Free Online Bible Library | Armenian Version

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Armenian Version

Armenia (or Hayastan) was converted in the late third or early fourth century under King Tiridates by Gregory the Illuminator.* The beginnings of biblical translation are attributed to Mashtotz (otherwise Mesrob*) who created an alphabet for this purpose. As some traditions say and as scholars deduce, the basis of his work was the Syriac versions. No MS of this earliest stage of the version survives, and the scholar must work from the data of quotations in the earliest writers. In the case of the gospels, it is debated whether the earliest form was a harmony of the gospels related to the Diatessaron of Tatian. The canon of Scripture continued to bear the mark of its Syriac origin for a long time in its retention of the apocryphal 3 Corinthians, and in the absence of the Book of Revelation, which although translated as early as the fifth century did not figure in canonical lists until late. From about the sixth century there were increasing movements of revision to a Greek model, which in the gospels was akin to the textual use of Caesarean scholars such as Origen and Eusebius. The complexion of the OT Armenian text is basically Lucianic with some hexaplaric readings. This former may derive from a Syriac base akin to the Peshitta,* the latter from the stage of revision to Greek norms. The data in the two Armenian forms of Ecclesiasticus throw this double line of descent into high relief. The version in its revised form is notable for its careful technique and accuracy.

A. Vöobus, Early Versions of the New Testament (1954); L. Leloir, (Versions) Orientales de la Bible, II; “Versions armeniennes,” in Dictionnaire de la Bible, Supplement VI (1960).


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