This is the first time I have had time to blog about this project since late January. February was a very trying month for us, as my wife and I were victims of the Texas Snow-pocalypse. You can read a detailed account of how we survived the snow-pocalypse here. It was quite an adventure.
The work of the Scripture Restoration Project is an awesome responsibility, and not one that I take lightly. I suspect that YHWH called me to this work because I am a rationalist. My natural inclination is to stick to the manuscript evidence. However, YHWH has been showing me, in this work of Scripture Restoration, that my job in restoration, is at times going to involve being open to His guidance as I exercise discernment in restoring the original Hebrew, when the original word has not survived in the manuscript evidence.
My original plan was to piece together the original Hebrew of Matthew, using the Hebrew or the DuTillet, Munster and Shem Tob texts, as well as the marginal notes in the Quinquarbeus edition. My plan was to use the Old Syriac Aramaic Matthew as a guide to overall content, and the previously mentioned Hebrew versions for vocabulary. That was my plan. But it was not His plan for me. As I began the actual work, YHWH began to work with me, as a potter does with clay. So I began hard and unpliable, set in my plan to stick only to manuscript evidence. But as I got into the work, He has shown me that in some cases, these surviving Hebrew texts, have not always preserved the original Hebrew of Matthew, I had already been taking this step in reconstruction and restoring the original Hebrew or Mark, Luke and the Gospel according to the Hebrews (though basing this Hebrew, as much as possible, on the Hebrew witnesses to Matthew.)
I have spent the last few weeks “wrestling with Elohim” over Matthew 5:17-20 were the KJV reads:
 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For many years I have been troubled by the readings in our Hebrew witnesses for the word “to fulfill” in verse 17. DuTiTillet/Munster have למלא in 5:17 and שימלאו in 5:18. Shem Tob has להשלים in 5:17 but יתקיים in 5:18.
This is actually an idiomatic Hebrew usage. To “fulfill” the Torah means to teach the Torah correctly and/or to keep the Torah correctly. Likewise to “destroy” the Torah means to teach it incorrectly, or to not keep it correctly.
Several examples of this idiomatic usage can be found in the Hebrew of the Mishnah:
If the Sanhedrin gives a decision to abolish a law, by saying for instance, that the Torah does not include the laws of Sabbath or idolatry, the members of the court are free from a sin offering if they obey them; but if the Sanhedrin abolishes (לְבַטֵּל) only one part of a law but fulfills (לְקַיֵּם) the other part, they are liable.
Go away to a place of study of the Torah, and do not suppose that it will come to you. For your fellow disciples will fulfill it (יְקַיְּמוּהָ) in your hand. And on your own understanding do not rely.
If this is how you act, you have never in your whole life fulfilled (קִיַּמְתָּ) the requirement of dwelling in a sukkah!
Whoever fulfills (הַמְקַיֵּם) the Torah when poor will in the end fulfill (לְקַיְּמָהּ) it in wealth. And whoever treats the Torah as nothing (הַמְבַטֵּל) when he is wealthy in the end will treat it as nothing (לְבַטְּלָהּ) in poverty.
The proper word for “fulfill” in this context, is קים. And the proper word for “destroy” in this context is בטל. DuTillet uses the correct word for “destroy” (though Shem Tob does not). However, none of our manuscript witnesses have the correct word in Matthew 5:17 (though Shem Tob has the correct word in 5:18).
We will thus be restoring the original Hebrew of Matthew 5:17 to use the word קים rather that DuTillet’s מלא or Shem Tob’s השלים, emending the text despite the lack of manuscript evidence for that reading.
As much as I want to rely solely on manuscript evidence, YHWH is showing me that is not always possible, even with Hebrew Matthew, and that is the very reason that this project is needed!
Now is time to step up to the plate!
I 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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Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:
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Hurst, TX 76053