Queens’ Semitic Language Scholars through the Ages
Syriac New Testament, Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1575
This New Testament is printed in long 24mo, and it is only 11 x 6.5 cm! It is open to the first page of the Gospel of John. Note that Plantin's Syriac NT was printed in Hebrew characters because many scholars were not familiar with the Syriac script (see Phillips' Syriac Grammar).
Semitic languages belong to the group of languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic that was a literary language for Eastern Orthodox Christianity across the Near East and Arabia from the 1st to 7th centuries CE, and was a spoken language in those regions until replaced by Arabic.
On display is the first printed edition of the New Testament in Syriac, printed in 1575, using a Hebrew script. It to the Library soon after it was printed. Here the text is open to the Gospel of John. Syriac is studied mainly by those interested in early Christianity, but many of the translators of the Syriac Old Testament were Jewish converts to Syriac Christianity.