Early Syriac Translation Technique & The Textual Criticism Of The Greek Gospels available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- Gorgias Press
Although scholars have often made inferences about the Greek texts that lay behind the Old Syriac and Peshitta versions of the Gospels, very few have ever attempted to formulate rules for how such inferences might be made. Scholars have tended to assume that translators worked fairly literally and also had access to many Greek readings which now no longer survive. In the most extensive study of its kind, Williams systematically investigates a wide range of textual phenomena and formulates clear and simple rules for the use of Syriac texts as witnesses to the underlying Greek. With these rules it is possible to uncover a large number of errors that have grown up during the long evolution of the textual apparatus of the Greek New Testament. These errors generally consist of the use of Syriac witnesses where we cannot really know what Greek text lay before the translators. The recommended deletion of the Syriac witness from the apparatus can shift the weight of evidence, sometimes leaving the support for a variant drastically reduced or, occasionally, non-existent. While this monograph raises fundamental questions about how we treat early versions of the New Testament, it also casts fresh light on the relationship between the Syriac Gospels and the famous Greek manuscript Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis. Though some sort of relationship between Codex Bezae and the Syriac is undeniable, the assumption that an agreement could only result if the Syriac were translated from a base with a Bezan reading is shown in dozens of cases to be false.
TEXTS AND STUDIES is a series of monographs devoted to the study of Biblical and patristic texts. Maintaining the highest scholarly standards, the series includes critical editions, studies of primary sources, and analyses of textual traditions.
P.J. Williams is author of Studies in the Syntax of the Peshitta of 1 Kings (Leiden: Brill, 2001). For five years he was Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic in Cambridge University and Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge. He is now Lecturer in New Testament in Aberdeen University.
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