any still on the board?
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Hey guys just poppin’ in to see if there are any theologians on the board.
I don’t really care if one considers themselves a theologian or not, but if they have information for my query’s is what I seek.
I remember Tom, and Bill a ways beck demonstrating much knowledge in this field (Bill even writing a book on related topic) so I guess my questions are for them, but welcome any and all responses.
A brief epilogue:
My current studies are leaning towards a search for a Coptic Matthew preferably dating the late 4th or early 5th century.
For reasons which include the rumors of a Hebrew Matthew (I am aware of the unlikelihood of Shem Tov’s being authentic but a medieval creation) but there are many many references to a Hebrew Matthew by the writers of Jewish Antiquity (I will not list them here, this being a “brief” OP)
Now without getting into the possibility and probability of Shem Tov’s claim to have used a copy (or fragments thereof) of a Hebrew Matthew at his time I will say this, if he did use one a Coptic Matthew may be the best source to cross examine it by. (knowing the Aramaic text most likely never existed, and since the supposed evidence C. C. Torrey and others of his ilk tried to build was largely demolished half a century ago)
IMHO Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew is as much of an enigma as the Gospel of John, but it is interesting to investigate none the less.
As it has been pointed out by Tom outside of the synopsis many things (eg lines the Eucharist) are possibly Matthean inserts. And it trying to reconstruct gospels outside of Pauline/Hellenistic influences a Hebrew Matthew(or Coptic derivative would prove valuable) at least to me, much in the way Coptic text were used to piece together Thomas.
I understand that Coptic is a later language and its grammar has nothing to do with Greek or Syriac (except insofar as it is a Hamito-Semitic language so I would also accept an online Syriac version if available.
My theory (or even inquiry) is this:
1.If Shem Tov did have a Hebrew Matthew he used that was later lost it could be either proven or dis-proved by comparing other text.
2. If there are other text (even fragments) that were held outside of Pauline/Hellenistic influences that would be valuable and useful to compare to the Greek Matthew and possibly find more or less synoptics.
3. If a Hebrew Matthew did exist, up until the 4th or 5th century, a Coptic or other copy of it may have survived the burnings and purging instituted by the Roman/Greco religious and political powers following the councils that deemed other gospels heresy.
3.a. It would seem Coptic being a relatively new language of those centuries would be a good way to encrypt or hide a copy of the Hebrew Matthew (if it did exist) from those who sought to destroy other text.
3.b. If a Hebrew Text did exist in Egypt it would have been outside of the influences found in the other text.
I have found a few fragments of a Coptic Matthew, two at Matthew 18:20-27 Duke University which they date as early as 640 AD; and another fragment in a Russian Library called Manuscript 085.(another fragment)
With my limited knowledge of Coptic (learned from the translation of Coptic Thomas) I am attempting to translate these, but am still searching for other fragments hopefully of earlier dates (preferable late 4th early 5th century) if they are online, or if there are any books or collections people could recommend in this area.
I could use an online version of Shem Tov’s Hebrew if anyone knows of one, the one I’m currently using is at shemtov.org and is not complete.
I remember Bill, Tom and Bubba’s many conversation here in times past on similar topics and am sure some people here have been down similar roads before me, so I though this would be as good a place as any to seek what I am looking for.