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Peshitta Koralija, Srecko
Peshitta (P) is the Syriac translation of the Bible. It consists of both the Old and the New Testament. Its translation process started already during the second century CE, and the translation itself has been used until today (This is the reason for the timeframe/2CE-21CE/ given to this article). It is only in the 9th century that this corpus was given the name 'Peshitta'. One can speak of P as both the earliest translation of biblical narratives into Syriac and a corpus reflected in the manuscript tradition. As for the first point, previous scholarship has extensively debated about the earliest date of the translation, but has never been able to clearly answer the question of its origins. The scholars basically all agree that it is impossible to determine the starting date of the translation. The answers to this question depend on the angle with which it is approached. Weitzman argued that the translation must predate the fourth-century Syriac fathers Aphrahat and Ephrem, who quoted it extensively, but cannot be later than about 200 CE because P-Gen uses a particle (yt) that Ephrem no longer understood. What can be debated, on the other hand, is the Syriac of P as attested in the manuscripts available for each biblical book and their complete compilation by the various editors. Given its textual history, the text of P is, therefore, the result of three interrelated processes. First, the initial (oral or textual) process of translating the biblical narratives. Second, the compilation of the originally translated narratives into larger units. For example, complete biblical books or liturgical readings. Third, Syriac biblical narratives attested in the manuscript tradition. In this respect, we can say that P is the title given to a collection of translated biblical texts which includes both biblical narratives and independent manuscript headings. The main characteristic of P is that it spans several centuries of use, involving multiple processes of textual interpolation that are visible in either minor or major textual differences in the manuscripts. Textual idiosyncrasies of the Peshitta reflect its rich history and importance within the Syriac tradition. Nota bene - the region indicated here is the approx. region restricted to the first centuries of the Peshitta. Today, it is basically used wherever there is a Syriac community, Peshitta user or scholar (and this would probably cover the whole world). (For better understanding of this entry, I recommend you read it along with the 'Targums' and 'Septuagint' entries. Namely, Peshitta, Septuagint and Targums reflect similar methodological questions, and occasionally they can share some features).
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