A genizah is a synagogue repository for worn-out copies of sacred writings.



Papias is quoted in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, 3.39.16.


Ireneus, Adversus Haereses, 3.1.1.


Origen, quoted by Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, 6.25.4.


Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, 3.24.6.


Epiphanius, Panarion, 30.13.1–30.22.4.


Jerome, Epistulae, 20.5. Jerome also makes reference to a Gospel According to the Hebrews sometimes in such a way as to be unclear whether it is a Hebrew Matthew or some apocryphal Hebrew gospel (Epistulae, 120.8; in Mattheum, 12, 13). In at least one instance he says the Gospel According to the Hebrews was written in the Chaldaic and Syriac (i.e., Aramaic) language but with Hebrew letters (Adversus Pelagianos, 3.2). Whatever this gospel was, it was written in Aramaic, not Hebrew.


For a discussion see Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “The Languages of Palestine in the First Century A.D.” in A Wandering Aramaean. Collected Aramaic Essays (Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1979), p. 43.


Johann Albert Widmanstadt, Liber Sacrosancti Evangelii De Jesu Christo Domino & Deo Nostro … characteribus & linqua Syra, Jesu Christo vernacula, Divino ipsius ore consecrata & a Joh. Evangelista Hebraica dicta, Scriptorio Prelo diligenter Expressa (Vienna: M. Cymbermann, 1555). This reference was taken from Jean Carmignac, “Hebrew Translation of the Lord’s Prayer: An Historical Survey,” in Biblical and Near Eastern Studies. Essays in Honor of William Sanford LaSor, ed. Gary A. Tuttle (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1978), p. 71, note 5.


Harris Birkeland, The Language of Jesus (Oslo: I. Kommisjon Hos Jacob Dybwad, 1954).


These studies include Jehoshua M. Grintz, “Hebrew as the Spoken and Written Language in the Last Days of the Second Temple,” Journal of Biblical Literature (JBL) 79 (1960), pp. 32–47; John A. Emerton, “Did Jesus Speak Hebrew?” Journal of Theological Studies (JTS) 12 (1961), pp. 189–202; Emerton, “The Problem of Vernacular Hebrew in the First Century A.D. and the Language of Jesus,” JTS 24 (1973), pp. 1–23; Jean Carmignac, “Studies in the Hebrew Background of the Synoptic Gospels,” Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute 7 (1970), pp. 64–93; Pinchas Lapide, “Insights from Qumran into the Language of Jesus,” Revue de Qumran 32 (1975), pp. 483–501; William Chomsky, “What Was the Jewish Vernacular During the Second Commonwealth?” Jewish Quarterly Review 42 (1951–52), pp. 193–212. See further James Barr, “Which Language Did Jesus Speak?—Some Remarks of a Semitist,” Bulletin of John Rylands University Library, Manchester, England, 53 (1970), pp.9–29.


Fitzmyer, “The Languages of Palestine,” p. 46.


Julius Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1905; 2nd ed. used here, 1911), p. 27.


I have used Matthew Black, An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 3rd ed., 1967).


Charles C. Torrey, “The Translations Made from the Original Aramaic Gospels,” in Studies in the History of Religions Presented to Crawford Howell Toy, ed. David G. Lyon and George F. Moore (New York: Macmillan, 1912), pp. 269–317; The Composition and Date of the Acts (Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press, 1916); “Fact and Fancy in the Theories Concerning Acts,” American Journal of Theology (AJT) 23 (1919), pp. 61–86, 189–212; “The Aramaic Origin of the Gospel of John,” Harvard Theological Review 16 (1923), pp. 305–344; The Four Gospels. A New Translation (New York: Harper, 1933); Our Translated Gospels Some of the Evidence (New York: Harper, 1936); Documents of the Primitive Church (New York: Harper, 1941); “The Aramaic of the Gospels,” JBL 61 (1942), pp.71–85.


Frank Zimmermann, The Aramaic Origin of the Four Gospels (New York: KTAV, 1979).


Henry J. Cadbury, “Luke—Translator or Author?” AJT 24 (1920), pp. 436–455.


Edgar J. Goodspeed, “The Origin of Acts,” JBL 39 (1920), pp. 83–101; New Chapters in New Testament Study (New York: Macmillan, 1937); “The Possible Aramaic Gospel,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 1 (1942), pp. 315–340.


Ernest Cadman Colwell, The Greek of the Fourth Gospel. A Study of Its Aramaisms in the Light of the Hellenistic Greek (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931).


For more information on du Tillet’s text, see George Howard, “The Textual Nature of an Old Hebrew Version of Matthew,” JBL, forthcoming.


The fact that Shem-Tob’s Matthew does not equal du Tillet’s was proven in 1929 by Alexander Marx, “The Polemical Manuscripts in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America” in Studies in Jewish Bibliography and Related Subjects in Memory of Abraham Solomon Freidus (1867–1923), no ed. (New York: The Alexander Kohut Memorial Foundation, 1929), pp. 270–273. Unfortunately, few apparently read Marx’s article. Also cf. Lapide, Hebrew in the Church, transl. Erroll F. Rhodes (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984), p. 55: “And yet with even the most superficial comparison of the two works the radical differences between their vocabulary, style, and diction would have demonstrated the impossibility of a common origin.”


See August Dell, “Matthäus 16, 17–19, ” Zeitschrift fur die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft (ZNW) 15 (1914), pp. 1–49; “Zur Erklärung von “Matthaüs 16, 17–19, ” ZNW 17 (1916), pp. 27–32. See Klijn’s objections in A. F. J. Klijn, “Die Wörter ‘Stein’ und ‘Felsen’ in der syrischen Ubersetzung des Neuen Testaments,” ZNW 50 (1959), pp. 99–105.


Cf. Acts 18:5–19:7; Justin, Trypho, 80; Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions, 1.54, 60. Many believe the Gospel of John was written, at least partially, as a refutation of certain claims disciples of John the Baptist made about him. See Charles K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John (London: SPCK, 1962) p. 142; Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John, Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966), pp. lxvii–lxx.


Cf. the famous rabbinic passage, Tosefta Shabbath, 13.5: “The margins and books of the minim do not save.” The debate that follows about what is to be done with heretical books concerns the issue of the divine names in them. Rabbi José suggests the divine name should be cut out and the rest of the document burned. Rabbi Tarphon and Rabbi Ishmael say the books in their entirety including the divine name should be destroyed. See R. Travers Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash (Clifton, NJ: Reference Book Publishers, 1966), pp. 155–157. By incorporating the Hebrew Matthew into his Even Bohan, Shem-Tob apparently felt compelled to preserve the divine name along with the rest of the text.

The evidence from Shem-Tob’s Matthew coincides with my earlier conclusions about the use of the tetragrammaton in the Greek New Testament (Howard, “The Tetragram and the New Testament,” JBL 96 [1977], pp. 63–83; “The Name of God in the New Testament,” BAR 04:01.


See Raphael Levy, “First ‘Dead Sea Scroll’ Found in Egypt Fifty Years Before Qumran Discoveries,” BAR 08:05; Yigael Yadin, The Ben Sira Scroll from Masada (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1965); Israel Lévi, The Hebrew Text of the Book of Ecclesiasticus (Leiden: Brill, 1904). See also Alexander A. di Lella, The Hebrew Text of Sirach (The Hague, 1966).


Edward Y. Kutscher, A History of the Hebrew Language, ed. Raphael Kutscher (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1982), pp. 87–93. See also the cautious remarks of Isaac Rabinowitz, “The Qumran Hebrew Original of Ben Sira’s Concluding Acrostic on Wisdom,” “Hebrew Union College Annual” 42 (1971), pp. 173–174.


Babylonian Talmud Shabbath 116.


These include the Book of Nestor Hakomer (perhaps between the sixth and ninth centuries [this is according to Lapide, Hebrew in the Church, p. 23—the text may be found in Judah D. Eisenstein, A Collection of Polemics and Disputations [Israel, 1969], pp. 310–315 [in Hebrew], the editor there dates it in the ninth century, p. 310); the Milhamot Hashem by Jacob ben Reuben (1170) (see Judah Rosenthal, Jacob ben Reuben, Milhamot Hashem [Israel, 1963], p. 8 [in Hebrew]; see also Judah Rosenthal, “Translation of the Gospel according to Matthew by Jacob ben Reuben,“Tarbiz 32 [1962], pp. 48–66 [in Hebrew]); Sepher Joseph Hamekane by Rabbi Joseph ben Nathan Official (13th century) (see Rosenthal, Sepher Joseph Hamekane [Jerusalem, 1970] 17 [in Hebrew]. A manuscript of the Biblioteca Nationale Centrale in Rome [= Ms. Or. #53] includes material quite close to the Paris manuscript of Sepher Joseph Hamekane; see Efraim E. Urbach, “Études sur la littérature polémique au moyenage,” Revue des études juives C (1935), pp 49–77; Rosenthal published the material on the gospels in Ms. Or., Rome, #53 in “Jewish Investigation into the New Testament from the Twelfth Century” [in Hebrew], in Studies in Jewish Bibliography, History and Literature in Honor of I. Edward Kiev, ed. Charles Berlin [New York: KTAV, 1971], pp. 123–139) and the Nizzahon Vetus (latter part of the 13th century; see David Berger, The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages [philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979], p.33).


Josephus, The Jewish War, 1.3.


See Henry St John Thackeray, The Jewish War 1–3, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge University Press, 1961), pp. ix–xi.