Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:40 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:47 pm
Bernard Muller wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:53 pm
to John2,
In your 2 quotes from Jerome, the gospel in question looks to be the Hebrew logia of Matthew, generally maintained (following Papias) by Matthew (however Jerome would prefer that gospel be called according to the apostles), but is a different gospel than the Greek (canonical) Matthew's gospel.

Cordially, Bernard
In the entire section of Jerome's Ill. Men 3 (on Matthew) he mentions two gospels, one that Matthew wrote in Hebrew and one that was translated into Greek. If Jerome is talking about Papias' logia in the sense that you understand it, does it not seem strange to you that he doesn't mention the NT Matthew?
This is what A. F. J. Klijn has to say about Jerome on pages 16-19 of Jewish-Christian Gospel Tradition (composite image):

Klijn, Pages 16-17 (Jerome).png
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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:40 pm

Klijn, Pages 18-19 (Jerome).png
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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:45 pm

Klijn, Last Bit (Jerome).png
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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by John2 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:51 pm

Thanks, Ben, that's more food for thought. I also took a fresh look at what Luomanen says about Jerome and the Gospel of the Hebrews in chapter 3 of Recovering Jewish-Christian Sects and Gospels (which is very thorough and provides great historical background for Jerome) and am still in processing mode.

And I'm confused about something Klijn writes above. He says, "It is, in the first place, certain that the Gospel which was quoted by Origen was written in Greek and not in Hebrew or Aramaic," and shortly after this he writes, "Origen wrote about a 'Gospel according to the Hebrews' and Jerome concluded that it was originally written in Hebrew and was, therefore, the original Gospel of Matthew. He took it upon himself to translate into Greek the references from Origen and, more justifiably, to prepare a Latin version in which he presented the references to his readers as part of his own writings ..."

I'm generally less familiar with Origen than other church writers, but since I gather he wrote in Greek and Klijn says that his citations of the Gospel of the Hebrews were in Greek, what does Klijn mean then when he says that Jerome "took it upon himself to translate into Greek the references from Origen"?
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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:28 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:51 pm
Thanks, Ben, that's more food for thought. I also took a fresh look at what Luomanen says about Jerome and the Gospel of the Hebrews in chapter 3 of Recovering Jewish-Christian Sects and Gospels (which is very thorough and provides great historical background for Jerome) and am still in processing mode.

And I'm confused about something Klijn writes above. He says, "It is, in the first place, certain that the Gospel which was quoted by Origen was written in Greek and not in Hebrew or Aramaic," and shortly after this he writes, "Origen wrote about a 'Gospel according to the Hebrews' and Jerome concluded that it was originally written in Hebrew and was, therefore, the original Gospel of Matthew. He took it upon himself to translate into Greek the references from Origen and, more justifiably, to prepare a Latin version in which he presented the references to his readers as part of his own writings ..."

I'm generally less familiar with Origen than other church writers, but since I gather he wrote in Greek and Klijn says that his citations of the Gospel of the Hebrews were in Greek, what does Klijn mean then when he says that Jerome "took it upon himself to translate into Greek the references from Origen"?
That part is not clear to me, either. It is almost as if Klijn wants to say that Jerome, dependent originally upon Origen for passages from the gospel, checked those passages and translated them into Greek once he had gained access to an actual Hebrew gospel; but this scenario does not explain the relationship between the Greek "gospel of the Hebrews" quoted by Origen and the Nazoraean gospel extant in Hebrew.

Maybe Klijn is just trying to say, diplomatically (for some reason), that Jerome took credit for Origen's Greek passages. "I translated it into Greek" = "I found certain passages already translated into Greek by Origen," since Jerome assumed that the original language was Hebrew.

But those lines from Klijn have always been something of a mystery to me.
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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by John2 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:08 pm

While I gather Jerome is the only person who explicitly equates "the gospel of the Hebrews" with Matthew, I think this connection is fairly obvious in the remarks of other church writers. Take Origen, for example. In EH 6.25.4 he is cited as saying:

Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language.

Here we see that he thinks the NT Matthew was originally written for Jews in Hebrew and that it was translated into Greek.


And in his Commentary on John 2.6 he cites a verse from "the gospel according to the Hebrews" and defends it with a (or in my view, another) verse in Matthew (even though a similar version is found in Mark):

If any one should lend credence to the gospel according to the Hebrews, where the Saviour Himself says, My mother, the Holy Spirit took me just now by one of my hairs and carried me off to the great mount Tabor, he will have to face the difficulty of explaining how the Holy Spirit can be the mother of Christ when it was itself brought into existence through the Word. But neither the passage nor this difficulty is hard to explain. For if he who does the will of the Father in heaven [Mt. 12:50] is Christ's brother and sister and mother, and if the name of brother of Christ may be applied, not only to the race of men, but to beings of diviner rank than they, then there is nothing absurd in the Holy Spirit's being His mother, every one being His mother who does the will of the Father in heaven.



I don't think there was a "gospel of the Hebrews" apart from the Hebrew Matthew and its translations. In other words, there was a gospel that was written for Jewish Christians in Hebrew which they called Matthew and which orthodox Christians thus described as being "the gospel according to the Hebrews" and from which they believed the NT Matthew was translated.

But I think orthodox Christians were not entirely correct about the NT Matthew being a translation of the Hebrew Matthew, since I think it only incorporated parts of one or more translations of it (in addition to Mark). And I suspect its incorporation of parts of the Hebrew Matthew is what led to the NT Matthew being called Matthew. Even though it also incorporated Mark, it couldn't be called Mark because Mark was already known and called Mark (as per Papias). So it became known as Matthew because of its connection to the Hebrew Matthew.

And I think this is why citations of "the gospel of the Hebrews" differ from the NT Matthew, because the latter only consists of parts of the former. The NT Matthew doesn't have the part about Jesus calling the holy spirit his mother that Origen cites or the resurrection appearance to James that Jerome cites because those things didn't survive the author of the NT Matthew's editorial process. But "the gospel of the Hebrews" (i.e., the gospel that Jewish Christians used and which they called Matthew) was still NT Matthew-like enough for orthodox Christians to associate it with the NT Matthew.

This might sound confusing, but I think the situation is simple.

1. Mark (in Greek) and Matthew (in Hebrew) were written first (in whichever order) and multiple translations were made of the latter.

2. Parts of one or more translations of the latter were incorporated into the NT Matthew in addition to Mark (thus making it the first gospel "harmony").

3. The NT Matthew wasn't called Mark because Mark already existed, so it was called Matthew because it contained (via translation) parts of the Hebrew Matthew.

4. Because Papias said that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew and translated multiple times, orthodox Christians believed that the NT Matthew was translated entirely from the Hebrew Matthew, and they explained away the differences between the latter and the former as being due to Jewish Christian mutilation and forgery, which I think is true for the Ebionite Matthew, at least, but not for the Hebrew Matthew that was used by Nazarenes. In other words, I think the Ebionite Matthew and the NT Matthew had "mutilated and forged" the original Hebrew Matthew.
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Matthew in Hebrew PBF resesarch page

Post by Steven Avery » Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:36 am

John2 wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:42 am
Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:27 am
Interesting. Note Steven Avery's intimate association with these ideas. https://purebibleforum.com/index.php?th ... tthew.543/ https://purebibleforum.com/index.php?th ... ticus.997/ Thanks Steve!
Other people (such as Howard and Gordon, as I mentioned) have an "intimate association with these ideas," so why do you liken me to Steven Avery? I think it's because you have a pejorative view of him (irrespective of "these ideas") and thus mean to attack "these ideas" in that manner.
Maybe he realized that I put together a decent research page.

However, you flustered Stephan, and he removed the note! :)
Last edited by Steven Avery on Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:38 am

Like talking to yourself? Nice plug
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Steven Avery
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Matthew in Hebrew PBF resesarch page

Post by Steven Avery » Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:48 am

Stephan,
You gave my page the plug!
And a thanks!

And I still plan to go through the seven pages, so cannot comment more for now.

So far:
1) some posters do not seem to realize that the Hebrew Matthew (whether a full Gospel or " Bernard Muller - "logia in Hebrew attributed to Matthew") is different from canonical Greek Matthew. Jerome indicates specific event differences.

2) I am interested in reading the evidences that Luke did not know Matthew
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6470&start=20#p108066

3) Bernard put together 4 quotes, followed by 4 more from Ben.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6470&start=40#p108212

Page 7 & 8 have more good material.

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Re: Matthew's gospel first written in Hebrew?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:01 am

You have very dogmatic beliefs. John2 allows you to experiment. Mazel Tov!
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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