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Author Topic:   What language was Matthew written in?
Member (Idle past 6551 days)
Posts: 216
From: australia
Joined: 11-11-2002

Message 1 of 4 (29950)
01-22-2003 8:20 PM

On the geneology thread I have relied upon the Aramaic version of matthew to help my argument. But a question has arisen as to whether there is any basis to use the Aramaic.
I think there is for the following reasons.
Many of the references to matthew having written his gospel in "the Hebrew dialect" may stem from a saying attributed to Papias.(c.125)
What we have is this (in greek)
Schollars have argued about the xact meaning of the words here but i beleive the plain reading is as follows...."that Matthew wrote his work in a/the hebrew dialect and each translated as best they could"
Now the immediate question is what was meant by "hebrew dialect".
There is some disagreement among scollars but I think the "hebrew dialect" (note not hebrew language) was the dialect of Aramaic spoken by jews at the time of Christ.
Hebrew had by this time long ago ceased to be the common tongue of jews.
There are in fact be more indications that at least some books were originally penned in Aramaic, or the hebrew dialect/tongue.
An interesting quote from this history is in Book V,
chapter 10 concerning an Egyptian father named
Pantaenus who lived in the 2nd century:
"Of these Pantaenus was one:it is stated that he went as
far as India, where he appears to have found that
Matthew's Gospel had arrived before him and was in the
hands of some there who had come to know Christ.
Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them
and had left behind Matthew's account in the actual
Aramaic characters, and it was preserved till the time of
Pantaenus's mission."
Quoted from the translation by G. A. Williamson, The
History of the Church, Dorset Press, New York, 1965,
pages 213-214.
Ireneus (170 C.E.)
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in
their own dialect.
(Irenaeus; Against Heresies 3:1)
Origen (c. 210 C.E.)
The first is written according to Matthew, the same
that was once a tax collector, but afterwards an emissary of
Yeshua the Messiah, who having published it for the Jewish
believers, wrote it in Hebrew.
(quoted by Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 6:25)
Epiphanius (370 C.E.)
They have the Gospel according to Matthew
quite complete in Hebrew, for this Gospel is certainly still
preserved among them as it was first written, in Hebrew
(Epiphanius; Panarion 29:9:4)
Jerome (382 C.E.)
"Matthew, who is also Levi, and from a tax collector came to be
an emissary first of all evangelists composed a Gospel of
Messiah in Judea in the Hebrew language and letters, for the
benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed, who
translated it into Greek is not sufficiently ascertained.
Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the
library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently
collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this
volume in the Syrian city of Borea to copy it. In which is to be
remarked that, wherever the evangelist... makes use of the
testimonies of the Old Scripture, he does not follow the
authority of the seventy translators , but
that of the Hebrew."
(Lives of Illustrious Men 3)
"Pantaenus found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve
emissaries, had there preached the advent of our Lord
Yeshua the Messiah according to the Gospel of Matthew, which
was written in Hebrew letters, and which, on returning to
Alexandria, he brought with him."
(De Vir. 3:36)
Isho'dad (850 C.E.)
His book was in existence in Caesarea of Palestine,
and everyone acknowledges that he wrote it with his hands in
(Isho'dad Commentary on the Gospels)
Clement of Alexandria (150 - 212 C.E.)
In the work called Hypotyposes, to sum up the matter briefly
he has given us abridged accounts of
all the canonical Scriptures,... the Epistle to the Hebrews he
asserts was written by Paul, to the Hebrews, in the Hebrew
tongue; but that it was carefully translated by Luke, and
published among the Greeks.
(Clement of Alexandria; Hypotyposes; referred to by Eusebius in Eccl. Hist. 6:14:2)
Eusebius (315 C.E.)
For as Paul had addressed the Hebrews in the language of his
country; some say that the evangelist Luke, others that
Clement, translated the epistle.
(Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:38:2-3)
Jerome (382)
"He (Paul) being a Hebrew wrote in Hebrew, that is, his own
tongue and most fluently while things which were eloquently
written in Hebrew were more eloquently turned into Greek
(Lives of Illustrious Men, Book 5)
Eusebius says, (H. E. iv. 22) that:
"Hegesippus, (who lived and wrote about A. D. 188,)
made some quotations from the Gospel according to
the Hebrews, and from the Syriac Gospel"
Now this claims that in the days of Hegesippus, a Syriac
Gospel existed, and that it was a different book from the
Gospel according to the Hebrews.
And in the Passio Sancti Procopii Martyris, (annexed
by Valesius to the Hist. Eccles. of Eusebius, lib. viii. c. 1,
ed. Amsterdam, 1695. Annotatt, p. 154,) the martyr is said
to have been born at Jerusalem, and to have passed his
life at Scythopolis, where he performed three functions in
the church,- " unum in legendi officio, alterum in Syri
interpretatione sermonis, et tertium adversus
daemones manus impositione consummans ;" until his
martyrdom, under Diocletian, A. D. 303
This view seems to have persisted in some quarters even up to the time of Pope Leo X.
In a book written in 16th century Italy, "Masoret haMasoret", by Rabbi Eliahu Levita, this story is written:
"Now, when I was in Rome, I saw three Chaldeans, who arrived from the country of Prester John, having been sent for by Pope Leo X. They were masters of the Syriac language and literature, though their vernacular language was Arabic. The special language, however, wherin the books were written, as well as that of the gospels of the Christians which they brought with them was Syriac, which is also called Aramean, Babylonian, Assyrian... Pope Leo X. had sent for them, in order to correct by their Codices his exemplar of his New Testament, which was written in Latin.....Now I saw them reading this (Syriac) Psalter without points, and asked them, Have you points, or any signs to indicate the vowels? and they answered me: "No! but we have been conversant with that language from our youth till now, and therefore, know how to read without points." ( Eliahu ben Asher Ashkenazi (Elias Levita), Masoret HaMasoret (first published: Venice 1538), edited by C. D. Ginsburg, in: Harry M. Orlinsky (ed.), The Library of Biblical Studies, New York: Ktav, 1968, pp. 130-131. )
Most western schollars of of the view that the NT was penned in greek, but Assyrian Christians who to this day still conduct thier services in Aramaic have a different view.
"With reference to....the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision."
Mar Eshai Shimun
by Grace, Catholicos Patriarch of the East.
All the best....judge

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by iconoclast2440, posted 01-23-2003 1:47 AM judge has replied

Inactive Member

Message 2 of 4 (29979)
01-23-2003 1:47 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by judge
01-22-2003 8:20 PM

Judge, John has already addressed these question in the other thread.
Why do you bother posting that quote from Asyrian Christians? The Peshita has not been established as original.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by judge, posted 01-22-2003 8:20 PM judge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by judge, posted 01-23-2003 2:28 AM iconoclast2440 has replied

Member (Idle past 6551 days)
Posts: 216
From: australia
Joined: 11-11-2002

Message 3 of 4 (29983)
01-23-2003 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by iconoclast2440
01-23-2003 1:47 AM

Iconoclast...a short time ago you said the following.."This is definately the first time i have ever heard some one claim that Matthew was originally written in Aramaic.
Now that I provide some references you start complaining.
Just what on earth is going on here????
I am beginning to see the funny side of this actually.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by iconoclast2440, posted 01-23-2003 1:47 AM iconoclast2440 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by iconoclast2440, posted 01-23-2003 10:11 AM judge has not replied

Inactive Member

Message 4 of 4 (30025)
01-23-2003 10:11 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by judge
01-23-2003 2:28 AM

complaining? No. Your position has been refuted by John on every point thus far. Honestly it doesn't matter to me what language the NT was written in. What bothers me is your wantingness to play word games inorder to appear you have an argument to defend against biblical contradictions.
John have already your theory on Mary contributed lineage doesn't work Judge. No matter how you try and establish this point.
[This message has been edited by iconoclast2440, 01-23-2003]

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by judge, posted 01-23-2003 2:28 AM judge has not replied

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