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Introduction to the Aramaic Jewish Bible

The Aramaic Jewish Bible is called the "Peshitta Tanakh" and it is a holy text to the ancient Israelites and it is the official Bible of Assyrian Judaism. The word "Tanakh" is an acronym of the three words Torah (Law or Teachings), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). The text of the Tanakh is regarded as being holy, in particular the Name of God, especially in its four letter form יהוה, Aramaic: ܝܗ (Yah), or מריה (MarYah, Lord YHWH).

The Pshitta Tanakh is the ancient Scriptures translated into Lishana Aramaya (Aramaic language) from the original Hebrew text which pre-dated the Greek Septuagint text (LXX). The Aramaic Tanakh uses many Hebraic terms, many times transliterating the words and phrases rather than translating them. Often times the Aramaic Peshitta and the LXX agree against the Masoretic text. The Masoretic text is not the original Hebrew that was used by the translators of the Aramaic Pshitta. In other words, the text used by those who translated the Aramaic Pshitta is much older than the Masoretic text. The Aramaic Pshitta Tanakh was completed during the first century C.E., while the standardized Masoretic text was completed between the seventh and tenth centuries C.E. This translation is based on the Aramaic Pshitta Tanakh using the source texts listed in the "Resources Consulted" above.

According to the canon of this Aramaic Bible, it contains fifty-two books, which are divided into three sections: The Law (Aurayta/Torah, the Five Books of Moses); The Prophets; and the Writings. The books of the Prophets are traditionally divided into the "Former Prophets" and the "Latter Prophets", or sometimes as "The Prophets" and "Minor Prophets". The Aleppo Codex arranges the prophets in the following "historical order": Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Certain books of the Tanakh are "double books" such as Ketava Shemuel, Sipra d'Malke, and Sipra d'Dabaryamin. The Book of Psalms, within the Writings, are divided into five "books" or sections. The sections of Psalms are divided in the following manner: Section (or "Book") 1: Psalms 1-41; Section 2: Psalms 42-72; Section 3: Psalms Psalms 73-89; Section 4: Psalms 90-106; Section 5: Psalms 107-150. There is also a 151'st Psalm in Hebrew which is found within the "Psalms Scroll" of the Dead Sea Scrolls and within the Septuagint.

Codex Ambrosiano (5th-7th century) includes the following books within it, and are noted as being canonical by Aran Younan: Wisdom, Epistle of Jeremiah, Epistle of Baruch, Baruch, Bel, The Dragon, Susanna, Judith, Ben Sirach, Apocalypse of Baruch, 4 Ezra, 1 - 4 Maccabees, Josephus' Wars of the Jews.

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Introductory Articles
Topical Discussions
Further Reading & Study

Pshitta Tanakh: The Aramaic Jewish Bible in English (Nusach Beit Shalom)
Copyright 2007-2014 by Ya'aqub Younan-Levine, and 2014-2019 by Nehemiah Cohen.
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