This translation of the Bible was undertaken in the year 410 by Mesrob, with the aid of his pupils Joannes Eccelensis and Josephus Palnensis. It appears that the Patriarch Isaac first attempted, in consequence of the Persians having destroyed all the copies of the Greek version, to make a translation from the Peshito; that Mesrob became his coadjutor in this work; and that they actually completed their translation from the Syriac. But when the above-named pupils, who had been sent to the ecclesiastical council at Ephesus, returned, they brought with them an accurate copy of the Greek Bible. Upon this, Mesrob laid aside his translation from the Peshito, and prepared to commence anew from a more authentic text. - Imperfect knowledge of the Greek language, however, induced him to send his pupils to Alexandria, to acquire accurate Greek scholarship; and, on their return, the translation was accomplished. Moses of Chorene, the historian of Armenia, who was also employed, as a disciple of Mesrob, on this version, fixes its completion in the year 410; but he is contradicted by the date of the Council of Ephesus, which necessarily makes it subsequent to the year 431.
In the Old Testament this version adheres exceedingly closely to the Septuagint (but in the book of Daniel has followed the version of Theodotion). Its most striking characteristic is, that it does not follow any known recension of the Sept. Although it more often agrees with the Alexandrine text, in readings which are peculiar to the latter, than it does with the Aldine or Complutensian text, yet, on the other hand, it also has followed readings which are only found in the last two. Bertholdt accounts for this mixed text by assuming that the copy of the Greek Bible sent from Ephesus contained the Lucian recension, and that the pupils brought back copies according to the Hesychian recension from Alexandria, and that the translators made the latter their standard, but corrected their version by aid of the former (Einleit. ii, 560). The version of the New Testament is equally close to the Greek original, and also represents a text made up of Alexandrine and Occidental readings.-Kitto.
This version was afterward revised and adapted to the Peshito in the sixth century, on the occasion of an ecclesiastical union between the Syrians and Armenians. Again. in the thirteenth century, an Armenian king, Hethom or Haitho, who was so zealous a Catholic that he turned Franciscan monk, adapted the Armenian version to the Vulgate, by way of smoothing the way for a union of the Roman and Armenian churches. Lastly, the Bishop Uscan, who printed the first edition of this version at Amsterdam, in the year 1666, is also accused of having interpolated the text as it came down to his time by adding all that he found the Vulgate contained more than the Armenian version. The existence of the verse 1Jo 5:7, in this version, is ascribed to this supplementary labor of Uscan. It is clear, from what has been said, that the critical uses of this version are limited to determining the readings of the Sept. and of the Greek text of the New Testament which it represents, and that it has suffered many alterations, which diminish its usefulness in that respect. See generally Walch, Bibl. Theol. 4:50, 247; Rosenmiiller, Handb. d. Literatur, iii, 78-84, 153 sq. The following are the forms of this version hitherto published: 1. Biblit, jussu Jacobi protopatriarchae (Amst. 1666, 4to); Biblia, jussu patriarchae Nahabiet (Constpl. 1705, 4to); Biblia, jussu Abrahai patriarchae (Ven. 1733, fol.); Biblia (ed. Dr. Zohrab, Ven. 1805, 4 vols. 8vo and 1 vol. 4to); id. (Petropol. 1817, 4to; also Serampore, 1817, 4to); Bible, in mod. Armen. (Smyrna, 1853, 4to). 2. Nov. Test. (ed. Uscan, Amst. 1668, 8vo); id. (Amst. 1698, 12mo; Ven. 1720 and 1789, 8vo; Lond. 1818); Nov. Test., in anc. and mod. Armen. (ed. Dr. Zohrab, Par. 1825, Ovo). Special parts and treatises are: Obadias Armenus, cur. A. Acoluthio (Lips. 1680); Quatuor prima cap. Evang. Matthai (ed. C. A. Bode, Hal. 1756); Bredenkamp, Genauere Vergleichurg d. armen. Uebersetzung des N.T., in Michaelis's N. Orient. Bibl. 7:139 sq.; Schroder, in his Thes. ling. Armen. SEE VERSIONS.