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What Is the Antioch Bible?

The Antioch Bible is a fresh new idiomatic English translation based on the
Aramaic text of the Syriac Peshitta in ca. 35 volumes

  “No branch of the Early Church has done more for the translation of the Bible into their vernacular than the Syriac-speaking. In our European libraries we have Syriac Bible manuscripts from Lebanon, Egypt, Sinai, Mesopotamia, Armenia, India, even from China.”

— Eberhard Nestle

 “[Early Syriac Christianity] offers us a largely unhellenized form of Christianity that is deeply Biblical in character and quite different in many respects from the Christianity of the Greek- and Latin-speaking world of the Mediterranean littoral.”

— Sebastian Brock (University of Oxford)

The Peshitta Bible is one of the earliest versions of the Scripture dating back to the times of the Early Church, and is the only version that is written in a Semitic setting similar to that of the ancient Israelites and the early Christians. In fact Syriac, the language of the Peshitta, is a dialect of Aramaic akin to the Aramaic of the Jewish exile and the Palestinian Aramaic of Jesus Christ. This sociolinguistic connection with the Semitic world gives new insights into the words of the Bible (see the Matthew example below) currently undisclosed by Western languages. Moreover, the Peshitta Bible is full of distinctive readings that are absent in other versions.

The Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible, probably originated as a Jewish targum “translation” and was inherited by the Early Church. It is rich with links to the ancient Jewish exegetical tradition. The New Testament, in particular the Gospels, is a revision of an older Syriac version that dates back to the early centuries of the Early Church.

The Antioch Bible makes the Syriac Bible available to the modern reader in an easy-to-read idiomatic English translation, with ample footnotes that point out literal expressions in the original Syriac. While the edition caters to the non-specialist, it is a particularly expansive tool in the repertoire of a specialist. In this set the specialist can easily consult the original text, fully pointed and vocalized, alongside the translation on facing pages. The translation is the work of an inter-faith international team of scholars from North America and Europe. The original text was prepared by individuals who grew using the Peshitta Bible, in consultation with leading Biblical scholars in North America and Europe. This special limited inaugural edition will appear in ca. 35 volumes at the rate of 4 or 5 volumes per year starting from 2012. Each volume is bound in special cloth and is printed on matte paper with ornate end-sheets.

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