William Norton

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William Norton of North Devon (England) was both an Aramaic and Greek Scholar who revealed the originality of Aramaic Peshitta NT (also known as Peshito-Syriac in 1800s) through his two books. His first book is "A Translation, in English Daily Used, of the Peshito-Syriac Text, and of the Received Greek Text, of Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 1 John: With An Introduction On the Peshito-Syriac Text, and the Received Greek Text of 1881" (1889). His second book is "A Translation in English Daily Used: of the Seventeen Letters Forming Part of the Peshito-Syriac Books" (1890).

William Norton was a Peshitta primacist, as shown in the introduction to his translation of Hebrews, James, I Peter, and I John [in Book "A Translation, in English Daily Used, of the Peshito-Syriac Text, and of the Received Greek Text, of Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 1 John: With An Introduction On the Peshito-Syriac Text, and the Received Greek Text of 1881" (1889)].

William Norton's books are now in public domain [1]. When William Norton says Peshito-Syriac, he is referring to both Peshitta and Peshitto. Unlike Aramaic Peshitta (aka Eastern Peshitta), Peshitto (aka Western Peshitto) is a revised version.

The differences between Peshitta and Peshitto can be seen here [2] & [3].

William Norton point outs that Germans (includes Austrians) were the first people in Europe who welcomed Peshito-Syriac, printed first editions of Peshito Syriac, and also enthusiastic about learning Peshito-Syriac. In his second book "A Translation in English Daily Used: of the Seventeen Letters Forming Part of the Peshito-Syriac Books" (1890) Page V-VI, Norton mentions (below) about how Peshito-Syriac was welcomed by Germans (includes Austrians) and how they printed the early editions of Peshito-Syriac in Europe.

"I. The Edition of the N.C. Peshito in Walton's Polyglot, large folio, 1653-7, vol. v. The first edition of the N.C. Peshito ever printed, was published at the cost of the Emperor of Austria, in 1555. It was hailed with great joy by the learned; nor is there any reason why it should be less esteemed now. Neither in that nor other editions were the Syriac words fully applied with signs of the vowel sounds placed above or below the consonants, till the Peshito was printed in Le Jay's Paris Polyglot, 1628-45, under the care of Gabriel Sionita. Walton followed chiefly this Paris edition. He printed a Latin translation at the side of Syriac."

"2. The edition printed at Hamburg by Prof. GUTBIER in 1664 12mo, with a lexicon of the Syriac words in the Peshito, 1667, with various readings, etc.; designed chiefly to aid students, and well fitted to do so. He could not find anyone willing to undertake the care and cost of this edition. But so highly did he esteem the Peshito, that he resolved to bear the cost himself. He bought type and a press, and had the work printed under his own eye, in his own house. Hug says that Gutbier's edition surpassed all preceding ones "in point of utility." (Hug's Int. to N.T. by Fosdick, p. 214.)."

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