Re: Jesus spoke Aramaic but the Gospels were written in Greek.
For any piece of even early copies to have survived means it managed to survive the sort of wear and tear that explains why we didn't have any early copies until they were "discovered" recently, which implies the ones that survived to the present are phonies.
earlier copies of the the true ones would have been worn out beyond recovery.
From a Jesus Seminar publication
The Parables of Jesus RED LETTER EDITION A report of the Jesus Seminar Robert Funk 1988 Polebridge Press
Written records of words attributed to Jesus undoubtedly go back well into the first century, perhaps even to a date as early as 50 C.E., a mere two decades after Jesus' death, although neither copies nor fragments from those early years have been discovered.
Then page XX mentions a possible early Gospel
The Gospel of the Hebrews contains traditions of Jesus' pre-existence and coming into the world, his baptism and temptation, a few of his sayings, and an account of his resurrected appearance to James, his brother (1 Cor 15:7). The provenance of the Gospel of the Hebrews is probably Egypt. It was composed sometime between the mid-first century C.E. and mid-second century C.E. Gospel of the Hebrews has been lost except for quotations and allusions preserved by the Church Fathers.
page XVII then 53
quote: Matthew can be dated to about 85 C.E. ....
Papias' assertion that canonical Matthew was composed in Hebrew is patently false; Matthew was composed in Greek
But see this on p. xx
The Gospel of the Nazoreans is an expanded version of the Gospel of Matthew. ...Gospel of the Nazoreans is evidently a translation into Aramaic or Syriac of Greek Matthew with additions.
Gospel of the Nazoreans is first quoted by Hegesippus around 180 C.E. Its provenance is probably western Syria.
There were lots of Jewish Christian Gospels.
What is your take on them?
And why didn't they survive?
let me add more on the Nazoreans Gospel
quote: Text editions of Gospel of the Nazarenes
The current standard critical edition of the text is found in Schneemelcher's New Testament Apocrypha, where 36 verses, GN 1 to GN 36, are collated. GN 1 to GN 23 are mainly from Jerome, GN 24 to GN 36 are from medieval sources. This classification is now traditional Though Craig A. Evans (2005) suggests that "If we have little confidence in the traditional identification of the three Jewish gospels (Nazarenes, Ebionites, and Hebrews), then perhaps we should work with the sources we have: (1) the Jewish gospel known to Origen, (2) the Jewish gospel known to Epiphanius, and (3) the Jewish gospel known to Jerome.
The name Gospel of the Nazarenes
The name Gospel of the Nazarenes was first used in Latin by Paschasius Radbertus (790-865), and around the same time by Haimo, though it is a natural progression from what Jerome writes. The descriptions "evangelium Nazarenorum", dative and ablative "in evangelio Nazarenorum", etc. become commonplace in later discussion.
The hypothetical name refers to a possible identification with the Nazarene community of Roman period Palestine. It is a hypothetical gospel, which may or may not be the same as, or derived from, the Gospel of the Hebrews or the canonical Gospel of Matthew. The title, Gospel of the Nazarenes, is a neologism as it was not mentioned in the Catalogues of the Early Church nor by any of the Church Fathers. Today, all that remains of its original text are notations, quotations, and commentaries from various Church Fathers including Hegesippus, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome.
The Gospel of the Nazarenes has been the subject of many critical discussions and surmises throughout the course of the last century. Recent discussions in a growing body of literature have thrown considerable light upon the problems connected with this gospel. Its sole literary witnesses are brief citations found in patristic literature and quotations by the Church Fathers.(Jerome, Commentary on Micah, 7) This bears great significance because higher criticism argues that the canonical Gospel of Matthew is not a literal reproduction of Matthew's original autograph, but was rather the production of an unknown redactor, composed in Greek posthumous to Matthew. This aligns with Jerome's assessment, in which he stated, "Matthew, also called Levi, apostle and aforetime publican, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek, though by what author is uncertain."(Jerome, Lives of Illustrious Men, Chapter 3) (See: Two-source hypothesis and Four Document Hypothesis)
Here is a link on Wikipedia talking about of a 500 A.D. Zion Edition of this Gospel (I left out a quote from the Jesus Seminar that mentioned this same Zion Edition from 500 AD)
quote: The Gospel Of The Nazoreans
Alternate title: The Jewish Gospel
c. 100-150 C.E.
It would appear that the Gospel of the Nazoreans was a rather loose translation of canonical Matthew into Aramaic, with a few embellishments, clarifications, and minor additions from parallel traditions. Among the more notable differences: In the Lord's prayer, the unclear Greek term epiousios, typically translated "daily [bread]," is rendered mahar, which means "[bread] for tomorrow;" "Son of Joiada" in Mt 23:35 is changed to "Son of Baruch;" The man with the crippled hand in Mt 12:13 is identified as a stonemason; and to the parable of the Entrusted Money a slave is added who squanders the master's resources, and only he is severely admonished.
While nothing in the Gospel was particularly unorthodox, its similarity to Matthew made it superfluous in the gospel tradition, and the contents were eventually relegated to footnotes in a "Zion" edition of Matthew written c.500 C.E. Today, some of these notations, as well as quotations from Hegesippus (c.180 C.E.), Origen, Eusebius and Jerome are all that remain of the original text. However, it is probably a safe assumption that most of the major differences between Nazoreans and Matthew were addressed in their commentaries.
The Nazoreans (also spelled "Nazaræans") were a small community in Western Syria, where the gospel was most likely composed in the early second century. It is quite possible that canonical Matthew was written there as well.
Re: Jesus spoke Aramaic but the Gospels were written in Greek.
Any writings that were rejected by the churches, which determined what was inspired and what wasn't, did not end up as canon. There were lots of writings that didn't make it into the canon because they were judged not to be inspired. There were phony gospels written by heretics such as the gnostics, and other heresies got their views into some early copies. Even some writings considered to be very good and probably trustworthy though not inspired, such as the book of Enoch, didn't make it into the canon in the end. Some such writings were accepted into the canon by some churches but not others, but by the time we get to the Reformation I think we have the most trustworthy collection.
I never heard of the Jewish gospel so I don't know how it was regarded by the churches through the centuries, except of course that it can be inferred from the fact that it isn't canonical that the churches regarded it at least as not inspired, perhaps heretical.
The Jesus Seminar is considered by conservative Christians to be far outside the pale of orthodoxy.
It's very simple why I say jar claims to be the only one who rightly understands scripture. When I've pointed out that he's at odds with the entire history of Christian theology he;s actually said that's because he's honest and knows how to read the Bible, implying of course that the entire history of Christian exegesis doesn't. It's all on the thread here somewhere.
it resulted in me saying that everybody likes Jesus.
Except the Pharisees who tried to have him killed even before they succeeded at having him killed by crucifixion. The Romans executed the sentence but it was the Jewish leaders who asked for his death.
When I've pointed out that he's at odds with the entire history of Christian theology he;s actually said that's because he's honest and knows how to read the Bible, implying of course that the entire history of Christian exegesis doesn't.
Faith posted yet another example of where she lies. I don't find I am at odds with the entire history of Christian theology and if Faith were honest she would admit that I have even posted examples of Christian Theologians (honest ones) that agree with me and also posted the text from the Bible itself that shows Faith often misrepresents what the Bible actually says.
Young Earth is not supported by all of Christianity.
The Biblical Flood is not supported by all of Christianity.
The Special Creation is not supported by all of Christianity.
Creationism is not supported by all of Christianity.
Biblical inerrancy is not supported by the Bible itself.
That there are factual errors in the Bible is supported by reality itself.
We can continue Faith should you wish.
What I am at odds with is the Christian Cult of Ignorance.
The liberal Pharisees and ultra conservative Sadducees
it resulted in me saying that everybody likes Jesus.
quote: Except the Pharisees who tried to have him killed even before they succeeded at having him killed by crucifixion. The Romans executed the sentence but it was the Jewish leaders who asked for his death.
Well, the Temple was run by the Sadducees. The Jewish Kings were pro-Roman Sadducees. The tearing down of the Temple and overthrowing of the king were the issues that the Gospels presented as being highly involved in his slaying.
quote: The Sadducees were the party of high priests ...and generally represented the conservative view within Judaism. ...During the long period of the two parties’ struggle—which lasted until the Romans’ destruction of Jerusalem in 70 ad—the Sadducees dominated the Temple and its priesthood. .... The Sadducees and Pharisees were in constant conflict with each other, not only over numerous details of ritual and the Law but most importantly over the content and extent of God’s revelation to the Jewish people. The Sadducees refused to go beyond the written Torah (first five books of the Bible) and thus, unlike the Pharisees, denied the immortality of the soul, bodily resurrection after death, and the existence of angelic spirits. For the Sadducees, the Oral Law—i.e., the vast body of post-biblical Jewish legal traditions—meant next to nothing. By contrast, the Pharisees revered the Torah but further claimed that oral tradition was part and parcel of Mosaic Law. Because of their strict adherence to the Written Law, the Sadducees acted severely in cases involving the death penalty, and they interpreted literally the Mosaic principle of lex talionis (“an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”).
As defenders of the status quo, the Sadducees viewed the ministry of Jesus with considerable alarm and apparently played some role in his trial and death.
he Pharisees (Hebrew: Perushim) emerged as a distinct group shortly after the Maccabean revolt, about 165–160 bce; they were, it is generally believed, spiritual descendants of the Hasideans. The Pharisees emerged as a party of laymen and scribes in contradistinction to the Sadducees—i.e., the party of the high priesthood that had traditionally provided the sole leadership of the Jewish people. The basic difference that led to the split between the Pharisees and the Sadducees lay in their respective attitudes toward the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the problem of finding in it answers to questions and bases for decisions about contemporary legal and religious matters arising under circumstances far different from those of the time of Moses. In their response to this problem, the Sadducees, on the one hand, refused to accept any precept as binding unless it was based directly on the Torah—i.e., the Written Law. The Pharisees, on the other hand, believed that the Law that God gave to Moses was twofold, consisting of the Written Law and the Oral Law—i.e., the teachings of the prophets and the oral traditions of the Jewish people. Whereas the priestly Sadducees taught that the written Torah was the only source of revelation, the Pharisees admitted the principle of evolution in the Law: men must use their reason in interpreting the Torah and applying it to contemporary problems.
Rather than blindly follow the letter of the Law even if it conflicted with reason or conscience, the Pharisees harmonized the teachings of the Torah with their own ideas or found their own ideas suggested or implied in it. They interpreted the Law according to its spirit. When in the course of time a law had been outgrown or superseded by changing conditions, they gave it a new and more-acceptable meaning, seeking scriptural support for their actions through a ramified system of hermeneutics. It was due to this progressive tendency of the Pharisees that their interpretation of the Torah continued to develop and has remained a living force in Judaism.
The Pharisees were primarily not a political party but a society of scholars and pietists. They enjoyed a large popular following, and in the New Testament they appear as spokesmen for the majority of the population. About 100 bce a long struggle ensued as the Pharisees tried to democratize the Jewish religion and remove it from the control of the Temple priests. The Pharisees asserted that God could and should be worshipped even away from the Temple and outside Jerusalem. To the Pharisees, worship consisted not in bloody sacrifices—the practice of the Temple priests—but in prayer and in the study of God’s law. Hence, the Pharisees fostered the synagogue as an institution of religious worship, outside and separate from the Temple. The synagogue may thus be considered a Pharasaic institution, since the Pharisees developed it, raised it to high eminence, and gave it a central place in Jewish religious life.
Some Thoughts on the Book of Acts and Pauline Theology
Paul the Pharisee?
September 12, 2015 in Paul | Tags: Judaism, Paul, Pauline Theology, Pharisee
Paul claims to be a Pharisee in Philippians 3 and when brought before the Sanhedrin Paul claims to have been “educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers” (Acts 22:3). This is a controversial topic, Scot McKnight interacts with N. T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God on the topic of Paul as a Pharisee, and Tim Gombis has written a few thoughts on the topic as well. (I will anticipate the objection Paul only claimed to be a Pharisee by stating my assumption that it is historically plausible he was in fact trained as part of the party of the Pharisees simply because the Law-Free apostle to the Gentiles has nothing to gain by claiming to be a Pharisee if he was not.)
Just how much influence did his training as a Pharisee have on his thinking?
The Pharisees are well known in scripture and history. While Pharisees are the chief persecutors of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, especially in Matthew, some Pharisees appear to be interested in Jesus’s teaching (Luke 7:36-50) and the Gospel of John presents Nicodemus as a Pharisee who approached Jesus with respect both before and after the resurrection. Acts 15:5 indicates some Pharisees were associated with the Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem.
Josephus has a more positive view of the Pharisees than the Synoptic Gospels. In the period before the Maccabean revolt there was a movement against increasing Hellenistic Jewish political leadership. This movement was known as the Hasadim. These Jews emphasized strict obedience to the law and observance of all Jewish customs, especially circumcision and Sabbath worship. All three of the major parties on first century Judaism (Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes) developed from the Hasadim.
By the first century, Pharisees became less involve in politics but grew in number and popularity with the people of the Israel. Josephus estimates that there were 6000 Pharisees in the early first century, (Antiq.18.16-17), although this number may be inflated.
unlike the Sadducees, they believed in resurrection and an afterlife. This appears to have been a point of contention between the two groups, as is seen in Acts 23:6-8. Last, the Pharisees had messianic hopes; they were looking for the coming of the Messiah and the resurrection of the dead. This is the reason that they are among the first of the leaders of Israel to examine the teachings of John the Baptist and of Jesus.
The Pharisees were miles more of the type that supported a Messiah and the small but growing sect accepted the resurrection of the dead and the concepts that Christianity has. Fundamentalist commentary will confuse you (because fundis loath to admit that the resurrection and hell are concepts that weren't in the Old Testament. Sunday schools like to say that "Before Jesus came, everybody went to Hell". But the Old Testament has no Hell.)
Jesus rejected the oral law (though the food laws of the Oral Law made it into Christianity as Acts 15, Revelation 2, Acts 21, 1 Corinthians 8 & 10 show us.) There he differed with the Pharisees though it isn't clear if he rejected all of it.
The conservative Sadducees were those who would have been opposed to a violent overthrow of the pro Roman Jewish kings and destruction of the Temple with the animal sacrifices.
Re: Jesus spoke Aramaic but the Gospels were written in Greek.
quote: by the time we get to the Reformation I think we have the most trustworthy collection.
Jerome had the same New Testament way back in 400 A.D.
It was called the Vulgate.
And it never changed all the way till the reformation.
Here is what that Jesus Seminar book said.
a collection or authoritative list of books accepted as holy scripture. The canon was determined for Roman Catholics at the Council of Trent in 1546 C.E. ; it has never been determined for Protestants, except by common consent.
The Vulgate of Jerome was the collection that Trent decided.
The collection was popular with all Christians, so I suppose that is the "popular consent".
It sounds like what you described.
quote: Any writings that were rejected by the churches, which determined what was inspired and what wasn't, did not end up as canon. There were lots of writings that didn't make it into the canon because they were judged not to be inspired. There were phony gospels written by heretics such as the gnostics, and other heresies got their views into some early copies. Even some writings considered to be very good and probably trustworthy though not inspired, such as the book of Enoch, didn't make it into the canon in the end. Some such writings were accepted into the canon by some churches but not others, but by the time we get to the Reformation I think we have the most trustworthy collection.
The opinion of people seems to be the standard.
It matches Roman Catholic collections by coincidence or what?
It reminds me of why Clement of Rome (or 1 Clement) is the only Christian text from outside the Roman Catholic New Testament that almost certainly dates before 100 A.D. (though the Gospel of the Hebrews might possibly date so early). It is a text that supports the Roman Catholic theology (which seems to have played a role in the Bible book selection)
quote: I never heard of the Jewish gospel so I don't know how it was regarded by the churches through the centuries, except of course that it can be inferred from the fact that it isn't canonical that the churches regarded it at least as not inspired, perhaps heretical.
The Gospel of the Hebrews seems to have been of a Jerusalem/Alexandrian type of theology. or Jewish Christian. It probably taught the Jesus was reincarnated from earlier Logos types (though it isn't 100% clear that this was taught), and the following of James with the vegetarian Jewish Christian communities could have been an issue that most Roman Catholics despised (not Jerome though). Jerome called the Gospel of the Nazoreans, Gospel of the Ebionites, and Gospel of the Hebrews ALL the "Gospel of the Hebrews" it seems. Scholars parsed the various Gospels (which could only be done by looking at the few quoted verses in the ancient Christian literature) and separated them. Whether all were the same "Hebrew Gospel" is debated.
The Gospel of the Ebionites (which Jerome considered the "Gospel of the Hebrews" but scholars say they are different. Most scholars are certain that lots of "Gospel of the Hebrews" texts were different and all quotes aren't part of the same Gospel of the Hebrews) had Jesus threated people to not eat animals and he made a point of not eating the Passover lamb. The vegetarian views seemed to more or less be the view of all Jewish Christians. Matthew and James were said to be vegetarian variously by Hegesippius, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, and Jerome.
The 3 Jewish Christian gospels (keep in mind that all were called the Gospel of the Hebrews at times)
Gospel of the Hebrews Gospel of the Ebionites Gospel of the Nazoreans
There was another Alexandrian Gospel. (though perhaps not Jewish Christian )
From the Jesus Seminar book
The Gospel of the Egyptians consists of sayings of Jesus. The few fragments extant are preserved in Greek by Clement of Alexandria (end of second century C.E.). The gospel appears to be oriented to sexual asceticism to judge by the few remaining fragments. Gospel of the Egyptians arose in the period 50-150 C.E.
The Roman Catholics might have had this in mind when this was penned.
quote: 1 Timothy 4King James Version (KJV)
4 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
Translation heading here is interesting
quote: 1 Timothy 4New King James Version (NKJV)
The Great Apostasy
4 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Look at this header
quote: 1 Timothy 4New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later[a] times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.
Scholars always noticed that 1 Timothy 4 seems more concerned with food than with marriage, but the gnostic opponents in the Pastorial Epistles have features that at times seem Jewish Christian (like the "Jewish myths" and "circumcision" issue)and at other times don't sound like Jewish Christian features (like the asceticism). The "gnostic" beliefs in the Pastoral Epistles are considered to not reflect a single group but seem to be an amalgamation of groups.
They were considered heretics (by the European church that became Roman Catholic) for sure.
quote: Sorry you have to quote me, not following a whole thread.
So, you can’t remember things that happened a few weeks ago. You’re not prepared to read a half-dozen posts. And I bet that you are going to argue even when i provide quotes because it really does need to be read in context.
Now, if you remember for some time you insisted that the child of Isaiah 7 could only be Jesus. As I pointed out, according to the text, the child was given as a sign of events that occurred in the reign of Ahaz, and therefore had to be born before those events.
After a few posts you admit:
You're right, it does have to work as a sign to Ahaz
In other words jar disagrees with traditional interpretations. However he does not claim to be “the only one” at all, and in fact his views are often in alignment with Bible scholarship. So your assertion is quite obviously untrue.
Faith and the early Gospel: re: Jesus spoke Aramaic but the Gospels are Greek.
Faith raises a lot of issues.
(I will try to wrap them into a single unified issue if possible)
quote: ANY fragments from as early as 125 AD would not be the originals but copies. And those few we have are under serious attack for being the work of early heretics or even later forgeries. For any piece of even early copies to have survived means it managed to survive the sort of wear and tear that explains why we didn't have any early copies until they were "discovered" recently, which implies the ones that survived to the present are phonies. The main bulk of the Bible manuscripts, some 5000 IIRC, make up the Textus Receptus on which the KJV was based, and none of those date earlier than the tenth century, again for the reason that earlier copies of the the true ones would have been worn out beyond recovery.
Bruce Metzger is the name of the major textual critic I couldn't remember earlier. He doesn't believe in the supernatural, such as the prophec of the book of Daniel,`so his readings of the bible suffer from his bias in a way that should not be given any authority whatever. He's a fraud. Nobody should pay any attention to him.
It's a mark of an unbeliever to read such textual critics. Christians are believers who read the Bible as written.
Jesus spoke Aramaic, but probably also Hebrew and maybe some Latin and certainly Greek. The disciples all wrote in Greek though they probably knew other languages to some extent as well. As I recall Aramaic would have been spoken in the region of Galilee, but Greek was the universal language and all had to know it.
Jerome was a genuine believer and his (Vulgate) translation is based canon that is the basis for the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant New Testament "canon" (s) today. The Council of Trent seemed to carry more weight for Protestants than even Martin Luther's views.
Here is a prominent liberal scholar discussing the difficulty of the Hebrew Gospel issue among textual critics today.
all quotes will be from History and Literature of Early Christianity By Helmut Koester
quote: bedeviled by the assumption that Jewish-Christian communities still preserved and used copies of the Aramaic original of the Gospel of Matthew. One source of this assumption was the report of Papias that Matthew had composed the sayings in Hebrew (Eusebius Hist. eccl. 3.29.16;see 10:22c). On the bases of this and other pieces of information Jerome produced the claim of only one Jewish-Christian gospel, assigned all known quotations of Jewish-Christian gospels to this one document, the "Gospel According to the Hebrews," identified it with the original Hebrew or Aramaic Matthew, and finally claimed that he himself had still found this gospel in use among some Christians in Syria. This hypothesis has survived into the modern period; but several critical studies have shpwn that it is untenable. First of all, the Gospel of Matthew is not a translation from Aramaic but was written in Greek on the basis of two Greek documents (Mark and the Sayings Gospel Q). Moreover, Jerome's claim that he himself saw a gospel in Aramaic that contained all the fragments that he assigned to it is not credible, nor is it believable that he translated the respective passages from Aramaic into Greek (and Latin), as he claims several times. Rather, Jerome found a number of these quotations in the writings of other church fathers (e.g., Origin and Eusebius) and arbitrarily assigned them to his "Gospel According to the Hebrews." It can be demonstrated that some of these quotations could never have existed in a Semitic language. Furthermore, it is impossible to assign all these quotations to one and the same writing. It is more likely that there were at least two, probably even three different Jewish-Christian gospels, of which only one existed in a Semitic language.
Jerome was a good ways removed from the Jerusalem community (and Matthew or Levi).
There was a break in the mid 60s AD.
quote: Kerygmata Petrou Typical for what we shall call Jewish Christianity is the commitment to the ritual observance of the law of Moses, including circumcision and the purity and dietary laws. Such observance of the law of Moses, including circumcision and the purity and dietary laws. Such observance was characteristic of the Jerusalem community, and it first appears in the world of Gentile converts among the missionaries of Galatia, who are usually called today "Judaizers" ...Specifically "Jewish-Christian" here referred to the acceptance of circumcision as well as the observance of other portions of the Mosiac law. Missionaries insisting upon such practice were found outside Jerusalem, which is demonstrated not only by Paul's letter to the Galatians (note also Philippians 3). It is difficult, however, to obtain any information about the formation of such Jewish-Christian communities for the early period other than the Pauline polemic against such propaganda. For a description of the beginnings of Jewish Christianity it is therefore advisable to begin with the community in Jerusalem.
Some information about this community is instructive because, at least at the time of Paul, it was committed to the observance of the ritual law of Israel, especially the law of circumcision. When Paul came to Jerusalem for his last visit, bringing the collection from the Gentile churches. the Jerusalem church was continuing its observance of the law and participated in the ritual of the Temple. Difficulties in the collection's delivery were related to this attitude of the Jerusalem church..., which was then under the leadership of Jesus' brother James, who was the stalwart advocate for a continuing observance of the law. For a further development of such law-abiding Jewish Christianity, Jerusalem would without any doubt have played a leading role. Several events, however, prevented such a development. During a vacancy in the Roman procuratorship, James was murdered in Jerusalem in the year 62 CE, and the Jerusalem community left the city
The mid 60s CE turmoil in Jerusalem has created a lot of difficulties for figuring out what was going on with the original Semitic religion (and whatever texts there were).
Jewish Christianity seemed to cast a wide net however (Galatia is quite a ways removed from Jerusalem geographically). See Galatians and the circumcision controversy.
Where did the Jerusalem community of Jewish Christians go to?
Alexandria, Egypt is intriguing
quote: 1. THE BEGINNINGS OF CHRISTIANITY IN EGYPT
(a) The Problem of Sources and Evidence
Egypt was a country with unusual political, social, and economic structures that were fundamentally different from all other regions of the Greco-Roman world. Its one major city, Alexandria, was the second-largest city of the Roman empire ... Alexandria boasted a thoroughly Hellenized Greek-speaking population, including a large Jewish community, while the native population of the rural areas continued to speak several vernacular Egyptian dialects and was mostly illiterate. The Christian mission apparently began to reach the Egyptian countryside only as late as the end of the 2d century. The beginnings of Christianity were thus more or less limited to Alexandria and a few settlements that had some Greek-speaking inhabitants, but would have been unlikely to develop a church life independent of the history of Elexandria Christianity - not until a new writing system for the Egyptian dialects was developed on the basis of the Greek alphabet, which took place upon the initiative of Christian missionaries during the 3rd century (this is the Egyptian language that is know today as Coptic)
Unfortunately, there is no direct evidence for the beginnings of Christianity in Egypt, although there should be little doubt that the Christian mision reached Alexandria during the 1st century CE. One must therefore attempt to draw conclusiuons from various pieces of later information. This can be hazardous...
.... It is indeed unthinkable that the Christian mission should have bypassed Alexandria for decades. One or several communities must have existed there as early as the second half of the 1st century. ... It is also not unlikely that the Christian message was brought to Rome from Alexandria no later than the forties of the 1st century. Acts 18:24 reports, after all, that Apollos, the fellow worker of Paul, was an Alexandrian Jew. Among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, there are two for which an Alexandrian origin has been claimed: the Epistle of Barnabas, because of its "Alexandrian" exegesis of Scripture..., and 2 Clement, because of the relationship of one of its gospel quotations to the Gospel of the Egyptians... Although such judgments are not completely misguided, and in the latter case even persuasive..., they do not explain why the information about the earliest period of Christianity in Egypt is so scanty, while the Christian traditions from Syria, Asia Monor, Macedonia, and Greece, though incomplete, are still rich and diversified enough to allow at least a hypothetical reconstruction of their history and development.
In his book Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, first published in 1934, Walter Bauer provided an anwser to the astounding absence of reliable sources for the Christian beginnings in Egypt. Seen from the perspective of the later catholic church, Bauer argues, the beginnings of Christianity in Egypt were "heretical," and therefore Christian writings composed in Egypt in the early period were not preserved, while other pieces of information were suppressed or not admitted to the treasure of scclesiastical tradition. What Eusebius is able to report indicates that the traditions available to him were either silent about early Christian history in Egypt or, more likely, conflicted with his historical construct of orthadox beginnings everywhere. Here the modern historian has some advantages over Eusebius. One the one hand, several church fathers, especially Clement of Alexandria and Origin, have preserved more than Eusebius was willing to include into his historical work: .... the question of a very early Syrian orgin of early Christianity. ....
Missionaries from Palestine or Syria must have brought Christianity to Egypt.
We know from the Alexandrian Jewish missionary Apollos meeting with Paul in Ephesus (Acts 18:24) that the 50s AD Jewish Christians didn't seem to have the "Holy Spirit" as part of the religion.
We know that much anyway.
Greek was used by the Jewish Christian communities in Egypt.
That could explain why the Gospel of the Hebrews is in Greek.
What are your opinions on the textual critics challenging Jerome's contention that the text from the Gospel of the Ebionites was part of the big unified Gospel of the Hebrews?
Layman's Bible Commentary of Matthew (volume 16) ISBN 0-8042-3016-1 John Knox Press 1977
quote: AUTHORSHIP AND DATE
The traditional view, which still has some convinced representatives in our time, is that our Gospel was the work of the Apostle Matthew. This opinion is supported by the testimony of Bishop Papias in the second century: "Matthew set down in writing, in the Hebrew language, some words of the Savior. Each one translated them as he was able."
This view, however, runs up against serious objections. The Gospel is written in good Greek, and the references to the Old Testament follow the Greek translation rather than the original Hebrew. But above all, a close study of the first three Gospels shows that behind our present Gospels are written sources, of which one is our Gospel by Mark - reproduced almost completely by the other two, with some abbreviations and changes of style - and another is some collections of words of Jesus, a part of which are found in both Matthew and Luke. It is difficult to believe that an Apostle would thus make use of a Gospel like that of Mark, which is the work of a disciple, not an Apostle, instead of giving his own personal recollections. On the other hand, Matthew himself may have been the originator of one of the collections of the "words of Jesus" which had already circulated orally in the Church. ....
Mark was written between A.D. 65 and 70, Matthew would have been written a little latter
The Gospel we now call Matthew wasn't really the same thing that was meant when Matthew was described as setting down "in writing" in "Hebrew" the words of Jesus.
That could have come earlier.
We do have at least two (and very possibly 3 if the scholars are correct in separating a "Gospel of the Ebionites" from the "Gospel of the Nazoreans" which would make 2 more in addition to the Egyptian "Gospel of the Hebrews") Hebrew Gospels and they do seem to be associated with Matthew.
Putting aside the Egyptian Gospel of the Hebrews for a second and looking at the other 2.
Jerome has the text of the two Gospel of the Hebrews (Matthew!), that scholars call (warning - this is not what they were called then) the Gospel of The Ebionites and the Gospel of the Nazoreans, as one single Gospel of the Hebrews (or Gospel of Matthew).
We have trouble knowing too much because the Jewish Christians were slaughtered and their writings fell out of favor.
One of the sources for the current extant "Gospel of Matthew" could have been the actual Hebrew text that Matthew had a part in writing. What was in it, we don't know.
The only clues are the three (or two) Gospel of the Hebrews that are partly quoted by Church Fathers.
Jerome said that the Old Testament quotations, in the Nazorean Gospel of Matthew, actually were not from the Septuagint, but from a Hebrew text. Whether he was sophisticated enough to tell if they were a translation of the Septuagint (from Greek into Hebrew as opposed to an actual Hebrew original like he felt) into Hebrew, we don't know.
There could have very much been a Jewish Christian line that completely went off on its own EARLY before the European "Church" dominated everything.
You can see evidence of a branching off from a "pure" Jewish Christianity into a "Gnostic" line of Christianity, just from early 2nd century Egyptian documents.
James Tabor and Simcha (I forget how to spell his last name) have shocked me over the Talpiot Tomb issue. The issue of the "Mariamne" in the tomb (for Mary Magdalene) is really a mind blower.
Look at the Gospel of the Egyptians issue.
The Greek Gospel of the Egyptians (which is quite distinct from the later, wholly Gnostic Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians), perhaps written in the second quarter of the 2nd century, was already cited in Clement of Alexandria's miscellany, the Stromata, where quotations give us many of the brief excerpts that are all that remain; it was also mentioned by Hippolytus, who alludes to "these various changes of the soul, set forth in the Gospel entitled according to the Egyptians" and connects the Gospel of the Egyptians with the Gnostic Naassene sect. Later, that 4th-century collector of heresies, Epiphanius of Salamis, asserts that the Sabellians made use of this gospel; though it is unlikely that he had any firsthand information about Sabellius, who taught in Rome in the mid-2nd century, his connection of the gospel with Sabellius would confirm a date early in the 2nd century, whereas the euphemism, the Word logos, as an appellation of the Saviour, which appears in the gospel, betokens the influence of the Gospel of John, thus suggesting a date ca 120 – 150. No text for it exists outside of these testimonies.
quote: The Naassenes (Greek Naasseni, possibly from Hebrew ðÈçÈùÑ naḥash, snake) were a Christian Gnostic sect known only through the writings of Hippolytus of Rome.
The Naassenes claimed to have been taught their doctrines by Mariamne, a disciple of James the Just. The retention of the Hebrew form shows that their beliefs may represent the earliest stages of Gnosticism. Hippolytus regards them as among the first to be called simply "Gnostics", alleging that they alone have sounded the depths of knowledge.
The Naassenes had one or more books out of which Hippolytus of Rome largely quotes in the Philosophumena, which professed to contain heads of discourses communicated by James, the brother of Jesus, to Mariamne. They contained treatises of a mystical, philosophic, devotional, and exegetical character, rather than a cosmological exposition. A very interesting feature of the book seems to have been the specimens it gave of Ophite hymnology.
The writer (or writers) is possibly Greek. He does indeed use the Hebrew words Naas and Caulacau, but these words had already passed into the common Gnostic vocabulary so as to become known to many unacquainted with Hebrew. He shows a great knowledge of the religious mysteries of various nations. For instance, he dilates much on the Phrygian rites, and the whole section seems to be a commentary on a hymn to the Phrygian Attis.
Creation of Adam, Byzantine mosaic in Monreale The Naassenes so far agreed with other Ophites that they gave to the first principle the names First Man and Son of Man, calling him in their hymns Adamas: The First Man (Protanthropos, Adamas); the fundamental being before its differentiation into individuals (cf. Adam Kadmon). The Son of Man; the same being after it has been individualized into existing things and thus sunk into matter.
Instead, however, of retaining the female principle of the Syrian Ophites, they represented their "Man" as androgynous; and hence one of their hymns runs "From thee, father, through thee, mother, the two immortal names." They declared that "the beginning of Perfection is the gnosis of Man, but the gnosis of God is perfected Perfection."
Although the myths of the earlier Ophite system are but lightly touched on, there is some trace of an acquaintance with them, as for example the myth that Adam was brought forth by the Earth spontaneously; he lay without breath, without motion, without stirring, like a statue; being made after the image of the First Man, through the agency of several Archons. In order for them to seize hold of the First Man, there was given unto Adam a soul, that through this soul the image of the First Man above might suffer and be chastened in bondage.
The Naassenes taught that their primary man was, like Geryon, threefold, containing in himself the three natures to noeron, to psychikon, to choikon; and so that in Jesus the three natures were combined, and through him speak to these different classes of men.
.... The writer, it will be seen, makes free use of the New Testament. He seems to have used all the four Gospels, but that of which he makes most use is St. John's. He quotes from Paul's epistles to the Romans, Corinthians (both letters), Galatians, and Ephesians. There is a copious use also of the Old Testament; and besides we are told there is a use of the Gospel according to the Egyptians, and that of Thomas.
The Talpiot Tomb issue seems to back up the idea that there was an early (pre Greco-Roman) Jewish Christian stage of Christianity that - after sufficient mutations - was the basis for later Gnostic religions.
The various "Gospel of the Hebrews" were from the pre Gnostic stage.
The Gospel of the Egyptians was a missing link between Gnosis and Jewish Christianity.
The Book of Elkesai (the Elkesaites of 100 A.D.) was more Jewish Christian but had 100% clear Logos reincarnation concepts of Jesus.
The Egyptian Gospel of the Hebrews might have also had reincarnation of Jesus themes and in that case it still could have been roughly "pure" Jewish Christianity.
The Gospel of the Egyptians seemed to be toward the direction of what would later be "Gnosis" (as we know from the Nag Hammadi library of the 4th century).
There could have been a Jewish Christian "Gospel of Matthew" BEFORE the 70 A.D. Gospel of Mark.
That would explain the confusion.
Nice if we could find these early texts.
We have the full blown Gnosis (plus the possible pre-Gnosis Gospel of Thomas) from the 4th century discoveries from Egypt in 1945.