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UPDATE: THE BOOK ITSELF (Via PDF Link)  NOW ADDED at the end of the Main Article below!
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Thank you for your question. (Be sure to read all currently posted comments too, but) quoting the article:

(L)et’s notice Matthew 23:2-3 in Shem-Tov’s Hebrew Matthew.

The King James Version states:

“The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

Shem-Tov, however, is slightly different – but with a whole lot of difference in
meaning! It says, translated into English:

“The Pharisees and sages sit upon the seat of Moses. Therefore all that he (Moses) says to you, diligently do, but according to their reforms and their precedents do not do, because they talk but they do not do.”

Says Nehemia Gordon, “In the Hebrew Matthew, Yeshua is telling his disciples not to obey the Pharisees. If their claim to authority is that they sit in Moses’ seat, then (they should) diligently do as Moses says!” (page 48).

The Greek differs from the Hebrew here. The Greek says “they,” and can be  misunderstood. The Hebrew says “he,” referring to Moses himself! In Hebrew, Yeshua told His disciples to obey “all that he [Moses] says to do, in the Torah! These are two fundamentally different messages – “they” versus “he.” [In other words, the SCRIPTURES are the final authority!] But amazing as it sounds, in the Hebrew there is a difference of only one single letter! In Hebrew, “he says” is yomar. But “they say,” in Hebrew, is yomru. The only difference in the Hebrew text is the addition of a single vav [u]!!! Notice below:

“he says” yomar rnth
“they say” yomru urnth

Such a simple difference!

It is easy to see how the vav may have been left out of the Greek translation from the Hebrew somewhere along the line by a copyist.

The point is, however, this interpretation adds so much more insight and meaning and relevance to the passage of Scripture in Matthew 23:2-3.
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How much different is it from what we read today?
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"I have studied this scholarly book from cover to cover and believe the translator, Professor George Howard is correct in his beliefs and findings that the Gospel of Matthew was most likely first written in Hebrew rather than Greek or even Aramaic. There are a lot of interesting differences between this Matthew than the ones from the Greek and Aramaic. I especially like his Hebrew and English translation of Matthew 28:19 which agrees with the baptismal methods of the disciples in Acts of the Apostles rather than the Trinitarian formula invented by early Church fathers of the third or fourth centuries." -User Review 
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"The present book is a revised edition of The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew according to a Primitive Hebrew Text (1995) in which the Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew as it appeared in Even Bohan is printed, accompanied by an English translation and an expanded and thorough revision of Howard's critical analysis. An important thrust of this new edition is to establish that the Hebrew Matthew of the Even Bohan predates the fourteenth century. It shares many readings with ancient Christian writings, some of which were lost in antiquity only to reappear in modern times. These included Codex Sinaiticus, the Old Syriac version, the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, and a host of others. Howard also analyzes the language, artistic touches, and theology of the Hebrew Gospel. Perhaps most significant are the portraits of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist depicted in the document. Both portraits belong to an early form of Jewish Christianity -- lost in antiquity -- in which the Baptist plays a salvific role in the redemption of humanity and Jesus operates as a divine solicitor and judge."--Back cover.
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Check out this as well as some other theologian schools views on this tomorrow afternoon on The Plain Truth's main page!
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A Related Question:

Did you ever wonder why it said in Revelation 19:16...

"And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS"?
Did Jesus Have a Tattoo on His Thigh in Revelation 19:16?

SEPTEMBER 27, 2013

The verse in question here is the only verse in the New Testament that appears to suggest that Jesus had something “inscribed” on his body. However, such a suggestion is in direct contradiction of a law in Leviticus 19:28 “You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you.” Not only would the idea of a Jewish man having a tattoo be shocking, even more so is the suggestion that his thigh would be exposed, something basically equated with public nudity in Jesus’ time and religious culture.

A theory that easily explains such a contradiction is that the book of Revelation was originally written in Hebrew, not Greek as previously assumed. If that is the case, a miniscule copying error by an early scribe would easily render the Hebrew word for “banner” as “thigh” instead. The first Hebrew letter for the word “banner”, dagel, looks almost exactly like the first Hebrew letter for “thigh”, ragel. So it is posited that the correct reading of Rev 19:16 is “On his robe and on his banner he has a name inscribed, ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’”

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The Complete Hebrew Text Of The Gospel Of Matthew Is Still In Existence!

By William F. Dankenbring

Although many may not be aware of it, Matthew originally wrote his gospel in the Hebrew language. The early church fathers attested to this fact in their writings. Eusebius in his Church History, discussing the canonization of the Scriptures, quoted Origen as follows: “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” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, The Church History of Eusebius, book VI, chap.xxv, 4, page 272). Eusebius himself tells us, “For Matthew, who had at first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to other peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native tongue, and thus compensated those whom he was obliged to leave for the loss of his presence” (ibid., book III, chap. XXIV, 6, page 152). Eusebius quotes Irenaeus also on this matter of Matthew’s gospel. According to Irenaeus, “Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome” (ibid., book V, chap. VIII, 2, page 222). Irenaeus, in Against Heresies, made this statement. He declared, as recorded in Ante-Nicene Fathers, “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church” (book III, chap.I, 1, vol. 1, page 414). Eusebius also quotes Papias, (circa 60-130 A.D.), as the earliest church father who related that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew. He declared: “But concerning Matthew he [Papias] writes as follows: ‘So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, The Church History of Eusebius, bk. III, chap.39, 16, page 173). Clearly there was an original gospel account, written by the apostle Matthew, which was written in the Hebrew language! The early church fathers acknowledge it!

Matthew’s Hebrew Gospel

But do we have a copy of Matthew’s gospel in the Hebrew language, as it was originally written, according to these ancient sources? The amazing fact is that the complete Hebrew text of Matthew’s gospel was preserved in the body of a 14th century Jewish polemical treatise entitled Evan Bohar. The author of the treatise, one by the name of Shem Tov Ben Isaac Ben Shaprut, completed his work in 1385 A.D. and revised it several times afterwards. He utilized nine different Hebrew manuscripts of the preserved Gospel of Matthew to compile his translation. Ben Shaprut was no Christian. He was a Jewish rabbi who was writing to defend his faith against the encroachments of Christian theologians. To counter-act the teachings of Matthew, he used Matthew’s original Hebrew Gospel, and carefully compiled his translation. The gospel of Matthew, in the Hebrew, has now been translated into English, and is available from Mercer University Press, in Macon, Georgia (ISBN 0-86554-4700):  

It is titled simply, Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, by George Howard.
It is a fascinating book to read, and compare with our modern English versions, translated from the Greek copies of the Gospel. The similarities are most remarkable, as well as the many insights the Hebrew gives in many textual areas where the Greek seems mystifying. Says George Howard, it is clear from the evidence that the Hebrew Matthew contained in the text of Shem Tov’s Evan Bohan predates the 14th century – in fact, the evidence strongly suggests it goes back to the earliest centuries since Christ! Howard declares that of the nine manuscripts used by Shem Tov Ben Shaprut, two of the writings are virtually identical, are carefully copied, and show minimal tendency toward scribal error or assimilation to the canonical Greek and Latin. Says Howard, since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, many of which are written in Hebrew, it is now known for a fact that Hebrew was used as a written medium in the first century – the time of Christ and the apostles. Hebrew, and even Greek, were both spoken in first century Palestine. Shem-Tov’s Hebrew Matthew is the earliest complete Hebrew text we now have of Matthew’s gospel. However, Jewish and anti-Christian writings prior to the 14th century often quote excerpts from Matthew in Hebrew, in a Shem-Tov type form. Says Howard, “Shem-Tob’s comments, scattered throughout the Hebrew text, confirm that this text is not a creation of the fourteenth century. The comments preserve telltale remarks implying that Shem-Tob had before him a preexisting Hebrew Matthew” (Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, page 173). Although Howard says Shem-Tob’s Matthew “does not preserve the original in a pure form,” nevertheless, he adds, “Considerable parts of the original, however, appear to remain, including its unpolished style, ungrammatical constructions, and Aramaized forms” (p.178). The Hebrew gospel of Matthew, he points out, is saturated with literary devices, such as puns, word connections, and alliteration, which make sense in Hebrew, but are lost in the Greek form of Matthew. They belong to the very structure of the Hebrew text, thus showing that the Hebrew is authentic, and was not translated from the Greek texts of Matthew which were extant. Interestingly, the Hebrew Matthew text of Shem Tov has “significant agreement” with the Codex Sinaiticus, which was discovered in the middle of the 19th century, five centuries after Shem Tov translated his copy from the Hebrew. The Coces Sinaiticus was discovered in the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula where it had been hidden for many centuries, since the medieval period, until its discovery. As Howard states, therefore, “The roots for their agreement, therefore, must go back to the early centuries of the Christian era” (page 192). Also pointing to the early age of the Shem Tov Matthew, it is striking in that it has many agreements with the Old Syriac gospel of Matthew, which was displaced by the Peshitta text around the end of the fifth century, and only two copies have survived.
However, "The many readings shared by Shem-Tob and the Old Syriac, therefore, strongly suggest a relationship, whose roots go back to the early centuries of the Christian era” says Howard (p. 196). Howard points out that there are also readings in Shem-Tov’s Matthew which agree with one of the other Gospels, but disagree with the Greek version of Matthew. This fact, he says, suggest that the author of John’s gospel, for example, which was written later, must have known of a Shem-Tov type of text for Matthew’s gospel, and used it when he wrote his gospel. Thus, when we look at it objectively, there is strong reason to believe that the Shem-Tov Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is a very useful and helpful copy of the original gospel of Matthew, which was indeed written in Hebrew, according to the early church fathers, based on knowledge handed down to them!

[Pages 8-10, 'New Light on the Seat of Moses']
NOTE: Be sure to see the comments in the section above.

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