The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew
Why The Hebrew Matthew Is More Authentic Original Than Greek Text Tradition
Was the Greek New Testament a translation of a Hebrew original? All the early church said yes. For the interesting translation by Professor Howard in 1987 of the Hebrew Matthew known as the Shem Tob, see our article "Hebrew Matthew" (PDF) or (HTML).
Necessity to Restore Original Matthew
Standford Rives has released in 2012 the Original Gospel of Matthew which attempts to restore Matthew to how it first appeared. This relies upon the 49 quotes of the Hebrew Matthew in the period 96-400 AD. Erasmus (1466-1536 AD), the first modern reformer whose work spurred all modern translations, made a similar earlier effort to uncover variants lost in preparing the Greek texts of the Gospels. He received complaints for doing so, but Erasmus wisely responded:
You cry out that it is a crime to correct the gospels. This is a speech worthier of a coachman than of a theologian. You think it is all very well if a clumsy scribe makes a mistake in transcription and then you deem it a crime to put it right. The only way to determine the true text is to examine the early codices. (Erasmus (1466-1536 AD), quoted in Roland H. Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1969) at 135.)
You can purchase the Original Gospel of Matthew by Rives at our online Amazon store.
Thus, we detail below some of the verses deleted in our Greek version of Matthew that were originally present. The oldest complete Matthew is the Sinaticus from 340 AD. All prior versions have been lost or were destroyed. Hence, some of the restoration work necessary must examine the commentators' works which quoted the original Matthew. This is simply extending Erasmus' work one further step. This is the effort that Standford Rives has attempted to do, and is certainly the right approach.
Deleted Verses in Greek New Testament
For deletion of 'This day I have begotten thee" from Matthew's Baptismal account, see our page.
For deletion of the verse that the two in the field represented one "righteous" and "one evil," and it is the "stumblingblocks," not the righteous, who are taken away when Christ returns, see our page.
For a thorough list of all the deleted verses that were present in the Hebrew Matthew, see this Knol - "The Original Gospel of Matthew."
Verses Added in Greek New Testament
For a list of of verses added by the Greek Matthew by comparing to the Hebrew Matthew which scholars suspected all along were additions, see our notes here:
1. Matthew 28:19 was altered in about 325 A.D. to add "Father, Son and Holy Ghost." However, this is missing in the Hebrew Matthew found by Professor Howard. All scholars agree that "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" is an obvious corruption of how Matthew originally read, as six times in Acts the baptismal name is only that of Jesus, thus strengthening the reliability of the Hebrew Matthew known as the Shem Tob. For discussion, see our webpage on "In Whose Name To Baptize."
Erroneous Translation in Greek New Testament Of Hebrew Matthew Original
1. Matthew 23:2-3 in the the Greek translation of the Hebrew Matthew makes it appear Jesus told Christians to obey everything the Pharisees teach. All scholars concur that this is an incongruous message, at odds with so much of what Jesus said about the Pharisees. Yet, no Greek text variant solves the dilemma.
But the Hebrew Shem Tob Matthew simply shows a "he" was mistaken for "they" by the Greek translator. This one letter mistake changed the verse completely around. So what Jesus said is about those who sit in Moses's seat, do everything "he" (Moses) says, but do not do as they the Pharisees do for they do not practice (what Moses' teaches). But the Greek translator misread "he" for "they" -- separated by a single stroke of the pen -- and ended up telling us to do everything the Pharisees tell us to do. Hence, a simple mistranslation of "he" by "they" in Greek altered the meaning to what scholars acknowledge could not be the original text -- Jesus saying Christians should obey the Pharisees. This vindicates again the likely validity of the Shem Tob as the more original form of the Gospel of Matthew. See our webpage Matthew 23:2-3.
2. Variants in Hebrew Matthew e.g., Matthew 5:33 should read do not take any 'false' oaths. It is not a prohibition that we should ever take any oath.
Reviews of this Site on the Hebrew Matthew
For email comments, see this link.