Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

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Ruminator
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Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Ruminator »

Would Matthew not have written in Aramaic rather than Hebrew?

https://www.academia.edu/32013676/Hebre ... rt_One.pdf

What does the dialect of the text as it is preserved (or is alleged to have been preserved) in this 13th century document tell us about the time of its composition?
Last edited by Ruminator on Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Jason Hare »

You gave us the local address on your computer for a file that you have saved. It is not online, so it's not going to be able to be downloaded or read by anyone. I see that George Howard wrote a book called The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew (בשורת מתי) in which he discusses the Éven Bóḥan of Shem Tov. It's apparently been uploaded to Academia.edu, so people can download it. It's not a book that I've read, though I would like to read it.

As regards the authorship of the gospels, it seems pretty clear that Mark was originally composed in Greek (and that it has a lot of allusion to Greek literature, especially to Homer), and most scholars say that Matthew used Mark as a source. I cannot buy into anything other than original Greek composition of the documents. I'd like to read that book (obviously), but I don't see any evidence of an early document in Hebrew that would be anything similar to the Gospel of Matthew. Shem Tov's document is not ancient.
Jason Hare
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Jason Hare »

Oh, regarding your question about anachronism... Yes, I'm sure that the language is artificially created. The vav-consecutive, for example, was gone long before the time of the writing of the gospels, yet this document uses vav-consecutives.

For example:
Matthew 2:4
וַיִּקְבֹּץ כָּל־גְּדֹלָיו וַיְבַקֵּשׁ מֵהֶם אִם הָיוּ יֹדְעִים בְּאֵ֫יזֶה מָקוֹם נוֹלָד הַמָּשִׁיחַ

Even if this text had been written in the time of the Second Temple (and I see no indications that this would be the case), the use of vav-consecutives in this document was intended to give it a sense of antiquity, since these forms were not used in Hebrew during that time.
Jason Hare
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www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

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Ruminator
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Ruminator »

Jason Hare wrote:You gave us the local address on your computer for a file that you have saved. It is not online, so it's not going to be able to be downloaded or read by anyone. I see that George Howard wrote a book called The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew (בשורת מתי) in which he discusses the Éven Bóḥan of Shem Tov. It's apparently been uploaded to Academia.edu, so people can download it. It's not a book that I've read, though I would like to read it.

As regards the authorship of the gospels, it seems pretty clear that Mark was originally composed in Greek (and that it has a lot of allusion to Greek literature, especially to Homer), and most scholars say that Matthew used Mark as a source. I cannot buy into anything other than original Greek composition of the documents. I'd like to read that book (obviously), but I don't see any evidence of an early document in Hebrew that would be anything similar to the Gospel of Matthew. Shem Tov's document is not ancient.
So sorry. I replaced the original link with the proper link.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Jason Hare »

Ruminator wrote:So sorry. I replaced the original link with the proper link.
Actually, I had found it on Academia.edu and downloaded it. I'd like to see Part 2, but right now I'm just reading through the text. I'm especially looking at 23:3, considering that I had heard Nehemia Gordon speak on that verse and draw something out of the Hebrew, which I see contradicted in the apparatus (unfortunately). So, I wanted to say thanks for bringing up the question. I've never really gotten to sit down and read the Shem Tov document. I tend to read the NT in modern Hebrew in the translation from the Bible Society in Israel, which I consider to be a fantastic translation. I wish, though, that we had more ancient (even from the 14th century!) version of the rest of the NT in Hebrew. I think it'll be nice to read Matthew in this translation, but I feel limited by not having access to more of the NT corpus! :lol:
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
Ruminator
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Ruminator »

Jason Hare wrote:
Ruminator wrote:So sorry. I replaced the original link with the proper link.
Actually, I had found it on Academia.edu and downloaded it. I'd like to see Part 2, but right now I'm just reading through the text. I'm especially looking at 23:3, considering that I had heard Nehemia Gordon speak on that verse and draw something out of the Hebrew, which I see contradicted in the apparatus (unfortunately). So, I wanted to say thanks for bringing up the question. I've never really gotten to sit down and read the Shem Tov document. I tend to read the NT in modern Hebrew in the translation from the Bible Society in Israel, which I consider to be a fantastic translation. I wish, though, that we had more ancient (even from the 14th century!) version of the rest of the NT in Hebrew. I think it'll be nice to read Matthew in this translation, but I feel limited by not having access to more of the NT corpus! :lol:
The manuscript has been poo-pooed as inauthentic but it has some primitive(?) features that make it hard for me to ignore. For example, it lacks several of the blessings in the Beatitudes, and lacks the c clause of 28:19. It hooks me in and smells oddly authentic to me. But there is the question of why it isn't more Aramaic. Matthew would, I should think, be more Aramaic. But I would love for this thing to be the real deal so I feel compelled to press it all I can against good sense to make sure that it IS good sense that is discounting its many virtues.

Please keep me abreast of any insights you find as you also put a torch to this and see what survives the fire. Thanks!
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by talmid56 »

Jerome allegedly saw a Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, but not all accept that it was authentic. There were, of course, numerous apocryphal gospels produced in the early centuries, mostly by Gnostic groups and others considered heretical. Though these were all in Greek or Coptic, as far as I know. Jason, I agree that the original Gospels were composed in Greek. Where the Hebrew comes in (and any Aramaic) is in Semiticisms carried over from using the Septuagint, and the influences of contemporary spoken Hebrew (and some Aramaic), as well as use of the Hebrew in the synagogue readings. Also from any private devotions with reading the Tanakh in Hebrew, assuming the apostles had access to the texts at home. At least, that's how I see it for now. The arguments for Hebrew or Aramaic primacy for the written gospels fail to take into account the dominance of Greek usage in daily life in Israel, particularly in Galilee. As for Jesus's original teaching, it is probable that he taught and conversed in Hebrew on many occasions (in Aramaic in some). Certainly he would have conversed in Hebrew with the Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders. It is likely he spoke Greek as well.
Dewayne Dulaney
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Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים
talmid56
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by talmid56 »

As for Matthew, speaking and writing Greek was a requirement of his job as a tax collector before becoming a disciple of Jesus. He had to deal with Roman officials, who learned to speak Greek as a matter of course. Not many Romans would have troubled themselves to learn Hebrew or Aramaic. It is possible in such a context that Matthew knew Latin, as well.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים
Ruminator
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Ruminator »

talmid56 wrote:Jerome allegedly saw a Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, but not all accept that it was authentic. There were, of course, numerous apocryphal gospels produced in the early centuries, mostly by Gnostic groups and others considered heretical. Though these were all in Greek or Coptic, as far as I know. Jason, I agree that the original Gospels were composed in Greek. Where the Hebrew comes in (and any Aramaic) is in Semiticisms carried over from using the Septuagint, and the influences of contemporary spoken Hebrew (and some Aramaic), as well as use of the Hebrew in the synagogue readings. Also from any private devotions with reading the Tanakh in Hebrew, assuming the apostles had access to the texts at home. At least, that's how I see it for now. The arguments for Hebrew or Aramaic primacy for the written gospels fail to take into account the dominance of Greek usage in daily life in Israel, particularly in Galilee. As for Jesus's original teaching, it is probable that he taught and conversed in Hebrew on many occasions (in Aramaic in some). Certainly he would have conversed in Hebrew with the Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders. It is likely he spoke Greek as well.
Hasn't new information emerged that the rumors of Hebrew's death had been greatly exaggerated? Or at least rendered controversial?

One thing I find bewitching about the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is that there were actually 60 manuscripts discovered, not just one. And they seem to represent two distinct streams of transmission. In other words, while it is a 13th century document, it is clearly a version of an older manuscript tradition of unknown age and provenance. Hundreds of years later, even Protestants were burning people to death and being burned for making unauthorized translations and not being Trinitarian. But the HGoM lacks Matthew 28:19c!

Here's a paper revisiting the textual tradition: https://www.jstor.org/stable/43723705?r ... b_contents The author is definitely convinced that this textual tradition cannot lightly be dismissed.
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Re: Is the Hebrew of "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" (13th Century manuscript) anachronistically pure Hebrew?

Post by Jason Hare »

talmid56 wrote:As for Matthew, speaking and writing Greek was a requirement of his job as a tax collector before becoming a disciple of Jesus. He had to deal with Roman officials, who learned to speak Greek as a matter of course. Not many Romans would have troubled themselves to learn Hebrew or Aramaic. It is possible in such a context that Matthew knew Latin, as well.
The gospel is written anonymously. It's called "Matthew" for the sake of convenience (because that's how it has been called for generations), not out of deference to a known author. You're presuming to know quite a bit about someone who is completely unknown to us.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
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