1902 Encyclopedia > Armenian Version

Armenian Version

ARMENIAN VERSION. The Armenian version of the Bible was undertaken in the year 410 by Miesrob, with the aid of his pupils Joannes Ecelensis and Josephus Pal-nensis. It appears that the patriarch Isaac first attempted, inconsequence of the Persians having destroyed all the copies of the Greek version, to make a translation from the Peshito; that Miesrob became his coadjutor in this work; and that they actually completed their translation from the Syriac. But when the above-named pupils, who had been sent to the ecclesiastical council at Ephesus returned, they brought with them an accurate copy of the Greek Bible. Upon this Miesrob laid aside bis translation from the Peshito, and prepared to commence anew from a more authentic text. Imperfect knowledge of the Greek lan-guage, however, induced him to send his pupils to Alexandria to acquire accurate Greek scholarship ; and, on their return, the translation was accomplished. Moses of Khorene, the historian of Armenia, who was also employed, as a disciple of Miesrob, on this version, fixes its completion in the year 410; but he is contradicted by the date of the Council of Ephesus, which necessarily makes it subse-quent to the year 431. In the Old Testament this version adheres closely to the LXX., but, in the book of Daniel, it has followed the version of Theodotion. Its most striking characteristic is, that it does not follow any known recen-sion of the LXX. Although it more frequently agrees with the Alexandrine text, in readings which are peculiar to the latter, than it does with the Aldine or Complutensian text, yet, on the other hand, it also has followed readings which are only found in the last two. Bertholdt accounts for this mixed text by assuming that the copy of the Greek Bible sent from Ephesus contained the Lucian recension, that the pupils brought back copies according to the Hesychian recension from Alexandria, and that the trans-lators made the latter their standard, but corrected their version by aid of the former. The version of the New Testament is equally close to the Greek original, and also represents a text made up of Alexandrine and Occidental readings. This version was afterwards revised and adapted to the Peshito, in the 6th century, on the occasion of an ecclesiastical union between the Syrians and Armenians. Again, in the 13th century, an Armenian king, Hethom or Haitho, adapted the Armenian version to the Vulgate, by way of smoothing the way for a union of the Roman and Armenian churches. Lastly, the bishop, Uscan, who printed the first edition of this version at Amsterdam in 1666, is also accused of having interpolated the text, by adding all that he found the Vulgate contained more than the Armenian version. The existence of the verse 1 John v. 7, in this version, is ascribed to this supple-mentary labour of Uscan. It is clear from what has been said, that the critical uses of this version are limited to determining the readings of the LXX. and of the Greek text of the New Testament which it represents, and that it has suffered many alterations which diminish its useful-ness in these respects.

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