The Peshitta version of the New Testament is thought to show a continuation of the tradition of the Diatessaron and Old Syriac versions, displaying some lively 'Western' renderings (particularly clear in the Acts of the Apostles). It combines with this some of the more complex 'Byzantine' readings of the 5th century. One unusual feature of the Peshitta is the absence of 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Revelation. Modern Syriac Bibles add 6th or 7th century translations of these five books to a revised Peshitta text.
The Syriac Bible of Paris (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS syr. 341) is an illuminated Bible written in Syriac. It dates to 6th or 7th century. It is believed to have been made in northern Mesopotamia. The manuscript has 246 extant folios. Large sections of text and the accompanying illustrations are missing. The folios are 312 by 230 mm. For reasons of economy, the text is written in three columns.
In early February, 2009, a third book was found in the possession of suspected antiquity smugglers in northern Cyprus. It appears to be a Syriac bible from about 2000 years ago. The manuscript carries bible excerpts written on vellum in gold lettering. One page has a drawing of a tree, and another eight lines of Syriac script. It was loosely strung together. Experts are divided over this manuscript, and whether it was an original or a fake.
The Syriac Church Fathers produced no less than six different versions of the New Testament and at least two major versions of the Old Testament. This is a noteworthy testimony to their critical study of the Holy Scriptures. In his brief article on the Syriac Versions of the Bible, the German New Testament scholar Eberhard Nestle notes: No branch of the Early Church has done more for the translation of the Bible into their vernacular than the Syriac-speaking. In our European libraries we have Syriac Bible manuscripts from Lebanon, Egypt, Sinai, Mesopotamia, Armenia, India (Malabar), even from China ('Syriac Versions,' in Hastings's Dictionary of the Bible, iv, 1902).