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Hebrew Matthew: Lost and Found (DuTillet)

Hebrew Matthew: Lost and Found (DuTillet)
James Scott Trimm

All of the "Church Fathers", both East and West, testified to the Semitic origin of the Book of Matthew, as the following quotes demonstrate:

Papias (150-170 C.E.)
Matthew composed the words in the Hebrew dialect, and each
translated as he was able.
(quoted by Eusebius Eccl. History 3:39)

Ireneus (170 C.E.)
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in
their own dialect.
(Ireneus; Against Heresies 3:1)

Origen (c. 210 C.E.)
The first [Gospel] is written according to Matthew, the same
who 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. History 6:25)

Eusebius (c. 315 C. E.)
Matthew also, having first proclaimed the Gospel in Hebrew,
when on the point of going also to the other nations, committed
it to writing in his native tongue, and thus supplied the want of
his presence to them by his writings.

Pantaenus... penetrated as far as India, where it is reported
that he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had been
delivered before his arrival to some who had the knowledge of
Messiah, to whom Bartholomew, one of the emissaries, as it is
Said, had proclaimed, and left them the writing of Matthew in
Hebrew letters.
(Eusebius; Eccl. History 5:10)

Epiphanius (370 C.E.)
They [the Nazarenes], 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 [the Greek Septuagint], but
that of the Hebrew."
(Jerome; Of Illustrious Men 3)

"Pantaenus found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve
emissaries, had there [India] 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."
(Jerome; De Vir. 3:36)

The DuTillet version of Matthew is taken from a Hebrew manuscript of Matthew which was confiscated from Jews in Rome, in 1553. On August 12th, 1553, at the petition of Pietro, Cardinal Caraffa, the Inquisitor General, Pope Julius III signed a decree banning the Talmud in Rome. The decree was executed on September 9th (Rosh HaShanna) and anything that looked like the Talmud, that is, anything written in Hebrew characters was confiscated as the Jewish homes and synagogues were ravished. Jean DuTillet, Bishop of Brieu, France was visiting Rome at the time. DuTillet was astounded to take notice of a Hebrew manuscript of Matthew among the other Hebrew manuscripts. DuTillet acquired the manuscript and returned to France, depositing it in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. It remains there to this day as Hebrew ms. No. 132.

While most scholars have ignored the DuTillet Hebrew version of Matthew, two scholars, Hugh Schonfield and George Howard, have stated their opinion that this Hebrew text underlies our current Greek text. Schonfield writes:

…certain linguistic proofs … seem to show that the Hebrew
text [DuTillet] underlies the Greek, and that certain
renderings in the Greek, may be due to a misread Hebrew
(An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel; 1927, p. 17)

The Goodnews according to Matthew from an old Hebrew Manuscript (The DuTillet Text) Third Edition
With Hebrew and English translation of facing pages.

We also have an ongoing project to put the original Hebrew text of the DuTillet version online in Hebrew/English interlinear keyed to Strong’s Word Numbers.  Click Here

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