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Thread: Syriac Peshitta

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISalzman View Post
    My Aramaic is not bad actually. So is Syriac basically Aramaic transliterated in Syriac characters? (Not that that would help me at this point, since I don't read Syriac.)
    Syriac can be considered an eastern dialect of Aramaic. There's a debate about whether it should be counted as a dialect or as its own separate language, but in any case it's Aramaic. There are some grammatical differences from biblical Aramaic (which is western Aramaic); for instance, third masculine imperfect verb forms begin with nun instead of yod, and the plural emphatic of masculine nouns ends in ē instead of ayyā. Of course, there's also some distinctive vocabulary. Because Syriac became the language of the Christian church in the Middle East, there is a vast body of theological, liturgical, mystical, martyrological, etc., literature that uses specialized Christian terminology, some of it borrowed from Greek, some of it translated from Greek, some of it developed within Syriac.

    If you know biblical Aramaic, you'd need to adjust to these differences (as well as to different scripts), but it probably wouldn't be that hard. If you know some Jewish Talmudic Aramaic (Jewish Babylonian Aramaic), which is also an eastern form of Aramaic, even some of the grammar might be familiar.

    By the way, you're not the same David R who authored the Epistles of John in the Westminster Bible Companion Series, are you?
    As a matter of fact, yes.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  2. #12
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    Thanks, David. As a matter of fact, I studied the Talmud in Aramaic all of my middle and high school years. Sounds like mastering the script of Syriac would be about the biggest challenge that I'd face.

    Kudos to you on your Epistles of John commentary. I literally just saw it advertised within the last couple of days. When I saw your name in the promo, I wondered if that was you. Blessings,

    Irving

  3. #13
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    Thanks, Irving. It's good to know that they're still promoting it!

    If you can read the Talmud in Aramaic, you've got a good jump on learning Syriac. As an added incentive, Syriac texts are usually not as elliptical and hard to follow as the Talmud can sometimes be!
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  4. #14
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    Thanks for the encouragement, David.

  5. #15
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    Default Problem in PES database

    I have been using the "square script" databases (PEH & PHA), but this summer I took a 3-week seminar to upgrade my Syriac. I am reading Mark, so I thought I would give the PES (Eastern Script) a try. It appears that in Mark 1:1 the name of Jesus is misspelled -- the last letter is teth, not ayin. So far I can type only in Estrangela, but the name reads ܝܫܘܛ instead of ܝܫܘܥ. It turns out this problem appears to be widespread. I did a quick check, and every time I looked, the name of "Jesus" was spelled incorrectly. Can this be fixed?
    Peace to all!
    Pat

  6. #16
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    Yes, I noticed this substitution of teth for ayin some time back; I believe it only happens with the name of Jesus, and happens throughout the NT. It's pretty maddening. I don't know whether this was supposed to be some sort of avoidance of spelling out the sacred name, or what; I don't think it happens in the Syriac manuscripts. At any rate, with BibleWorks out of business I doubt that it will ever be fixed (and it may be a problem in the database they licensed from the Bible Society in Turkey). I believe the only way for anyone to fix it would be to load the database into a word processor and make a mass substitution, after very carefully ascertaining what letters appear as what characters in the word processor.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  7. #17
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    Default Peshitta

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    Yes, I noticed this substitution of teth for ayin some time back; I believe it only happens with the name of Jesus, and happens throughout the NT. It's pretty maddening. I don't know whether this was supposed to be some sort of avoidance of spelling out the sacred name, or what; I don't think it happens in the Syriac manuscripts. At any rate, with BibleWorks out of business I doubt that it will ever be fixed (and it may be a problem in the database they licensed from the Bible Society in Turkey). I believe the only way for anyone to fix it would be to load the database into a word processor and make a mass substitution, after very carefully ascertaining what letters appear as what characters in the word processor.
    I will look into it. SInce there is no longer a support structure (just me) it would be useful for people who want to continue using BibleWorks, to learn how to make corrections themselves. It is a simple matter of exporting a Bible version and recompiling it. There are instructions in the help file and many forum users who have done this themselves and might be willing to help. BibleWorks has always had some pretty robust customization tools.

    Mike

  8. #18
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    Thank you, Mike. Obviously this is not an urgent problem (for me, at least). Exporting, fixing, and recompiling was basically what I was talking about, without actually knowing what I was talking about.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  9. #19
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    Default I did a little investigating ...

    Hi Folks,

    I have the extra-cost (I thought it was quite inexpensive) Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Database, which provides PEM (morphological database for PES) and PMH (morphological database for PEH). I noticed that the pop-ups provide both lemma and form, with the form using the letter from the lemma, not the one displayed in PES text.

    I exported all 4 versions (databases) (PES, PEM, PEH, PHM) as .cat files.
    When I compared the two morph databases (PEM and PHM) the only difference appeared to be that PEM had a period before the % (signal that Aramaic parsing codes follow) 3,131 times. To confirm this, I changed all 3,131 ".%" to "%". I then compared them again, using Kdiff3, and they were identical.
    This suggests that the CCAT coding for the two alphabets is the same, with the period possibly having some special meaning for the font used with PES.

    I then compared PES and PEH. PES has 21,775 periods. PEH has 65, all appear to be "G." at the end of a word.
    Apart from PES adding periods, there are many differences in the CCAT codes used in PES and PEH.
    The one RevPatM and DavidR talk about involves PES coding the word as "DY$W+." and PEH coding it as "DY$W(".
    Another one, in Mat 2:10, the next to last and third from last words end with the same letter. PES has "XDW&. RB&.", while PEH has "XDWT) RBT)" Someone who knows Syriac might check which is the correct spelling.

    I tried simply using the PEH CCAT file to create a PES2 version, using the PES.dbu renamed to PES2.ddf, and making the required changes for a new database. The letters appeared to display properly, at least for Mat 1:1 and Mat 2:10, but the popups gave only morph code info, no lemma, form, and gloss as with PES/PEM, and what shows up in the Analysis Tab is unpredictable. So I suspect that this may work if you are only using the PES (text) version, without the PEM (morphological version).

    I suspect that there is special stuff in the databases that doesn't get exported, that needs to be there to connect to the glosses and stuff. I notice that the PES.dbu file says that it was originally compiled from BW format input. BW help for "Compiling version databases" says "Input in BW Native Format / Input in CCAT Format - Which of the two radio buttons you choose depends upon the letter mapping used in the input text. It is best to use the CCAT format, especially for Hebrew versions. Using the CCAT format requires that the letters in the input text follow the CCAT font mapping format." But I could find no indication of what the "BW Native format" is.

    I have now compiled a PES3 version, using the CCAT exported PES file; it's popups look exactly like the ones using the PEH exported file, which seems to confirm my suspicion that the PES/PEM relationship is not a normal, user-compliled version sort of relationship. And, I tried compiling a PES4 version, using the CCAT exported PES file, but telling the version compiler that it was in BW format. Twice it abended for me, so I take it that the compiler didn't like that.

    Yes, this is rambling and incoherent, but I wrote it while I was doing the compares and compiles -- I never expected to go this far.
    If anyone else wants to create a PEH based version with the PES font, I could do a step by step cookbook in the near future -- I'd like to get something else done yet tonight, and I'm not sure anyone else is interested in doing it.

    --Jim

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    Last edited by Jim Wert; 09-11-2019 at 11:58 PM.

  10. #20
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    Thumbs up Thank you!

    Thanks, Jim, for doing all this work! I have a couple of comments and questions.

    Regarding the issue in Mat 2:10, PES "XDW&. RB&." vs. PEH "XDWT) RBT)", the script and font that has been (regrettably, IMHO) chosen for PES has a special siglum for word-final taw alpha, which is a very common combination in feminine nouns and adjectives. CCAT is representing this with &, corresponding to T) in square Hebrew/Aramaic script.

    When you say that you "have now compiled a PES3 version, using the CCAT exported PES file," I don't quite follow. This is the file used for the PES version, yes? What did you do in this file to get it looking as it does in your screenshot? Did you simply do a bulk replace of "DY$W+." with "DY$W(."? That should do the trick--partially. This is the name "Jesus" with the multipurpose particle d- prefixed to it. What's really needed is simply to replace "Y$W+." as such with "Y$W(." -- AFAIK there is no word "yšuṭ" that would accidentally get obliterated by doing this.

    Once again, many thanks! I hope my comments and questions are clear.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

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