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The greatest of their versions is the Peshitto or simple. Some derive this name from the fact that it was unprovided with the diacritical signs employed by Origen in his Hexaplar edition of the Septuagint. Others derive it from its faithful literal character.

The Syrians say that a part of the O. T. was translated in the days of Solomon at the request of King Hiram. Another tradition dates it from the advent of the priest sent by the King of Assyria into Samaria.

It seems reasonably probable that at least a part of the Syriac Old Testament is pre-Christian. Though the twenty-two books of the Hebrew Canon were the first translated, at a very early date the deuterocanical books were embodied in the Canon, as appears from an inspection of the most ancient MSS. The value of this version differs in the different books, as it is not all of a single hand.

The Peshitto was the only recognized Syriac version up to the sixth century.

A tradition prevails among the Syrians that St. Mark the Evangelist translated the New Testament into Syriac. Jacob of Edessa († 701) derived the version from King Abgar and Thaddaeus (Addai) the Apostle. Without accepting these legends we believe that at a very early age the New Testament existed in Syriac.

Tatians Diatessaron, made in the middle of the second century presupposes a very early Syriac translation.








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