Exploration 83 – The Hebrew New Testament

…what’s it matter if it’s written in Hebrew or Greek and the answer to that is it doesn’t matter at all unless you care about the truth of Scripture and if you care about the truth of Scripture it makes a huge difference because everything we know about our Hebrew Messiah we know through a Greek filter….

Dr. Miles R. Jones, A Sit-Down Conversation with Dr. Miles R, Jones,
The Messianic Torah Observer Ministry of QFC, (about 1:14:25 in the video)

In a series of brief articles Jeff Brenner outlined an argument that Hebrew was the original source language for the New Testament. Here are four topics he covered:

  • Recent archeological evidence shows that the language of the Israelites during the Second Temple Period was Hebrew.
  • Evidence from the book of Maccabees and Josephus show the rejection of Hellenistic culture by the Jewish people.
  • Evidence from Church Fathers and the text suggests the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew.
  • Hebrew words are transliterated in the Greek texts suggesting the Greek text is a translation from Hebrew.

There are surviving Hebrew manuscripts that could be viewed as copies of copies leading back to original autographs not translations from the Greek or Aramaic. Here are some sources describing and translating these manuscripts.

  • George Howard translated the Shem Tob Hebrew text of Matthew in The Gospel of Matthew according to a primitive Hebrew text (1987). He knew of nine manuscript copies. Michael Rood claimed there are now 28 known surviving manuscript copies of the Hebrew Matthew (about 7:50 in the video, The Greek Jesus vs the Hebrew Yeshua).
  • Michael J. and Justin J. Van Rensburg recently finished translating the Hebrew manuscripts of Revelation, James and Jude found in Cochin, India (Ms. Oo.1.16 and Ms. Oo.1.32 from the Cambridge University Library). They argue that these manuscripts can be traced to Hebrew originals. They have finished translating the Hebrew manuscripts of Matthew, Mark, and John and they are in the process of translating Luke coming from Vat. Ebr. 100.
  • Miles Jones organized a team which finished translating the Epistle of James last summer from a copy in the British Museum. The question of the authenticity of this manuscript (Royal MS 16 A II) as a copy of an original Hebrew autograph is still open.

To understand why these manuscripts are important here are two problems that have been resolved by studying them.

  • Hebrew manuscripts make clear that the name Joseph referenced in Matthew 1:16 was the name of Miriam’s (Mary’s) father, not husband. Her husband’s name was also Joseph. Without that correction, Jesus was not in the actual line of David. See Michael Rood’s Is Jesus THE Messiah? for why this matters.
  • Hebrew manuscripts make clear that Jesus did not tell his disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:3, but Moses. Jesus consistently rejected the Oral Torah of the Pharisees. See Nehemia Gordon, The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus, for more information on the Oral Torah of Rabbinic Judaism and the copying error that led to the confusion.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Vayikra 9 Adar II, 5782 – March 12, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26
Haftarah: Samuel I 15:1-34
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 10:1-18
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Leaves and Bay

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

62 thoughts on “Exploration 83 – The Hebrew New Testament”

    1. Yes, at least two manuscript traditions of the Hebrew Matthew are available. One is the Shem Tob tradition I linked to above and the other is in the Vat. Ebr. 100 I linked to above with transcript and translation in the Van Rensburg paper. I think you may know enough Hebrew to read the Vat Ebr 100 manuscript. If you have trouble, let me know. I can show you where to start reading it. Also on MeWe Benjamin Andreessen has a group, Hebrew Shalom, where you can ask more questions.

      My current position could be described as a sort of Hebrew Roots view. I try to avoid the errors that Tim Chaffey mentioned in https://answersingenesis.org/presuppositions/dangers-hebrew-roots-movement/ but Chaffey describes my overall position well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hmmm looked him up on Google. He promotes several books that he has written but offer virtually no content of ideas which he introduces to the reading public. LOL

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        1. Here is the Van Rensburgs’ site, mosckerr, if you want to look into it further: https://www.hebrewgospels.com/

          I think those manuscripts are part of a chain that goes back to original Hebrew manuscripts. As I see it the Greek or Aramaic versions were translations from the original Hebrew. I am glad they provided a transcript, translation, commentary and photos or links to photos of the original manuscripts. I don’t agree with their promotion of “Yahweh” as the divine name (HaShem), but much of what they say about the authenticity of these texts I find convincing.

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          1. Yes saw this site on your merit earlier. The modern Hebrew translation occurred in the present Century! Translations do not reflect ancient Greek manuscripts of the new testament.

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            1. Their translations into English are new, mosckerr. They recently made them. However, they made them based on Hebrew manuscripts.

              The question is whether those Hebrew manuscripts were based on original autographs or themselves translations from the Greek. One of the arguments that they are based on original Hebrew autographs is the use of puns that work in Hebrew, but not in Greek. That is evidence that the Greek text is the translation.

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              1. All Hebrew translations R new. The manuscripts of the new testament R Greek. There exist no original Hebrew b/c the Romans wrote their new testament forgeries to appeal to Goyim markets.

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                  1. OK can you then present an early manuscript, and not speculation, a physical manuscript written in Hebrew of the new testament that pre dates the Greek manuscripts? If you can then you have something that proves what you claim. But if you can’t then your argument stands upon a cloud.

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                    1. These manuscripts do not have to pre-date the Greek manuscripts to be authentic. That we have an older Greek manuscripts only means that it survived while others did not. Look for Hebrew puns to test for authenticity of the text and then keep in mind that over these years of copying there are scribal errors and deliberate alterations.

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                    2. That we do not currently have those manuscripts does not mean they did not exist. What we do have are manuscripts were textual evidence based on Hebrew puns suggests these manuscripts were not translations, but copies from original Hebrew documents.

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                    1. As I see it, based on the evidence in the commentaries accompanying the English translations these Hebrew manuscripts are part of a manuscript chain of copies leading back to original Hebrew autographs. These texts were not originally written in Greek or Aramaic but Hebrew.

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                    2. Sorry Frank your conclusions – total speculation. You have no physical Hebrew manuscripts other than recently written translations. Its just as plain simple fact.

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                    3. Your claim that those Hebrew manuscripts are translations is what I see as “total speculation”. You don’t know, but that is the conclusion you want to draw so you state it as an assertion that you expect me to accept. I don’t accept your presuppositions. You need to argue for them, not just assert them.

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                    4. Frank they were written recently. That’s a known fact. Those translators did not discover ancient manuscripts as you claim. If they did they would have published those manuscripts and not some silly translation.

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                    1. There is no need for contempt of any one. Contempt is no more than a weak rationalization for not listening to an argument. I have no contempt for you although we differ on many issues.

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                    2. American courts can imprison a person for contempt of court. The worthless karaites reject the Torah established authority of the Sanhedrin courts to determine the culture and customs of the Jewish people.

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                    3. Where does Torah establish the authority of the Sanhedrim to determine the culture and customs of the Jewish people? This is what I claim to be a usurpation.

                      Regardless, your contempt of anyone you disagree with is inappropriate. You need to argue rationally. Calling someone “worthless” is not an argument. It is an ad hominem attack. It is logically fallacious reasoning.

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                  2. Reliance upon physical evidence of ancient manuscripts does not qualify as a personal “presupposition”. The rule of law stands upon evidence. Saying that a 21st Century Hebrew translation stands upon an ancient Hebrew new testament. This claim requires evidence not just declarations. No ancient manuscript of the New Testament exists in Hebrew. If you can show that in fact such a manuscript does exist then that’s major news, that the churches across the world would trumpet.

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                    1. The evidence was provided in the Van Rensburg documents. There is also evidence in George Howard’s Hebrew Gospel of Matthew.

                      That you don’t accept the evidence does not mean that it does not exist, but it does reduce your view to a presupposition.

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                    2. Howard’s book, published in 1995 – proves nothing. On the order of the famed cities of gold that inspired Spanish conquistadors.

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                    1. Do you trust Wikipedia, mosckerr? I don’t.

                      Do you trust 19th century Christian scholarship promoting replacement theology, evolution, or the JEDP documentary hypothesis? Do you trust what you hear on CNN about anything?

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                    2. No. But I have limited resources. I am not a new testament scholar. No Google source tells of the discovery of any ancient 1st Century gospel manuscript. None. Your Justin Van Rensberg translation does not impress me in the least. Why? Because, as previously mentioned, had a 1st Century Hebrew gospel been discovered the entire Xtian world would go ape shit. And we both know that this has not occurred.

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                    3. I think the original Hebrew Matthew was written shortly after after Yeshua rose from the dead and Shavuot was fulfilled with the Holy Spirit in 28 AD. We don’t have that original document. We do have copies of copies of it.

                      If a 1st century Hebrew manuscript were discovered the Christian world would consider it a translation from the Greek or Aramaic. I presuppose that the Greek or Aramaic copies are themselves translations from Hebrew originals.

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                    4. You think … so who are you Frank? Your personal opinion represents only yourself. Your reference to holy spirit, not a Torah source, but an Xtian source. What copies? Copies made in the 21st Century HaHaHaHa that’s funny.

                      IF the Moon was made of cheese rats would dance. Your speculations do not qualify as proof of anything other than that you place what you believe above the available physical evidence that exists.

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                    5. Ask a simply question Frank. That hardly qualifies as an ad hominem. Your personal opinion only reflect what you Frank Hubeny personally believe.

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                    6. Do you know why I am letting you post on my blog, mosckerr? I am learning what rabbinic Judaism is from you. I am also learning Hebrew. I value what you have to say. You should value the words you write as well. That is the main reason why you should avoid ad hominem.

                      In return I give you my own perspective as a Messianic believer.

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                    7. Good that is exactly what I hoped to achieve. Goyim have such complete and total ignorance of the Jewish people. How can Jews and Goyim communicate when Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus (a famous book on dating).

                      To my knowledge have made no ad hominem statements. Bring an example and on this we can discuss the merits of your (to my opinion) false claim.

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                    8. Your theory: imaginary Hebrew manuscripts compares to The Hamitic hypothesis – well known to students of African history. It argues that the black populations of Africa came from the son of Noach which he cursed.

                      Prove it. No proof exist not for this or that.

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                    9. Its more than fair for me to challenge “I think the original …”. Have made no ad hominem by the question: who are you Frank? Why do you place such trust in what you personally believe?

                      If a man goes to court, the judge tells that man to get a lawyer, even if the man himself qualifies as a lawyer. Why? Its good to get a 2nd objective opinion. The Talmud teaches that a man who testifies about himself – not believed. Why? That man as interests that color his perspective of events. In Capital Crimes cases the Torah requires no less than 2 independent witnesses.

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                    10. I already gave you evidence that the original Gospels where written in Hebrew. That evidence convinces me. That you don’t accept that evidence is your problem. You don’t have to look at. You don’t have to consider it. That you do not accept it is irrelevant. It just means the discussion stops. Your rejection of the evidence I provided is not evidence against my position.

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                    1. Those manuscripts that the Van Rensburgs translated would be such manuscripts. The Shem Tob manuscript George Howard translated would be another. Nehemia Gordon and Miles Jones have been looking for others. It should transcend the shock of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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                    2. No. The Van Rensburg translation admits that it comes from Spanish origins! Therefore such a manuscript in no way manner or form qualifies as a manuscript written in the time of the Mishnah. Sorry Frank its quite impossible. Like I said, if someone found a 1st Century Hebrew manuscript of the gospel Roman forgery, that discovery would surpass that of the 1948 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. No such discovery has to date ever been made.

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                    3. It’s not impossible, mosckerr. You want it to be impossible because your presuppositions do not allow it. Take a deep breath. Consider the possibility that the original Gospels were written in Hebrew.

                      The manuscript the Van Rensburg used is not from the 1st century. It is a copy of other copies. The question is whether it represents an original Hebrew autograph. The evidence they provide that it does is what you need to argue against.

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                    4. My wants or not wants do not determine physical evidence or the lack thereof Frank. Physical evidence does not compare to “consider the possibility”, any more than a brick falls on your foot … you hop around on one foot in pain. A translation provides no evidence of a discovery of an ancient manuscript.

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                    5. Frank unlike you i have no ax to grind. You feel the need to believe that the new testament originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek. But no Hebrew manuscript not even tiny pieces exist. Fact remain facts. You can not present even fragments of a Hebrew new testament.

                      What more the writings of Paul which preceded the writings of the gospels. Paul was a Jewish spy sent to Rome to undermine Roman polytheism. The Maccabean Revolt, a Century before your imaginary man told by a Roman forgery written in Greek ie JeZeus, ever pop into the head of some Roman who in his turn sought to publish a story that undermined the authority of the Torah. The Maccabean Revolt employed this identical tactic of declaring allegiance to some pretender king of the Syrian throne.

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                    6. Then let him publish that copy. When was that copy made? Jews did not arrive in numbers in Spain until about the 7th Century CE. LOL

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                    7. The Hebrew Gospels from Sepharad: Matthew (Ver.1.1 – Sept. 2019)
                      by Justin J. Van Rensburg

                      Confusing a 3 year old translation with some 2000 year old imaginary manuscript … now that’s funny.

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                  3. I have given a “like” to this, b/c the early church fathers – dead set against Judaizers. Circumcision, especially, was promoted as necessary for salvation. Gentiles had to become Jewish proselytes first, and then they could come to JeZeus. Starting with the Apostle Paul the early church denounced and condemned Judaizers as heretics.

                    The letters of Paul, according to the existing manuscripts, predated the earliest known book of Mark by some 100 years. The Gospel books had no names until the 4th Century.

                    Paul, a Jewish agent provocateur, wrote in the language of his target Goyim audience.

                    Pretend that some Goy wrote a Hebrew Gospels, see no possible way that such a manuscript the Xtian church would not have burnt.

                    This compares to the karaites and Gordon. Who determines church culture and customs? Clearly not the Judaizers who lost out to the Apostle Paul.

                    Ignatius of Antioch, considered as one of the three most important of the early church leaders. Together with Clement of Rome and Polycarp. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology.

                    Ignatius’s letter to the Magnesians 10:3 written around the year 100, [“St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians (Roberts-Donaldsontranslation)”.Earlychristianwritings.
                    com]

                    “” It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God….””

                    The Epistle of Barnabas a Greek epistle written between AD 70 and 132. The complete text is preserved in the 4th-century Codex Sinaiticus, where it appears immediately after the New Testament and before the Shepherd of Hermas. This source strongly condemns Judaizers. The Epistle of Barnabas condemns most Jewish practices, claiming that Jews had grossly misunderstood and misapplied the Law of Moses.

                    Justin Martyr an early Xtian apologist and philosopher, had a less stringent opinion concerning Judaizers. He accepted to hold communion with those who observe the Law of Moses, but do not require its observance of others.

                    The Council of Laodicea, composed of approximately thirty clerics from Asia Minor which assembled about 363–364 AD in Laodicea, Phrygia Pacatiana. That Council ruled: (The Seven Ecumenical Councils | Christian Classics Ethereal Library”. ) … “Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.”

                    Based upon this simple evidence, the Church would have burnt any Hebrew gospel manuscript, pretending that such a absurdity existed in the first place.

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                    1. I agree with much of what you say about this history related to “judaizers”. You are right that based on this evidence the Church would have burnt any Hebrew gospel manuscript. That is precisely what they did.

                      Your mistake is in portraying Yeshua and those early Messianic believers as not Jewish. They were Jewish. They wrote in Hebrew. Identifying those manuscripts is like finding Dead Sea scrolls preserved in libraries.

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                    2. Frank, we live long after the events described in the new testament avodah zarah. Like the 2nd coming the burden of proof rests upon you. Just as the 2nd coming would shock the entire planet including myself, so too the discovery of imaginary ancient Hebrew gospel manuscripts.

                      As an atheist praise God, i do not believe in pie in the sky declarations. The church must have a physical JeZeus. In like manner you must discover physical ancient manuscripts of the Gospels written in Hebrew.

                      Modern day translations not worth the paper they which contains them.

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                  4. May I say Frank, its a real pleasure to openly discuss the Torah with a Goy. Clearly you and I come from completely different cultural backgrounds and experiences. I consider it a privilege to openly share and discuss the Torah based upon a Jewish perspective with you.

                    Thanx 🙂

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  1. The photo is beyond beautiful, exquisite. As for the rest, I LOVE reading the Bible…I have quite a number of different versions. I don’t feel God expects me to understand it all–and I trust His Holy Spirit to give me revelation, enlighten me according to what measure of comprehension I do possess. I very much enjoy learning more and more. Blessings on your week, Brother 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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