Romanized Bible Text

General Information

The original manuscripts which represented the Bible in ancient times are believed to have been written in ancient Hebrew (Old Testament) and ancient Greek (New Testament). Those alphabets use many letters which don't exist in our modern alphabet. One way of creating a printable version is the so called Romanized Text. To illustrate just what this source material of the Bible is like, a portion of Genesis is shown below in the Romanized form.

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None of those actual original manuscripts appear to still exist today. In general, modern Bibles are all based on many copies of the actual manuscripts, and very few of those copies are older than about 1,000 years. See the BELIEVE presentation of the Septuagint for an extensive discussion of the many specific source targums and codices.

Finally, the actual translation of the Bible was complicated by several extra facts. The original Ancient Hebrew in which the Old Testament was first written, would have been written without any vowels being recorded. For example, God was referred to as JHWH in the Bible. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek (in the Septuagint), vowels were added, to make words that were meaningful in the Greek language. Since JHWH was apparently unpronouncable, ancient people used several other Names to refer to God, one of which was Adonai. The vowels of this Name were inserted between the letters of JHWH to create a Name we refer to as Jehovah.

Greek manuscripts were also somewhat difficult to translate, because they were written with all letters the same size and with no spaces between words or sentences.

There is another entry in BELIEVE which is the Literal Translation of each of these words in the original sequence shown here. You might want to look at that, too.

Genesis 1:1

Bree'shiyt baaraa' 'Elohiym 'eet hashaamayim w'eet haa'aarets.

Genesis 1:2

Whaa'aarets haaytaah tohuu waabohuu wxoshek `al - pneey thowm wruuxa 'Elohiym mraxepet `al - pneey hamaayim.

Genesis 1:3

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym yhiy 'owr wayhiy - 'owr.

Genesis 1:4

Wayar' 'Elohiym 'et - haa'owr kiy - Towb wayabdeel 'Elohiym beeyn haa'owr uubeeyn haxoshek.

Genesis 1:5

Wayiqraa' 'Elohiym laa'owr yowm wlaxoshek qaaraa' laaylaah wayhiy - `ereb wayhiy - boqer yowm 'exaad.

Genesis 1:6

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym yhiy raaqiy`a btowk hamaayim wiyhiy mabdiyl beeyn mayim laamaayim.

Genesis 1:7

Waya`as 'Elohiym 'et - haaraaqiy`a wayabdeel beeyn hamayim 'asher mitaxat laaraaqiy`a uubeeyn hamayim 'asher mee`al laaraaqiy`a wayhiy - keen.

Genesis 1:8

Wayiqraa' 'Elohiym laaraaqiy`a shaamaayim wayhiy - `ereb wayhiy - boqer yowm sheeniy.

Genesis 1:9

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym yiqaawuu hamayim mitaxat hashaamayim 'el - maaqowm 'exaad wteeraa'eh hayabaashaah wayhiy - keen.

Genesis 1:10

Wayiqraa' 'Elohiym layabaashaah 'erets uulmiqweeh hamayim qaaraa' yamiym wayar' 'Elohiym kiy - Towb.

Genesis 1:11

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym tadshee' haa'aarets deshe' `eeseb mazriy`a zera` `eets priy `oseh priy lmiynow 'asher zar`ow - bow `al - haa'aarets wayhiy - keen.

Genesis 1:12

Watowtsee' haa'aarets deshe' `eeseb mazriy`a zera` lmiyneehuu w`eets `oseh - priy 'asher zar`ow - bow lmiyneehuu wayar' 'Elohiym kiy - Towb.

Genesis 1:13

Wayhiy - `ereb wayhiy - boqer yowm shliyshiy.

Genesis 1:14

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym yhiy m'orot birqiy`a hashaamayim lhabdiyl beeyn hayowm uubeeyn halaaylaah whaayuu l'otot uulmow`adiym uulyaamiym wshaaniym.

Genesis 1:15

Whaayuu lim'owrot birqiy`a hashaamayim lhaa'iyr `al - haa'aarets wayhiy - keen.

Genesis 1:16

Waya`as 'Elohiym 'et - shneey ham'orot hagdoliym 'et - hamaa'owr hagaadol lmemshelet hayowm w'et - hamaa'owr haqaaTon lmemshelet halaylaah w'eet hakowkaabiym.

Genesis 1:17

Wayiteen 'otaam 'Elohiym birqiy`a hashaamaayim lhaa'iyr `al - haa'aarets.

Genesis 1:18

Wlimshol bayowm uubalaylaah uulahabdiyl beeyn haa'owr uubeeyn haxoshek wayar' 'Elohiym kiy - Towb.

Genesis 1:19

Wayhiy - `ereb wayhiy - boqer yowm rbiy`iy.

Genesis 1:20

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym yishrtsuu hamayim sherets nepesh xayaah w`owp y`owpeep `al - haa'aarets `al - pneey rqiy`a hashaamaayim.

Genesis 1:21

Wayibraa' 'Elohiym 'et - hataniynim hagdoliym w'eet kaal - nepesh haxayaah haaromeset 'asher shaartsuu hamayim lmiyneehem w'eet kaal - `owp kaanaap lmiyneehuu wayar' 'Elohiym kiy - Towb.

Genesis 1:22

Waybaarek 'otaam 'Elohiym lee'mor pruu uurbuu uumil'uu 'et - hamayim bayamiym whaa`owp yireb baa'aarets.

Genesis 1:23

Wayhiy - `ereb wayhiy - boqer yowm xamiyshiy.

Genesis 1:24

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym towtsee' haa'aarets nepesh xayaah lmiynaah bheemaah waaremes wxaytow - 'erets lmiynaah wayhiy - keen.

Genesis 1:25

Waya`as 'Elohiym 'et - xayat haa'aarets lmiynaah w'et - habheemaah lmiynaah w'eet kaal - remes haa'adaamaah lmiyneehuu wayar' 'Elohiym kiy - Towb.

Genesis 1:26

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym na`aseh 'aadaam btsalmeenuu kidmuuteenuu wyirduu bidgat hayaam uub`owp hashaamayim uubabheemaah uubkaal - haa'aarets * uubkaal - haaremes haaromees `al - haa'aarets.

Genesis 1:27

Wayibraa' 'Elohiym 'et - haa'aadaam btsalmow btselem 'Elohiym baaraa' 'otow zaakaar uunqeebaah baaraa' 'otaam.

Genesis 1:28

Waybaarek 'otaam 'Elohiym wayo'mer laahem 'Elohiym pruu uurbuu uumil'uu 'et - haa'aarets wkibshuhaa uurduu bidgat hayaam uub`owp hashaamayim uubkaal - xayaah haaromeset `al - haa'aarets.

Genesis 1:29

Wayo'mer 'Elohiym hineeh naatatiy laakem 'et - kaal - `eeseb zoree`a zera` 'asher `al - pneey kaal - haa'aarets w'et - kaal - haa`eets 'asher - bow priy - `eets zoree`a zaara` laakem yihyeh l'aaklaah.

Genesis 1:30

Uulkaal - xayat haa'aarets uulkaal - `owp hashaamayim uulkol rowmees `al - haa'aarets 'asher - bow nepesh xayaah 'et - kaal - yereq `eeseb l'aaklaah wayhiy - keen.

Genesis 1:31

Wayar' 'Elohiym 'et - kaal - 'asher `aasaah whineeh - Towb m'od wayhiy - `ereb wayhiy - boqer yowm hashishiy.

Here is the text of Genesis 1:1 as recorded in different Targums:

In Hebrew form:

Masoretic Text Gen 1:1       בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם

וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

Modern Hebrew Gen 1:1      בראשית ברא אלהים
את השמים ואת

Onqelos: Gen 01:01      בֲקַדמִין בְרָא יוי יָת שְׁמַיָא וְיָת אַרעָא׃

Pseudo-Jonathan: Gen 01:01      מן אוולא ברא אלקים ית שמייא וית ארעא

Neofiti: Gen 01:01      מלקדמין \בחכמה ברא דייי ׳בחוכמתא ברא ייי״2״׳ שכלל׳ושכלל״2״׳ ית שמיא וית ארעא׃

FTP Gen 01:01      בחכמה׳מן לקדמין׳ ברא וייי ושכליל ית שמיא וית ארעא

FTV Gen 01:01      בחכמה ברא ה' ית שמיא וית ארעא

Paleo-Hebrew ( The language which was used before 585 B.C.) (also called Ancient Hebrew) (THIS is the language in which the Original Bible had been written down. It has no resemblance to modern Hebrew, and understanding of modern Hebrew is of no value in understanding this Ancient Hebrew.)
Gen. 1:1  


THIS is the language that the Original Old Testament of the Bible had been written down. After about 585 BC, this language began to fall out of use and by about 300 BC, Jewish Rabbis felt it necessary to translate the entire Bible into Greek, as the Septuagint or LXX. Once Aramaic and other later forms of Hebrew writing later developed, the LXX was used as the source text to re-translate the Bible back into Hebrew, but now as the more broadly understandable Aramaic. By the time of Jesus, there were virtually no longer any Rabbis who were capable of reading any remaining texts in Paleo-Hebrew, so this was critically important to do. We also note that the materials and ink used tended to begin disintegrating after even twenty years, so even by Jesus' time, there were certainly no actual Original Paleo-Hebrew texts still in existence, and at best, some Scribal copies of a very few limited texts were still in existence. THESE (partial) targums represent the bulk of all the Paleo-Hebrew text that is now known.

We ask that you note that the text of the Aramaic Bible, or the even later Greek and Latin Bibles are NOT the Original text, but are the result of at least two processes of translating the entire text. Hebrew Rabbis complicated this all even further in that after their Scribe created a new copy of the entire Bible text, they always immediately destroyed the source text. That process essentially eliminated any chance of later checking the precise accuracy of the Scribal copies, although we are confident that all Scribes were zealously diligent in avoiding copyists errors.

The same text in Romanized form:

Gen 01:01      b:aqadmiyN b:rA) ywy yAt $:mayA) w:yAt )ar(A)%
Gen 01:01      mN )wwl) br) )lqyM yt $myy) wyt )r()
Gen 01:01      mlqdmyN \bxkmh br) dyyy /bxwkmt) br) yyy#2#/ $kll/w$kll#2#/ yt $my) wyt )r()%
Gen 01:01      bxkmh/mN@lqdmyN/ br) wyyy w$klyl yt $my) wyt )r()
Gen 01:01      bxkmh br) -h' yt $my) wyt )r()

Also, see:
Transliteration of Hebrew
Literal Translation
History of the Bible Septuagint and early Manuscripts
Translating the Bible
Jewish Genesis (Advanced), Bereshit. A Thorough Presentation of Jewish Genesis 1 text

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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