Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Aramaic Resource Guide

Stephen Andrew Missick is the author of "The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic: Discovering the Semitic Origins of Christianity," "Mary of Magdala: Magdalene, the Forgotten Aramaic Prophetess of Christianity," and "Treasures of the Language of Jesus: the Aramaic Source of Christ's Teachings." Reverend Missick publishes a monthly Aramaic Newsletter, "The Aramaic Herald," which is also published as a blog at Aramaic videos are available at A DVD version of this book, this book "Aramaic: The Language of Jesus of Nazareth" by Stephen Andrew Missick, is available from Big Blue Windmill Productions, William Brooks, PO Box 10174, College Station, TX 77842.


TO LEARN MORE ABOUT Aramaic as the language of Jesus: Many great Bible scholars have done research on the Aramaic source of Christ's teachings. This includes Joachim Jeremias, Bruce Chilton, Maurice Casey, Martin McNamara, Matthew Black, Gustav Dalman and others. George Mamishisho Lama was an Assyrian American who wrote many very interesting and easy to read commentaries on the New Testament from the Aramaic perspective.


Aramaic Versions of the New Testament


There are several English translations of the New Testament from the Aramaic version, most notably the translation by John Wesley Etheridge. Gorgias Press has the translation from the Syriac by James Murdock available. James Murdock, trans. The New Testament Translated from the Peshitto Version (Gorgias Press, New Jersey 2001). Gorgias Press has many books on the Syriac Christian heritage available. They also have a video available entitled The Last Assyrians.


Joseph Paskha has translated The Aramaic Gospel and Acts and has written a key to aide in the pronunciation of the Aramaic. An Interlinear Aramaic New Testament is freely available at George Mamishishu Lamsa, Vic Alexander and Jan Magiera have all translated the New Testament from Aramaic into English.


Aramaic Sources to the New Testament


Maurice Casey has written two helpful Aramaic books Aramaic Sources of Mark's
Gospel and An Aramaic Approach to Q: Sources for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. These books are published by Cambridge University Press. His chapters of the languages spoken in the Holy Land at the time of Christ are excellent. Also, he uses only Aramaic from the Holy Land that has been dated to the time of Christ to reconstruct the words of Jesus in the original Aramaic.


Joachim Jeremais lived from 1900 until 1979 in Germany. Helpful books by Joachim Jeremias include, The Basic Message of the New Testament, New Testament Theology, and The Prayers of Jesus. Joachim Jeremias is one of the best and most respected experts on Aramaic and the life of Christ who lived in the twentieth century.


The Poetry of Our Lord: An Examination of the Formal Elements of Hebrew Poetry in the Discourses of Jesus Christ by Rev. C.F. Burney in 1925 is useful. He also wrote a book on the Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel.


Charles Cutler Torrey also wrote about Aramaic and the New Testament in Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence.


On of the best examinations of the words of Jesus in the Aramaic is The Words of Jesus: Considered in the Light of Post-Biblical Jewish Writings and the Aramaic Language by Gustav Dalman and An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts by Matthew Black.


Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ Definitive Edition DVD contains two versions of the "Passion of the Christ" movie and also a documentary on Aramaic by Mel Gibson's Aramaic authority, Father William Fulco.


The Targums


Martin McNamara Targum and Testament: Aramaic Paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible: A Light on the New Testament.

Bruce Chilton is the author of A Galilean Rabbi and His Bible and Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography both of which use the Aramaic Targums to understand the teachings of Christ. A. Sperber has composed The Bible in Aramaic: Based on Old Manuscripts and Printed Texts. A multi-volume annotated translation of the Aramaic Targum into English is also available. In this edition, each book of the Bible is printed and bound separately, such as "The Targum of Jeremiah," "The Targum of Ezekiel" and etcetera. This series of books is published by the Liturgical Press and is entitled The Aramaic Bible: The Targums.

Israel Drazin, a former military chaplain, has written extensively on the Aramaic Targums including in his book Onkelos on the Torah: Understanding the Bible Text.



The Aramaic Christian Heritage


Samuel Hugh Moffett A History of Christianity in Asia Volume I: Beginnings to 1500 (Harper San Francisco 1992)


Hans-Joachim Klimkeit and Ian Gillman Christians in Asia Before 1500 (University of Michigan Press 1999)


Sebastian P. Brock and Davis G. K. Taylor The Hidden Pearl: The Syrian Orthodox Church and Its Ancient Aramaic Heritage: Volume I The Ancient Aramaic Heritage Volume II the Heirs of the Ancient Aramaic Heritage Volume III At the Turn of the Third Millennium, the Syrian Orthodox Witness (Transworld Films, Italy 2001) with accompanying videotapes.


Christoph Baumer The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity.


The Lost Sutras of Jesus: Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks by Ray Riegent. Martin Palmer The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity (Ballantine Wellspring, New York 2001)


Beth Mardutho and are helpful websites on the Assyrian Church of the East (as well as the Syrian Orthodox Church and other Syriac Christian Churches) as well as the Nestorian Pages, or 'Syriac Christianity in Central Asia by Mark Dickens' at


The Assyrian Christians


Rev. John Booko has written The Assyrian Revelation and Assyria: The Forgotten Nation in Biblical Prophecy.


The Assyrians: The Continuous Saga by Frederick A. Aprim (Xlibris Corporation, 2004)


Moranetho: The Assyrian Church of the East in the Twentieth Century by Mar Aprem published in India is a helpful history of the modern era of the Assyrian Church.


The Flickering Light of Asia, or the Assyrian Nation and Church written by Rev. Joel Werda in 1924.


The Untold Holocaust is a documentary about genocidal attacks against Aramaic Christians by Muslims and massacres of Aramaic Christians by Muslims that features interviews with some of the survivors, by Australian Assyrian Academic Society


Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies is a scholarly journal that focuses on the history of Assyrian Christians (


Aramaic Jews


Ariel Sabar wrote of his father Yona and of his Aramaic heritage in My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq.

There are many Assyrian bands that play Aramaic traditional music, church music and even Aramaic Rock-n-roll. There is a Jewish Aramaic music band called Nash Didan that does traditional and contemporary Aramaic music.


Learning Aramaic


A good Biblical Aramaic grammar and workbook for beginners is Frederick E. Greenspahn's An Introduction to Aramaic (Scholars Press, Atlanta Georgia 1999).


The best tool to learn Aramaic online is currently Alan Al-Dawood's "Teach Yourself Aramaic" There is also Robert Oshana's "Learn Assyrian Online"


"Teach Yourself Modern Syriac" is a very helpful CD-ROM available from Esarhaddon Productions.


W. M. Thackston's Introduction to Syriac is a good introduction to the Classical Aramaic used in Church services by Assyrian Christians.


Father Michael J. Bazzi, a Chaldean Catholic priest and native Aramaic speaker has written a very helpful Beginner's Handbook of the Aramaic Chaldean Alphabets.


Understanding Islam


Aramaic people have had to live under the dominion of Islam for over 1,000 years. For this reason, I believe that people interested in Aramaic Christianity need to have a proper understanding of Islam. This is very difficult due to the amount of disinformation coming from political correctness (which in turn comes from Academia and the Liberal News Media) and the influence of Saudi Arabian Petrol-dollars. For accurate information I recommend the following books: Serge Trikovic, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam, history, theology, impact on the world, Aramaic Christian Brigitte Gabriel, Because they Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America and They Must Be Stopped, Nonie Darwish, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror and Walid Shoebat Why I Left Jihad and Why We Want to Kill You. Most of these books I recommend here are written by Arabs and Arabic Christians. These people have grown up in an Islamic culture and thus they know what they are talking about and are very blunt. I also recommend books on Islam written by Robert Spencer. I also recommend two documentaries Islam: What the West Needs to Know and Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West. Helpful websites include and


Helpful Web-sites


Current information on the Assyrians can be found at Nineveh Online, Zinda Magazine and Assyrian International New Agency


Aramaic Bible Translations sells Bible movies, including the "Jesus" film, in the Aramaic language and also has audio Bibles. (The Jesus film is a two-hour film based on the account of the life of Christ found in the Gospel of Luke. The "Jesus Video Project" is an attempt to dub this film into every language on earth, including modern dialects of Aramaic.) They are currently located at 100 Wycliffe Drive, West Chicago, Illinois, 60185. Visit them online at or call 630-876-8452. A dramatic presentation of the Gospel of John in Modern Aramaic is also available.


The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) has put together a beautiful collection of Aramaic music entitled Ancient Echoes.


The Barnabas Fund gives aide to persecuted Aramaic Christians in the Near East. Barnabas Fund, 6731 Curran St., McLean, VA 22101. The Barnabas fund is online at and can also be reached by phone at (703) 288-1681, toll-free 1-866-936-2525 or can be reached via email at


Christian Solidarity International 870 Hampshire Road, Suite T, Westlake Village, CH 91361


Iraqi Christian Relief Counsil

PO Box 3021

Glenview IL 60025

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