Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anthropos in the Peshitta

Kurk has collected some of the posts on anthropos and aner here. I wonder if he is aware of the posts on Café Apocalypsis.

The passage under discussion is Matt. 12:9-14. The NIV uses "man" every time that the Greek word anthropos occurs in the text.
    I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. 7If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
    9Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"

    11He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

    13Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Perhaps we can learn something from the way that the Peshitta translated the words for "man" in this passage. In the Peshitta, a Syriac (Aramaic) translation from the Greek, written in Syriac script, uses bar anash for "Son of man," geber for "a man" with a shriveled hand, and enosh for how much more valuable is "a man" than a sheep."

Now I realize that this puts the Peshitta on the list of translations seriously affected by feminism. Which is very odd because the editors of this text scrupulously altered the text to eradicate the feminine gender of the Spirit. But they forgot to eliminate the phrase bar anash, the human Christ.

The point is not whether the ESV, NIV or TNIV is the definitive translation. But rather, we need to realize that they are all approximations. If you stifle one of the approximations of the original, then some of the truth is denied.

So far, I have discovered that the Peshitta, Luther, and Tyndale translations all go against the Colorado Springs Gender Guidelines. Personally I prefer to burn the guidelines and keep the translations intact.


J. K. Gayle said...

Thanks Suzanne. I hadn't seen asbandy's post, but have added it to the growing list.

Thanks for sharing the Peshitta and its implications. I've just tried to translate the Greek today.

Aramaic Scholar said...

Thanks for your post. You mention that the Aramaic Peshitta is a translation from the Greek. However, all the internal and external evidence is to the contrary, i.e. that the Greek was a translation from the Aramaic Peshitta. Sites such as have a huge amount of evidence for this.

A.Admin said...

I prefer to burn the guidelines and keep the translations intact

Agreed. I don't consider them really "guidelines", but more what somebody "wants".