Monday, July 14, 2008


[From the STMcC archive: 2004, August 8]

*My grading scale is typical A through F, but with the very highest mark being an R, which is the equivalent of an A++. Why an R? Heck if I know. My Pa used to tell me that in high school he had a drafting teacher whose highest grade was an R. Pa never did learn what the R stood for, nor - sadly - did he ever achieve one.

Book: “HOLY BIBLE From The Ancient Eastern Text” translated from the Aramaic by George M. Lamsa; 1933

Grade: R

Let me quickly dispense with the negative aspects of this Bible first: The words of Christ are not printed in red; the personal pronouns for God and Jesus are not capitalized; there is no center-column referencing; and quotation marks are not employed. What this version needs is an overhaul by a good editor, and to be made available in a durable leather-bound and/or hardcover edition.

In his book, "NEW TESTAMENT ORIGIN," Dr. George Lamsa states, “Not a word of the Scriptures was originally written in Greek...the Scriptures were written in Aramaic.” I believe that he is correct and that those Christian apologists and ministers scrutinizing the nuances of Greek words for deeper understanding would be better served investigating the subtle meaning of Aramaic words and the cloaked truth behind Aramaic idioms.

The Aramaic word for “camel” is written identically to the word for “rope.” When the original scrolls were being transferred into Greek, an error occurred due to the translator's limitations. Matthew 19:24 is commonly translated as, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” This is an obvious “non sequitur”, whereas the Aramaic manuscripts read “rope" instead of “camel." Rope, of course, is much more in keeping with the imagery of a needle, and is probably what Jesus said, and what was originally recorded.

Similarly, Matthew 7:3 says, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” And yet, in Lamsa's version the word “splinter” appears in place of “speck.” The organic relationship between a splinter and a plank (or beam) is obvious while speck is more nebulous. Again, Lamsa's translation remains true to the imagery being conveyed.

The ninth chapter of Daniel contains the amazing Old Testament prophecy concerning the surprisingly sudden death of the long-awaited Messiah and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem. A portion of verse 26 in other Biblical translations states, “The end of it shall be with a flood.” The most well written and spiritually mature approach to The Tribulation and the events of the Revelation that I am aware of is David Haggith's, “END-TIME PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE.” But even the ordinarily clear-minded Mr. Haggith had trouble correlating this passage with known history. “Blood covered the land like a flood,” he overreaches. It comes as no surprise then that the Aramaic manuscripts do not make mention of any unknown flood. Lamsa's translation accurately reads, “And the end thereof shall be a mass exile.” (Note: Is it mere coincidence that a mass exile could also be poetically described as “a sea of people” and a sea of people might further be described as a “flood”? Understand that I’m only speculating here on how the original “mass exile” might have later been translated into the Greek as an historically inaccurate “flood.”)

Although there is much more evidence, these three examples alone should be sufficient to encourage most serious Bible students to consider the possibility that Lamsa's translation from the ancient Aramaic may offer us the most trustworthy rendering of Scripture.

Finally, I'd like to elaborate on the comment of brother Ram Munjal from his good 2004, Jan. 21st review:

All Bibles, other than Lamsa's version, tell us that from the Cross, Jesus (quoting Psalm 22:1) cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (See Matthew 27:46) This verse has undoubtedly disturbed people for centuries, and no wonder - it is extremely unlikely that Jesus ever felt utterly abandoned by God while He was hanging on the Cross. The Messiah had been promised His Father's abiding Presence! Nothing happened to Jesus that He was not mentally prepared for. He told His disciples in advance what to expect: He would be mocked, spat upon, beaten, and killed, but that three days later He would rise again. (Mark 10:34) He also said to them, “You will be scattered...and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because The Father is with Me.” (John 16:32) Was Jesus mistaken? Or is the translation inaccurate?

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”) correctly appears in the Aramaic manuscripts as, “Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani” (“My God, My God, for this I was spared [this was my destiny.]”) Indeed! At different times mobs had attempted to kill Jesus, but He was always SPARED because it was His Will and His DESTINY to take mankind's sins to the Cross to be washed clean in His Blood. The Aramaic phrases are so similar that it is easy to understand how the mistake was made, but the meanings are worlds apart, and Lamsa's version is much more consistent with the Mission of The Christ. Trying to correlate the mistranslation, Christian theologians have been forced to create a flimsy dogma (Jesus being separated from God while descending into hell) in order to cover for this improbable utterance from our Lord while He was suffering on the Cross. Lamsa resolves this dilemma in a far more satisfactory manner. Furthermore, according to the Aramaic Scriptures, Psalm 22:1 doesn't read, “Why have You forsaken Me?” in the first place, but rather, “Why has thou let Me to live?”
There are plenty more sound arguments to support Lamsa's contention that the New Testament first appeared in the Aramaic language. You may wish to get a copy of his "IDIOMS IN THE BIBLE EXPLAINED AND A KEY TO THE ORIGINAL GOSPELS" and/or "NEW TESTAMENT ORIGIN." (Available from the Noohra Foundation - an organization I strongly disagree with on certain crucial issues.)

When in doubt, George Lamsa's translation is the one I always side with. An added bonus is that this Bible is large and heavy, and should you ever find it necessary to really whack somebody upside the head with The Word Of God, this version is sure to make quite an impression!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy


  1. I remembered this review and loved it then as I do now.

  2. .
    Yo! Thanks, BR'ER MARC!
    I believe this was probably my most popular review at in terms of Positive to Negative vote ratio.

    A nice outcome considering that this is the most important book in my life and the fact that the review was written and posted on my birthday.

    Glad ya like it, Brotherman!

    ~ STMcC
    <"As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11>

  3. This is very thought provoking and I will be looking further into this Lamsa translation. Thanks for directing me to this link.


  4. `
    What iz friendz 4?
    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McME

  5. My goodness, that clears up a lot for me. I'll go for it payday, thank you.

    1. Ahh, you're welcome, DIXIE POLKA.
      I hope and trust you'll find it worth the investment.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'


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