On the Thread "Jesus and the Pharisees"
posted a movie called "The Hebrew Yeshua v. The Greek Jesus"
The movie is academic and fun to watch. (Thanks for posting it, Marc.)
The presenter, Nehemiah Gordon, takes the view that the 14th century "Shem Tov" version of Matthew's gospel has some unique, authentic parts of Matthew's Gospel, which he concludes would have been written in Hebrew.
One of Nehemiah Gordon's most persuasive points is that a Hebrew pun appears with the Hebrew word "vayet" (meaning stretched out / turned) in the Shem Tov version of Matthew 12:13-15.
In fact, the poetic aspects of the passage appears to go beyond a simple word pun, and include a chiastic structure, that is, verses with symmetrical meaning. Matthew 12:13-15 can be lined up to show the passage's symmetry, with verse 14 acting as a mirror between 13 and 15:
13 Then He said to the man,
[transitive act]“Stretch out your hand.”
[verbal command to perform "vayet"]And he vayet, [stretched it out],and it was restored as whole as the other.
[something the hand itself does]
14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
15 But when Jesus knew it,
[something Jesus Himself does]He vayet [withdrew] from there. And great multitudes followed Him,
[following by performing "vayet"]and He healed them all.
[transitive act]At first glance,
the only way that the Shev Tov matches the chiasm closer than a simple Hebrew translation of the Greek would is that the Shem Tov has the word "And" in the second part of verse 15. But on closer inspection, putting the word "And" there would contradict the poetry, because there also appears to be a symmetry where the 3rd and 4th lines of verses 13 and 15 begin with "And", and the 1st and 2nd lines of both verses don't begin with "And."One question is whether the verbs withdraw and stretch out are the same in Aramaic too,
which would leave open the question of whether the passage was written first in Aramaic or Hebrew. A line by line Aramaic- English translation doesn't appear to show that the same word is used in Aramaic:http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/Peshittainterlinear/1_Matthew/Mattich12.pdf
On the other hand, the Hebrew translation of the normal Greek Matthew doesn't seem to use the same word either:http://dvar-adonai.org/hnt/He_htm/Matthew011-015.htmThis suggests that the use of "vayet" in its exact form is unique to the Shem Tov, which would in turn at first suggest that the Shem Tov was uniquely original, because the words stretched out and withdrew appear to be poetically connected in the verse
But on the other hand, maybe the word "vayet" here in the Shem Tov actually would be out of place in the chiasm, because (a) the rest of the chiasm appears to have very few words that exactly match on the other side of the "mirror", despite the fact that there are similar ideas on either sider, and (b) "vayet" is used in line 3 of verse 13 and line 2 of verse 15, but maybe the correct symmetry would be between line 2 and line 2, and between line 3 and line 3. So it sounds like Gordon is on to something with a Hebrew language connection between "stretching out" and "withdrawing."
This suggests that the person who wrote this part of Matthew was thinking in terms of Hebrew or Aramaic poetry.
The Shem Tov version makes the words' connection clear, suggesting in favor of Shem Tov having an original selection. So it seems like the only counterarguments would be if:
(a) The original Hebrew version of the passage was independent of the Shem Tov, but the original Hebrew version still translated the passage this way. This would make sense, for example, if the Shem Tov simply translated from Greek into Hebrew in a way that appealed to Shem Tov's translator, and if "vayet" was a likely translation of the Greek; or
(b) The original version of this passage was not Hebrew but Aramaic, and if a similar word connection between "stretched out" and "withdrew" existed in Aramaic too, since it's also a Semitic language.
Offhand, possibility (b) about Aramaic appears doubtful based on the English-Aramaic lineup in: http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/Peshittainterlinear/1_Matthew/Mattich12.pdf
But then again, this could simply be a re-translation back from the Greek, in which the original word connection was lost during the process of translating into Greek and back again.What do you think?