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Hebrew Matthew (Part 2) Corruption in Shem Tob

The Plain Truth about Hebrew Matthew
Part 2
The Evidence of Corruption in Shem Tob's Matthew
James Scott Trimm

(Pictured above, a page from the actual manuscript of DuTillet Hebrew Matthew.)

In part one, I showed a close relationship exists between the DuTillet/Munster Hebrew versions of Matthew and the Shem Tob Hebrew version of Matthew.  In part two, I intend to show that the Shem Tob text shows several layers of revision and corruption, making it far less valuable to us than the DuTillet/Munster texts. 

First of all we cannot know how many scribal hands Shem Tob's text passed through before becoming transcribed into the EVEN BOHAN. We cannot easily identify those that revised the text. It is also not always possible to identify their motives, since sometimes their motive is simply that they are supplying missing material to a defective manuscript which they are copying from. However in general terms I think that ShemTob underwent revision by the following:

A. A "heretical" Jewish-Christian of some kind, perhaps an Ebionite. This revision took place very early (100-400 C.E.?)

(I realize that some would argue that revision A never took place and that the so called "heretical" readings are the original condition of Matthew, but I do not agree)

B. Another reviser (or revisers) seemed to have it in mind to bring the text into conformity with Greek and Latin versions.

C. Another reviser adds several "in another language" interpolations.

Example: Matt. 2:11

"They... brought to him... myrrh, in another language, mira"

(other examples:  3:7; 4:10; 4:13; 4:21; 4:23; 5:31; 6:2; 6:28; 6:30; 8:6; 8:28; 9:2; 9:9; 11:21; 12:4; 12:42; 13:25; 16:13; 16:16; 17:1; 23:5; 24:14; 26:13; 27:33)

None of these "in another language" interpolations occur in DuTillet/Munster.

D. Another hand of revision modified many proper nouns in ShemTob to more European forms.

For example:

Greek: ...and he shall be called a Nazarene.

ShemTob ...and he shall be called "Nazareth" (nun-alef-zayin-resh-tav)

DuTillet ...and he shall be called "Nazareth" (nun-tzadhe-resh-tav)

Note that the reading "Nazareth" rather than "Nazarene" is unique to the Hebrew tradition, but the spelling of ShemTob's "Nazareth" has been Europeanized.

E. Another reviser I believe revised some of the vocabulary to later Hebrew dialects such as Mishnaic Hebrew.

Example: Mt. 4:17:

Greek ... repent...

Shem Tob ... turn you (KHAZARU) in repentance...

DuTillet ...turn you (SHUVU) in repentance...

Note that the phrase "turn you in repentance" is unique to the Hebrew tradition, but the Shem Tob text has revised SHUV to Mishnaic Hebrew

KHAZAR (in fact throughout Matthew Shem Tob revises SHUV to KHAZAR). Thus establishing a revision toward more Mishnaic vocabulary in Shem Tob.

Now it is unlikely that revision B could have occurred before Revision A and it also seems unlikely (but not impossible) that reviser B would not have "fixed" the "heretical" passages of reviser A. Thus it could be that at some point in the history of this text two manuscripts were merged, one which had undergone revision A and another which had undergone revision B.

Perhaps a scribe had two damaged manuscripts and so drew his material from each of them. Or perhaps a manuscript containing revision A came into a scribe's hands but was damaged, so he repaired it (perhaps from memory) by translating from a Greek and/or Latin version. This process of repair may have occured more than once. (This is similar to Erasmus who filled in holes in his Greek Revelation (the Textus Receptus) by translating into Greek from the Latin Vulgate.)

The DuTillet Hebrew Mattew is available in Hebrew and English in parallel columns, as well as my book The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament which deals with Hebrew Matthew in detail.

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Comment by Michael A. Banak on August 25, 2013 at 12:54am

Many kinds of corruption in the Shem Tob are immediately evident, even to a novice like me. I own Dr. Howard's first book on this manuscript, and I own a copy of the British Library's manuscript. I couldn't read it, but Dr. Howard kindly sent me a Hebrew alphabet chart to sort out that chop suey alphabet in the photostat.

While the corruptions noted above and elsewhere are accumulating, I find that those beautiful puns, word plays, etc., are missing in the DuTillet (which I also own in 2 version: Schonfield'd book and the Bodleian Library copy).

When comparing passages just a few times, I was astonished at the differences.

As a desperate Sacred Namer, I have concluded that my best use of the manuscripts is to pinpoint where The Holy Name occurs therein. Before Dr. Howard's assertions about it, I independently deduced that The Heh-surrogate (or else the triple-yodht) for The Name, as it appears in fresh NT material, would never emerge at the hand of a Jewish scribe. It gave evidence of The Name pouring forth from Matthew's very own pen.

Both DuTillet and Shem Tob help in this regard, with a few differences in the location of The Name.

But, ahh, how I wish I had time to explore those delicious puns, etc, in the Shem Tob.

Comment by James Trimm on August 25, 2013 at 1:33am

The DuTillet has plenty of word plays of its own.

Comment by James Trimm on August 25, 2013 at 1:48am

From my book, The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament:

Comment by Michael A. Banak on August 25, 2013 at 4:06am

Thanks. I'm anxious to check my Shem Tob, and see how many of these match. We all kind of expected what we see in 1:21. I think 11:9 was anticipated by Black, or another author of his rank. They are all delicious.

Comment by Samuel J Caswell on August 26, 2013 at 6:26am

Brother Trimm, I cannot read Hebrew, where can I obtain an English copy of the Shem Tob (complete) and the English Du Tillet?

Comment by James Trimm on August 26, 2013 at 3:09pm

Shem Tob with Hebrew and English on facing pages

DuTillet with Hebrew and English on facing pages:

Comment by Michael A. Banak on August 26, 2013 at 4:13pm

This is cool. I never thought I would see the day when someone would champion the DuTillet Manuscript.

I hope this makes sense, but I am prejudiced in this matter. Until now, I have seen the Shem Tob as better, but I preferred certain doctrinal inferences from Du Tillet.

Comment by Samuel J Caswell on August 26, 2013 at 4:33pm

Thank You brother Trimm for your info. I just finished a Google search and was able to obtain a pdf of both MSS The Shem Tob/Tov is by George Howard. The Du Tillet is called MatitYahu (Mistranslated Matthew) by someones associated with Lew White. Must be pirated, because I got it for free, and the publishers are asking $9.95 for CD

Comment by Michael A. Banak on August 26, 2013 at 8:54pm

You didn't get it for free, Samuel Caswell. Time will bear this out.

Comment by Samuel J Caswell on August 27, 2013 at 4:00pm

It's a pdf file & I didn't pay for it


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