In Matthew 28:1 of the Aramaic Peshitta text, the word translated "Sabbath" and the word translated "week" appear similar but with slight variation.

Does anyone know what the significance is of the "slightly different spelling" between the two usages of this word?

  • The following list is from "Introduction to Syriac" by Wheeler Thackston. Page 83.: Saturday - Shabata (Sabbath) Sunday - khad bshabba (One in Seven). This means that Sunday is the first in Seven days. Monday - tren bshabba (Two in Seven). This means that Monday is the second in Seven days. Tuesday - tlat bshabba (Three in Seven) Wednesday - Arba bshabba (Four in Seven) Thursday - Khammesh bshabba (Five in Seven) Friday - Arubtha (Arubtha means Evening. Since Friday is the day before Sabbath, it is called "Eve of Sabbath"). (resource quoted to me by Sony Cherian)
    – user2027
    Feb 22, 2013 at 4:44

2 Answers 2


According to Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon1, the spelling difference is inconsequential. The spelling difference does not change the meaning and has more to do with transliteration (from Greek) than translation. The only way of distinguishing grammatical number is through diacritics, which were not added to the language until a couple centuries after the writing of the Peshitta. Context dictates the difference between "week" and "Sabbath," not grammatical number, and scholars2 are virtually in unanimous agreement about how to translate ܫܒܬܐ where it occurs in its various contexts (which is the same root word for "Sabbath" and "week").

1 Fr. Reardon clarified this for me in a personal conversation during a recent conference on the "Patristic Doctrine of Scripture" at Princeton Theological Seminary. Fr. Reardon was a keynote speaker at the conference and is a former Semitic languages professor.

2 Etheridge, Murdock, and Lamsa have all published scholarly English translations of the Syriac Aramaic Peshitta, and all consistently translate this word in each context.

  • 2
    Thanks for checking with this at the conference! That's what I call going above and beyond the call of duty. Feb 18, 2013 at 19:24
  • Ditto what Jon said!
    – user2027
    Feb 22, 2013 at 4:50

In Matthew 28:1 of the Aramaic translation by Victor [email protected], the translated "Sabbath" and the word translated "week",don't appear here.

21:8."And most of the people* (*21:8 Lit. Ar. idiom.:"Crowds," or "congregation.") laid down their cloaks on the road.And others cut down branches from the trees and threw them on the road."

The translation that you will find on this website @ v-a.com,is made from the original Ancient Aramaic Scriptures directly into English.It is translated from the manuscripts of the Ancient Church of the East,which survived the persecutions by the Roman and Greek pagans of the early centuries of Christianity.

Victor Alexander has studied the Ancient Aramaic language from the pictographic stage,through cuneiform (symbolic writing) up to modern Aramaic.His translation work is authentic.He has spent most of his life studying it.This has become his life's work.

He has openly admitted to when first translating his Aramaic,family bible he used the Syriac, but was told by a Priest from the church of the east? that he was translating from the wrong dialect,as Jesus,the disciples,and apostles,all spoke,wrote down the scriptures,in Aramaic.

When the Roman Church established its authority in the West,it abandoned the Eastern Scriptures that were recorded by the Apostles in the Ancient Aramaic language. From the start, when the Roman Emperor Constantine ordered the expulsion of the Ancient Church of the East from Asia Minor, the Western Scriptures were wrongfully drawn from the Greek Septuagint Old Testament and the Greek Original translations of the New Testament. This is how the Western churches abandoned the Apostolic Faith. Only the Eastern Churches and the Orthodox Churches retained some of the original Apostolic doctrines.

In order to understand the Bible accurately it is necessary to read it from the original source,not from a translation made from the Greek,Latin or English versions.No matter how attached you may be to these Bibles,you are not going to get the true meaning.Sometimes you will be close, but overall you will end up with unintended meanings.This is why he,Victor Alexander,has taken so much trouble to give you these recordings of the original words of Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah)together with their translations.

  • 1
    That's because you're looking at Matthew 21:8, not 28:1. It looks like you're confusing the verse references, even in your own response (you mention 28:1 first but then proceed to address 21:8).
    – Dan
    May 10, 2013 at 18:48
  • Thank you for the reference. I was not aware of Victor's project. That is helpful. I wonder, now that you know the correct verse if you would be willing to edit your answer to directly address the question about the word used for Sabbath/week.
    – user2027
    May 11, 2013 at 13:23
  • Sorry my bad, must have had my eyes shut!:)Matthew 28:1. Then in the evening of the week when Sunday was coming to an end,* *28:1 Lit. Ar. idiomatic figure of speech: "Sunday was setting."there came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary,to see the tomb. May 12, 2013 at 10:13

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