Thank you for your references.
I must point out, however, being quite familiar with the Shem Tob and other Hebrew versions of the time, that the Shem Tob, aka Even Bohan, is a corrupt translation that was coupled with a commentary geared towards refuting Christian doctrine by Medieval Rabbis. When I was a practicing Jew this particular commentary was often referred in referenced materials.
There are many subtleties to the text, and how it denies Yeshua as being Messiah, even from the very first pasuq/verse: Eleh Tol'doth Yesh'u Ben David, Ben Avraham – This is the generations of Yesh'u, the son of David, the son of Av'raham. Notice “Mashiach” is missing?
The only time “Mashiach” is ever applied to Yeshua in the text is when he is referred to as Mashiach by others, or when it is qualified with the statement “who was called” or “who was believed to be” or other similar manners. Whenever the text directly refers to Him as being Mashiach, it switches it up a bit. Examples (all 17):
1.1 Already shared above . . .
1.16 Who is called Mashiach, just as regular Matthew would put it, but it doesn't directly say he IS Mashiach, only that he was called so.
1.17 Which should say: “ and from the exile into Bavel until the Mashiach are fourteen generations.” in Shem Tob reads: “and from the exile into Bavel until Yesh'u fourteen generations.” - removing “the Mashiach”
1.18 Which should read: “Now the birth of Yeshua ha Mashiach was . . .”, reads in the Shem Tob: “Vay'liduth MYesh'u (מיש''ו) hu . . .” What we have here is another acronym like “Yesh'u” (יש''ו – Which I forgot to explain is Y'makh' Sh'mo V'Zikh'rono “His name and memory be blotted out”). The “M” in Myesh'u may be thought of as referring to Mashiach, but it isn't. The “M” in Myesh'u refers to Mamzer. The direct statement that he is “the Mashiach” is removed.
2.4 The Shem Tob does say: “he inquired of them where the Mashiach was to be born.” However, subtly it is not directly referring to Yeshua (in the Rabbis' eyes), but to the teaching of where Mashiach is to be born.
11.2 Shem Tob changes “when Yochanan had heard in prison about the works of Mashiach . . .” to “when Yochanan had heard in prison about the works of Yesh'u . . .”
16.16 When Shim'on called Yeshua the Mashiach, the Shem Tob kept it. However, it must be understood that it is Shim'on calling Him Mashiach, and they (the Rabbis) consider Shim'on a retard anyways. The Shem Tob version in keeping this in the text itself is not giving credence to Yeshua being Mashiach (in the Rabbis' eyes), it is only recording that Shim'on (actually) called him this.
16.20 Same kind of concept. It is not saying that He is Mashiach (in the Rabbis' eyes).
22.42 Is just a general question concerning the Mashiach.
23.8 Which says: “You, be not called Rabbi, for one is your Rabbi, the Mashiach . . .” However in the Shemmy Tubby “The Mashiach” is removed, but this is also true of the Latin Gospel (Vulgata) that this Hebrew rendition derived its translation from. So it may be coincidence.
23.10 Retains “The Mashiach”, but this is a general understanding of who he will be and doesn't necessarily refer to Yeshua (in the Rabbis' eyes).
24.5 “For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Mashiach, and will deceive many.” What's not always understood about this statement of Yeshua's is that those coming in His Name, are not saying they themselves are the Mashiach, but are confirming that Yeshua is Mashiach (according to how the Greek can be rendered). The Rabbis manipulate the emphasis of meaning here a bit, and keep it as is by interpreting it to mean evil, for it goes on to say “and will deceive many.”
24.23 is left as is also, for it doesn't necessarily refer to Yeshua as being Mashiach (in the Rabbis' eyes).
26.63 is left as is also, for it doesn't necessarily refer to Yeshua as being Mashiach (in the Rabbis' eyes).
26.68 is left as is also, for it doesn't necessarily refer to Yeshua as being Mashiach (in the Rabbis' eyes).
27.17 is left as is also, for it doesn't necessarily refer to Yeshua as being Mashiach (in the Rabbis' eyes).
27.22 is left as is also, for it doesn't necessarily refer to Yeshua as being Mashiach (in the Rabbis' eyes).
I think using the shem tob as a reference for some Hebraic grasp on the Gospels is a mistake that Nehemia Gorden shouldn't have encouraged. It's like using a letter opener in a sword fight. It's the wrong tool for the wrong work.
I recommend the 5th edition (not 6th that ffoz uses) of the Delitzsch Ha B'rith Ha Chadashah. My first NT was the 5th edition Delitzsch. He strove to make his version comparable to the Hebrew of the Tanakh. What ffoz has in their Hebrew Gospels wasn't actually Delitzsch's work, but someone's who took over the task when he died. Delitzsch first began to use the Critical Text Manuscripts (CTMs), like Nestle Aland, Westcott and Hort – with Textus Receptus (TR) and other Majority Texts in footnotes. But finding himself to be in disagreement with many of the CTMs he decided to use only TR and Majority texts. When he died, the one who took over his work went back to using those CTMs, because they were the latest craze, I guess lol.
As for the Church Fathers seeing a Hebrew Matthew; and I can only refer to the letters I have seen and read by them, though they saw a Matthew (and maybe even a Hebrews) written in Hebrew Letters, they were not necessarily in the Hebrew Language, according to the Latin and Greek letters I've read on the matter. What the church fathers have seen was more likely an early Aramaic version. As an example, even Jerome wrote about looking into the text:
“Denique Matthaeus, qui evangelium Hebraeo sermone conscripsit, ita posuit: Osanna barrama, id est: Osanna in excelsis.”
“In short, Matthew, who wrote down the good news of the Hebrew speech, put it in such a way: Osanna Barrama, that is Osanna in the highest.” (Jerome, letter to Damascus, commentary on Matthew 21.9)
Hebraeo Sermone, Hebrew speech, doesn't necessarily mean the Language of Hebrew itself, but rather a manner of speech or dialect they may have spoke, whether Hebrew or Aramaic. His transliteration of “Osanna Barrama” reflects an Aramaic dialect. Though He wrote it incorrectly a bit, I think. It should have been transliterated “Osanna Bamrome” (אושענא במרומא) which would have been reflecting the Hebrew phrase Hosha-na Bamromim (הושע-נא במרומים).
I don't mean to nit pick. As for the Hebrew versions seen by the fathers, I'm more of the impression that they saw Aramaic versions, though I haven't read all accounts by them. I don't agree with the Aramaic primacy argument either, but that's another story.
Thank you for your answers, they were helpful in understanding where you are coming from.
Edited by John Bernall, 10 November 2013 - 11:33 PM.