Hebrew and the New Testament

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE:

Josephus wrote that Hebrew was the language of the (Y’-hu-dim) [Jews] in the first century in his book [Wars 5:9:2]. This book was written entirely in Hebrew.

Josephus also said, “I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understanding the elements of the Greek language although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own language, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness: for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations [Ant. 20:11:2].”

The following Catholic (Church) founders said that Matthew wrote his gospel in the Hebrew language.

Papias 150-170 C.E. [quoted by Eusebius Eccl. Hist. 3:39]
Ireneus 170 C.E. [Against Heresies 3:1]
Origen c. 210 C.E. [Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:24]
Epiphanius 370 C.E. [Epiphanius; Panarion 29:9:4]
Jerome 382 C.E. [Lives of Illustrious Men 3]

Eusebius (263-339 C.E.) wrote that, “[Pantaenus (died about 200 C.E.)] penetrated as far as India, where it is reported that he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had been delivered before his arrival to some who had the knowledge of (Ma-shi-akh) [Messiah], to whom Bartholomew, one of the (tal-mu-dim) [disciples], as it is said, had proclaimed, and left them the writing of Matthew in Hebrew letters [Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 5:10].”

He also said, “Pantaenus found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve (tal-mu-dim) [disciples], had there [India] preached the advent of our Lord (Y’-shu–ha-Ma-shi-akh) according to the Gospel of Matthew, which was written in the Hebrew letters, and which, on returning to Alexandria, he brought with him [De Vir. 3:36].”

MORE THAN JUST MATTHEW

The following Catholic (Church) founders wrote that some, if not all of (Sha-ul) [Paul’s] letters, were originally written in the Hebrew language.

Eusebius wrote that Clement of Alexandria (150-212 C.E.) wrote that the Epistle to the Hebrews was written by Sha-ul to the Hebrews, in the Hebrew tongue but translated by Luke [Clement of Alexandria; Hypotyposes; referred to by Eusebius in Eccl. Hist. 6:14:2].

Eusebius also said, “For as Sha-ul had addressed the Hebrews in the language of his country; some say that the evangelist Luke, others that Clement, translated the epistle [Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:38:2-3].”

Jerome (382 C.E.) wrote, “He [Sha-ul] being a Hebrew wrote in Hebrew, that is, his own tongue and most fluently while things which were eloquently written in Hebrew were more eloquently turned into Greek [Lives of Illustrious Men, Book 5].”

Jerome is clearly stating that Sha-ul wrote all of his Epistles in Hebrew, not just one of them. He is further stating that the language of the Y’-hu-dim in the time of Sha-ul was Hebrew.

Epiphanius maintained that only the book of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew (Epiphanius; Pan. 30:3). However, he does mention that the (Y’-hu-dim) [Jews] had Hebrew copies of the books of John and Acts in Tiberius (Epiphanius; Pan. 30:3, 6). Epiphanius’ account shows us that the Y’-hu-dim believed their copies to be authentic though he believed them to be translations.

ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE:

All the coins struck by the (Y’-hu-dim) [Jews] during the (bar—kokh-va) revolt in 132 C.E. bore Hebrew inscriptions. Almost all the letters written by bar—kokh-va during the revolt were written in Hebrew, only two were written in Greek. One of the Greek letters contains an apology because it was written in Greek.

In addition, approximately ninety percent of the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls was written in Hebrew. That’s more than five hundred scrolls and over forty thousand fragments that date from 250 B.C.E. to 70 C.E.

Much Luv and Shalom,

Robert Allon