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Author Topic: Matthew used Hebrew, not Septuagint?  (Read 2482 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 15, 2008, 05:06:05 PM »

From the EO Bible pdf, page 27:

Quote
St. Jerome also states that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew:

Matthew, also called Levi, an apostle and previously a publican composed a gospel of
Christ. It was at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the
circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by
what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in
the library at Caesarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the
opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of
Syria, who use it. In this, it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his
own account or in the person of our Lord the Savior quotes the testimony of the Old
Testament he does not follow the authority of the translators of the Septuagint but the
Hebrew
. This is why these two forms exist 'Out of Egypt have I called my son,' and 'for
he shall be called a Nazarene…

Was Jerome correct in saying that Matthew used the Hebrew, not the Septuagint, in quoting the words of Christ; or was Jerome simply justifying his own use of the Hebrew rather than the Septuagint in his own translation of the Old Testament?
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 06:35:04 PM »

I was under the impression that there was a tradition which stated that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic (Ireneaus, Jerome, etc.), but that this was a minority position, and that most modern scholars believe that it was written in Greek. I don't know much other than that.
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2008, 08:49:41 PM »

Here is a site which shows when the Septuagint is used and when the Hebrew is used:

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pines/7224/Rick/Septuagint/spindex.htm

On the left side, click on where it says "instances where the New Testament quotes the Septuagint..." and "instances where the New Testament follows the Hebrew..."

I haven't really read this website in a while, but I think it somewhere says that in the New Testament the Septuagint is used about 80% of the time, The Masoretic about 10% of the time, and another manuscript, which we don't have anymore, the other 10% of the time.  I might have read this somewhere else.  If someone sees it, let us know.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2008, 09:00:31 PM »

I can't say whether Jerome was correct, but consider:

In "A History of Christianity in Asia," Moffett makes use of Eusebius and [[url][http://www.bookschristian.com/se/product/books/Samuel_Hugh_Moffett/A_History_of_Christianity_in_Asia/314058/A_History_of_Christianity_in_Asia_Paperback.html/url] says that Pantaenus, a church historian and missionary who traveled to India in 180 A.D., discovered a copy of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew which was said to have been brought by Bartholomew to him.

"It is reported," wrote Eusebius, a fourth century bishop and church historian, "that among person there who knew Christ, (Pantaenus) found the Gospel according to St. Matthew (which had arrived ahead of Pantaenus by more than a century). For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them, and left them (in India) the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language which they had preserved."
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2008, 11:10:05 PM »

I can't say whether Jerome was correct, but consider:

In "A History of Christianity in Asia," Moffett makes use of Eusebius and [[url][http://www.bookschristian.com/se/product/books/Samuel_Hugh_Moffett/A_History_of_Christianity_in_Asia/314058/A_History_of_Christianity_in_Asia_Paperback.html/url] says that Pantaenus, a church historian and missionary who traveled to India in 180 A.D., discovered a copy of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew which was said to have been brought by Bartholomew to him.

"It is reported," wrote Eusebius, a fourth century bishop and church historian, "that among person there who knew Christ, (Pantaenus) found the Gospel according to St. Matthew (which had arrived ahead of Pantaenus by more than a century). For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them, and left them (in India) the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language which they had preserved."


An example pointed out by the OSB Matthew 2:15 reads "out of Egypt I called My Son," whereas the Septuagint reads in Hosea 11:1 "I have called his children."

I'll try to get a hold of my Peshitta and Critical Masoretic to say what it says there.  It is not a question of Greek versus Hebrew, but Hebrew version (as shown by the Dead Sea Scrolls and other fragments) versus the later Masoretic text.
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2008, 11:44:53 PM »

I just now realised that I answered a totally different question than was asked  Roll Eyes Sorry about that! That'll teach me to read more carefully before trying to answer something!
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 05:58:13 AM »

The Peshitta has "My Son" which is interesting, as the critical BHS of the Masorah states "cf. Targums."  The Peshitta is at it's core not translated from the LXX, but has been brought into conformity to it.  But not in Hoseah 11:1, which is the basis of Matthew's text.

Btw, the Dead Sea Scroll has 'almah for Virgin in Isaiah like the Masoretic, but interprets Emmanuel "God is with us" as a name, as does the LXX and Matthew.
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 04:20:39 PM »

Is the conclusion that Matthew used Hebrew/Aramaic text instead of Septuagint ?.
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 04:32:13 PM »

This indirectly proves that the Septuagint was not devised by Christians who altered the text to make some prophecies applicable to Christ.

The translator of the Septuagint may have treated the word Israel in this verse as the patriarch's (Jacob's) personal name rather than the name of the nation?
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2012, 04:40:41 PM »

This indirectly proves that the Septuagint was not devised by Christians who altered the text to make some prophecies applicable to Christ.

The translator of the Septuagint may have treated the word Israel in this verse as the patriarch's (Jacob's) personal name rather than the name of the nation?

Huh I was under the impression we have extant copies of the Septuagint dating from the 300s BC. Wouldn't that have been enough to disprove such a theory?
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2012, 04:44:29 PM »

This indirectly proves that the Septuagint was not devised by Christians who altered the text to make some prophecies applicable to Christ.

The translator of the Septuagint may have treated the word Israel in this verse as the patriarch's (Jacob's) personal name rather than the name of the nation?

Huh I was under the impression we have extant copies of the Septuagint dating from the 300s BC.

We don't.
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2012, 04:47:24 PM »

This indirectly proves that the Septuagint was not devised by Christians who altered the text to make some prophecies applicable to Christ.

The translator of the Septuagint may have treated the word Israel in this verse as the patriarch's (Jacob's) personal name rather than the name of the nation?

Huh I was under the impression we have extant copies of the Septuagint dating from the 300s BC.

We don't.

Huh, I don't know why I thought that. How old is the oldest extant copy then?
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2012, 04:50:57 PM »

Full copy of the Septuagint? 4th century AD. There are fragments that are older though.
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2012, 05:37:31 PM »

From the EO Bible pdf, page 27:

Quote
St. Jerome also states that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew:

Matthew, also called Levi, an apostle and previously a publican composed a gospel of
Christ. It was at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the
circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by
what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in
the library at Caesarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the
opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of
Syria, who use it. In this, it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his
own account or in the person of our Lord the Savior quotes the testimony of the Old
Testament he does not follow the authority of the translators of the Septuagint but the
Hebrew
. This is why these two forms exist 'Out of Egypt have I called my son,' and 'for
he shall be called a Nazarene…

Was Jerome correct in saying that Matthew used the Hebrew, not the Septuagint, in quoting the words of Christ; or was Jerome simply justifying his own use of the Hebrew rather than the Septuagint in his own translation of the Old Testament?

A friend who is a Bible scholar said there's doubt St. Jerome even knew Hebrew very well to make such claims.
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2012, 06:08:20 PM »

There is a well known claim that Mathew was originally written in Hebrew. It is often promulgated by the Karaites, a Non-Rabbinical Jewish Sect.

The source of the speculation as I recall comes from the Spanish Inquisition. The RCC would show up at a Jewish Village and demand to debate with the local Rabbi. If the Rabbi was judged to have lost the contest the people there must either convert to Christianity or leave.. If he won, I think he may have been killed for insulting the Church... Ah..the good old days.

Never the less, Rabbi's would need to prep on what the new testament teaches. They would circulate the Gospel of Mathew because it was already in Hebrew.. Some copies like that have been found.

I will try to find the link and post it later.
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« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2012, 06:33:53 PM »

Is Hosea 11:1 a prophecy of Christ out of Egypt, to me reading it in LXX it's not, why such a variance With the Hebrew text Matthew used?. 
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2013, 03:54:49 PM »

Never the less, Rabbi's would need to prep on what the new testament teaches. They would circulate the Gospel of Mathew because it was already in Hebrew.. Some copies like that have been found.

I will try to find the link and post it later.
What do you think about the scholars' opinions that those particular copies were invented in Medieval times?
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2013, 06:23:14 PM »

Pretty good analysis:
http://mysite.verizon.net/rgjones3/Septuagint/spexecsum.htm
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 06:26:33 PM »


Interesting:

"Matthew relies on the Septuagint for the assertion that the Messiah's mother was to be a virgin (Matthew 1.23).  Jesus himself follows the traditional Septuagint wording in condemning the Pharisees' traditions (Matthew 15.8-9)."
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 06:35:38 PM »

"Matthew relies on the Septuagint for the assertion that the Messiah's mother was to be a virgin (Matthew 1.23).  Jesus himself follows the traditional Septuagint wording in condemning the Pharisees' traditions (Matthew 15.8-9)."

Not necessarily - if it is true that Matthew came from a Jewish Palestinian background and wrote his Gospel in Aramaic (less likely, Hebrew), he - just like Jesus - would have used the Aramaic Targums to quote the OT. These are generally closer to the Septuagint (itself a sort of "targum", i.e. an updated/interpreted translation in accord with oral tradition). This would explain why certain OT quotations in the NT do not 100% agree either with the Massoretic or the Septuagint text.   

Some Messianic Jews argue that the Hebrew word 'alma in Isaiah 7 can and should be understood as 'virgin' - it shares the same etymology as 'olam - "world/aeon" (ayin-lamed-mem) meaning something concealed or hidden (a vast space beyond the horizon or a large amount of time beyond the grasp of a mortal's lifespan). Virgins (young women) of good families were concealed indoors (in the Holy of Holies, in the case of the Theotokos according to Tradition) before they were married, so no man could see/know them except for their close relatives. This is also the sense of the bride's veil - the groom was to see (know in the full Biblical sense) his bride only after they were wed. Before that she had to be concealed, like the "sealed fountain" or "closed garden" in the Canticle.       
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2013, 07:00:32 PM »

Some Messianic Jews argue that the Hebrew word 'alma in Isaiah 7 can and should be understood as 'virgin' - it shares the same etymology as 'olam - "world/aeon" (ayin-lamed-mem) meaning something concealed or hidden (a vast space beyond the horizon or a large amount of time beyond the grasp of a mortal's lifespan). Virgins (young women) of good families were concealed indoors (in the Holy of Holies, in the case of the Theotokos according to Tradition) before they were married, so no man could see/know them except for their close relatives. This is also the sense of the bride's veil - the groom was to see (know in the full Biblical sense) his bride only after they were wed. Before that she had to be concealed, like the "sealed fountain" or "closed garden" in the Canticle.        
In Russian, the word Deva is used interchangeably for virgin or young girl. Maybe its the same in Hebrew. The OT has 7 uses of the word, and in each phrase context, I am not sure why one meaning would be better than the other.

At the least, Origen's idea makes some sense that Isaiah 7 says he is talking about a sign, so there would be something very unusual about the birth.
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2013, 07:13:59 PM »

עַלְמָה, . a) marriageable girl Gn 2443 Ex 28 Ps 6826, as a description of the beloved Song 13 68; b) a girl who is able to be married Pr 3019; c) a young woman (KBL: until the birth of her first child) Is 714 Sept. παρθένος (< Matthew 123), Aq., Symm., Theodotion νεᾶνις —2. עַל־עֲלָמוֹת Ps 461 1C 1520, uncertain meaning: (singing) in the style of young girls, soprano, high-pitched musical instrument), rd. עֲלָמִית; “in the Elamite style”: related to I עלם; cj. Ps 4815 → עַלְמוּת 2.

עלם: MHeb. DSS to be concealed; Arb. ʿalama to signify, ʿalima to know, learn; Ug. ʿlm; Eth. ʿalama to signify
qal: pt. pass. עֲלֻמֵנוּ (MSS Aq., Symm., Jerome, ־מֵינוּ): what is hidden, i.e. hidden sin Ps 908.
hitp: pf. הִתְעַלַּמְתָּ; impf. יִתְעַלֶּם־, תִּתְעַלַּמ/לָֽם; inf. הִתְעַלֵּם: to hide oneself with עַל (= ? אֶל) שֶׁלֶג Jb 616; to hide oneself, meaning to avoid, withdraw with מִן from Dt 221.3f Is 587 Ps 552 cj. Ps 101 → hif, Sir 42 3816. †

Koehler, Baumgartner, Richardson, Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament.
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2013, 04:50:40 AM »

"Matthew relies on the Septuagint for the assertion that the Messiah's mother was to be a virgin (Matthew 1.23).  Jesus himself follows the traditional Septuagint wording in condemning the Pharisees' traditions (Matthew 15.8-9)."

Not necessarily - if it is true that Matthew came from a Jewish Palestinian background and wrote his Gospel in Aramaic (less likely, Hebrew), he - just like Jesus - would have used the Aramaic Targums to quote the OT. These are generally closer to the Septuagint (itself a sort of "targum", i.e. an updated/interpreted translation in accord with oral tradition). This would explain why certain OT quotations in the NT do not 100% agree either with the Massoretic or the Septuagint text.   

Some Messianic Jews argue that the Hebrew word 'alma in Isaiah 7 can and should be understood as 'virgin' - it shares the same etymology as 'olam - "world/aeon" (ayin-lamed-mem) meaning something concealed or hidden (a vast space beyond the horizon or a large amount of time beyond the grasp of a mortal's lifespan). Virgins (young women) of good families were concealed indoors (in the Holy of Holies, in the case of the Theotokos according to Tradition) before they were married, so no man could see/know them except for their close relatives. This is also the sense of the bride's veil - the groom was to see (know in the full Biblical sense) his bride only after they were wed. Before that she had to be concealed, like the "sealed fountain" or "closed garden" in the Canticle.       

In my opinion alma would seem to imply virginity in that it means a marriageable girl, given the culture in which it was used. Non-virgin young girls would not be considered particularly marriageable. It doesn't need to actually literally mean virgin for the expected virginity to be clear. It's always seemed to me that the alma =/= parthenos argument that some make is rather dishonest.

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« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2013, 08:43:29 AM »

I was under the impression that Matthew was for converts from Judaism. If so, then Hebrew or Aramaic would be a given, I'd suspect.

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« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2013, 10:57:29 AM »

This and a couple other posts are correct about "Almah."  The Jewish argument that "Almah" only means "young woman" is balony.  It can mean "young  woman" but it can also mean "virgin."  I like the word "Almah" because it comes from the word meaning "hidden."

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« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2013, 12:11:24 PM »

In my opinion alma would seem to imply virginity in that it means a marriageable girl, given the culture in which it was used. Non-virgin young girls would not be considered particularly marriageable. It doesn't need to actually literally mean virgin for the expected virginity to be clear. It's always seemed to me that the alma =/= parthenos argument that some make is rather dishonest.
Very good point. Now that leaves open the possibility though of an unmarried girl who is not a virgin having a baby (ie illegitimate sex)?
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« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2013, 01:19:49 PM »

Very good point. Now that leaves open the possibility though of an unmarried girl who is not a virgin having a baby (ie illegitimate sex)?

Deuteronomy 22 deals with that. It must have been on the Righteous Joseph's mind, when he was planning to secretly leave Mary:

Quote
13“If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her,14and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’15then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate.16“The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her;17and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city.18“So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him,19and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.

   20“But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin,21then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

    22“If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.

    23“If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her,24then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

    25“But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die.26“But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case.27“When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.

    28“If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered,29then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 01:27:51 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2013, 01:41:51 PM »

In my opinion alma would seem to imply virginity in that it means a marriageable girl, given the culture in which it was used. Non-virgin young girls would not be considered particularly marriageable. It doesn't need to actually literally mean virgin for the expected virginity to be clear. It's always seemed to me that the alma =/= parthenos argument that some make is rather dishonest.
Very good point. Now that leaves open the possibility though of an unmarried girl who is not a virgin having a baby (ie illegitimate sex)?
But betrween those two possibilities, it doesnt seem the scripture would portray #2 as a positive sign, which it seems to.
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