[Milton-L] text questions

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 5 14:01:00 EST 2008


I'm no expert on this point, but nearly all biblical scholars reject the claim that Matthew wrote in Hebrew despite Eusebius's quote from Papias. Matthew's gospel may have been later translated into Hebrew, but no textual evidence has ever been found that I know of.
   
  It's accepted that Matthew was probably writing for a Jewish audience, but that doesn't establish that he wrote in Hebrew, for there were many Jews who knew only Greek.
   
  Both Matthew and Luke appear to be using Mark's Gospel, for some of their material overlaps in their quotes from Mark. Nobody argues that Mark was written in Hebrew, and it's unlikely that Matthew would have written a gospel in Hebrew with passages from Mark quoted in Greek.
   
  One could argue that Matthew wrote first in Hebrew, that his gospel was then translated into Greek, and that Mark and Luke both used this Greek text, but the Papias quote seems to imply that Mark was written first and that Matthew wrote to 'correct' Mark.
   
  But even if Matthew did write in Hebrew, what we have is a Greek text of Matthew's Gospel, and we may find the Septuagint (or some other Greek translation) used by the one who translated Matthew into Greek. We may, therefore, still find bits of the Septuagint (or other Greek text) in Matthew even if they got there through the translator's work. So, I don't see that it's a dead end.
   
  This would, however, complicate our efforts to track down Matthew's allusions to the Tanakh.
   
  Jeffery Hodges
  

Matthew Stallard <ms493101 at ohio.edu> wrote:
  Dear List,

Trying to track down bits from the Septuagint in the Gospel of Matthew is a 
dead end. Matthew's quotations from the Old Testament are not from the 
_Septuagint_, as is often the case with Mark, Luke, and John, but come 
directly from the Hebrew text. This is not surprising because the gospel 
was probably originally written in Hebrew and later translated into koine 
Greek.
In Chapter III of _De viris inlustribus_ Jerome writes: "Matthew, who is 
also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all 
composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters 
for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed." Jerome also 
indicates that the Hebrew text of this Gospel was still around in during 
the fourth and fifth centuries in the library that Pamphilus had collected 
in Caesarea.
Early in the third century, Origen, in discussing the Gospels, is quoted by 
Eusebius as saying that the "first was written [. . .] according to Matthew 
[. . .] who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, 
composed as it was in the Hebrew language." That it was written primarily 
with the Jews in mind is indicated by its genealogy, which shows Jesus' 
descent starting from Abraham, and by its many references to the Hebrew 
Scriptures, showing that they pointed forward to the coming Messiah. 
Compare with the universal implications of Luke's genealogy from Adam and 
God; Luke's explicitly targeted audience was Greek speaking non-Jews.

When Eusebias quotes Papias and Irenaeus in _Historia Ecclesiastica_, all 
of whom claim that the Gospel was originally penned in Hebrew, was this 
really Aramaic? There is no longer any reason to believe this. For example, 
George Howard,Professor of Religion at the University of Georgia writes: 
"This supposition was due primarily to the belief that Hebrew in the days 
of Jesus was no longer in use in Palestine but had been replaced by 
Aramaic. The subsequent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, many of which 
are Hebrew compositions, as well as of other Hebrew documents from 
Palestine from the general time period of Jesus, now show Hebrew to have 
been alive and well in the first century."

The context of Matthew 5:48 makes it clear that Jesus is not addressing 
perfection in the absolute sense. As Carol Barton indicates, his reference 
is to love and generosity. That is to say, if you "love only those loving 
you," then your love is incomplete and defective. To "complete" that love 
just as the Father is perfect, one must also "love his enemies" and thus 
follow the example of God. Other Bible writers use "perfect" in a similar 
way. At 1John 2:5 and 4:11-18, perfection is applied to the area of 
"freeness of speech."

_Paradise Lost_ 11.876 refers to Noah as: "For one man found so perfect, 
and so just." The
Bishop's Bible, describes Noah in this way: "These are the generations of 
Noah: Noah [was] a just man, and perfect in his generations: And Noah 
walked with God" (Genesis 6.9). The Authorized Version and Douay-Rheims 
likewise use "perfection" in this instance. The Geneva Bible renders it as 
"Noah was a just and upright man in his time."

All the best,
Matthew


--On Monday, February 04, 2008 12:13 PM -0800 Horace Jeffery Hodges 
wrote:

>
> Sorry to bother and bore the Milton List scholars with this topic, but
> Professor Skulsky's suggestion of Genesis 17:1 has motivated me to look a
> bit deeper into the biblical texts, about which I've blogged this morning
> (http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/2008/02/matthew-548-perfect.html),
> the relevant material being as follows:
>
>
> I've done some more page-flipping through my Greek and Hebrew bibles and
> have decided that the reference is not so directly to Genesis 17:1, for
> if the reference were directly to that verse, then we'd likely find the
> word "amemptos" (Greek for "blameless") in Matthew 5:48, for the
> Septuagint uses "amemptos" in Genesis 17:1.
>
> A more likely reference in Matthew 5:48 would be Deuteronomy 18:13, for
> the Hebrew "tamim" is translated to the Greek "teleios"," which we also
> find in Matthew 5:48 and which can mean "perfect," as already noted, such
> that we could read Deuteronomy 18:13 as follows:
>
> Be perfect before the Lord your God.
>
>
> Moreover, the context to this verse clarifies that the intent here is to
> distinguish Israelites from the practices of the neighboring gentile
> nations, so there exists a structural and thematic parallel between
> Matthew 5:48 and Deuteronomy 18:13.
>
> Nevertheless, I am still struck by Leviticus 11:44 and 45 ("Be holy for I
> am holy"), which reminds me in structure of Matthew 5:48 ("Be ye perfect,
> therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect"), so I now wonder if it is
> possible that both Genesis 17:1 and Deuteronomy 18:13 are being alluded
> to.
>
>
> Responses are welcomed, and again, I hope that I haven't bored anyone
> even though this is merely tangential to Milton.
>
> Jeffery Hodges
>
> Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
>
>
> Thanks to Professor Skulsky for the correction (shalom --> shalem) and
> additional information (Gen. 17:1 - tamim). My Hebrew is not very good,
> unfortunately.
>
> Is either tamim or shalem ever used to describe God?
>
> The structure of Mt. 5:48 reminds me of Lev. 11:44 and 45: "be holy for I
> am holy." Is it possible that both Gen. 17:1 and Lev. 11:44-45 are being
> alluded to?
>
> Apologies for getting rather far from Milton.
>
> Jeffery Hodges
>
> Harold Skulsky wrote:
>
>
> "I cannot, however, recall a Tanakh passage calling upon Israelites to be
> 'shalom' as God is."
>
> Matt. 5:48 is an allusion to Gen. 17:1 (God's injunction to Abraham): "I
> am the Lord thy God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." The Hebrew
> answering to "perfect" is *tamim* (Aramaic *t'mim*). The Heb. adjective
> *shalem* (Aramaic *sh'lim* ) is a rough equivalent. (*Shalom* is not an
> adjective and rarely if ever means moral perfection in BH, though it
> sometimes means health, or bodily soundness.)
>
>
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>
> University Degrees:
>
> Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
> (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
> M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
> B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
>
> Email Address:
>
> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
>
> Blog:
>
> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
>
> Office Address:
>
> Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
> School of English, Kyung Hee University
> 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
> Seoul, 130-701
> South Korea
>
> Home Address:
>
> Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
> Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
> Sangbong-dong 1
> Jungnang-gu
> Seoul 131-771
> South Korea_______________________________________________
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>
>
>
> University Degrees:
>
> Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
> (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
> M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
> B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
>
> Email Address:
>
> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
>
> Blog:
>
> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
>
> Office Address:
>
> Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
> School of English, Kyung Hee University
> 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
> Seoul, 130-701
> South Korea
>
> Home Address:
>
> Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
> Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
> Sangbong-dong 1
> Jungnang-gu
> Seoul 131-771
> South Korea



__________________________________
Matthew Stallard
Ohio University
Department of English
347 Ellis Hall
Athens, OH 45701
matthew.s.stallard.1 at ohio.edu
Office: 740-597-2926
Home: 740-698-3409
Cell: 740-591-4273
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University Degrees:

Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
(Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

Email Address:

jefferyhodges at yahoo.com

Blog:

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

Office Address:

Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
School of English, Kyung Hee University
1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
Seoul, 130-701
South Korea

Home Address:

Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
Sangbong-dong 1
Jungnang-gu
Seoul 131-771
South Korea
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