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I met a guy that introduced me to the Aramaic English New Testament. I always thought that the New Testament was translated from the original Greek.

This version claims:

The Aramaic text used in crafting the AENT is the most original autograph that modern scholars have encountered. This is important as most popular English New Testaments come from Greek translations originally converted from Hebrew and Aramaic texts. Simply put, most New Testaments are a translation of a translation. Conversely, the AENT comes directly from Aramaic, the very language spoken by Jesus and his disciples. Scholars naturally agree that it is best to translate from the oldest, most original text and this of course is critical for accuracy.

Greek translations of original Aramaic Bible texts were developed for western countries but a different phenomenon was happening in the east where Aramaic texts were proliferating. Immediately we have a problematic situation where virtually all Western New Testament translations are based off of a language other than the original Aramaic, but this is not the only disappointing factor. For while learned scribes who held great reverence for every word, letter and punctuation mark, meticulously maintained the Aramaic texts in the east, the same cannot be said of the many western Greek translations.

Fact: no two Greek texts agree to the extent that over 300 Aramaic texts agree within the Peshitta family. And although the Khabouris Codex contains minor differences within the Peshitta family its accuracy is simply breathtaking. You will be thrilled to discover that these distinctions are gorgeously presented in 2,000 footnotes and fortified further by over 360 pages of appendixes in the AENT.

Over 1,000 leading language scholars and Bible students have rigorously dedicated their unrivaled expertise to the 5th edition of the AENT. A wonderfully diverse tapestry of Jewish and Christian religious ideologists has collectively provided thousands of hours of unbiased peer review. Publishers, translators, editors, and contributors have passionately woven hundreds of years of study and research of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into the AENT.

It seems rather telling to me that there is an author's name on the spine (Roth), much like Eugene Peterson authored 'The Message' but doesn't claim it is intended to be an accurate translation.

Also, 'Netzari Press' seems to be little more than the self publishing wing of Andrew Gabriel Roth.

The guy I talked to claimed that Josephus said that Jews would rather eat pork than learn Greek, but what of the Septuagint? According to Biblica, the Septuagint was necessary as many people didn't know how to read Hebrew. Many of the quotes in the Gospels come from the Septuagint so one would have to believe in some sort of a Greek conspiracy or something.

I am interested in understanding the case for Aramaic primacy in general but also, is the AENT translation in any way superior or has the author just reverse translated it from Greek?

Is there any truth to this claim of authenticity, increased accuracy and authority or is this just smoke and mirrors to boost sales?

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    It's my understanding (and that of my quick google search) that Josephus wrote in Greek himself, so I find that quote highly suspect. From what I have read, the notion that Greek was not truly the language of the Gospels has always been a fringe view whether it was aramaic, coptic or some other language claiming originality. – P. TJ Mar 6 '17 at 19:08
  • @elikakohen - I think the scope of the two questions is quite different. One asks about Aramaic Primacy of the New Testament as a whole, whilst this question asks if any of it was written in Aramaic. – Steve Taylor Mar 7 '17 at 10:44
  • @SteveTaylor - You might be right, but if the accepted answer, over there, was copy & pasted over here, it would likely be valid. \o/ ... Perhaps we could just rename that other question. :p – elika kohen Mar 7 '17 at 16:11
  • @elikakohen - Part of the reason for asking such a question is to get answers on this specific translation (AENT) which claims to be superior but would actually be inferior if Aramaic primacy is false. I would like this to be a flag on the internet which someone could find via a search engine for finding answers regarding the claim of this translation. As far as I know there are no other questions asking to debunk the claim made by this translation. – GenericJam Mar 8 '17 at 14:03
  • @elikakohen - Perhaps the title should have been 'Is There Any Truth to the Claim That the Aramaic English New Testament (AENT) is a Superior Translation Due to Aramaic Primacy?' but that seemed a bit too long. – GenericJam Mar 8 '17 at 14:08
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At one stage, Matthew's Gospel was thought likely to have been written in Hebrew, mainly because it had been attributed to one of the disciples, who would have written for Jewish Christians in Hebrew. That hypothesis would work equally well or even better if Matthew had been written in Aramaic. Research has now shown that Matthew could only have been written in Greek, because it makes considerable use of Mark's Gospel, which is accepted as having been written in Greek, and many passages have exactly the same words in the Greek language. Likewise, parts of Luke are so closely copied from Mark that this process could only have taken place in Greek. In all four gospels, the references to the Old Testament are consistently to the Septuagint, which could not have been the case if any of the authors had been writing in Hebrew or for a Palestinian Jewish audience. It is now the strong consensus of New Testament scholars that all four New Testament gospels and, consequently, Acts were written in Koine Greek.

Paul's epistles were written to gentiles in Greek and, once again, his Old Testament references use the Septuagint. Even the general epistles show evidence of having been written in Greek.

It is hard to imagine any New Testament book, the autograph of which could have been in Aramaic. As to 'snake oil', I suppose it would boost sales to claim to have a better version of the New Testament than any other Bibles in general circulation.

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  • "mainly because it had been attributed to one of the disciples;" not to exclude John, for whom the same is not said (a Greek original), as far as I'm aware. – Sola Gratia Aug 7 '17 at 16:58
  • Excellent Answer! +1. John's Gospel must have also been written in Greek because some of the most forceful statements could only originate in Greek - the opening of the prologue is a perfect example. – user25930 Oct 13 '18 at 21:18

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