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The Peshitta is the official Bible of the Church of the East.

Table of contents
1 Meaning of the word Peshitta
2 History
3 External links

Meaning of the word Peshitta

In eastern Syria and western Mesopotamia during early Christian times neither Latin nor Greek was understood. Therefore, the native language Syriac (a Semitic language related to Aramaic) was used in Christian writings.

In the Syriac language, "peshitta" means "simple" or "common", indicating the accepted Bible of Syrian Christian churches from the end of the 3rd century AD. The name suggests that the text was in common use at that time.

The word peshitta in Aramaic can also mean "straight", indicating the original and pure New Testament.


The earliest New Testament of the Syriac speaking Church consisted of the Diatesseron, the Epistles of Paul, and Acts. The Diatesseron was written by Tatian by weaving the 4 canonical Gospels together into a coherent and continuous account.

Bishop Rabbulas of Edessa (d. 436 CE) instructed his priests to take care that in all the churches the 4 'separated' Gospels should be available and read. Theodoret, who became bishop of Cyrrhus on the Euphrates in upper Syria in 423, sought out and found more than 200 copies of the Diatesseron, which he 'collected and put away, and introduced instead of them the Gospels of the four evangelists.

By the beginning of the 5th century, or slightly earlier, the Syrian Church's version of the Bible, the Peshitta ('simple' translation) was formed. For the New Testament it represented an accommodation of the Syrian canon with that of the Greeks. It contains 22 books - all of the present New Testament except 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and the Book of Revelation.

External links

Official Peshitta Site