Articles, Textual Considerations

The Hebrew Version of Matthew – Shem Tob Matthew, Shem Tov

“HEBREW MATTHEW”
Shem Tob – du Tillet – Munster

“Matthew collected the oracles (ta logia) in the Hebrew language, and each interpreted them as best he could.” – Papias (Eusebius, H.E. 3.39.16)

“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews n their own dialect while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the church.” – Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 3.1.1

“As having learnt by tradition concerning the four Gospels, which alone are unquestionable in the Church of God under heaven, that first was written according to Matthew, who was once a tax collector but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language.” – Origen (Eusebius, H.E. 6.25.4)

Historical references do speak of a Hebrew gospel of Matthew.  Today there are those who present the Shem Tob version of Matthew as an accurate representation of that manuscript.  Unsuspecting believers are being led by unbelievers to accept an anti-Christian version of Matthew which was found as a part of a polemic (anti-Christian) document entitled Eban Bohan.  This document was authored by Shem Tob, an unbelieving Jewish theologian.

Quoting Professor George Howard, translator of Shem Tob:

In regard to theology, Shem-tob’s Hebrew Matthew is heretical according to the standard of traditional Christianity. It never identifies Jesus with the Messiah. (See Reference Note 1.) John the Baptist is given an exalted role (even takes on messianic traits), — Shem-Tob’s text envisions the salvation of the Gentiles only in the Messianic era.

 

Shem Tob ben Shaprut of Tudela Castle – Spain

1385 – 14th Century

Wrote a polemical work against Christianity entitled Eben Bohan (The Touchstone)

Matthew is a separate chapter of Eben Bohan

A cursive manuscript of Eben Bohan can be found at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America – New York (212)678-8081

du Tillet

Jean du Tillet – Catholic Bishop of Brieux France

From a manuscript found at Rome among the Jews in 1553

Used by Jehovah’s witnesses

James Trimm translated du Tillet

Munster

Sebastian Munster

1537 confiscated from the Jews

Some think Munster and du Tillet to be from the same source

Munster filled in missing portions and made no notes as to which parts he added.

Shem Tob and du Tillet are different texts. They do not always agree.

Munster disagrees with Shem Tob. They do not always agree

Jerome speaks of a Hebrew Matthew among the Nazarenes in Jordan who fled Jerusalem. Jerome quotes that text and Professor George Howard who translated Shem Tob says that Jeromes quotes do not match Shem Tob.

Epiphanius qoutes Ebionite Hebrew Matthew. His quotes do not match Shem Tob.

The tetragwmamaton does not appear in Shem Tob or in du Tillet.

In Shem Tob it is written as Heh or Heh and two Yodths signifying Ha Shem or The Name.

In du Tillet it is written as three Yodths.

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SCRIPTURAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SHEM TOB
AND THE GREEK MAJORITY TEXTS AS REPRESENTED IN THE ENGLISH KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE

Never identifies Yeshua / Jesus as Messiah.

Mat 1:1  “the generation of Jesus Christ

Shem Tob “the generations of Jesus ( )”

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Never identifies Jesus as Messiah.

Mat 1:18  “now the birth of Jesus Christ

Shem Tob “birth of Jesus ( )”

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The fact that Yeshua / Jesus “shall save His people” omitted

Mat 1:21 “thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins”

Shem Tob “he shall save my people from their sins”

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Non-Biblical – Rabbinical reference

Mat 4:9 “all these things will I give if thou wilt fall down and worship me

Shem Tob “if you bare your head to me”

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Jewish sages given equal status with Yeshua / Jesus

Mat 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

“Preaching with great power not as the rest of the sages.”

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Reference to the coming kingdom removed

Mat 6:10 “Thy kingdom come”

Shem Tob “may your kingdom be blessed”

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Forgiveness of sin by Yeshua / Jesus removed

Mat 9:2 “thy sins be forgiven thee”

Shem Tob “It is by the faith of God that your sins have been forgiven”

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The gospel set aside

Mat 11:5 “the poor have the gospel preached to them”

Shem Tob “the poor are aquited”

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Elevation of John the Baptist over Yeshua / Jesus

Mat 11:11 – 11:13 “For all the prophets and the law spoke concerning John” as opposed “prophesied until John”.

Mat 21:32  “Because John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him.”

In Shem Tob – addressed to the disciples instead of the chief priests and elders.

Quoting Professor George Howard, translator of Shem Tob:

In summary, this series of readings asserts that none is greater than John, the prophets and the law spoke concerning John, John (Elijah) is to save all the world, and Jesus’ own disciples are disgraced for not having believed John. In traditional Christianity such a description is usually applied to Jesus. Its application to John the Baptist in Shem Tobs Hebrew, elevates the Baptist to a salvific (salvation) role.

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The temple greater than Yeshua / Jesus

Mat 12:6 “But I say unto you, in this place is one greater than the temple”

Shem Tob “the temple is greater than this”

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Mat 13:11 “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given”

Shem Tob “to know the kingdom of heaven”

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Man sows seed instead of the son of man:

Mat 13:37 “He that soweth the good seed is the son of man

Shem tob “the one who sows good seed is man

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Possible Talmudic influence – Toldoth Yeshu?

Mat 13:55  “Is this not the carpenters son? Is not his mother called Mary?”

“Is this not the son of the smith and Mary?”

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Note: James is left out as brother of Jesus in the Shem Tob – Possible elevation of James

Mat 14:6 In Shem Tob Herods daughter danced – not Herodias’ daughter – Qumran scrolls condemn niece marraige – Jewish leaders of the time practiced it.

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Possible Talmudic Influence: Doctrine of the Pharisees unquestioned

Mat 16:12 Told to beware the doctrine of the Pharisees…”

Sehm Tob “beware of the behavior of the Pharisees…”

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Salvation by Elijah rather than Yeshua / Jesus

Mat 17:11 “Elijah shall truly shall first come and restore all things”

Shem Tob “Elijah will come and save all the world”

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Salvation by way of “The Son of man” deleted

Mat 18:11 “The Son of man is come to save that which was lost”

Shem Tob “the son of man has stopped saving the enemy”

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Possible Talmudic Implications:

Mat 18:18  “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whotsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”

Shem Tob applies this scripture to being bound or loosed from oaths taken – Day of Atonement – Col Nidre Prayer – implications ????

Shem Tob “every oath which you shall bind on earth is bound in heaven and every oath which you shall loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

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Worldly material wealth rather than heavenly treasure 

Mat 19:22 “Went away sorrowful for he had great possessions

Shem Tob “went away angry because he did not have much property

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Mat 19:28

“When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory”

“when man sits upon the throne of his glory”

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Mat 20:30

“When they heard the Jesus passed by”

the prophet Jesus from Nazareth is coming”

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The preaching of the gospel as a witness concerning Yeshua / Jesus “is the Anti-Christ and this is the abomination which desolates.

Mat 24:14-16 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.”

Shem Tob “And this gospel, that is, evungili, will be preached un all the earth for a witness concerning me to all the nations and then the end will come. This is the Anti-Christ and this is the abomination which desolates. Then those who are in Judaea let them flee to the mountains.”

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“Son of man” replaced by “the bridegroom.”

Mat 25:13  …day not the hour wherein the Son of man cometh”

Shem Tob “…day nor hour when the bridegroom comes.”

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Possible Talmudic implications

Mat 26:2 “…the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified

Shem Tob “delivered into the hand of the Jews for the gallows

 

Mat 27:23 “Let him be crucified”

Shem Tob “let them hang him

 

Mat 27:31 “led him away to crucify him”

Shem Tob “gave orders to hang him”

 

“The Cross” is in parenthesis as if it needed to be connected with the word gallows.

Mat 27:32 “him they compelled to bear his cross”

Shem Tob “compelled him to carry the gallows, that is “The Cross”

 

Mat 27:40-42 “Come down from the cross”

Shem Tob v.40 “come down from the gallows” – v.42 “come down from the tree”

 

Mat 28:5  “ye seek Jesus who was crucified”

“Shem Tob “Jesus who was hung”

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Not the King of the Jews but the King of Israel

Mat 27:37 “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS

Shem Tob “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of Israel

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Mat 27:46 “with a loud voice”

Shem Tob “in the holy langauge” (Hebrew ?)

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Mat 27:57  “a rich man of Arimathea

Shem Tob “A rich man from Karnasiah came . His name was Joseph…”

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Mat 27:59 “when Joseph had taken the body he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth

Shem Tob “wrapped it in a very fine silk garment

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Mat 28:9 – Shem Tob has Jesus substituting YHWH with “Ha Shem” Traditional Jewish greeting rather than Greek/Roman greeting as is found in majority manuscripts

“Jesus met them saying All Hail”

“saying May the Name deliver you”

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Shem Tob has 12 disciples going to Galilee after Judas was dead

Mat 28:16 “Then the eleven disciples went away unto Galilee”

“when his twelve disciples came to Galilee”

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I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world left out

Mat 28:20 – Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and,  lo “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” Amen

Shem Tob – and teach them to carry out all the things which I have commanded you forever.

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Quoting Professor George Howard, translator of Shem Tob:

In regard to theology, Shem-tob’s Hebrew Matthew is heretical according to the standard of traditional Christianity. It never identifies Jesus with the Messiah. (See Reference Note 1.) John the Baptist is given an exalted role (even takes on mesianic traits), — Shem-Tob’s text envisions the salvation of the Gentiles only in the Messianic era.

Reference Notes:

1.  In his book the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, professor Geroge Howard, after reviewing all references to Christ/Messiah in Matthew, makes it clear that the author himself (of Shem Tob Matthew) “never identifies Jesus with the Christ/Messiah” In Matthew 16:16 Peter was speaking and not Matthew, the author of the book.
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The Christ. With the possible exception of 16:16 (to be discussed below), the author of Shem-Tob’s Hebrew Matthew never identifies Jesus with the Christ. This is to be contrasted with the Greek text, where the Christ identification is clearly made.

The word Christ occurs 18 times in the Greek text of Matthew: 1:1, 16, 17, 18; 2:4; 16:16, 20, 21 (B-); 22:42; 23:10; 24:5, 23, 24; 26:63, 68; 27:17, 22. In five instances, the Hebrew has no correspondent to the word Christ at all. Compare the Following.

Greek 1:1 – The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ
Shem Tob Hebrew – 1:1 These are the Generations of Jesus

Greek 1:17 – the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations
Shem Tob Matthew – the Babylonian exile unto Jesus were fourteen generations

Greek 1:18 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way
Shem Tob Matthew – The birth of Jesus was in this way

Greek 11:2 – Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ
Shem Tob Matthew – John, when he was in captivity, heard of the work of Jesus

Greek 16:21 – From then began Jesus Christ to show his disciples
Shem Tob Matthew – Henceforth Jesus began to reveal to his disciples

These passages are particularly important, since only here does the author of the Greek text make a clear identification of Jesus with the Christ. In all other instances, the identification is either unclear or made by someone other than the author. Matthew 16:16 is a special case and will be discussed below. Since the Hebrew text lacks the word “Christ/Messiah” in these passages, its author never identifies Jesus with the Christ/ Messiah.

The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, George Howard, p.216-217…

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply David Espenlaub November 18, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Thanks for writing this. I have heard many excerpts from Shem Tob which neatly explain difficult versus in such a way as they they align with Messianic-Christian beliefs, but I learned a lot from this more comprehensive list of verse comparisons. I realize it is not exhaustive, but it is a very significant list. Thank you.

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