Syriac Tools and Resources
A compilation of information and resources you need
to work with the Syriac biblical texts
MGVHoffman (Last updated: 2009.09.14)
Return to Scroll
and Screen = Biblical
Studies and Technological Tools
Some old TrueType fonts are still available at the SBL
site (SPEdessa) and at Peshitta.org
(Estrangelo). What you really want, however, are the Unicode Syriac fonts such
Cyberbit or the wonderful collection of Meltho OpenType, Syriac scripts at Beth
Mardutho. If you want to see what the fonts look like, go to this gallery
page. (This page indicates that Syriac is not supported by TITUS Cyberbit,
but the latest version I have linked above does indeed include it.) For OS X,
note the offering from
XenoType. (You will also get a Syriac font with the Accordance
Also note the large collection of 43 free
TrueType fonts at Assyrian Information
Here's your best
guide to getting your system set up for Syriac and registering the keyboards.
For biblical text work, I recommend that you install the Syriac Phonetic
keyboard. For more detailed information on setting up your system for Syriac,
Roger Pearse has a page on Unicode
here and another one
on coding for right-to-left
Do you forget where all the accents and such are located on the
keyboard? I can recommend two good options.
- Shibboleth from Logos
more about this free downloadable tool provided
by Logos Software. You can either type in characters or click on the
keyboard or on the characters in the right hand column. Note that for
Syriac, you can choose between East Syriac Adiabene, Estrangelo Edessa, or
Serto Jerusalem. (Since it outputs your text in Unicode, you can always
change it in your word processor.) As the graphic shows, this tool also
works for Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Ethiopic, and other languages.
You can also try the free UniqTitus
Keyboard layout addin for MS Word. It's Unicode compliant and works well
for Greek, Hebrew, and transliteration.
- [For learning to write Syriac, check Steven
- For converting Syriac text from Arabic Windows
into Syriac Unicode, check the software convertors available at Syriac
The Peshitta is the primary
text of interest for biblical scholars. (The linked Wikipedia article looks
quite accurate and is worth checking.)
- A digital version of the Old Testament is
available at the Comprehensive
Aramaic Lexicon project (CAL). If you start at this
page, you can invoke the Masoretic text, Targumim, and the Peshitta (be
sure to check the "display Peshitta" box) all in parallel. Very
nice! (Note, however, that for the Syriac to appear in a Syriac font, you
need to be using IE7 or at least Firefox using an IE rendering.)
Alternatively, you can start at this
page and get the full Peshitta OT text (after a quick and free
acceptance of terms). An outstanding feature of this display is that you can
click on the verse number to get a full analysis of every word in the text.
Be sure to select the viewing font (in the upper left corner; the Meltho-Unicode
is recommended if you've installed the Meltho fonts listed above) before you
select the text.
- Images of the Ceriani edition of Codex
Ambrosiano of the Syriac Peshitta OT are available here
(1-4) and here
(7) on the BYU site.
Also follow the links on Steven
- NEW> OT
and NT Syriac Bible (modern, 1893) viewable online
or as a download.
Syriac Biblical and Non-biblical Texts
- For texts of the Peshitta NT, get them here
(Peshitta.org) (under Tools > Word Docs) as MS Word DOCS using the
Estrangelo font from Peshitta.org listed above. (The files appear to be the
same at both sites.)
- There are beautiful PDFs
of the Peshitta NT available for download at the Beth Sapra project.
Also a part of the Beth Sapra Library, you can download
PDFs of Tetraeuangelium
Sanctum (The Four Holy Gospels) by Philip Edward Pusey and George
Henry Gwilliam, 1901. Read the notes on the page about this critical
- You can also get the Peshitta NT here
here (The Syriac Library; whole NT on a single web page).
- The Four
Gospels in Syriac Transcribed from the Sinaitic Palimpsest by Bensly,
Harris, and Burkitt is available here.
page of Syriac NT resources has four versions of the Peshitta NT: ones
using Serto, Estrangella, Unicode (Serto Batnan, but any of the Unicode
Meltho fonts can be used), and a Romanized text version.
BURKITT, F. CRAWFORD, Evangelion
da-Mepharreshe : the Curetonian Version of the four gospels, with the
readings of the Sinai palimpsest and the early Syriac patristic evidence
(Cambridge England: University Press, 1904) 2 v. [vol. 2] Download
PDF Here (121 MB) (BYU
- Want some images of actual manuscripts? Try here
or here (PDFs with
image, transcription, translation) or here.
Also follow the links on Ring's
TRANSLATIONS and INTERLINEARS (Online)
For English translations of the Peshitta, you have a number of options in the
- The standard lexicon for the Syriac is the Payne
Smith Compendious Syriac Dictionary.
It is available online for free here,
and it is broken down by initial letter, but it is basically a collection of
image files which makes it rather cumbersome to find a desired entry. You
can, however, buy a "Syriac
Lexicons" CD of the book as a PDF scan for only $18. I'm not sure
if it is the same PDF collection, but an explicitly "searchable and
bookmarked" edition of it is available for download for $45 here.
If you want the original Latin volumes, the Internet
Archive has it here for free. (BTW, if you do want a hardcopy, I want to
& Stock for producing a paperback version priced at a mere $36. )
- At the
BYU/CUA site you can download for free:
- W. Jennings' Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament (Peshitta): With Copious References, Dictions, Names of Persons and Places and some Various Readings found in the Curetonian, Sinaitic Palimpsest, Philoxenian & Other Mss
(Oxford: 1926. 244pp). Download PDF Here (50.5 MB)
- T. N÷ldeke's
Compendious Syriac Grammar. With a table of characters by Julius
Euting. Tr. from the 2d and improved German ed., by James A.
Crichton, D.D (London : Williams & Norgate, 1904). Download
PDF Here (106 MB)
- An excellent online lexicon is available at the Dukhrana
site. Lots of options for searching (English, Syriac, Lexeme, Root, Word
ID), choice of fonts, and results allow for further research such as showing
all inflected forms with analysis.
- Similarly, the Peshitta.org
site (under Tools > Lexicon) offers a nice Lexicon / Concordance
searchable by English, Word Number, Aramaic, Lexeme, or Root.
- There is a free, downloadable "Syriac
Lexicon and Parser for the NT" based on the Kiraz' Sedra 3 data
available on this page.
- The CAL
site provides a lexicon, but it is somewhat more awkward to use.
- For a downloadable
Syriac dictionary you can run independent of the web, use the Beth
Mardutho one based on the SEDRA database.
- NEW: Aramaic
Lexicon and Concordance: Free web resource for searching by English
word, Aramaic word, lexeme, or root. The concordance provides verse
references for occurrences in NT Peshitta.
- For a free, online
grammar of "Assyrian Aramaic," this appears to be a very nice site.
- At the Beth
Sapra Online Library, you can download PDFs of a bibliography, the 1906 The
Elements of Syriac, and Eberhard Nestle's 1900 Syriac
TEXTS in BIBLE SOFTWARE
comes with the Aramaic New Testament (Peshitta), with the Etheridge (1849),
Lewis (1896), Murdock (1851), Norton (1881), and Magiera (2005) English
translations. The OT is not included, and the Syriac text is not analyzed or
linked to any lexicon.
includes the Syriac Peshitta NT with Morphology along with editions of
Codices Curetonianus and Sinaiticus in their Original Language, Silver, and
Gold libraries. (The Peshitta
NT can also be purchased separately for a list price of $19.95.) The
Silver and Gold libraries (why not the Original Languages one??) also
include the Analytical Lexicon of the Syriac NT. (Also available
separately.) In Logos3, therefore, one can double click on any word in
the Syriac text, and it will invoke the correct lexicon entry. There are
not, however, any English translations available unless you buy the rather
expensive ($179.95 list on pre-pub) Gorgias
Press Syriac Collection which includes the Murdock translation along
with 8 other books.
for the MAC, like Logos3, offers the Syriac Peshitta NT with Morphology
along with editions of Codices Curetonianus and Sinaiticus. (But unlike
Logos3, it will cost you $100.) Murdock's translation is also included, but
I can't find that any Syriac lexicon is.
- The NT
Peshitta in Hebrew letters is available in the Online
- The Murdoch
translation of Peshitta NT is available for e-Sword.
the Hugoye list on Yahoo groups.
"Hugoye-list is an e-mail discussion group devoted to the
academic field of Syriac studies. The list is associated with the electronic
Journal of Syriac Studies and is sponsored by the Beth
Mardutho: The Syriac Institute. Intended for the use of academic
scholars, Hugoye-list is not an appropriate forum for amateur
inquiries. The framework for discussion is academic and non-political."
- Join the "Studying
Syriac" online study group!
- The Aramaic
Peshitta Bible Repository offers quite a bit of information and access
to tools for studying the Aramaic NT.
- There are numerous resources at Peshitta.org
Under the Introduction heading is background information and links to fonts.
There are a number of articles, tools (links to a grammar
[cached page], lexicon, font encoding, Word DOCS), an interlinear NT
(Matthew-Acts), a forum, music, and more links.
- Also check out the Beith
Morounoye site which provides a history of the Syriac language and
lessons in Syriac along with other devotional resources.
- Steven Ring has compiled a collection of
resources on his Syriac
Studies page which includes introductory material on Syriac/Aramaic and
materials focused on the Syriac NT and Gospels. Also check his "Virtual
Syriac music and audio library."
- The Syriac Orthodox Church has helpful
background information on the Syriac
Bible and various editions and commentaries.
Yourself Modern Syriac" is a Windows program available for purchase
on CD ($69.95 + S/H). You can download for free the text and audio of The
Lord's Prayer in Aramaic.
- Additionally, use this Google
Books search link to find all the books with full views with Syriac in
their titles. (The 29 hits that were returned on 2007.10.04 are mostly old
grammars and catalogue listings, but there are some interesting texts and
other reference works in the mix. >> 2008.07.03: There are now 85
"full view" books with Syriac in the title!)
Syriac flashcards: Use iFlipr
(available both as an iPhone app and a free online web version) to study
various Syriac words or grammatical elements. HERE
is the list of Syriac card decks. It's quite a list with choices in Serto,
Estrangelo, and Eastern scripts. "The cards are grouped according to
frequency of occurrence in the Peshitta (Ó la Kiraz, Lexical Tools)."
(Thanks to Jeff Childers)
- NEW> All
Things Aramaic is a site "dedicated to all aspects of the Aramaic
language." Includes both biblical Aramaic as well as Aramaic/Syriac
OT/NT Peshitta resources. Still in development but provides historical
background and (coming) free lessons for learning Syriac.
- NEW> Patrologia Syriaca and Patrologia Orientalis:
Use that link to locate the specific volumes and find the links to the
volumes on Google Books, Archive, etc.
- NEW> Gallica
is a French repository of online books. I find 135
results in a search for "syriac" in French, Latin, English...
- NEW> Lulu
results for "syriac" (though not all will be relevant). You
will recognize many of the titles or authors, and you can purchase the books
in a variety of formats (ebook, paper, hard).
Aramaic Designs: Aramaic Classes Online - Some Aramaic and Syriac language
learning classes online for a fee.
Vivarium: A catalog of works from St. John's Abbey and University and their
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. Many Syriac titles viewable online and
others available in digital form by request. Use the search pages HERE