Nearly all faiths have a liturgical and doctrinal language. For the Roman church it is Latin, for Sunni Islam it is Arabic and for Syriac Orthodox church, it is Syriac. Any crossing over of linguistic shreds from the liturgy of doctrine of one to the liturgy or doctrine of the other is important in many ways. If the same word appears in one faith as the other, or shares a common root or etymology, it may be assumed that it is not only the word and sound that are the same, but the very essence of what the word means. For example, in common translation from Italian to English, the word “villa” means “house”, but to a native speaker of English, “villa” does not simply mean house, it means as specific type or style of house, usually in a specific place or setting. Where as a house is a home or place of residence with a front door, 2 windows and chimney, a villa is a Mediterranean abode, with pool and olive groves. The significance of this linguistic phenomenon cannot in my opinion be underestimated.
Being the older of the two faiths, it is prudent to start with the history of the doctrine of the Syriac church. The main source of doctrine and enlightenment is of course, the Bible. The Bible that the Syriac church chose as their own comes in two halves, as do all Bibles. The Old Testament comes in 2 versions: the Pshitto, which is a direct translation from Hebrew into Syriac. The date of translation is dubious, but most likely to be 1st century AD Christianised Jews (Barsoum, pp39). The other source of he Old Testament, is the Syro-Hexapla, a version rendered by St Paul of Tell Mawzalt in 615-17AD, from an almost entirely Greek (1 column of Hebrew) source. It is this second version that is often used as it is believed to be considerably more precise translation (Barsoum, pp39). The New Testament in Syriac has 3 generally accepted translation: a simple format translation from the 1st century AD or early 2nd which contained all but the, 2nd and 3rd epistles of St...
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