Split Words

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Split Words are words that have more than one meaning, like the English word, 'mean'. This causes great difficulty for translators. The tendency is to look at the context of the sentence and then choose the most logical meaning. However this is not always possible, and so wherever a true split-word occurs, it is almost always positive proof of translation. When the Greeks translated the original language into Greek they made a conscious effort to appeal to the worldview of the Greek-speaking converts for whom they were writing.

Split words are invaluable to the Aramaic primacists as they show the Aramaic to be superior to Greek; show how Greek variants are caused by different translations of the Aramaic; and often solve ‘anomalies/errors/contradictions’ within the New testament, by allowing for more correct renderings.[1]

Hadrian Mar Elijah Bar Israel gives the following example of the French verb “voler”, which means both “to fly” and “to steal”. Only the context can tell you which one the author really meant. However lets say that the author of a novel wanted to have his protagonist steal an airplane... The French sentence would look like this:

    Je pense que ce serait amusant de voler un avion.

    Which can be translated as either:

    I think it would be fun to steal an airplane.


    I think it would be fun to fly an airplane.

In this case, some of the translators might decide that the bad-boy protagonist already knows how to fly and wants to steal a plane, but others might think he just wants to learn to fly. The essays these two different translators end up with would have totally different connotations in the end. This is what happened with the various Greek translations of the New Testament when they began translating the original Aramaic.

Steve Caruso gives the following twelve examples in his article Split Words - Undeniable and Irrefutable Evidence of Peshitta Primacy:

    1. Burn or boast? - 1st Corinthians 13:3 2. Be an imitator or be zealous? - 1st Peter 3:13 3. Power or covering? - 1st Corinthians 11:10 4. Her children or her deeds? - Matthew 11:19 / Luke 7:35 5. To compare or to represent? - Mark 4:30 6. Those who are strong or who have power? - Revelation 6:15 7. Saying or thinking? - John 11:31 8. Through the gate or door? - Luke 13:24 9. Suffer or tolerate? - Revelation 2:20 10. To hope or wait? - Romans 8:24 11. In Him, on Him or into Him? - John 3:15 12. Angry or merciful? - Mark 1:41

But this isn't where it ends, there are many, many more, and the scholarship necessary to prove Aramaic New Testament primacy has only just begun.


  1. Christopher Lancaster, Paul Younan, Split Words – Undeniable and Irrefutable Evidence of Peshitta Primacy, page 1