Finding the pesher

© 2005 Dr. Barbara Thiering (April, 2005)

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In this section, we will explain the procedures that must be followed in order the discover the pesher of the four gospels, Acts and Revelation. It is concentrated work, but immensely rewarding, yielding a full history of Jesus and earliest Christianity.

The full pesher can only be found from the Greek text, in the best manuscripts. But basic facts can be understood from translations. For English, RSV (Revised Standard Version) is the most reliable

The essential methodological point is the rule of consistency. Every special meaning, every particular procedure, is applied in all occurrences throughout the six books. When it is found that there is perfect consistency, it becomes certain that the pesher is objectively there and has been placed there. No arbitrary interpretations will work, no guesses. There are tests of consistency from many different directions, as will be shown.


Of the Greek manuscripts, the great Codex Vaticanus was always held in the highest esteem as a nearly perfect copy of the original gospels and Acts. It is found that it can be fully relied on for the pesher.
Codex Sinaiticus is the next in authority. It has to be used for Revelation, which is not found in Vaticanus.
(Note: the above two links require that you enter the word "any" as the userid and the password)

The student using the Greek will find it easiest to purchase Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece (Deutsche Bibelstiftung Stuttgart), where the readings from these texts are given at the appropriate verses with textual apparatus at the foot of each page.


External sources giving chronological information are 1 Enoch, Jubilees, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, in J.H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2 vols, 1983-1985).
The internet resource for 1 Enoch or Ethiopic Enoch, Book 5, including the Apocalypse of Weeks translated both by R. H. Charles and Richard Laurence (Both are 1917, therefore the book listed above is superior to these.) R.H Charles was a great scholar, who started the whole process of collecting apocryphal books.
Also on the internet is The Book of The Apocalypse of Baruch The Son of Neriah) and The Greek Apocalypse of Baruch).