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Arabic is a Central Semitic language, closely related to Hebrew and the Neo-Aramaic languages, and also related to the South Semitic languages (e.g. Amharic in Ethiopia, Tigrinya in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Mehri in Yemen and Oman) and the extinct East Semitic languages (e.g. Akkadian, first attested nearly 5,000 years ago).

Arabic is indigenousto Saudi Arabia. Variations of Arabic are spoken in many countries.

Translations of the Bible into Arabicare known from the early Christian churches in Syria, Egypt, Malta and Spain.Some of these translations are from Syriac (the Peshitta),Coptic or Latin.The earliest fragment of the Old Testament in Arabic is a text of Psalm 77,found in the Umayyad Mosque, dating from the 8th century.The first Jewish translations of the HebrewBible, and the bible translations by roman catholic clergy date from around1000 AD. One of the oldest Arabic bibles was discovered in the 19th century at Saint Catherine's Monastery,Mount Sinai. The manuscript called Mt. Sinai Arabic Codex 151, was createdin 867 AD. It includes the biblical text, marginal comments, lectionary notes,and glosses, as found in the manuscript.

Translations of the Bible into Arabic are known from theearly Christian churches in Syria, Egypt, Malta and Spain. The Van DyckVersion is a popular Protestant translation which was completed in 1865.The Book of Life (also known as the New Arabic Version), similarto the English NIV translation, was completed in 1988 and is widely circulated.Today's Arabic Version (also known as the Good News Arabic or theEcumenical Version) ia a Bible Society publication, released in 1992. Itis similar to the English NIV. The Noble Gospel (Al-Injeel Al-Shareef)is an easy-to-read New Testament version, released in 1990