The Lord’s Prayer, Aramaic Peshitta version

I’m doing a wedding for a couple in two months and they requested a different version of the Lord’s Prayer than I’ve seen before. The footnote states that it is “adapted from a literal translation of Matthew 6:9-13 from the Aramaic Peshitta text.” Check it out:

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Our Creator who is everywhere, let Your name be set apart,
Your spirit come. Let Your desire be, as in the universe, also on earth.
Provide us our needful bread from day to day
and free us from our offenses, as also we have freed our offenders.
And do not let us enter into temptation, but separate us from error.
For to You belong the kingdom, the power, and the song and praise, from all ages throughout the ages. Amen.

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Thoughts?

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Comments

  1. James F. McGrath says

    I've seen worse, but it is not a straightforward translation of the Peshitta, or any other Aramaic version of the Lord's Prayer for that matter.

    The Aramaic Blog gives examples of worse "translations" as well as a transliteration and translation that you may find useful.

  2. Paul Anthony Preussler says

    I am a huge enthusiast of Syriac Christianity; I have substantial contacts in both the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East; as they use languages derived from Classical Aramaic, not dissimilar to that spoken by our Lord, I believe they are of unique value to Christianity. They have also been horribly persecuted, now and in the past; on two separate occasions, 50 to 95% of Church of the East laity were martyred (in the 14th century under Tamerlane, and again in the Turkish genocide of 1915); likewise, the Syriac Orthodox church lost around 95% of its laity in 1915, along with several other Christian communities in Turkey who were similarly persecuted (I believe the Armenians, who are in communion with the Syriac Orthodox, suffered the highest body count, but they also represented the largest Christian population in Turkey at that time; the Syriacs and Assyrians from what I understand lost a much larger percentage of their total population).

    However, I can definitively assure both the author of this blog and any interested reader that the aforementioned quotation does not accurately represent the Peshitta. Here is the same passage from the oldest Peshitta translation, the Etheridge Bible:
    Our Father who art in the heavens! be sanctified thy Name. Come thy kingdom. Be done thy will, as in heaven, also in earth. Give to us the bread of our need to-day; and forgive us our debts, as also we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory to the age of ages. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Father who is in heaven will forgive you also. But if you will not forgive men, your Father also forgiveth not your trespasses unto you.

    Here is the same passage, from the Murdock Bible (a translation of the Western Peshitto, as used in the Syriac Orthodox Church; basically the Peshitta but with Revelation and the Catholic Epistles; also my personal favorite NT translation):
    In this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done; as in heaven, so on earth: Give us our needful bread, this day: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors: And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever: Amen.

    Here is the same passage from the critically acclaimed contemporary Lamsa translation:
    Therefore pray in this manner: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven so on earth.Give us bread for our needs from day to day. And forgive us our offences, as we have forgiven our offenders; And do not let us enter into temptation, but deliver us from error. Because thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    Now, some additional points should be made regarding the Peshitta:
    1. The Classical Aramaic text lacks versification. Rather, it is divided into pericopes, arranged sequentially according to the Lectionary in a Gospel Book, which is venerated as an icon in the Syriac Orthodox church. In the Assyrian Church of the East, the priest uses his knowledge of the text to inform the congregation as to the verse number, and then as he reads it silently, translates it in real time to the modern East Syriac dialect spoken by ethnic Assyrians, which is sufficiently different from classical Aramaic so as to not be mutually intelligible.
    2. The Peshitta New Testament is not substantially different from the Majority Text; it has more in common with the King James Version, than the KJV has in common with the New International Version or other modern “critical texts.”
    3. Where the Peshitta diverges from the Majority Text, it tends to do so in a manner that favors a conservative, Orthodox interpretation. Consider this text from Matthew (chapter 8, verse 6), often cited by the homosexual lobby as evidence of Jesus blessing a gay couple:
    “And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.”

    In the Peshitta, on the other hand, the text reads as follows:
    Murdock:and said: My Lord, my child lieth at home an is paralytic, and badly afflicted.
    Lamsa: Saying, My Lord, my boy is lying in the house, paralyzed, and suffering greatly.

    This translation accords with Church Tradition which states that that passage referred to the son of the Centurion. Although this reading is slightly at odds with a similiar passage in Luke which is interpreted the other way, it is nonetheless interesting to note how the Peshitta tends at all times to affirm orthodoxy. I believe the Peshitta is particularly valuable, because it was produced in the fourth century before the Chalcedonian schism, before the NT canon itself had been finalized (hence its omission of Revelations and the Pastoral Epistles, which the Syriac Orthodox translated at a later date); the Syriac fathers translated it to replace the deeply flawed gospel harmony known as the Diatesseron (ascribed to the second century Syriac theologian Tatian), which the Greek fathers of that time concluded was heretical. Whereas the Greek texts developed organically, the Peshitta, in my mind, represents a “snapshot” of the New Testament as the fourth century Church understood it. Thus, it is invaluable as a proof text for any scriptural analysis.

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