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The Lost Jewish Gospel and Matthew

In recent blogs, I have spoken about the lost Jewish Gospel used by the ancient Nazarenes and Ebionites, known as the Gospel according to the Hebrews. In these recent blogs, I demonstrated that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was the source document for the “Synoptic Gospels” (Matthew, Mark and Luke).

The so-called “Church Fathers” do not hesitate in hinting to us that Matthew’s source document was the Gospel according to the Hebrews. In fact, they readily identify our Gospel of Matthew with the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Jerome writes:

In the Gospel which the Nazarenes and Ebionites use which
I have lately translated into Greek from the Hebrew and
which is called by many people the original of Matthew
(Jerome; On Matt. 12:13)

Jerome is not the only “Church Father” to identify the Gospel according to the Hebrews with the Gospel of Matthew. For example Irenaeus says that the Ebionites used only the Gospel of Matthew (Heresies 1:26:2) while Eusebius says the Ebionites “used only the Gospel called according to the Hebrews” (Eccl. Hist. 3:27:4) and Epiphanius writes that the Ebionite “Gospel” “…is called “Gospel according to Matthew, or Gospel according to the Hebrews” (Panarion 30:16:4-5). Moreover Jerome seems to refer to the original Hebrew of Matthew and the Gospel according to the Hebrews interchangeably.

This led Hugh Schonfield to conclude, in his 1927 translation of the DuTillet Hebrew version of Matthew:

My own opinion is that the canonical Gospel [of Matthew] is an abridged edition of a larger work, of which fragments still survive,… I believe that this Protevangel was written in Hebrew, not in Aramaic,…Whatever may have been its original title, we have early allusions to it under the name of
“the Gospel” “the Gospel of the Lord,” “the Gospel of the Twelve, or of the Apostles,” “the Gospel of the Hebrews” and “the Hebrew Matthew.”
(An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel; 1927 p. viii)

However ten years later Schonfield writes:

The only difficulty in fact that stands in the way of accepting the Greek [of Matthew] as really translated from the Hebrew [of Matthew], instead of vice versa, is undoubtedly the irrefutable evidence that Greek Matthew has largely used Mark.
(According to the Hebrews; 1937; p.248)

Schonfield finally comes to the conclusion of…

…the strong probability that Hebrews was one of the sources of canonical Matthew.
(ibid p. 254)

However, Schonfield was mistaken in his 1937 statement referring to “the irrefutable evidence that Greek Matthew has largely used Mark.” This misconception was the only thing which held Schonfield back from concluding that Greek Matthew is a translation of Hebrew Matthew and that Hebrew Matthew was an abridgement of the Gospel according to the Hebrews. If we remove this barrier of presumed Markan priority we may adopt the logical conclusion that Schonfield hesitated from, that our Book of Matthew is an abridgment of the Gospel according to the Hebrews.

The original documentary theory claimed that Matthew and Luke were dependent on a collection of sayings known as the Logia or as “Q”. “Q” is from the German word “Quelle” meaning “source” and a narrative document usually identified as Mark.

Streeter developed this theory further. He realized that Luke and Mattitiyahu contained narratives in common which could not be found in Mark. He attributed these to a third document, which he called “Proto-Luke“. Proto-Luke was said to have had incorporated into it “Q”, the non-Markan portions of Luke and the narrative material which Luke and Matthew held in common.

However the late Dr. Robert Lindsey made further observations. Lindsey points out that the phrase “and immediately” occurs in Mark over 40 times. Luke contains this phrase only once and then in a portion with no parallel in Mark.  Lindsey pointed out that it is unimaginable that Luke systematically purged the phrase “and immediately” from every portion of Mark which he used, especially since he uses the phrase himself elsewhere. This means that Luke could not have copied from Mark and that Mark therefore copied from Luke.

If we eliminate all of the Lukan passages from Mark then almost everything else can be found in Matthew. In fact only 31 verses of Mark cannot be found in either Luke or Matthew. It is clear as a result that Mark was compiled using Luke and Matthew. The following three facts also support this conclusion:

1.When Mark and Matthew differ in chronology Luke agrees with Mark.

2.When Mark and Luke differ in Chronology, Matthew agrees with Mark.

3. Matthew and Luke never agree in chronology against Mark.

Mark therefore is secondary, compiled from Matthew and Luke with only 31 lines of original material. It plays no part in synoptic origins. (Lindsey’s “Proto-Mark” was probably actually the Gospel according to the Hebrews itself.

So in the end, we find that our Gospel of Matthew is actually an abridgement of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and therefore can serve as a suitable starting point as a framework to begin restoring the original Hebrew of the Gospel according to the Hebrews.

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.

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