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The Lost Jewish Gospel

The Gospel according to the Hebrews is a lost apocryphal Gospel, used by the ancient sect of the Nazarenes, which exists today only in about fifty quotations scattered throughout the writings of the ancient “Church Fathers”,

The Nazarenes

The first believers in Yeshua were a Jewish sect known as  “Nazarenes” or in Hebrew “Netzarim” (Acts 24:5). The “church father” Jerome (4th Cent.) described these Nazarenes as those “…who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law.” (Jerome; On. Is. 8:14).

Elsewhere he writes:

Today there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans (1), and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers] are ordinarily called ‘Nazarenes’; they believe that Messiah, the son of God, was born of the Virgin Miriam, and they hold him to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended to heaven, and in whom we also believe.”
(Jerome; Letter 75 Jerome to Augustine)

The fourth century “church father” Epiphanius gives a more detailed description:

But these sectarians… did not call themselves Christians–but “Nazarenes,” … However they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do… They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion– except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that G-d is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the… Writings… are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law–circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest– they are not in accord with Christians…. they are nothing but Jews…. They have the Goodnews according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written. (Epiphanius; Panarion 29)

The Gospel According to the Hebrews

The fourth Century “Church Father” Eusebius writes about the Nazarenes:

“And among them [doubted books] some have placed
the Gospel according to the Hebrews which is
the especial delight of those of the Hebrews
who have accepted Messiah.”
(Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:25:5)

And as Jerome frequently mentions:

In the Gospel according to the Hebrews,
which is written in the Chaldee and Syrian language,
but in Hebrew letters, and is used by the Nazarenes
to this day…
(Jerome; Against Pelagius 3:2)

And in the Gospel according to the Hebrews,
which the Nazarenes are accustomed to read,…
(Jerome; Commentary on Ezek. 18:7)

Hugh Schonfield wrote of this Gospel:

The Gospel according to the Hebrews is a literary outlaw with a price on its head; but in spite of the scholarly hue and cry it still evades capture. Neither monastic libraries nor Egyptian rubbish heaps have so far yielded up a single leaf of this important document….
For behind Hebrews lies the unknown potentialities of the Nazarene tradition, which may confirm or contradict some of the most cherished beliefs of Orthodox Christianity. It is useless for certain theologians to designate Hebrews as “secondary” on the evidence of the present fragmentary remains preserved in quotation. …
Judged by ancient testimony alone it is indisputable that Hebrews has the best right of any Gospel to be considered a genuine apostolic production;…
Here is obviously a most valuable witness, perhaps the most valuable witness to the truth about [Yeshua] whom even a jury composed entirely of orthodox Christians could not despise, and who ought to be brought into court. But the witness is missing, and all that we have is a few reported statements of his taken long ago…
(Hugh Schonfield; According to the Hebrews; 1937; pp. 13-18)

Two Versions

The Gospel according to the Hebrews was used by both Nazarenes and Ebionites (who split off from the Nazarenes in 70 C.E.). Jerome refers to it as

“…the Gospel which the Nazarenes and Ebionites use…” (Jerome; On Matt. 12:13)

However it seems that the two groups had slightly different versions of the same book:

The Nazarene Version (GH-n) which Epiphanius says was “quite complete… as it was first written.”[1]

The Ebionite Version (GH-e) which Epiphanius says was “not wholly complete but falsified and mutilated.”[2]

By the middle ages the Nazarene version became known as “the Gospel of the Nazarenes” and in modern times the Ebionite version has come to be known as “The Gospel of the Ebionites.”

There has been much debate about the original language of the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Eusebius refers to GH as “the Gospel that is spread abroad among the Jews in the Hebrew tongue” (Theophina 4:12 on Mt. 10:34-36) and “the Gospel [written] in Hebrew letters” (ibid on Mt. 25:14f). Jerome refers to GH as “written in the Chaldee and Syrian language but in Hebrew letters” (Against Pelagius III.2) but seems to refer to the same document in another passage as “in the Hebrew language and letters” (Of Illustrious Men 3). In context however Jerome seems to say that GH was originally written in “the Hebrew language and letters” but that the copy in the library at Caesarea is “written in the Chaldee and Syrian language but in Hebrew letters” (i.e. Aramaic). Thus Schonfield is correct in writing:

The original language of the Gospel was Hebrew. It has generally been assumed on insufficient grounds that this Hebrew was in fact Aramaic (commonly called Hebrew).
(According to the Hebrews p. 241)

Many misconceptions have circulated concerning the Gospel according to the Hebrews. For example many scholars have attempted to make GH into several documents. These refer to the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Gospel of the Nazarenes and the Gospel of the Ebionites as three different documents. However nowhere do the “Church Fathers” refer to a “Gospel of the Ebionites”. Epiphanius says that the Ebionites used the “Gospel according to the Hebrews” and never refers to a document titled “Gospel of the Ebionites”. The term “Gospel of the Nazarenes” is never used by the “Church Fathers” either and only appears in the middle ages where it is clearly a euphemism for the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The presumption that there were three documents called GH has taken root in scholarship. Part of the basis for this assumption is that Clement of Alexander (who did not know Hebrew or Aramaic) quotes GH in Greek before Jerome translated GH into Greek. However it is quite possible that Clement obtained his quotation from a secondary source who did know Hebrew and that had quoted GH in ad hoc Greek, a secondary source which is now unknown. The fact that Clement of Alexander quotes the book in Greek prior to Jerome’s translation is far to little evidence from which to conclude multiple documents.

Another misconception is the presumption that thirteen readings in marginal notes found in certain manuscripts of Greek Matthew and which refer to alternate readings taken form “the Judaikon” (i.e. the “Jewish version) refer to the Gospel according to the Hebrews.While one of these readings (a note to 18:22) agrees with the reading of GH as given by Jerome (Against Pelag. III 2) that in itself is not enough evidence to jump to the far reaching conclusion that the “Judaikon” is the same as GH. The “Judaikon” readings may also be readings from a Jewish (Hebrew or Aramaic?) version of canonical Matthew and not to GH at all.

While there is no reason to presume that there were three different Gospels called the Gospel according to the Hebrews, it is certainly clear that Nazarenes and Ebionites used different versions of GH. Epiphanius describes the version of GH used by the Ebionites as “called ‘according to Matthew’, which however is not wholly complete but falsified and mutilated” (Pan. 30:13:2) however in speaking of the Nazarenes he refer to the “Gospel of Matthew quite complete in Hebrew… preserved… as it was first written, in Hebrew letters” (Pan. 29:9:4). So it would appear that the Ebionite version of GH was “not wholly complete but falsified and mutilated” while the Nazarene version was “quite complete… preserved… as it was first written.”.

This explains why the Ebionite version omitted the birth narrative and opened with the ministry of Yochanan (Pan. 30:13:6) while the Nazarene version is known to have included material parallel to the first two chapters of Matthew.

One goal of the Scripture Restoration Project, is not just the restoration of the books you already know, but also a restoration of the original Hebrew of the lost Gospel according to the Hebrews.

But when they write down truthfully all my words in their languages, and do not change or diminish ought from my words but write them all down truthfully –all that I first testified concerning them. Then, I know another mystery, that books will be given to the righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much wisdom. And to them shall the books be given, and they shall believe in them and rejoice over them, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt therefore all the paths of uprightness be recompensed.’
(1Enoch 104:10-13)

We must raise at least $500 by the end of the day Monday or our account will plunge into the negative!

This weekend was very difficult for my wife and I. As you probably know, my wife has been in especially ill health over the last two years, since her 53 day hospitalization in 2018, right at two years ago.

Saturday night at about 7PM a very bad storm came through our area (DFW, Texas), with very strong winds. The storm knocked out power to our home. It was not until about 3:00 AM that a repair guy from the Electric Company showed up, and he blew out the transformer trying to get us hooked back up. He left the area telling us it might be mid afternoon before we had power. Unfortunately it is August in Texas. It was already 80 degrees and the forecast was for a high of 102 Sunday (it only actually reached 96) (Saturday it had set a record for that day of 107). (For my metric friends, 100 degrees F is 40 degrees Celsius… so HOT). There was no way my wife could handle those temps, and we had been up all night as it was, so we were forced to pack a few things and head for a hotel. A hotel, and restaurant meals, were not in our budget, but what could we do? We are back home now, and the power is back on, but the whole fiasco set us back nearly $200 that we just did not have.

Bills are going to be due Monday, and we are going to be short, so please donate if you can.

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by paypal to

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Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

[1] Pan. 29:9:4 (this quote actually speaks of Hebrew Matthew however I have included it because: 1) Throughout the Church Fathers there is a confusion between the original “complete” Hebrew Matthew and GH (as we will discuss later they may be the same) this is compounded by the context of this quote in contrast to the Ebionite text of GH (elsewhere the “Church Fathers” say that Ebionites used only Matthew and do not mention GH lending to the implication that they are the same.)

[2] Pan. 30:13:2

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