published in 1849. He used an Eastern Aramaic text. He transliterated as many Aramaic words as he could so for some this may make it difficult to read. This illustrates the need for a new translation. The John Wesley Etheridge translation is available at This is a website, however, that makes false claims about Aramaic and I cannot recommend it. I do recommend the Murdock and Etheridge translations.
There are two other new translations I am aware of. There is the “Holy Scriptures” by Paul Younan. His translation is available at His is a interlinear Bible. This means it has the Aramaic text with the equivalent English word underneath the corresponding Aramaic. This is a useful tool.
A cult group called the Way International also has an interlinear Aramaic Bible with a Concordance with definitions of the words which are coded and numbered. It is also a very good edition but I feel uncomfortable using an edition put out by a cult group. They also produced their English translation of the Aramaic.
Joseph Pashka has also made an interlinear bible with a pronunciation key.
Victor Alexander has two translations of the Aramaic that he has made the first is entitled “The Disciple’s New Testament” the second is entitled “The Apostles New Covenant”. He belongs to the Lamsa school of thought (see
About the Aramaic Christian Heritage there are two useful sites. On is and the other is the official site of the Ancient and Apostolic Assyrian Church of the East and is Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute also has a good introduction available at


Blogger hap said...

Do you know what the word "kingdom" means in Aramaic or where I can find out?

Please email me at

Thank you

11:40 AM  

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