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John Reece
03-13-2014, 01:34 PM
This is a non-debate thread.

I request that no Kabbalah be posted in this thread

Note to anyone who may wish to challenge anything posted in this thread: please start a new thread for that purpose.

John Reece
04-24-2014, 08:55 AM
A reference note by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey) in The Apocalypse of John prompted me to have my wife search the house for the long-lost article by Torrey titled "The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church" ― completed in 1952 and published in 1953 in the German theological journal Zeitschrift fr die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw) ― that the library of my alma mater, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, had photocopied for me many years ago. Having retrieved said photocopied article, I would like to share a series of excerpts from it:


In the present writer's "Documents of the Primitive Church", 1941 (now out of print), especial emphasis was laid on the earliest stage of Christian history, extending approximately from the year 30 to the year 80. It was the purpose to throw light on certain features of this most important period, features which in modern times have been neglected and now are generally ignored. Here, it is said, is a phase of early Church history which has remained almost completely unseen, a condition of far-reaching importance which has not been taken into account by those who have dealt with Christian origins.

The reasons for this are not difficult to see. New evidence, long hidden, has been slowly coming to light, and has not been duly noticed. There has been, and continues to be, profound ignorance of the use of the Aramaic language, of the Old Testament teaching in regard to the Messiah, and the Jewish doctrine of inspired scripture (termed "prophecy").

To be continued...

John Reece
04-25-2014, 09:44 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The historical sketch here presented is called forth by the recent discovery of an ancient Christian document which may be called epoch-making. It is a formal record from the first century which shows that the Church in the first stage of its existence had an official language, that the language was Aramaic, and that some acquaintance with it was officially prescribed for the Greek churches. All this had been conjectured, and the substance of it demonstrated, some years ago, on the basis of evidence obtained from the New Testament writings. The formal corroboration is now very welcome, and is of the highest importance.

A brief description of the document and an account of its discovery will be given presently. These matters have already been set forth in extenso and given excellent publication in German in the "Theologische Literaturzeitung", 1952, Nr. 4, 250-254, where a letter sent by the present writer to a few scholars announcing the discovery is translated, annotated, and supplemented by Professor Eissfeldt of the University of Halle. First, however, some features of the historical situation in which the Church began to take shape have need to be made plain or given emphasis.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-26-2014, 08:25 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The Christian Church began in Palestine. In its first stage, which covered at least a full generation, it was thoroughly Palestinian. Its center was in Jerusalem, the city of David, the city chosen by Yahweh, promised to be the center and head of the entire religious world.

The Church was founded on the Messianic faith, a noble conception* of religious history, but one of which the Gentiles knew nothing. It was based on the promise of a divine leader and restorer of the Jewish people. Those who first hailed Jesus of Nazareth as the long-promised Messiah, the Son of God as well as Son of David, were Hebrews of the holy land. The written records which make known the events and conditions out of which the Church came into being are also Palestinian. The atmosphere of the Gospels is utterly Semitic and Jewish; this is not merely in point of language**, but even more plainly in the mental attitude and the basic religious conceptions***. This is true also of the document (originally Aramaic, see Moore, Judaism (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) [scroll down link to read review -JR], I, 189) which constitutes the first half of the book of Acts, namely 1:1―15:35; also of that most outspoken of mysteries, the Revelation of John, which was written and published in Aramaic in the year 68****.

*Conceived and developed by Second Isaiah (c. 400 B. C.). "There was a definite time when a new picture of the future was drawn for Israel, a mighty portrayal which profoundly influenced all the subsequent literature, and was accepted by the people. Its central feature is the triumph and beneficent reign of a superhuman king, whose kindly authority will be world-wide. Here for the first time the national hope was given a definite religious content, universal application, and enduring literary form." ("Our Translated Gospels (https://archive.org/details/OurTranslatedGospelsCCTorrey)", Introduction, p. xxix.)
**This matter of the original language or languages of the Gospel material will be given attention in the sequel.
***A noted British scholar, expert in Gospel criticism and also a Semitist, has characterized the Synoptic Gospels as follows: "So far as the thought and mental atmosphere of the subject matter are concerned, Greek influence is simply nonexistent. The main ideas all have their explanation and illustration from contemporary Judaism. . . . All these are Jewish ideas, utterly foreign to the native thought of the Graeco-Roman world." (F. C. Burkitt, Earliest Sources for the Life of Jesus (https://archive.org/details/earliestsourcesf00burkuoft), New York, 1922, p. 29f.)
****The date is provided by the book itself, in 17:10 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+17%3A9-10&version=NRSV). The original language is demonstrated in my "Documents of the Primitive Church" (1941), Chapter V.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-27-2014, 07:57 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The followers of Jesus, known as the "Nazarenes"*, regarded themselves as the rightful heirs of the promises made to the children of Abraham and Israel. They had no thought of turning aside from the faith of their fathers, nor any intention of standing outside the Jewish fellowship; they were loyal Jews, and jealous of their right. They worshipped in the temple and in the synagogues like the others; they had no new Messianic doctrine, that which was new was the person. Moore, Judaism (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) [read review at bottom of link -JR], I, 90, terms them "a conventicle within the synagogue rather than a sect."

Up to the year 70, at least, the true home of the Church** was Palestine. There was but one chosen people, one sacred land, one supremely holy city. The center of the Church's authority was in Jerusalem, as is well illustrated in the fifteenth chapter of Acts. Its members were Jews, at least in name (see below). They felt sure of their ground, and doubted not that the multitudes of Israel, near and far, would soon be confounded by the return of the Nazarene Messiah in the clouds of heaven. The unbelieving ("orthodox") multitude, on the other hand, were not yet convinced that the prophet of Nazareth (Mt 21:46) was really the Messiah. They were content to take the advice of their leaders and wait for more cogent evidence.

*So they called themselves, and this was the name regularly used; thus, in Acts 24:5 "the sect of the Nazarenes", ἡ τῶν Ναζωραίων αἵρεσις. The name "Christians," first given to them in Antioch (Acts 11:26). was "probably given them by outsiders who took Christos for a proper name"; Moore, Judaism (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869), III, 69.
**"Church" presumably ʿēdhā, ʿēdhtā, throughout this period of its history. This is the regular term in Syriac; suggested also by the use of the word in Hebrew, early and late.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-28-2014, 09:18 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


Such evidence, indeed, was now due to appear, for there was a literary test which could not be long delayed. The appearance on earth of the Messiah signified the return of the Holy Spirit to the chosen people and the renewal of prophecy ― a phrase of deep meaning. It was the received doctrine that all the books of the Bible were written by prophets, that is, by men who had the holy spirit. "In Judaism the holy spirit is specifically the spirit of prophecy" (Moore (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) [excellent review at bottom of page -JR], I, 237, 421); "The notion of inspired scripture thus grew naturally out of the nature of prophecy" (ibid., p. 238). Prophecy had ceased in the Persian period, but not forever*. The Nazarenes laid stress on this doctrine: even though the Spirit had departed from Israel many years ago, it had now come back, and it rested upon the prophets and apostles who proclaimed the Messiah (ibid., p. 244).

*See I Macc 4:46; 9:27; 14:41; and Ps 74:9.

A significant feature of the new age, then, would be its literature; inspired writings, in which the voice of the spirit of prophecy would again be heard in Israel. The nature of this literature none could foresee, beyond the essentials: homage to the Anointed One, and rehearsal of the promises made to the fathers. The language of the new scriptures must be one or both of the two sacred tongues, Hebrew and Aramaic; no other could be thought of in Jewish Palestine.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-29-2014, 08:51 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The literary output of the Nazarenes ― their announcement of the new era, the presentation of the Messiah, the triumphant appeal to the prophets ― all this was in the vernacular Aramaic. It could not possibly be otherwise. They had the imperative duty of persuading their own people, and above all, of making the truth clear to the common multitude. The language to be used could only be that of Jewish Palestine; not a dialect (cf. Moore, Judaism (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) [excellent review at bottom of link -JR], I, 184, note 3), though traces of dialects (Judean, Galilean) appear here and there, but the same literary language which for centuries had been familiar in much of western Asia.

At the time when the followers of the Galilean Messiah were putting forth these documents of the day which had already dawned, the Jewish authorities were perfecting a most important new variety of Hebrew, a scholastic idiom which henceforth held an undisputed place in all the Jewish religious literature. It is characterized admirably and concisely by Moore, in his treatment of the Tannaitic literature, see Judaism (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) I, 99f. It so happened, then, that the Christians and their writings, in which rabbinical Hebrew had no place, were associated in thought with the diction and idioms of religious Aramaic; a language which the teachers had now discarded in their own religious writings, employing it only for popular anecdotes and the like.

To be continued...

John Reece
04-30-2014, 08:33 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


However accidental the association of literary Aramaic with the Christian party may originally have been, it evidently was recognized as a familiar fact. Moreover, the early Christian writings aimed to imitate the language of the Hebrew Bible, thus lessening the gap between the old scriptures and the new. In the Aramaic-Greek of the Gospels there appear constantly idioms, borrowed from the Hebrew Bible, such as would never appear either in the Targums or in rabbinical Hebrew*. The Jewish authorities, on the contrary, sought to keep the Biblical diction unique, thus making the gap as wide as possible between the divine oracles and all later writings. The contrast is striking and very significant. The Aramaic of the Nazarenes was not in favor of the Jewish doctors**.

*See "Our Translated Gospels", pp. 68-70, where this matter is discussed and examples of the idioms are given.
**What connections, if any, this may have had with the late-appearing doctrine that the angels "know no Aramaic" (in spite of Dan 4:10ff.) is a matter for conjecture. On this subject see Moore (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) [see excellent review at bottom of page], III, Notes 83, 84, and 178.

The Nazarenes claimed inspiration for their Scriptures Moore, Judaism (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869), I, 244), which must then have been either Hebrew or Aramaic. Moore (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) recognizes as originally Aramaic "the primitive Gospel and the first part* of Acts" (I, 189). In these documents, at least, the Spirit would be speaking again to Israel. They are definitely Messianic literature, and this fact also would rank them as "prophecy" (see above). Whatever Moore's phrase "primitive Gospel" may have been intended to mean, the fact is assured that four Greek Gospels, as they stand, are close renderings of Aramaic originals**. No one of these documents, be it noted, makes formal claim to rank as "prophecy", nor shows any consciousness of belonging to sacred literature.

*That is, Acts 1:1-15:35. See my "Composition and Date of Acts", 1916).
**The Four Gospels, 267-269; id., second (revised) edition, ix f.; "Our Translated Gospels", liv-lx, 159-162; Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol, XLII, 237-250; etc. Detailed proof, far beyond requirement, has been furnished for each of the Four Gospels.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-01-2014, 02:14 PM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


In only one Christian writing of the Aramaic period, known to us, is the claim of divine inspiration formally made. This is the New Testament Apocalypse, the Revelation of John; and in the writing itself the claim is definitely and repeatedly presented. The Holy Spirit, the writer insists, has returned to Israel. It has now brought a revelation for all the Christians, telling them what is soon to take place; also special messages to seven* of the Greek churches of Asia, where encouragement is especially needed (see below).

John is a prophet; he and his brothers of the new era** continue the line which began with Moses and was broken off with Malachi. See Rev 19:10; 22:8, 9. The special mode of inspiration pictured in Hes 2:8―3:3 is effective also in Rev 10:8-11. The testimony to Jesus (1:2, 9) is "the spirit of prophecy" (19:10; 22:6). This book is expressly called prophecy (προφητεία, translating נְבוּאָה), both at the beginning (1:3) and at the end (22:7, 10, 18, 19), where the phrase "the words of the prophecy of this book" is repeatedly employed. There are still other indications, subtile but effective, tending to support the claim of divine relevance.***


*The sacred number, which plays an extraordinary role all through this book of Revelation. These seven are chosen as representative.
**It cannot be held as certain that the phrase 'who hold the testimony of Jesus' (19:10) had in mind the Nazarene writings (were not the Hebrew prophets believed to have testified to Jesus?, but it is the most natural supposition.
***See my "Documents", page 150.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-02-2014, 09:39 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The Apocalypse, indeed, is a document of unique importance for the history of the earliest period ― the Aramaic period ― of the Christian Church. It is still the Palestinian Church, with its center in Jerusalem. We know the date, the year 68, for the book itself tells us that it was written in the reign of the sixth Roman emperor, Galba*; see chapter 17, verse 10. The original language of the book, Aramaic, is mirrored in the most extraordinary Greek that was ever written. The mutual relations of Jews and Gentiles in a common faith and a common ecclesiastical organization, shortly before the catastrophe of the year 70, are here shown in a distinct framework which could hardly have been conjectured.

This is a record of the time, postulated by Moore (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) [scroll down to see reviews] (see above), when the Nazarenes were "a conventicle within the synagogue rather than a sect". They were loyal Jews, eager to maintain the traditions of Judaism, and holding fast to the Hebrew Bible, the God-given books. Like their brethren who did not accept the Nazarene Messiah, they were intensely conscious of race and religion. There was one God only, the Lord of all the world; he was the God of Israel and of no other people**. The Gentiles were accepted, and welcomed, as converts to the Israelite faith. So it had always been.

The Christian Church is here shown as definitely Jewish throughout. It nucleus is made up from the twelve tribes of Israel (7:3-8). Its membership includes only those who by birth or adoption belong to God's people Israel***; while in 2:9 and 3:9 the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia are warned against certain pretenders who claim to be Jews but are not.


*According to the calculation attested elsewhere in the book. For full details regarding the questions of language and date, see my "Documents", pages 165ff., 225ff., 239ff.
**See especially Moore (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869), Judaism, Vol III, N 108.
***"Adoption" including both those who were proselytes in the fullest sense and also the multitude for whom provision is made in the fifteenth chapter of Acts.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-03-2014, 09:32 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


Two important facts stand out clearly in the first three chapters of this Apocalypse: the paramount authority of the Palestinian Church, and the insistence on the Church's own language. The Jewish-Christian congregations in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, and the other cities of the Gentile world recognized a sacred land and an Apostolic tradition. Up to this time, the church in Jerusalem had been the head to which they all looked up with special reverence. The situation is concisely described in Acts 16:4, in the account of the missionary journey of Paul and Silas: "As they went their way through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees . . . of the apostles and elders that were in Jerusalem". It was the Spirit whose presence was especially felt in Jerusalem (Acts 15:28) who sent his messages to the seven churches.

It was in the domain of language, however, that the book of Revelation makes its chief contribution to the history of the Church. The discovery that the Letters to the seven Greek churches were written in Aramaic, rather than Greek, showed that at this time, two years before the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans, it was well understood that the language of the Christian Church was Aramaic; this is so definitely the case, that it could even be employed for a formal letter addressed to seven Greek churches.

Without the evidence which is now before us, no modern scholar could have imagined such a condition of things. On the matter of the "official language" of the Church, see below.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-04-2014, 09:03 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


There is a sound of triumph throughout the book. The Nazarenes have made great gains, and they begin to see victory ahead. The importance of the Greek churches is keenly felt in Palestine. In point of numbers, indeed, they are a minor group; moreover, it is plain from the messages addressed to them that these Greek congregations were finding the time of waiting long. It had been the firm belief of the Jewish-Christian multitude that the return to earth of Jesus the Messiah would not be delayed; there were reports of specific promises, such as we see, for example, in Mark 13:30; but a whole generation had passed on, with still no sign of the great day! These steadfast brethren on the outskirts are now given a word of encouragement: "To him that overcometh", etc.

It is to be added here, that the book's own self-dating in the reign of the Roman emperor Galba (which means in the year 68, see above) is confirmed by its contents. The overwhelming catastrophe of the year 70 is still in the future. The Christians are not scattered abroad; the language of the Palestinian Church is still Aramaic; the worship at the temple in Jerusalem is going as usual (11:1f.); the people of Palestine are still in terror of Nero (Nero redivivus): did he not recover from the sword-thrust of the assassin? (13:3, 12, 14-18; 17:8-11). The story is so recent that it is never doubted (13:14)!

It was about this time that the Jewish authorities took official notice of the Nazarene Scriptures, in a formal pronouncement which by good fortune has been preserved. The date of the document is the first century, and it can easily be shown that it is earlier than the destruction of the temple by the Romans. There is a specific mention of the "Gospels" (gilyōnīm)*; other "books of the heretics" are included in the ruling, but only in this definite phrase.


*Gilyōn was the customary abbreviation of a malicious pun on the Greek word for "gospel", ewangelion, of which the first half was interpreted as the Hebrew awen, "nothingness, vanity", the second half made to mean either "tablet" (Jes 8:1) or "blank margin" (of a scroll). See the quotation from Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Jochanan in Shabbath 116a, where two forms of the pun are given.

The Nazarenes' own word for "gospel" can only have been besōrā, "good tidings", a title which their opponents would have ridiculed.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-05-2014, 08:42 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


In the early rabbinical literature there are numerous* passages in which mention is made of the Christians and their writings, particularly the Gospels. One of these passages stands forth conspicuously, in its tone widely differing from any other such allusion in the rabbinical literature; an utterance very interesting in itself, also one of historical importance because of the inferences that are clearly to be drawn from it. It is an official ruling, authoritative but anonymous, to the effect that the claim of divinely inspired Christian writings is futile. The text of the decision is preserved in Tosephta Yadaim 2, 13 and reads as follows:

"The gilyōnīm [see last paragraph + footnote in last post above -JR] and the (other) books of the heretics (mīnīm)** are not inspired scripture. The books of Ben Sira, and whatever books have been written since his time, are not inspired scripture".

The significance of this little document was first pointed out by Moore (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869), in an article published in a volume of essays presented to Professor Charles A. Briggs, New York, 1911. The article caught the attention of editors of "The Beginnings of Christianity" (London, Macmillan, 1920), and in Vol I, pp. 318-320, they give considerable excerpts from it. Their conclusion is expressed as follows: "The extreme importance of this evidence is twofold. First, it can scarcely refer to Greek books. It is therefore the earliest and most direct evidence that we possess for the existence of Aramaic (or, conceivably, Hebrew) gospels" ... "Secondly, this ... is probably the earliest evidence for 'gospels' in any form".


*But not the original number. Objection was felt to the presence of these allusions in the literature; therefore some were omitted, while others were disguised, though generally not beyond recognition. It is a plausible conjecture, that the use of gilyōn to mean "blank margins", etc., had its origin in the disguising of certain allusions to the Nazarene gospels. The word does not appear to be Hebrew.
**The word mīn, which properly means "species, kind," etc., is extensively used in the rabbinical literature to mean "heretic." It has sometimes been supposed to designate the Nazarenes only, but Moore, Judaism (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869), III, Note 11, shows this belief to be erroneous. A still more recent investigation of the subject, however, by Travis Herford, published in "Semitic Studies in Memory of George Alexander Kohut," New York, 1938, concludes that in the great majority of cases the Nazarenes are intended.




To be continued...

John Reece
05-06-2014, 12:46 PM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


Since, however, the editors (like Moore (http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-First-Three-Centuries-Christian/dp/1565632869) himself) took it for granted that our Gospels were originally Greek and of late date, the interest in the ruling was mainly academic, and the matter was allowed to drop. The writer touched upon it in "Our Translated Gospels" (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?1823-Our-Translated-Gospels) (1936), pp. xxxix-xli; and in "Documents of the Primitive Church", chapter III, "Aramaic Gospels in the Synagogue", presented the argument in its most complete form. It is clearly implied, in the official ruling just quoted, that among those to whom the decision was addressed there were many who held that the writings named were holy scripture; indeed, it was only to a large and influential element of the Jewish people that such formal recognition could have been given. The document comes from the time, above described, when the Nazarenes were still a part of the Jewish body.

The Jewish authorities here make it known that they recognize no "prophecy" in the Nazarene Scriptures, whether gospels or other writings; and they base their verdict on chronological grounds. The condition which has existed ever since the Persian period ― Israel waiting for a prophet ― still exists. A famous literary landmark could serve for an illustration, the Proverbs of Ben Sira, highly esteemed and of known date. The express denial of inspiration in the time of Ben Sira and thereafter is clear refusal ― evidently intended to be final ― to accept Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.

In view of the facts thus far presented, it may be taken for granted that the date of the ruling was prior to the catastrophe of the year 70. The Nazarenes are still recognized as belonging to the Jewish body. They are mīnīm, "heretics" (see above), but their status has not hitherto been made clear. The decision is dignified, objective, and concise. The Nazarenes , who might well have exsected [sic, expected? -JR] reproach or ridicule, or [sic, were? -JR] rejected in good company for a general reason which is clearly stated. The document is worthy, indeed characteristic, of its eminent author, Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, who at that time was the leader and spokesman of the Jewish people. The date may have been in the year 68 or 69. It is the natural conjecture, that the pronouncement was called forth by the frequent claims of divine inspiration in the book of Revelation.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-07-2014, 05:58 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


It must not be overlooked, that the presence in Jewish Palestine, before the year 70, of authoritative Christian gospels (plural number), written in Aramaic or Hebrew or both, is rendered certain by the evidence here presented. There can be no successful denial of the fact; and it would be absurd to postulate any other authoritative gospels than those which we have before us in Greek translation.

When the Romans took the city, the Christians of Jerusalem and Judea were scattered; the great day of the Palestinian Church was over. The time for formal opinions on inspiration had gone by.

The attitude of both Nazarenes and "orthodox" now underwent a decided change. The former, who had begun by accusing the people and their leaders of denying and rejecting the Holy One, the Son of God, the Author of Life (Acts 3:13-15), now saw a mighty argument given into their hands, in this crushing blow from heaven, coming just the time when the authorities had made their rejection final! They seem, indeed, to have made important gains at this time, see Moore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Foot_Moore), Judaism, I, 91.

The orthodox, on the other hand, who still constituted the great mass of the people, waxed more bitter than ever in their denunciation of the heretics, who for no good reason had caused all this trouble. Henceforth there was increasing hostility, bitterness on both sides, where at first there had been an amount of toleration. The break came soon, it could not have been long delayed.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-08-2014, 08:20 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


Ben Zakkai's successor was Gamaliel II, who received the Presidency in the year 80, at Jamnia. He had been, from the first, a determined enemy of the Nazarenes, and one of the earliest measures that he took, on assuming office, was to insert a curse on the Christians in the daily prayer, Shemone Esre. This was virtually excommunication, and so it was regarded.* Gamaliel had made the daily repetition of the Eighteen Benedictions obligatory on every man. The Nazarene who felt himself to be a loyal Jew was now put in an intolerable position. He could neither lead the prayers in the synagogue nor join in them. He and his party ― the Christians ― were effectually and finally shut out.

There came a time when the leaders of the Nazarenes saw that they must cut loose from the Jews and cast their lot with the Gentiles. There is in Christian sources no record of such a time; and indeed a definite date might not be expected, in as much as the actual separation took place slowly (see below), since ties of race and kinship, and of long-continued custom, are not readily broken. But on the other hand, leaving the Synagogue and "casting lot with the Gentiles" certainly involved adopting Greek as the official language of the Palestinian Church and discontinuing the use of Aramaic. Here was a distinct and permanent mark of separation.


*Moore (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/391530/George-Foot-Moore), Judaism, I, 292, footnote, gives the earliest Palestinian form of the anathema as follows: "For apostates may there be no hope, and may the Nazarenes and the heretics suddenly perish." In Vol. III (the volume of Notes), p. 97, Moore gives references from Epiphanius and Jerome, and remarks that in the quotations from the curse which they both give the Nazarenes are specifically mentioned.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-09-2014, 09:37 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


This momentous change of Church policy naturally implies a definite date for the decision, and for the actual beginning of a new order. It is a reasonable conjecture that the determination to withdraw once for all from the Jewish fellowship was finally made effective by the anathema introduced by Gamaliel II. The lower limit of the Church's Aramaic Period may then conveniently be put at the year 80. This date satisfies, better than any other, the conditions known to us.

The taking of this step relieved a tense situation which no one liked to remember. The "orthodox" Jews had been eager to be rid of the heretics, and they now wished to hear nothing more about them and their Messiah. For the attitude of the Nazarenes, I may repeat what I wrote more than ten years ago in the Introduction to my "Documents of the Primitive Church" (1941), pages xi f.:

"The fact that the nascent Church had been mainly Jewish for about half a century was very unpleasing to the Christians after the final break with the Synagogue, and it was ignored as soon and as completely as possible. Palestine was of course revered even in Antioch and Ephesus as the cradle of the Church, and the learned were well aware that Jesus and his disciples and the people of their land spoke, read, and wrote Aramaic; but this was now the language of the Church's arch-enemy, the vernacular of the Jews not only in Palestine but also in every land of the Dispersion. It therefore was speedily dropped from sight and allowed no influence in the actually existing Christian documents. By the end of the first century, probably, the language of the Church was definitely and finally Greek; the whole tradition was given a Greek form, and there could be no further question of a rival (Aramaic) authority". The memory of Aramaic was to be buried and not resurrected

To be continued...

John Reece
05-10-2014, 12:04 PM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The evidence seems to show that there was a definite purpose, understood and agreed by the leaders of the Church, to leave out of sight and forget the "Aramaic Period" of the Church's history. Now that they had cut loose from the Synagogue ― and the rift was growing wider; now that the Gentiles, in ever growing numbers, were flocking to the standard of Jesus of Nazareth; it became evident that the future of the Church lay outside Palestine. For dealings with the pagan world the Aramaic language would be of little value, indeed would be a hindrance.

Josephus, at about this time, had seen that in order to interest the Graeco-Roman world in Jewish affairs he must write in Greek. For the Christians, the need was even more imperative, for they must reach the common people of the Gentiles, not just the learned and the influential.

There is good evidence that toward the end of the first century the Jewish authorities, led by Akiba, made on end of the extra-canonical literature in Hebrew or Aramaic. The Nazarene leaders must have welcomed this help in getting rid of their own Aramaic writings, now long familiar in Greek translation. The Greek must have undisputed possession.*


*Those Nazarenes, and there may have been many, who would gladly have preserved the Aramaic scrolls, were not permitted the choice. The Jewish authorities were in earnest in their purge of the literature, and no exception was made in favor of the Christians! Indeed, if the already existing books should be destroyed, the Christian menace, in so far as it was a literary menace, would be stamped out.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-11-2014, 08:48 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


At the time when the Romans advanced on Jerusalem, in the year 70, the members of the Church were "all" of the Jewish Christian faith, as might be inferred from Acts 15, as well as from Revelation chapters 1―3. Their language was at least prevailingly Aramaic, the language of the land and of their Church. Sixty years later, before the outbreak of the Bar Cocheba rebellion, the Palestinian Church was still mainly Jewish Christian, as we are expressly told by Eusebius (H. E. iv,5). The language, however, was Greek, like that of the great body of the Church outside Palestine.

The Aramaic of the Nazarenes' earliest literature now survived only in small and diminishing groups. When the members of one such group, early in the second century, wished to have in their own language the text of the Four Gospels and the book of Acts, they obtained it by means of a faithful translation made for them from the existing Greek.*


*This highly interesting Aramaic version of the five books was soon erroneously believed to come from apostolic time, and therefore was re-translated into Greek; which Greek survives in Codex Bezae and the "Western text" of the Gospels and Acts. See my "Documents of the Primitive Church," pp. 128-131. The text of the Gospel of Matthew went through an exactly similar process: its Greek rendered into Aramaic (with some additions) as "The Gospel According to the Hebrews," and the Aramaic eventually re-translated (by Jerome) into Greek; ibid., p. 130)

To be continued...

John Reece
05-12-2014, 10:02 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The authoritative Christian scriptures were now only Greek, and so was the entire Church tradition. The Greek Bible now entered upon its best period. The special authority once vested in the Semitic tradition had ceased before the end of the first century. After the Bar Cocheba war, when both Jews and Jewish Christians were excluded from Aelia Capitolina, the Palestinian Church, made up of Gentiles with one Marcus at their head (as Eusebius informs us), bore little resemblance to the scepter-holding mother church of the fifteenth chapter of Acts and the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia.

How much, or little, the Church's "official language" may have meant, is a matter of conjecture. We are hardly to suppose that the church of Jerusalem was at any time accustomed to indite to Greek churches, in Aramaic, such letters as are contained in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. There were plenty of Nazarene writings in Greek, from the first, and the churches would naturally expect to be addressed in their own language. The case of Revelation was exceptional, as has been shown. The doctrine of the primacy of Palestine rested firmly on the holy books. The Prophets had declared, with one voice, that Yahweh had chosen this land as his own, and had promised that the Messiah should reign in the city of David. And the Messiah was soon to return!

To be continued...

John Reece
05-13-2014, 07:57 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


There is a startling piece of evidence ― manuscript evidence ― recently come to light, which shows the early Palestinian Church as the source of authority, giving the Greek churches instruction in Holy Writ which included a lesson in elementary Aramaic.

It was of the highest importance that all the Gentile churches should know the list of Israel's sacred books, the true Hebrew titles of those that were held to be divinely inspired. There were no other such books in the world; their names, at least, must be familiar. It now appears that the mother church of Palestine sent out to the Greek churches a document of instruction giving the complete list of the Hebrew canonical books, the Semitic titles appearing in Greek transliteration. This, of itself, would be interesting enough; but the interest and importance of the document are vastly increased when it is observed that the familiar list of Hebrew titles is elaborately transformed into an Aramaic list. The way in which this is accomplished will be shown presently.

The copies of this churchly bulletin must have been sent out, presumably from Jerusalem, early in the second half of the first century. How widely distributed they may have been, we have no means of knowing, but the number cannot have been small. There was only a brief period of time in which they can have been of use; they would speedily have been driven out of circulation by the regular Hebrew titles on the one hand, and by the long familiar LXX titles on the other, when the insistence on Aramaic came to a sudden end. It could hardly be expected that any trace of the unique edict would survive, and it therefore is a surprising fact that we now are in possession of the document*


*Indeed, we seem to have just a trace of a third copy; as to this, see below.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-14-2014, 08:04 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


It is only very recently that this fact has become known. Both specimens of the interesting little monument have been within reach of scholars for many years, but have not been recognized in their true character.

The first of the two examples is found in the works of Epiphanius (c. 315―403), the learned Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus. It is a stray document preserved in his treatise on Weights and Measures (De Mensuris et Ponderibus Liber). It contains just that which was described above, a list of Hebrew canonical books in a Greek transliteration of the Semitic titles; with the strange added peculiarity, the the Hebrew titles are given ― as far as is possible ― an Aramaic dress.

This could hardly be expected to arouse interest (though it evidently interested Epiphanius); there was nothing with which to compare it; nothing that could show its purpose or suggest its date. It could only be put down as a curiosity.

This state of things was completely changed by the discovery of a second example of the same Hebrew-Aramaic List. It was seen at once that both are more or less faulty copies of the same original, which must have been an official document of some sort. Neither one of the two examples is derived from the other, and each is the result of a process of transmission which covered some time. The strange use of Aramaic must be connected in some way with the purpose of the document.





To be continued...

John Reece
05-15-2014, 08:34 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The place where this second copy of the list has remained hidden is in a famous manuscript belonging to the Greek Patriarchate Library in Jerusalem, the same manuscript from which in 1883 Bishop Bryennios published for the first time the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. The codex is otherwise famous as a repository of ancient and important Christian documents. Our list stands isolated on fol. 76a, between the second Epistle of Clement and the Didachē. Obviously, it was preserved as a rarity, a relic of importance which might easily be lost.

Bishop Bryennios printed the list in his publication of the Didachē, but gave it no further notice; indeed, as is shown in the important work of M. Jean-Paul Audet, soon to be mentioned, Bryennios neither recognized the Aramaic element in the list nor took especial pains to give an accurate transcription. The title of the list in the manuscript itself is simply ὀνόματα τῶν βιβλίων παρ' ἑβραίοις. Bryennios describes it as the names of the Old Testament books "in Hebrew and Greek" (ἑβραιστὶ καὶ ἑλληνιστί). It is no wonder that one expert scholar after another, coming to the catalogue of titles and seeing that its first words are βρισιθ. γένεσις, ελσιμοθ. ἔξοδος, etc., would feel that any attention given to the list would be a waste of time. Greek transliterations are an old story, and these are not even given correctly. The list was lost to sight and forgotten.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-16-2014, 09:56 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


In the Journal of Theological Studies (New Series), Vol. I, Part 2, Oxford University Press, October, 1950, there appeared in pages 135-154 an article by Mr. Jean-Paul Audet, entitled "A Hebrew-Aramaic List of Books of the Old Testament in Greek Transcription". Here, for the first time, the ancient list is correctly described and its high importance is made clear.

Audet discusses the document very ably and acutely; there is not much that can be said about it that he has not said. He fails, indeed, at the all important point, to see what the strange use of the Aramaic language signifies; as to this, he has nothing plausible to say. This failure is in no way surprising, for the present-day exponents of Christian Beginnings have not yet waked up to an understanding of the part played by Aramaic in the early Church's literature and life.

Audet assigns the list to the second half of the first century, for reasons which he gives in detail. (The only possible date, as the present essay has shown!) Other important conclusions may be indicated by brief quotations. "As far as we can judge, the list is Greek and Christian as regards its range and diffusion" (p. 144). "There was a period of time and a milieu where the list was certainly known to a wide circle" (p. 142f.). "It must have historic significance, otherwise we cannot explain the wide diffusion which it certainly had originally. Only because the list had for a long time clear meaning and was commonly useful in a certain milieu, has it come down to us" (p. 148).

To be continued...

John Reece
05-17-2014, 08:06 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


An especially important service performed by Audet is his comparison of our Jerusalem list with the one (mentioned above) which was preserved by Epiphanius. He prints both texts, and discusses them at some length. His main conclusion, that the text of Jerusalem has preserved, better than the other, the form of the original document will meet with general assent. (In the sequel, the list of the manuscript will be represented by M, that of Epiphanius by E.).

The transforming of the old Hebrew list into an Aramaic list was a difficult task well accomplished. The names, familiar for generations past, partook of the sacredness of the books themselves; no one of them could be discarded, nor ever seriously altered. Here was a problem, for in spite of the sacred tradition the new voice of authority, the voice of the Church, must be plainly heard.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-18-2014, 08:01 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


In cases where the word is nearly the same in both languages, and the form employed is masculine plural, as in Judges and Kings, it might be supposed that the substitution of the Aramaic ending -īn for Hebrew -īm could suffice. This is not quite the fact, however; see below. Great use is made of the Aramaic particle dī (commonly rendered d', here often written de or da), by simply prefixing it to every one of the traditional Hebrew names with which the particle could properly be used. It is plain that it could not be used with any of the titles of the Pentateuch, nor with Psalms, nor Song of Songs, nor Chronicles. However, there are 27 titles in all, and to 18 of these d is prefixed! Through this simple and wholesale mode of conversion a Hebrew catalogue is made Aramaic.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-19-2014, 09:34 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The most significant fact, by far, in this parading of the particle dʾ is that it is unfamiliar to those whom this Palestinian edict is intended, but must be interpreted. Immediately on its first appearance, in the titles of Joshua, Ruth, Job, and Judges, the reader is told what the prefixed particle signifies; thus: δαρουθ, τῆς ρούθ. διωβ, τοῦ ἰώβ. and in like manner δασοφτιν, τῶν κριτῶν. A familiar Semitic idiom is explained in Greek, and the construction which is interpreted is purely and characteristically Aramaic.

This shows, beyond any question, that those for whom this churchly bulletin was intended were Greeks in Gentile or pagan surroundings. The conclusion is well borne out by the fact that to every title in the list is appended the corresponding title in the Greek Bible; for example, δακοελεθ, ἐκκλησιαστής.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-20-2014, 08:15 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


Both copies of the document, M and E [the list of the manuscript is represented by M, that of Epiphanius by E; see post #25 above -JR], have suffered much in the process of manuscript transmission. Aside from the inevitable lapses of scribes, the constant influence of the traditional Hebrew list of titles has played an important part. The readings of the two versions, which should be compared, are provided not only by Audet, but also by Eissfeldt in the Theologische Literaturzeitung (see above).

One might be tempted to think (especially after looking at list E!) that our document was originally Jewish, and that the only Christian revision consisted in the exuberant use of the Aramaic pronoun dī. This is not the case, however. There is more revision than appears at first sight; the use of trē ʿasar, instead of shenēm ʿasar [over the first "e" of the latter term there is a rocker that I cannot transcribe -JR] (as e.g. in Sirach 49:10), shows that the list is conceived as Aramaic; and it is necessary to bear in mind how "untouchable" a sacred name can be. The God-given scriptures were Hebrew, not Aramaic, and every word, every syllable, had its message. To preserve intact, the revered names of the holy books, and yet to give the list a Christian (Aramaic) edition ― this was the task set for the revisers, and it was skillfully performed.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-21-2014, 07:15 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


It is indispensable to attempt to present here the Church's edition of the list of the Hebrew canonical books; that is, to restore the original form of the official bulletin which was sent out to the Greek churches in the first century; but it is a difficult undertaking. The case is unique, and the attempt at this distance to interpret motives and methods is most precarious. That which is offered here is presented with diffidence.

A few preliminary remarks will be in order.

1. I seem to recognize a very distinct purpose to get rid of the Hebrew ending -īm; that little mark which, more than anything else, would spoil the impression of an Aramaic document. In two cases ― the only possible cases ― the Aramaic ending -īn is substituted for -īm. The first of these is in Judges, where σοφτιν* could pass for either Aramaic or Hebrew, though not strictly accurate in either case. The other example is the title of the two books of Chronicles. Here the Aramaic word yamīn takes the place of the Hebrew yamīm. The result is a construct unit which is half Hebrew and half Aramaic; decidedly awkward, but grammatically legitimate.


*I follow the lead of Audet and Rendel Harris in interpreting the reading of manuscript M.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-22-2014, 11:51 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


Another device is the simple dropping of the m. Thus we have for Deuteronomy ελεδεβαρι (for אלה הדברים), while for the title of Kings we are given μαλαχεί by E, and μαλαχη by M*. Certainly E has preserved the original reading.


*The actual reading of M is μαλαχημ, but I cannot believe that the plural ending was originally written this way; on the contrary, the m came in through the influence of the traditional Hebrew, as so often in E.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-23-2014, 06:21 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


Especially interesting is the title of Proverbs. Here, the masculine plural ending īm is simply replaced by the feminine plural ending -ōth! (The word itself is written defectively in both M and E. In their common ancestor, in an uncial text, sigma was accidentally dropped because of its close resemblance to epsilon. Originally written as mesalōth, the word thus became mealōth in E and maleōth in M.) The feminine form of the noun, unknown to actual usage, is here made to serve the special purpose.*


*At this point mention must be made of an undoubted relationship of some sort, though of the slightest extent, existing between our Palestinian Church decree and the Hebrew Canon of Origen, reported by Eusebius, H. E., VI, 25. Origen's Greek transliterations of the Hebrew titles generally contain nothing new, and it is therefore with a shock that one sees the title of Proverbs given as μελώθ! Here is our document, even in its corrupt form! For Chronicles he has Δαβρηαμείν, the reading discussed above. The Psalter is Book of Psalms, as in M and E. The two books of Kings is styled "The Kingdom of David;" a Christian embellishment which has its counterpart in our list, if the conjectured reading is correct; see below. At all events, Origen, at some place and time in the third century, came in contact, direct or indirect, with one of the surviving copies of the Aramaic list.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-24-2014, 06:26 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


In the case of only two of the books of the Hebrew canon, namely the Psalter and the Song of Songs, is the ending -īm of the title left undisturbed.

2. The strange confusion in the first part of M, with Joshua following Leviticus, and the Pentateuch ending with Numbers, is of course the result of scribal carelessness, and the nature of the error is plain to see. A scribe who had just written the on of "Levitikon" went on from the same ending in "Deuteronomion", soon saw his mistake, and rectified it too hastily. The error took place in a near ancestor of the Jerusalem document; E has the correct order.

3. There is a problem in the title of Second Samuel, where the title of First Samuel is increased at the beginning by a word, or words, consisting of seven letters (thus in M). Audet, seeing in this complex a possible unit dou thought of Greek duo as inserted here to mean "second". This suggestion can hardly be entertained seriously. There is no such "second" in Kings, or Chronicles, or Ezra. A Greek word, even if it were suitable, would be out of place in this document. Decisive is the fact that Audet's "dū" hardly begins to account for the extra seven letters. There is a word of importance to be found here.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-25-2014, 07:18 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


The fact that three of the seven letters are deltas suggests at once the name "David", which is decidedly in play here. First Samuel is dominated by Samuel; Second Samuel is all David, from beginning to end. This appears to be a Christian embellishment, closely related to the one mentioned above, in the footnote treating of Origen's canon.

The Greek transliteration of the name "Samuel" is defective, in both E and M and in both occurrences of the name. In some common ancestor of the two documents the sigma had fallen out because of its resemblance to epsilon (as in the title of Proverbs mentioned above).

The original reading of the title of 2 Samuel in our list appears to have been ΔΙΔ̅Α̅Δ̅* ΟΥΔΕCΜΟΥΗΛ, "Of David and Samuel", דִּי דָּוִד וְדִּשְׁמוּאֵל.


*The customary abbreviation of the name, familiar in manuscripts of the Greek Bible [i.e., a single solid bar across the last three letters; the closest I could come to representing that is by means of three bars over the last three letters -JR].

To be continued...

John Reece
05-26-2014, 12:50 PM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


4. The title of Leviticus in both M and E has an impossible delta, which must have originated in an uncial alpha. The true reading appears to have been ΟΥΑ̥ΙΕΚΡ̥Α.

M has also two slight errors of a copyist: the first syllable of δαδεσδρα was probably copied from δαδανιηλ just above. The other slip is δεσθης for δεσθηρ.

The list presented in the following table probably differs in no significant respect from the form of the original document.


βερησὶθ, γένεσις
ἐλεσιμὼθ, ἐξοδος
ουαιεκρὰ, λευιτικον
οὐιδαβὶρ, ἀρισθμοι
ἐλεδεβαρὶ, δευτερονόμιον
διιησοῦ, ἰησοῦ υἱοῦ ναυή
δαροὺθ, τῆς ρούθ
διὼβ, τοῦ ἰώβ
δασοφτὶν, τῶν κριτῶν
σφερτελὶμ, τὸ ψαλτήριον
δισεμουὴλ, βασιλειῶν α'
διδαδουδεσμουὴλ, βασιλειῶν β'
δαμαλαχὶ, βασιλειῶν γ'
δαμαλαχὶ, βασιλειῶν δ'
δεβρηιαμὶν, παραλειπομένων α'
δεβρηιαμὶν, παραλειπομένων β'
δαμεσαλὼθ, παροιμιῶν
δακοέλεθ, ἐκκλησιαστής
σιρασιρὶμ, ἆσμα ἀσμάτων
διερὲμ, ἰερμιας
δαθαριασαρὰ, δωδωκαπρόφητον
δησαίου, ἠσαίου
διεεζεκιὴλ, ἰεζεκιήλ
δαδανιὴλ, δανιήλ
δέσδρα, ἔσδρα α'
δέσδρα, ἔσδρα β'
δεσθὴρ, ἐσθήρ

To be continued...

John Reece
05-27-2014, 06:21 AM
Continuation of excerpts from The Aramaic Period of the Nascent Christian Church (ZNW, 44 [1952/53], 205-23 (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zntw)), by Charles C. Torrey (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600139/Charles-Cutler-Torrey):


This amazing list, the strangely surviving prescription of Aramaic sent out to Greek churches by the Palestinian church of the first century, is well worthy of its place in the codex which gave us the Διδαχή. It certainly is "a document full of significant information about the state of affairs which gave it birth" (Audet, p. 141).

The unknown churchman and scholar who rescued and preserved this peculiar little memorandum was fully aware that he was preserving a significant relic of a chapter in Church History on which the door had been firmly closed.


(Finished in September 1952)