…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