The Peshitta ( syc, ܦܫܺܝܛܬܳܐ ''or'' ') is the standard version of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek ...

for churches in the
Syriac tradition
Syriac tradition
, including the
Maronite Church The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic '' sui iuris'' particular church in full communion Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a disti ...
, the
Chaldean Catholic Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = , abbreviation = , type = , main_classification = Eastern Catholic , orientation ...
, the
Syriac Catholic Church The Syriac Catholic Church ( syc, ܥܕܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝܬܐ, ʿĪṯo Suryayṯo Qaṯolīqayṯo, ar, الكنيسة السريانية الكاثوليكية), also known as Syriac Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch, is an Eas ...
, the
Syriac Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate 2k18.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = Cathedral of Saint George , caption = Cathedral of Saint George, Damascus, Syria ...
, the Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Thozhiyoor Church), the Syro Malankara Catholic Church, the
Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, often shortened to Mar Thoma Church, and known also as the Reformed Syrian ChurchS. N. Sadasivan. A Social History of India'. APH Publishing; 2000. . p. 442. and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, ...
, the
Assyrian Church of the East The Assyrian Church of the East,, ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية sometimes called Church of the East, officially the Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,; ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية الرسولية ا ...
and the
Syro Malabar Catholic Church syr, , native_name_lang=, image = Mar Thoma Sliva.jpg , caption = The ''Mar Thoma Sliva'' or ''Saint Thomas Cross'', the symbol of the Syro-Malabar Church. , type = Catholic particular churches and ...
. The consensus within biblical scholarship, although not universal, is that the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical c ...
of the Peshitta was translated into
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Canaanite languages, Canaanite branch of Semitic languages, Semitic languages, spoken b ...
, probably in the 2nd century AD, and that the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as w ...

New Testament
of the Peshitta was translated from the Greek. This New Testament, originally excluding certain disputed books ( 2 Peter,
2 John The Second Epistle of John, often referred to as Second John and often written 2 John or II John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the other two epistles of John, and the G ...
, 3 John, Jude,
Revelation In religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified places, prophecy, prophecies, eth ...
), had become a standard by the early 5th century. The five excluded books were added in the Harklean Version (616 AD) of
Thomas of HarqelThomas of Harqel was a miaphysite bishop from the early 7th century. Educated in Greek at the monastery of Qenneshre, he became bishop of Mabbug in Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ...


''Peshitta'' is derived from the
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

''mappaqtâ pšîṭtâ'' (ܡܦܩܬܐ ܦܫܝܛܬܐ), literally meaning "simple version". However, it is also possible to translate ''pšîṭtâ'' as "common" (that is, for all people), or "straight", as well as the usual translation as "simple". Syriac is a dialect, or group of dialects, of Eastern
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramai ...
, originating around
Edessa and surrounding regions during the Early Christian period, with Edessa in the upper left quadrant Edessa (; grc, Ἔδεσσα, Édessa) was an ancient city (''polis'') in Upper Mesopotamia, founded during the Hellenistic period by King Seleucu ...
. It is written in the
Syriac alphabet The Syriac alphabet ( ) is a writing system primarily used to write the Syriac language since the 1st century AD. It is one of the Semitic languages, Semitic abjads descending from the Aramaic alphabet through the Palmyrene alphabet, and shares s ...
and is transliterated into the
Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumae alphabet, Cumaean Greek version of the ...

Latin script
in a number of ways, generating different spellings of the name: ''Peshitta'', ''Peshittâ'', ''Pshitta'', ''Pšittâ'', ''Pshitto'', ''Fshitto''. All of these are acceptable, but ''Peshitta'' is the most conventional spelling in English.

Brief history

The Peshitta had from the 5th century onward a wide circulation in the East, and was accepted and honored by the whole diversity of sects of Syriac Christianity. It had a great missionary influence: the Armenian and Georgian versions, as well as the Arabic and the Persian, owe not a little to the Syriac. The famous Nestorian tablet of
Chang'an Chang'an (; ) is the traditional name of Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between th ...
witnesses to the presence of the Syriac scriptures in the heart of China in the 8th century. The Peshitta was first brought to the West by Moses of Mindin, a noted Syrian ecclesiastic who unsuccessfully sought a patron for the work of printing it in Rome and Venice. However, he was successful in finding such a patron in the Chancellor of Austria#Habsburg Monarchy, Imperial Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire at Vienna in 1555—Albert Widmanstadt. He undertook the printing of the New Testament, and the Holy Roman Emperor, emperor bore the cost of the special types which had to be cast for its issue in Syriac. Immanuel Tremellius, the converted Jew whose scholarship was so valuable to the English reformers and divines, made use of it, and in 1569 issued a Syriac New Testament in Hebrew letters. In 1645, the ''editio princeps'' of the Old Testament was prepared by Gabriel Sionita for the Paris Polyglot, and in 1657 the whole Peshitta found a place in Walton's ''London Polyglot''. For long the best edition of the Peshitta was that of John Leusden and Karl Schaaf, and it is still quoted under the symbol "Syrschaaf", or "SyrSch".

New Testament

In a detailed examination of Matthew 1–14, Gwilliam found that the Peshitta agrees with the ''Textus Receptus'' only 108 times and with the ''Codex Vaticanus'' 65 times. Meanwhile, in 137 instances it differs from both, usually with the support of the Old Syriac and the Old Latin, and in 31 instances it stands alone.Bruce M. Metzger, ''The Early Versions of the New Testament: Their Origin, Transmission and Limitations'' (Oxford University Press 1977), p. 50. A statement by Eusebius that Hegesippus (chronicler), Hegesippus "made some quotations from the Gospel according to the Hebrews and from the Syriac Gospel," means we should have a reference to a Syriac New Testament as early as 160–180 AD, the time of that Hebrew Christian writer. The translation of the New Testament is careful, faithful, and literal, and the simplicity, directness, and transparency of the style are admired by all Syriac scholars and have earned it the title of "Queen of the versions."

Critical edition of the New Testament

The standard United Bible Societies 1905 edition of the New Testament of the Peshitta was based on editions prepared by Syriacists Philip E. Pusey (d. 1880), George Gwilliam (d. 1914) and John Gwynn (professor), John Gwyn. These editions comprised Gwilliam & Pusey's 1901 critical edition of the gospels, Gwilliam's critical edition of Acts of the Apostles, Acts, Gwilliam & Pinkerton's critical edition of Pauline epistles, Paul's Epistles and John Gwynn's critical edition of the General Epistles and later Revelation. This critical Peshitta text is based on a collation of more than seventy Peshitta and a few other Aramaic manuscripts. All 27 books of the common Western Canon of the New Testament are included in this British & Foreign Bible Society's 1905 Peshitta edition, as is the adultery pericope (John 7:53–8:11). The 1979 Syriac Bible, United Bible Society, uses the same text for its New Testament. The Online Bible reproduces the 1905 Syriac Peshitta NT in Hebrew characters.


* James Murdock - ''The New Testament, Or, The Book of the Holy Gospel of Our Lord and God, Jesus the Messiah'' (1851). * John Wesley Etheridge - ''A Literal Translation of the Four Gospels From the Peschito, or Ancient Syriac and The Apostolical Acts and Epistles From the Peschito, or Ancient Syriac: To Which Are Added, the Remaining Epistles and The Book of Revelation, After a Later Syriac Text'' (1849). * George M. Lamsa - ''The Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text'' (1933)- Contains both the Old and New Testaments according to the Peshitta text. This translation is better known as the Lamsa Bible. He also wrote several other books on the Peshitta and Aramaic primacy such as ''Gospel Light'', ''New Testament Origin'', and ''Idioms of the Bible'', along with a New Testament commentary. To this end, several well-known Evangelical Protestant preachers have used or endorsed the Lamsa Bible, such as Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and William M. Branham. * Andumalil Mani Kathanar - ''Vishudha Grantham''. New Testament translation in Malayalam. * Mathew Uppani C. M. I - ''Peshitta Bible''. Translation (including Old and New Testaments) in Malayalam (1997). * Curien Kaniamparambil, Arch-corepiscopos Curien Kaniamparambil- ''Vishudhagrandham''. Translation (including Old and New Testaments) in Malayalam. * Janet Magiera- ''Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation'', ''Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation- Messianic Version'', and ''Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Vertical Interlinear'' (in three volumes)(2006). Magiera is connected to George Lamsa. * The Way International - ''Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament'' * William Norton- ''A Translation, in English Daily Used, of the Peshito-Syriac Text, and of the Received Greek Text, of Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 1 John: With An Introduction On the Peshito-Syriac Text, and the Received Greek Text of 1881'' and ''A Translation in English Daily Used: of the Seventeen Letters Forming Part of the Peshito-Syriac Books''. William Norton was a Peshitta primacist, as shown in the introduction to his translation of Hebrews, James, I Peter, and I John. * Gorgias Press - ''Antioch Bible,'' a Peshitta text and translation of the Old Testament, New Testament, and Apocrypha.


Although physical evidence has yet to be found, Assemani, J. S., J.S. Assemane in his Bibliotheca stated that a Syriac Gospel dated 78 A.D. was found in Mesopotamia. The following manuscripts are in the British Archives: * British Library, Add. 14470 – complete text of 22 books, from the 5th/6th century * Rabbula Gospels * Khaboris Codex * Codex Phillipps 1388 * British Library, Add. 12140 * British Library, Add. 14479 * British Library, Add. 14455 * British Library, Add. 14466 * British Library, Add. 14467 * British Library, Add. 14669

See also

* Bible translations into Aramaic * Targum




* Brock, Sebastian P. (2006) ''The Bible in the Syriac Tradition: English Version'' Gorgias Press LLC, * Dirksen, P. B. (1993). ''La Peshitta dell'Antico Testamento'', Brescia, * Flesher, P. V. M. (ed.) (1998). ''Targum Studies Volume Two: Targum and Peshitta''. Atlanta. * George Lamsa, Lamsa, George M. (1933). ''The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts''. . * Pinkerton, J. and R. Kilgour (1920). ''The New Testament in Syriac''. London: British and Foreign Bible Society, Oxford University Press. * Pusey, Philip E. and G. H. Gwilliam (1901). ''Tetraevangelium Sanctum iuxta simplicem Syrorum versionem''. Oxford University Press. * Weitzman, M. P. (1999). ''The Syriac Version of the Old Testament: An Introduction''. . ; Attribution *

External links

Digital text of the Peshitta, Old and New Testament with full eastern vocalization

The Peshitta divided in chapters, the New Testament with full western vocalization
Dukhrana Biblical Research

Syriac Peshitta
New Testament at *
Interlinear Aramaic/English New Testament
also trilinear Old Testament (Hebrew/Aramaic/English) * * ;Downloadable cleartext of English translations (
{{Authority control Syriac Christianity 2nd-century Christian texts Catholic bibles