No Dictionary Entry for Versions
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaARABIC VERSIONS
ar'-a-bik vur'-shuns: Arabic translations of the Bible must have been made at a very early date, for Christianity and Judaism had penetrated far into Arabia by the 6th century of our era, but the oldest of which a copy has come down to our time is that of Sasdish the Gaon (942 A.D.). This version was made directly from the Massoretic Text and is said to have covered the whole of the Old Testament, but much of it is no longer extant. It is characterized by an avoidance of anthropomorphisms (e.g. Genesis 6:2, "sons of nobles" and "daughters of common people") and by giving modern equivalents, e.g. Turks, Franks, Chinese, for the Hebrew names. Saadiah's Pentateuch was first printed at Constantinople in 1546 and was incorporated into the Paris (1629-45) and London (1657) Polyglots.
When, after the rise of Islam, Arabic became the common language of Syria, Egypt and North Africa, translations were made from the Septuagint, from the Peshitta and from Coptic. In the Polyglots the translation of Joshua is, like the Pentateuch, made from the Massoretic Text, as also portions of Kings and Nehemiah, with interpolations from the Peshitta. Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings (in parts), 1 and 2 Chronicles (?), Nehemiah (in parts) and Job have been translated into Arabic from Syriac. The remaining books (Prophets, Psalms, Proverbs, etc.) are from the Septuagint, and that according to Codex Alexandrinus. In the New Testament the Gospels have been translated from the Vulgate, and the remaining books, although from the Greek, are late. A revised edition of the versions in Walton's Polyglot was published by J. D. Carlyle, professor of Arabic in Cambridge, and printed at Newcastle by Sarah Hodgson in 1811. A very fine translation of the entire Bible in classical Arabic has been issued by the Jesuit Fathers in Beirut, and a simpler version in Arabic which can be understood by the common people, educated and uneducated alike, was made by the late Dr. Cornelius Van Dyck of the Syrian Protestant College and published by the American Press in Beirut. Dr. Van Dyck had the benefit of the help and advice of the Sheikh Nacif al-Yaziji.
A large number of manuscripts of the Bible in Arabic, in whole or in part, are to be found in the British Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale and the great libraries of the Continent, but none of them are of sufficient age to make them of value for the criticism of the text.
Thomas Hunter Weir
ARMENIAN VERSIONS, OF THE BIBLE
ar-me'-ni-an vur'-shuns, bi'-bl.
I. ANCIENT ARMENIAN
1. Circumstances under Which Made
2. The Translators
4. Results of Circulation
5. Printed Editions
II. MODERN ARMENIAN VERSIONS
III. ARMENIAN LANGUAGE
I. Ancient Armenian.
1. Circumstances under Which Made:
Armenia was in large measure Christianized by Gregory Lousavorich ("the Illuminator": consecrated 302 A.D.; died 332), but, as Armenian had not been reduced to writing, the Scriptures used to be read in some places in Greek, in others in Syriac, and translated orally to the people. A knowledge of these tongues and the training of teachers were kept up by the schools which Gregory and King Tiridates had established at the capital Vagharshapat and elsewhere. As far as there was any Christianity in Armenia before Gregory's time, it had been almost exclusively under Syrian influence, from Edessa and Samosata. Gregory introduced Greek influence and culture, though maintaining bonds of union with Syria also.
When King Sapor of Persia became master of Armenia (378 A.D.), he not only persecuted the Christians most cruelly, but also, for political reasons, endeavored to prevent Armenia from all contact with the Byzantine world. Hence his viceroy, the renegade Armenian Merouzhan, closed the schools, proscribed Greek learning, and burnt all Greek books, especially the Scriptures. Syriac books were spared, just as in Persia itself; but in many cases the clergy were unable to interpret them to their people. Persecution had not crushed out Christianity, but there was danger lest it should perish through want of the Word of God. Hence several attempts were made to translate the Bible into Armenian. It is said that Chrysostom, during his exile at Cucusus (404-407 A.D.), invented an Armenian alphabet and translated the Psalter, but this is doubtful. But when Arcadius ceded almost all Armenia to Sapor about 396 A.D., something had to be done. Hence in 397 the celebrated Mesrob Mashtots and Isaac (Sachak) the Catholicos resolved to translate the Bible. Mesrob had been a court secretary, and as such was well acquainted with Pahlavi, Syriac and Greek, in which three languages the royal edicts were then published. Isaac had been born at Constantinople and educated there and at Caesarea. Hence he too was a good Greek scholar, besides being versed in Syriac and Pahlavi, which latter was then the court language in Armenia. But none of these three alphabets was suited to express the sounds of the Armenian tongue, and hence, an alphabet had to be devised for it.
2. The Translators:
A council of the nobility, bishops and leading clergy was held at Vagharshapat in 402, King Vramshapouch being present, and this council requested Isaac to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular. By 406, Mesrob had succeeded in inventing an alphabet-practically the one still in use-principally by modifying the Greek and the Pahlavi characters, though some think the Palmyrene alphabet had influence. He and two of his pupils at Samosata began by translating the Book of Proverbs, and then the New Testament, from the Greek Meanwhile, being unable to find a single Greek manuscript in the country, Isaac translated the church lessons from the Peshitta Syriac, and published this version in 411. He sent two of his pupils to Constantinople for copies of the Greek Bible. These men were present at the Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D. Probably Theodoret (De Cura Graec. Affect., I, 5) learned from them what he says about the existence of the Bible in Armenian. Isaac's messengers brought him copies of the Greek Bible from the Imperial Library at Constantinople-doubtless some of those prepared by Eusebius at Constantine's command. Mesrob Mashtots and Isaac, with their assistants, finished and published the Armenian (ancient) version of the whole Bible in 436. La Croze is justified in styling it Queen of versions Unfortunately the Old Testament was rendered (as we have said) from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew. But the Apocrypha was not translated, only "the 22 Books" of the Old Testament, as Moses of Khorene informs us. This was due to the influence of the Peshitta Old Testament.
Not till the 8th century was the Apocrypha rendered into Armenian: it was not read in Armenian churches until the 12th. Theodotion's version of Daniel was translated, instead of the very inaccurate Septuagint. The Alexandrine text was generally followed but not always.
In the 6th century the Armenian version is said to have been revised so as to agree with the Peshitta. Hence, probably in Matthew 28:18 the King James Version, the passage, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you," is inserted as in the Peshitta, though it occurs also in its proper place (John 20:21). It reads "Jesus Barabbas" in Matthew 27:16, 17 -a reading which Origen found "in very ancient manuscripts." It contains Luke 22:43, 44. As is well known, in the Etschmiadzin manuscript of 986 A.D., over Mark 16:9-20, are inserted the words, "of Ariston the presbyter"; but Nestle (Text. Criticism of the Greek New Testament, Plate IX, etc.) and others omit to notice that these words are by a different and a later hand, and are merely an unauthorized remark of no great value.
4. Results of Circulation:
Mesrob's version was soon widely circulated and became the one great national book. Lazarus Pharpetsi, a contemporary Armenian historian, says he is justified in describing the spiritual results by quoting Isaiah and saying that the whole land of Armenia was thereby "filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." But for it, both church and nation would have perished in the terrible persecutions which have now lasted, with intervals, for more than a millennium and a half.
5. Printed Editions:
This version was first printed somewhat late: the Psalter at Rome in 1565, the Bible by Bishop Oskan of Erivan at Amsterdam in 1666, from a very defective MS; other editions at Constantinople in 1705, Venice in 1733. Dr. Zohrab's edition of the New Testament in 1789 was far better. A critical edition was printed at Venice in 1805, another at Serampore in 1817. The Old Testament (with the readings of the Hebrew text at the foot of the page) appeared at Constantinople in 1892.
II. Modern Armenian Versions.
There are two great literary dialects of modern Armenian, in which it was necessary to publish the Bible, since the ancient Armenian (called Grapar, or "written") is no longer generally understood. The American missionaries have taken the lead in translating Holy Scripture into both.
The first version of the New Testament into Ararat Armenian, by Dittrich, was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society at Moscow in 1835; the Psalter in 1844; the rest of the Old Testament much later. There is an excellent edition, published at Constantinople in 1896.
A version of the New Testament into Constantinopolitan Armenian, by Dr. Zohrab, was published at Paris in 1825 by the British and Foreign Bible Society. This version was made from the Ancient Armenian. A revised edition, by Adger, appeared at Smyrna in 1842. In 1846 the American missionaries there published a version of the Old Testament. The American Bible Society have since published revised editions of this version.
III. Armenian Language.
The Armenian language is now recognized by philologists to be, not a dialect or subdivision of ancient Persian or Iranian, but a distinct branch of the Aryan or Indo-European family, standing almost midway between the Iranian and the European groups. In some respects, especially in weakening and ultimately dropping "t" and "d" between vowels, it resembles the Keltic tongues (compare Gaelic A (th)air, Arm. Chair = Pater, Father). As early as the 5th century it had lost gender in nouns, though retaining inflections (compare Brugmann, Elements of Comp. Greek of Indo-German Languages).
Koriun; Agathangelos; Lazarus Pharpetsi; Moses Khorenatsi (= of Chorene); Faustus Byzantinus; Chhamchheants; Chaikakan Hin Dprouthian Patm; Chaikakan Thargmanouthiunk'h Nak'hneants; The Bible of Every Land; Tisdall, Conversion of Armenia; Nestle, Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament; Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes); N.Y. Cyclopaedia of Biblical. and Theol. Lit.; Hauck, Real-encyklopadie fur protest. Theol. und Kirche.
W. St. Clair Tisdall
I. LANGUAGE AND ALPHABET
III. CHIEF EDITIONS
I. Language and Alphabet.
The Coptic alphabet consists of the Greek uncial letters, plus seven characters taken from the Egyptian demotic to express sounds not represented in the Greek It can be traced back to the 4th century, as the oldest Coptic manuscripts belong to the end of the 4th or beginning of the 5th century. The language still prevailed in Egypt in the 9th century, but was no longer understood in Middle Egypt in the 12th. Its last speaker died in 1633.
There were at least five written dialects and subdialects of Coptic. Of these the most important from a literary point of view was the
(1) Buchairic, the dialect of Lower Egypt, often called Coptic paragraph excellence, and also (wrongly) Memphitic. It is used as the ecclesiastical language in the services of the Coptic church. The other four dialects are somewhat more closely allied to one another than to Buchairic, which shows greater traces of Greek influence. These dialects are,
(2) the Sahidic (Sa`idi, or dialect of upper Egypt), also called Thebaic;
(3) the Bashmuric-or rather Bushmuric-(for which Fayyumic has been suggested);
(4) the Middle Egyptian proper (known from manuscripts found in the monastery of Jeremias near the Theban Serapeum), differing but little from (3); and
(5) the Akhmimic (Akhmim = the ancient Chemmis). Akhmimic is more primitive and more closely related to ancient Egyptian than any other. Only a few fragments in it (of Exodus, Ecclesiastes, 2 Maccabees, the Minor Prophets, and Catholic epistles) have yet been found. The last three dialects are often classed together as "Middle Egyptian" and (4) is then called "Lower Sahidic."
In all 5 dialects more or less complete versions of the Bible once existed. They were the earliest made after the early Syriac At latest they began in the 3rd century, though some (e.g. Hyvernat) say as early as the 2nd. It is thought that the Sahidic version was the earliest, then the Middle Egyptian and finally the Buchairic. The latter represents an early and comparatively pure Greek text, free from what are generally termed western additions, while the Sahidic, on the other hand, contains most of the peculiar western readings. It sometimes supports Codex Sinaiticus, sometimes Codex Vaticanus (B), sometimes both, but generally it closely agrees with codex D (Bezae), especially in the Acts. A Coptic (Sahidic) MS, written considerably before 350 A.D., and published by the British Museum in April, 1912, contains Deuteronomy, Jonah, and Acts, and is older than any other Biblical manuscript (except a few fragments) yet known to exist. It proves that this Sahidic version was made about 200 A.D. It in general supports the "Western" text of codex Bezae (D). Much of the New Testament especially still exists in Sahidic, though not Revelation. In Bubairic we have the Pentateuch, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the 12 Minor Prophets, and fragments of the historical books of the Old Testament, besides the whole New Testament, though the Book of Revelation is later than the rest. In the other dialects much less had been preserved, as far as is known. In Bushmuric we have fragments of Isaiah, Lamentations, Ep. Jeremiah, and a good many fragments of the New Testament. In more than one dialect we have apocryphal gospels (see Texts and Studies, IV, number 2, 1896) and Gnostic papyri, etc. The Old Testament was translated from the Septuagint. The Psalms seem to have been translated about 303 A.D.
III. Chief Editions.
The Buchairic Psalms were first published in 1659. Wilkins published the Buchairic New Testament at London in 1716, and the Pentateuch in 1731; Schwartze the Gospels in 1846-47; de Lagarde the Acts and Epistles in 1852. He also edited the Psalms (transliterated) in 1875, 151 in number, of which the last celebrates David's victory over Goliath. He added fragments of the Sahidic Psalter and of the Buchairic Proverbs Tattam published the Minor Prophets in 1836 and the Major in 1852 an edition of the Gospels in London in 1847, and of the rest of the New Testament in 1852 (SPCK), with a literal Arabic version. Horner's edition of the Buchairic New Testament (4 volumes, 1898, etc., Clarendon Press) and of Sahidic Gospels (1910, 3 vols) is the standard edition Ford published part of the Sahidic New Testament in 1799. Various editions of parts of Old Testament and New Testament have since appeared: e.g. Ciasca published fragments of the Sahidic Old Testament (Sacrorum Bibliorum Fragmenta Copto-Sahidica Musei Borgiani) at Rome, 1885-89.
Realencyclopadie fur prot. Theol. und Kirche, III; Hyvernat, Etude sur les versions coptes; Revue biblique, 1896, 1897; Zeitschrift fur agypt. Sprache; Journal of Theol. Studies, I, 3; Nestle, Text. Crit of Greek New Testament; Forbes Robinson, Texts and Studies, IV; Oesterley in Murray's New Bible Dict.
W. St. Clair Tisdall