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Hebrew New Testament
Khabouris Codex
 
If you've read the newspaper articles about the Khabouris Codex, then you already have a good idea that this ancient and beautiful manuscript stirred up a LOT of debate when it was first released to the American people back in 1954.  Imagine for a moment, and, please consider this carefully.  What would it mean to the religious worlds, if, an ancient and beautifully preserved New Testament manuscript came on the scene suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere?  Imagine that you, a leading scholar, professor, theologian and dedicated Christian has been told all your life that Aramaic is a dead language.  That the New Testament wasn't originally written in Aramaic and you've taught thousands upon thousands of people that the Greek New Testament is the only way to go.  But, you pick up the New York Times and there it is.  The Khabouris Codex is right in your face:
 

Below is an example of a full page from Khabouris photographed with the Better Light Scanning Back.

Pages were photographed at varied resolution levels as16-bit RGB data, producing files of 450 MB or larger.

A single page image file was equivalent to approximately 900 ppi (pixels per inch) at actual size.
Click here or on the photo below to see closer detail of the top and side segments outlined in yellow.

©2004 The Khabouris Institute, all rights reserved

 
For more information about this digital reproduction please visit: http://www.betterlight.com/khabouris.html
 
If you clicked on one of the yellow text boxes, you've viewed a state-of-the-art digital reproduction that provides a high level of excellence for researchers, scholars and translators to work with.  At the very least we can witness how the scribe beautifully organized and justified each line, how he made notations around the text to reflect the ancient Masoretic style of reproducing Holy writ.  How he took time to accentuate precious words with red ink, but that's only "dusting the surface" as they say.
 
The Director of the California-based Khabouris Institute who produced these digital images noted:
 
“Since the pages were flattened, we had maximum sharpness,” Eric Rivera stated . “I think these images are sharper than anything that’s been done before. And these are really big shots... there is so much detail. You can go to the 80X microscopic level and see the actual writing, the fungus in the parchment cracks, and there is no question that you’re looking at an actual character from a thousand years ago.”
 
According to Eric, new insights have already emerged from this ancient text from pioneering work done by the late Dan MacDougald, his colleagues, and men like Bishop Gerrit Crawford.  “Critical differences have been found that will alter the version of Christianity being taught today,” he said.  “With the Khabouris codex, you get closer to the source - providing insights into the original ideas that haven’t been as diluted and confused through time and generations of interpretations and languages.  We want to explore these original concepts and make sure we hear them as they were intended.”
 
Imagine how a dyed-in-the-wool Christian theologian who only knows about textual criticism and systematic theology from a Greek New Testament might respond to such a statement.  Mr. Rivera says that "critical differences have been found?"  How could this "alter the version of Christianity being taught today?"  What about these "original ideas that haven’t been as diluted and confused through time and generations of interpretations and languages?"  One would assume that back in 1954 when Christians heard these kinds of things that they asked their pastors about it, and many Christian leaders were praying and saying... O Jesus... thank you!  No?  That's not what happened, everyone knows that truth is little match for religious tradition.  In reality, precious few souls choose to suffer the infamy of the truth over more popular traditional forms of Christianity.
 
When the Khabouris Codex was inspected by the top Aramaic researchers and scholars from the Church of the East, they noted that this manuscript held "layers" of ancient text.  Within these "layers" the other story of the date stamp of this ancient manuscript is told.  The aging process took its toll on the Khabouris Codex, what you see above is one of the better pages.  Over the centuries it was not uncommon for scribes to "touch up" faded words and letters.  On June 7, 1965 the Archdeacon and Pastor Sadook De Mar Shimun, B.A.B.D., verified and described the Khabouris codex this way: “The significance of the Codex should be based on the following factors, each of which is of supreme importance.  Its colophon which ascribes it to the first decade of the 3rd century, makes it the oldest Syriac-Aramaic known to exist...It's complete text...”  and that "...it was His language as well as that of His disciples and the people to whom He proclaimed His teachings...".

 

That 3rd century date however, was more conservative than how scholars interpret the colophon today.  The most natural conclusion is the reference in the colophon that states: “dated one hundred years from the Great Persecution.”  That would refer to about year 164 CE, the Great Persecution was the first one in history that occurred during the reign of Nero, after he set Rome ablaze and blamed the fire on Christians and Nazarenes.

 

What you just  saw is the oldest New Testament manuscript on the planet.  Albeit this is an impressively ancient manuscript, but it's not the paint job on the car that makes or breaks the evidence, what matters is what's under the hood.  The accuracy of the text, resolving Greek mistranslations, speaks for itself.  This is the closest text that we have to the original words Y'shua and the Apostles spoke.  From the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, until 135 AD, while Jerusalem was under the heal of the Roman empire the Gospel was being preserved in the Aramaic language, not in Rome but directly north in what is modern day Turkey.  The original followers of Y'shua, including his own mother fled north and out of harms way.

 

In the Greek based New Testament world, there are some 2200 different New testament translations; obfuscating the original text, they are confusing and contrary to each another.  The Aramaic New Testament Church of the East has one New Testament record that spans over 1800 years.  The Eastern Aramaic Peshitta family contains 360 manuscripts that reveal breathtaking accuracy to each other.

 

For those who prefer to date the Kabouris Codex by its latest "touch up" the reality is that a thousand years back or forward isn't going to make any difference when it comes to the content which speaks for itself.  There is a world of difference between Eastern and Western Aramaic New Testament texts.  Eastern texts reveal a depth of Semitic detail far deeper than any other ancient New Testament text on earth, even if it didn't predate the oldest Greek texts by about 200 years.

 

 

 
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