Controversies over the Christian Canon

Over the last few months I began to review what was being said about translations from the Aramaic Scriptures on the Internet. I could not figure out why my translations from the Ancient Aramaic were not given their proper place among the work of translators. My impression today is that my work as a Bible translator has been marginalized. It seems that I have somewhat inherited the legacy of other Aramaic translators. I have been lumped in with the Aramaic Primacy movement. None of this bothers me personally; however, I wish to clarify a few things so my readers can better appreciate my efforts.

From the beginning I did not wish to go too deeply into historical and archeological considerations of what are the original, the oldest or the most authentic sources of the Western Bibles. If I had done that it would have slowed down my progress of translating everything.

Many questions have been raised over the years by people asking which sacred texts of the Scriptures should be included and which should be excluded. It is not that I avoided reading the history of Eastern Christianity altogether, but it seemed to me that the deciding factors had to do with the legitimacy and authority of the various changes that emerged over the last two thousand years of world Christianity.

Now that I have studied the problem, I wish to comment on the state of affairs of Western Christianity with respect to my translation. The main issue is whether or not Eashoa (Jesus) is the real Msheekha (Messiah) prophesied by the Hebrew prophets. This is what originally determined which sacred texts were to become the canon of Christianity. Of course, many historians decided to approach this problem from a scholarly perspective. I decided to avoid the subject until today. Now that I am embarked on raising funds to publish my translations through the Ancient Aramaic Church, I need to state a few important elements of what make my efforts as a translator to be worthwhile.

There are many texts that have not been included in the sacred canon of the Western mainline churches. I have heard of the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and others. From the Old Testament also, there are a number of texts that have been mentioned to me through emails, namely the Book of Enoch and some other prophetic writers such as Joel and others.

Over the last seventeen years I have stuck with the main canon of the published texts of the Ancient Aramaic language. Since I know Modern Aramaic, it being my native language which I grew up speaking, and since I have studied the Ancient Aramaic language of the Ancient Church of the East, I have decided to include all the sacred texts preserved in the Ancient Aramaic that have been generally considered to be the Bible by the Western Churches, the Catholic as well as the Protestant. In this way, I have been able to reach the majority of readers interested in the subject of the Bible as translated from the original sources.

In the past the main controversy has been whether the New Testament was originated in Greek or Aramaic. Then the next controversy has been which are the best translations. Here are my views on the subject.

The big problem is that Western Christianity has lost touch with why Eashoa (Jesus) was not accepted in the first place. Now, if we go back to the original controversy at the time of Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah), we begin to expose only the problem of the Scribes and Pharisees that dealt with Eashoa (Jesus) two thousand years ago. This leads to further discrimination and prejudice against the Jews of today. If we go back sixteen centuries to the time of Constantine the Roman general who fought and won the empire, we expose only the bias of the Roman Catholic Church in the West and the subsequent Protestant Reformation. This leads to almost a total disregard of Eastern Christianity. If we go back thirteen centuries to the appearance of Islam and its clash with European Christianity, we expose only the conflicting doctrines, political and territorial issues. All these are major issues of course; however, these issues are the main problem of why the Scriptures are not properly understood.

My approach is different. It follows the teachings of Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) and what is contained in the actual sacred texts of the recognized canon of the Western Churches. How do we know what is true and authentic? First, what Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) said directly, this is the ultimate truth. Second, is what the Apostle Shawool (Saul) of Tarsos, also known as Paul, writes in his Letters, together with the Four Gospels of Mattai (Matthew), Marqus (Mark), Luqah (Luke) and Youkhanna (John). Then the Acts of the Apostles. And, lastly the Book of Revelation (the Revelation to John the Apostle.) Of course, all these have to be translated correctly. But how do we know if they are translated correctly?

We know if they are translated correctly if they present Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) as the figure described in the Old Testament -- not through the analysis of what the New Testament writers said, but through every word of the Old Testament and the New Testament combined. And what about all the other sacred texts that have not been included in the Western Canon? Yes, those texts as well. But how do we know if any of the texts are true? There is only one criterion for all this. Is the Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) presented by all of them the Allaha (God) in the Flesh? Is He the physical Manifestation of the Creator of the Universe (the Milta) that was spoken of by the Disciples and the writers of the New Testament?

This is why the Ancient Aramaic Church project is so important. If any text reveals Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) is the Milta of the Creator of the Universe, in other words, it portrays Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) as Allaha (God) in the Flesh, and that text happens to exist in the Ancient Aramaic language -- not merely in Aramaic or any of its derivatives -- then that text is authentic and should be included in the canon of the Ancient Aramaic Church.

All other matters of history and archeology pale in comparison with the understanding of who Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) really is. He is the only Milta of Allaha. In other words, He manifests the Creator of the Universe in every way. So when we speak of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, we are talking about One Allaha, or One God.

We cannot define the Creator, because He created us and He defined us in the first place -- even beyond what we know or can possibly know. This is the knowledge we cannot have, the forbidden fruit. We can observe the Creator through His creation and through our own understanding, but these are merely reflections of a passing nature. Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) is our only way. This is why He said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

The Ancient Aramaic Church explains all these teachings by going back to the original language that Eashoa Msheekha (Jesus the Messiah) spoke.

Nov. 17, 2013

Aramaic Bible Index