Nazarene Space

Concerning the Original Hebrew of 1st Maccabees


I wanted to touch base with you all concerning the Hebraic Roots Version of the Apocrypha.  As you all know I recently published to our supporters my translation of the book of Barukh (Baruch) from the Aramaic (with footnotes demonstrating places where the Greek has mistranslated the Hebrew as seen from the Aramaic).  

I am pleased to announce that we have in our possession large portions of the lost original Hebrew text of 1st Maccabees.

In 1896 D. A. Chwolson discovered a Hebrew manuscript containing large portions (Chapters 1-4; 7:27-9:22, 28a, 31, 73; 6:1-14a) of 1Maccabees in Hebrew in the Biblioteque National in Paris France.

In 1901 the Text was published again by Albert Schweitzer who was convinced that these were large extracts from the original Hebrew of the book.

In his 1903 review in the Journal of Biblical Literature (JBL xxii, 51-59) two years later (1903) Charles Cutler Torrey criticized Schweizer's analysis in the Journal of Biblical Literature "Schweizer's 'Remains of a Hebrew Text of 1Maccabees."(JBL Vol. 22, No. 1), 1903. Torrey concludes that Schweizer was "too optimistic" the Hebrew is "a secondary recession" and "in no instance is there any ground for the contention that it has preserved the original reading, as against the other versions" Charles Cutler Torrey concluded that this version of 1Maccabees was “translated… from the Latin.” (p. 58). Since Torrey’s dismissal of Schweitzer’s theory, this Hebrew text of 1Maccabees has been largely ignored. It took some difficulty to track down a copy of the text. The Hebrew version has never been translated into English and has largely been ignored since 1903.

I have now had the opportunity to review Schweizer's arguments (they are all in German, but I am making my way through them with some language tools) and Torrey's counter arguments.  Schweizer's arguments are very compelling and having now reviewed the Hebrew text itself and compared it with the Greek, I am absolutely convinced that Schweizer was correct without any doubt. 


I am currently working on a parallel English/Hebrew translation of the manuscript and compiling some of Schweizer's arguments, adding some of my own and responding to Torrey's.

As I have been comparing along the way in my translation work, I am finding many instances where the Greek translator misread or mistranslated Greek words, and am placing these instances in the footnotes (just like the footnotes on the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the books of the NT in my Hebraic Roots Version NT) and in an appendix on the textual nature of the book.

Here at WNAE we want to give a fresh look to this virtually forgotten Hebrew text of 1Maccabees including translating the Hebrew into English for the first time ever. This has been difficult work (because the Hebrew is difficult to read) but it is a project we are working on right now as part of the Hebraic Roots Version of the Apocrypha.

I would like to share some of the more interesting things we have found so far:

1. Where the Greek says that Alexander the Great “fell ill” the literal Hebrew says “he fell into bed” a common Hebrew idiom. (For example in Judith 8:3).

2. In the traditional text of 1:9 Alexander’s successors “take crowns” while in the Hebrew they “take precious things”. They did not have to “take crowns” as they had been given kingships by Alexander. They did however “take precious things” as they pillaged the Kingdom.

3. Where the Greek says (1:14) that a “gymnasium” was built the Hebrew says that “a house of the ‘holy ones’ and temples to idols” was built.

4. The use of the Sacred Name of YHWH, often where the Greek does not use a counterpart. For example in 1:63 where the Torah (Law) is mentioned in the Greek, the Hebrew refers to “The Torah of YHWH”, in 2:15 reference is made to those who “turn from the Torah of YHWH” 1:19 speaks of “the atonement of YHWH” and in 2:21 to “the Torah and judgments of YHWH”. (We have not translated any further as of yet). Use of the Sacred Name is very significant, no Rabbinic Jew translating from Greek or Latin would have added the Sacred Name to the text, especially in phrases which do not even occur in the Greek and Latin. This is an important evidence for the originality of the Hebrew text.

This is just some of the work we are doing here at the Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim. Is this work worthy of your support? What other ministry is doing this kind of cutting edge work?

I am emailing the e-copy of the preliminary Hebraic Roots Version of the Book of Barukh (Baruch) from the upcoming Hebraic Roots Version of Apocrypha,  I am sending this out as a thank you to everyone who donates in September.

This version of Baruch is the first English translation based primarily on the Aramaic version, which has never before been translated into English.

I will continue sending these e-copies to all who donate through the end of this month.  I will be out of town during Sukkot (Perhaps I will see some of you at the Sukkot celebration at Lake Murray Oklahoma. 

However when I return I will send out e-copies to all who donate while I am gone.

As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.
You can donate by going to the pay-pal counter at or donations can be sent by paypal to

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053


Views: 357

Comment by Michael A. Banak on September 29, 2012 at 7:33pm

BINGO! You found it. The existence of the Tetragram in the text is significant.

I do not want the opinions of this humble correspondent to muddy your research, but the existence of the Tetragram means one of 2 things to me:

1) You have a copy from the original Hebrew in-hand


2) If your Hebrew Text is a translation from a non-Henbrew text (Latin or Greek) then that text had the Tetragram embedded in those places, as they appear in the original Hebrew from which it was translated.

Good job!



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