Front Cover Aramaic reads Ktaba (Scriptures) Qadisha (Set Apart or Holy)

Some have inquired about the meaning of the Aramaic words on the top front cover of the Aramaic English New Testament.  The phrase in Aramaic reading right to left is Ktaba Qadisha.  Ktaba means writings or Scriptures, Qadisha means “Set Apart” or “Holy”.  This title appears throughout ancient Peshitta Tanakh (Tanakh –TNK is an acronym for Torah (Instructions) Neviim (Prophets) Ketuvim (Writings) what Christians refer to as Old Testament) and Brit Chadasha (New Testament) collections.

From an historical point of view, as the centuries passed, rival assemblies like the Church of the East and Syrian Orthodox Church both altered their scripts so that their manuscripts could never be confused for one another.  However, both organizations kept the Estrangela heading intact as shown below and both acknowledge as a consequence, that the Eastern traditions in terms of calligraphic style and content are indeed the most ancient.


From ancient times until today the sopherim (scribes) who copied from the originals have labored (and suffered) to preserve the accuracy of each manuscript.  If the saying is true in any other context, it is most certainly true here that we “stand on the shoulders of giants”.  Through the ages the scribes have lovingly and carefully preserved these “Set-Apart Scriptures” so that all who seek Mashiyach (Messiah) today may learn of and enter into the Malchut Shemayim (Kingdom of Heaven).

It has been said by some that long after the digital age is over the ancient texts will still live on, indeed there are possibly hundreds of ancient texts that have not yet been discovered and perhaps some are held by those who don’t recognize them or regard their importance to mankind.  Nevertheless, we do in fact have access to “the words of life” in this generation like never before, and within the Aramaic English New Testament you will find the closest to the original New Testament text and translation that has appeared since the First Century when it was written.

With a few clicks we can surf the net and view a proliferation of ancient Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek texts online, but let’s also be mindful of the vast differences in the presentation of each manuscript.  Within the proliferation of translators and scribes over the millennia there are very distinct differences.

The Hebrew and Aramaic scribes who viewed their work as Ktaba Qadisha, “Set-Apart Scripture” took exceedingly great effort to craft each letter and beautify every page.  As we compare various texts let’s also bear it in mind the relationship the scribe had with his work.  Ancient Eastern Aramaic texts are extremely consistent because Aramaic scribes modeled their writing styles after the scribes who wrote Torah scrolls.

Word by word and line by line Eastern scribes crafted each letter and gauged how each page would look when completed, the scribe wanted each page to look exactly the same as the original.  By copying each line exactly the scribe knew there would be far less margin of error.  Within the Aramaic English New Testament you will find footnotes that indicate extremely minor variations between 360 ancient Aramaic manuscripts, you will notice an amazing degree of accuracy that spans nearly 1900 years of the manuscript record.

Let it never be forgotten that the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic scribes believed that their work was “Set Apart unto YHWH” even more important to them than life itself.  Over the ages these words of Shimon Keefa (Peter) have echoed from the desks of the scribes themselves when he stated:

“My Master, to whom should we go?
You have the words of life that is eternal.”

Yochanan (John) 6:68 AENT

[1] Sopherim (scribes) in this context simply refers to those who have the profession of writing and copying texts.  Y’shua however spoke of “scribes and Pharisees” who were both political and religious entities of his day.  The scribes that Y’shua references (as a sect) and the Pharisees both rejected Y’shua as Mashiyach in favor of their own religious traditions.

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