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I had thought that the Old Testament had two versions: Greek and Hebrew. Today, from this link I've found that before the Greek Bible, there was another version, the Aramaic Bible.

During Jesus time, did the Jews use versions of the Old Testament in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek? Did they use versions in other languages?


I'm sorry as I have misunderstood the link above. After searching the internet, I found another link :

The writings of the Old Testament of the Bible were preserved in three languages - Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and have been passed on to us ...//cut

And this

The originality and the importance of Aramaic Old Testament (known as Peshitta Tanakh) can be seen through its consistency by solivng the contradiction between Septuagint and Hebrew Masoretic Text (Hebrew Old Testament written several centuries after Jesus Christ)

I'm unable to find out about on what year the Aramaic Old Testament began to be used or translated.


Today I search more about my question, and this link say :

Jesus was quoting Aramaic. Not Septuagint. Aramaic was the spoken language of first century Israel.

From the sentence above, then there were three version Bible language in that time. But it seems still not clear as in Wiki I found out :

  1. What Theodore of Mopsuestia says of the Old Testament is true of both: "These Scriptures were translated into the tongue of the Syriacs by someone indeed at some time, but who on earth this was has not been made known down to our day".
  2. F. Crawford Burkitt concluded that the translation of the Old Testament was probably the work of Jews, of whom there was a colony in Edessa about the commencement of the Christian era.
  3. The older view was that the translators were Christians, and that the work was done late in the 1st century or early in the 2nd.

Today I've also read this link which I get from this link

The Peshitta Tanakh is the ancient Scriptures translated into Lishana Aramaya (Aramaic language) from the original Hebrew text which pre-dated the Greek Septuagint text (LXX).

  • Thank you for the editing, Sondra.Kinsey – karma Nov 11 at 0:25
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It might be helpful for you to research the Septuagint, which is also referred to as LXX being the Roman numeral for seventy as it is traditionally believed that seventy Jewish elders performed the Hebrew to Greek translation in about 300 B.C.

Many Jews, in the days of Christ on earth, would have read this Greek translation of the Hebrew scripture. It is probable that both Jesus and his apostles are quoting from the Septuagint when we read their references to the Old Testament writings in the Greek New Testament writings of the first century.

I think you may have misunderstood the article in your link. It is referring only to Daniel and Ezra, which were written during the captivity, when Judah was carried off to Babylon, and parts of which are written in the Chaldee (Aramaic) dialect, not pure Hebrew. But there is not a huge amount of difference between Chaldee (Aramaic) and Hebrew.

My understanding is that Aramaic is not, exactly, Babylonian Chaldee. Upon the return to Israel, some Jews who had been influenced during the seventy years of captivity (particularly those growing up in Babylon) would have adapted Chaldee to Aramaic upon their return. They developed another dialect once they were back in their homeland, partly influenced by their exile in Babylon.

Scholars, scribes and Pharisees would have studied the scripture in the original Hebrew as the Jews carefully preserved what had been delivered to them by Moses and the prophets. But in parts of Israel, particularly Galilee in the north, both Aramaic and Greek were spoken.

No scripture was written in the Aramaic dialect, however. Daniel and Ezra were retained in their original form. There was an Aramaic translation (the Peshita, as is mentioned in your new link) and, later, there was Jerome's Latin Vulgate.

I would be very interested if anyone else were to post an answer containing more detail.

Like many things, there is some modern dispute about some of the details of the manuscripts available during that period.

During the days of Christ on earth there were two main scriptures being used in Israel, the pure Hebrew scripture (within the canon of which were Daniel and Ezra partly in Chaldee) and the Greek Septuagint. It was a time of great change and the Greek language had become the lingua franca of the Mediterranean region.

  • Nigel, yes ... you are correct. I'm sorry as I have misunderstood the link above. Thank you for telling my mistake Nigel. I've added another link about Aramaic Bible OT. I hope I'm not a mistake again :). – karma Nov 10 at 9:39
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    Aramaic OT scriptures were known as "targum". Apparently targum originally referred to oral translation only. It is not clear when written targums were first produced. – disciple Nov 11 at 18:08
  • @disciple Is 'targum' the same as 'peshita' ? – Nigel J Nov 11 at 18:48
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    No. I don't know about the distinction between OT Peshita, but I assume the whole Peshita was translated at (about) the same time. Estimates vary from 1st to about 6th Century. Targum is a term for interpretations which began as oral presentations. Peshita is a normal, presumably all-at-once translation. [citations needed] – disciple Nov 11 at 18:57
  • @disciple Thank you. I agree with what the term states. And I agree with your very astute caution. There are many genuine spiritual gifts essential to be retained. Appreciated. – Nigel J Nov 11 at 19:26

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