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Early Arabic translations were from Aramaic!

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In earlier lessons, we have seen how well established the Aramaic language was across the whole Middle East, for millennia, not just centuries.

Although Aramaic continued to be spoken for centuries, as we saw in our lesson From Aramaic to Arabic, Arabic slowly but steadily started to supplant Aramaic as the spoken language across the Middle East. This is why the Koran was written in Arabic, and why Arabic is spoken by Moslems today. Nevertheless, Aramaic continued to be spoken for centuries afterwards, and is still spoken today in small communities across the world.

However, as the transition from Aramaic to Arabic took place, it is instructive to note that the early translations of the Bible into Arabic were actually made (at least partially) from the Aramaic Peshitta. This demonstrates just how important the Aramaic Peshitta was, in that - almost a full one thousand years after the New Testament was written - the Aramaic Peshitta was still considered reliable and important enough to translate the Arabic Bible from it. In fact, as we shall see in this lesson, Greek was noticeably absent from the languages that the Arabic translations were made from!

When combined with the fact that the Armenian Bible was also translated from the Aramaic Peshitta, we start to build up a picture of how important and widespread the Aramaic Peshitta was - and how authentic, authoritative and reliable it was considered to be, right from when it was first written, down through to the present day.

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