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Re: P45 and SHEM-TOB's Hebrew Matthew

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  • William L. Petersen
    The article mentioned is by R.F. Shedinger; it has some errors in fact as well as in its presuppositions. Additionally, it (inexplicably?) fails to address
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 7, 1997
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      The article mentioned is by R.F. Shedinger; it has some errors in fact as
      well as in its presuppositions. Additionally, it (inexplicably?) fails to
      address points I raised in my review (in JBL 108 [1989], pp. 722-726) of the
      first edition of Howard's book (which was titled *The Gospel of Matthew
      according to a Primitive Hebrew Text* [1988]; the second, revised edition
      is more modestly titled, *Hebrew Gospel of Matthew* [1995]). The remarks in
      my review are self-explanatory, and supported by textual evidence; I am
      preparing a critique of Shedinger's article for publication.

      While Howard's revised edition has more substantive evidence, both his study
      and Shedinger are defecting for failing to examine links between Shem-Tob
      (who dates c. 1400) and the medieval Matthew traditions; rather, they jump
      from S-T back to the first five Xtian centuries--which is an error of
      method, especially when there are distinctive, unique textual links between
      S-T and MSS copied about 1300 (in Latin, Middle Dutch, etc.). Shedinger's
      assertion (p. 58) that "the only Greek manuscripts available to him [S-T]
      would have likely contianed a Byzantine Imperial type of text, also known as
      Nestle-Aland's Majority Text" is empirically wrong. The medieval world was
      full of "wild" texts (Codex Bezae itself is often presumed to have been
      taken to the Council of Trent [1546], and in the 9th cent. Ado, writing
      in/near Lyons, used a similar text for his quotations from Acts [see A
      Souter, *The Text and Canon of the NT* (1913), pp. 25-26]). Need one say
      it? The text of Codex Bezae is hardly that of "the Byzantine Imperial
      type." In the same period, Vetus Latina MSS were also being copied: c
      (12/13th cent.) g1 (8/9th), etc. Additionally, the tradition which has
      (apparently) the closest links with S-T, namely, the Diatessaron, has Latin
      copies being made throughout the medieval period, as well as vernacular
      copies in Old and Middle High German, Middle Dutch, Middle Italian, etc.

      Howard's text is very interesting, and here and there may have very ancient
      features, but these can only be verified by finding other ancient documents
      (as he does in some places in his new, revised edition) with the identical
      reading--*and no other documents between the time of that ancient document
      and S-T with the same reading.* That Howard and Schedinger (usually) do not
      do. Furthermore, they ignore utterly the sources which are both
      *geographically* and *chronologically* closest to Shem-Tob, namely copies of
      Matthew/Matthew quotations/gospel harmonies executed between, say, 1000 and
      1400 C.E.

      As a methodological point, note that *if* you limit your sights to S-T and,
      say, P45, it appears there is dependence; but if you are familiar with more
      sources, the links become very dubious. Two examples: Shedinger's first
      example, Matt 7.11, read "good spirit" (S-T & P45) for "good things" (Mt) or
      "Holy Spirit" (Lk. 11.13). Shedinger observes in note 13 (p. 60) that
      "spiritum bonum" is found in the Vulgate and some Vetus Latina MSS. Well,
      why argue that the reading comes from P45??? The Vulgate and the Vetus
      Latina were certainly in circulation in medieval Spain! A final example:
      Shedinger's agreement between Matt 17.1 (pp. 64-66 in his article), in which
      Shem-Tob harmonizes Matt with Luke and then Mark, is paralleled in the
      Middle Dutch Liege Harmony (ed. C.C. de Bruin, p. 125), copied about 1280
      C.E., roughly a century before Shem-Tob. Which is more likely: That S-T is
      preserving a tradition from P45, or that S-T is privy to the same (Latin)
      medieval tradition from which the Middle Dutch harmony was copied? (And
      that medieval Latin tradition demonstrably goes back to a Syriac tradition,
      even in the West [the Middle Dutch Liege Harmony has "Semitisms" and unique
      textual agreements with the Vetus Syra], etc....) It is not surprising that
      there are links between S-T and the Liege Harmony in the readings Shedinger
      adduces: nearly a decade ago in my JBL review, I pointed out and gave
      numerous examples of these links...now we find another one...

      In short, the better acquainted you are with the textual environment (e.g.,
      the medieval world) in which Shem-Tob worked, the less likely a direct link
      with antiquity (e.g., P45) becomes. That there is a link is not in dispute,
      just as "Good News for Modern Man" has links with P45. But the "link" is
      *not* *directly* between P45 and GNfMM: it is between GNfMM and the RSV,
      KJV, etc., which go back to the Vulgate, which goes back to, etc., etc. And
      in the case of S-T, the intermediary is clear: medieval textual traditions,
      including gospel harmonies, which circulated in Latin, and which rest upon a
      Syriac archetype (even in the West).

      --Petersen, Penn State Univ.



      At 12:25 PM 3/7/97 -0800, you wrote:
      >There is an interesting article in "New Testament Studies", vol. 43,
      >1997, pp58-71 entitled "The textual relationship between P45 and
      >Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew" by Robert F. Shedinger.
      >
      >He makes a comparison which lends support to the conclusions of
      >George Howard that Shem-Tob's Matthew represents an original
      >composition of Matthew's gospel in Hebrew.
      >
      >Is this the concensus among all experts in this field, and if
      >so, will this lead to the addition of this resource as a tool
      >for translation of the Greek version of Matthew's gospel ?
      >
      >Sincerely,
      >-lars
      >
      >
    • Alan Repurk
      ... I look forward to reading it. ... I would suppose that all of those sources will eventually be compared. ... A footnote in the article apparently addresses
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 7, 1997
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        William L. Petersen wrote:

        > I am preparing a critique of Shedinger's article for publication.

        I look forward to reading it.

        > While Howard's revised edition has more substantive evidence, both his study
        > and Shedinger are defecting for failing to examine links between Shem-Tob
        > (who dates c. 1400) and the medieval Matthew traditions; rather, they jump
        > from S-T back to the first five Xtian centuries--which is an error of
        > method

        I would suppose that all of those sources will eventually be compared.

        > The Vulgate and the Vetus Latina were certainly in circulation in medieval Spain!

        A footnote in the article apparently addresses that Howard has evidence that
        the S-T is not from the Vg, apparently published in JBL.

        I do have one question. Considering the purpose of the S-T, as a polemic, would
        we guess that great effort would have been made to translate a text from
        numerous sources or would it all have been derived from one source ?

        -lars
      • William L. Petersen
        ... (Repurk s those sources are the medieval Matt traditions surround [both chronologically and geographically] Shem-Tob.) Before one claims primitive
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 7, 1997
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          In response to Alan Repurk's questions/points:


          >I would suppose that all of those sources will eventually be compared.

          (Repurk's "those sources" are the medieval Matt traditions surround [both
          chronologically and geographically] Shem-Tob.) Before one claims
          "primitive" status for a text, or *begins* by comparing it with ancient
          sources such as P45, it might be wise to check what was circulating in your
          vacinity (viz., Europe, circa 1400....).

          >A footnote in the article apparently addresses that Howard has evidence that
          >the S-T is not from the Vg, apparently published in JBL.

          Check Howard's evidence, and then start looking for agreements with the
          Vetus Latina and Vulgate, and see what you decide... Remember, a text need
          not be directly "translated" from a version to be influenced by it (there
          are indirect influences).

          >I do have one question. Considering the purpose of the S-T, as a polemic, would
          >we guess that great effort would have been made to translate a text from
          >numerous sources or would it all have been derived from one source ?

          I haven't a clue. Most works from this period (c. 1400) are mish-mashes of
          stuff from here and there: bits of Bede's commentary, bits of Vetus Latina,
          bits of Bezaean readings, bits of the Vulgate, etc., etc. All we can do,
          without a clear archetype, is to note the agreements--and, at last count (to
          my knowledge), Shem-Tob has, numerically, more agreements with the Liege
          Harmony than with any other single source yet adduced (see the examples in
          my review). Therefore, before looking to the third or fourth centuries for
          its "source," I would look at the Liege Harmony (1280 C.E.) and its
          antecedents (the "Old Latin" Diatessaron, hypothesized by Th. Zahn over a
          century ago, whose existence was demonstrated textually by D. Plooij and
          others).

          --Petersen, Penn State Univ.
        • george howard
          Re William Petersen s comment on Shedinger and me. It is true that Shem-Tob s Hebrew Matthew has parallels with a number of medieval readings. It is also true
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 10, 1997
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            Re William Petersen's comment on Shedinger and me. It is true that
            Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew has parallels with a number of medieval
            readings. It is also true that he has unique parallels with such out of
            the way documents as Codex Sinaiticus and the Old Syriac (SyS and SyC).
            He perhaps has more parallels with the Old Syriac than any other textual
            tradition (though I have not counted them). I suppose we can go two ways
            (maybe more). 1. We can say that Shem-Tob was an eclectic scholar who
            prepared a special text of Matthew in his polemic against the church,
            choosing readings from a great many sources. 2. He preserves an ancient
            text whose readings crop up in a multiplicity of ancient and medieval
            documents. Given the fact that Shem-Tob believed the Gospel of Matthew
            was a damnable document, I find it hard to believe that he prepared a
            new text of the gospel in which he selected readings from a great many
            sources, some coming from great antiquity and apparently not available
            to anyone else in the world but him, enhanced the text with puns, word
            connections, and alliteration, added a symbol for the Divine Name 19
            times, inserted a number of subtle theological motifs that go back to
            early Jewish Christianity, and then told his readers that the only
            reason he was inserting the Hebrew Matthew into his treatise, the Even
            Bohan, was so they could learn to refute it and crush the Christians.
            Number 1 is fraught with a great many problems. Number 2 is much more
            reasonable.
          • Alan Repurk
            ... Does anyone have a satisfactory explanation for the inclusion of the tetragrammaton in the S-T, besides the obvious conclusion that he copied it from a
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 10, 1997
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              george howard wrote:

              > connections, and alliteration, added a symbol for the Divine Name 19
              > times, inserted a number of subtle theological motifs that go back to
              > early Jewish Christianity, and then told his readers that the only
              > reason he was inserting the Hebrew Matthew into his treatise, the Even
              > Bohan, was so they could learn to refute it and crush the Christians.


              Does anyone have a satisfactory explanation for the inclusion of the
              tetragrammaton in the S-T, besides the obvious conclusion that he
              copied it from a Hebrew original ? It would seem to defeat the purpose
              of the S-T as a document which was intended to represent the Christian
              tradition for polemic reasons to add the Divine Name. Would not the
              superstition of this devout Jewish translator impose certain restrictions
              on him with regard to this name ?

              In looking at some of the old posts I happened to file away I found
              some quotations from a book by James Scott Trimm entitled
              "The Good News According to Matthew from an old Hebrew Manuscript",
              a translation and analysis of the 15th Century DuTillet manuscript.
              I have not checked these for accuracy and have not read the book, so
              I hope the original poster did his homework .....

              Sincerely,
              -lars

              -------------------------------------------------------------------------


              Irenaeus (150-170 CE)"Matthew issued a written gospel among the Hebrews
              in their own dialect..." (Against Heresies 3:1)

              Origen (210 CE) "The first is written according to Matthew, the same that
              was once a tax collector, but afterwards an emissary of Yeshua the
              Messiah, who having published it for the Jewish believers, wrote it in
              the Hebrew." (Eusebius E.H. 4:25)

              Pantaenus... penetrated as ar 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 Messiah, to whom
              Bartholomew, one of the emissaries, as it is said, had preached, and left
              them that writing of Matthew in Hebrew letters." (Euseb. E. H. 5:10)

              Epiphanius (370 CE) "They (the Nazarenes) have the gospel according to
              Matthew quite complete, in Hebrew, for this gospel is certainly still
              preserved among them as it was first written, in Hegrew letters."
              (Panarion 29:9:4)

              Jerome (382 CE) "Matthew, who is also Levi, and from a tax collector came
              to be an emissary, first of all the evangelists composed a gospel of
              Messiah in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters, for the benefit
              of those of the circumcision who had believed; who translated it into
              Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is
              preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr
              Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes
              who use this volume in the Syrian city of Boroea to copy it. In which is
              to be remarked that, wherever the evangelist...makes use of the
              testimonies of the old Scripture, he does not follow the authority of the
              seventy translators, but that of the Hebrew."
              (Jerome; Of Illustrious Men 3)

              End note to a 5th century Aramaic Matthew (the Peshitta): "Completion of
              the Holy Gospel as published by Matthew; and which he published in
              Hebrew, in the land of the Palestinians."
            • Ulrich Schmid
              ... Maybe counting agreements can not solve all of the problems, but it surely is a strong indicator when it comes to questions of textual relationships. So,
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 10, 1997
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                On Mon, 10 Mar 1997, George Howard wrote:

                >It is true that Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew has parallels with a number of
                >medieval
                >readings. It is also true that he has unique parallels with such out of
                >the way documents as Codex Sinaiticus and the Old Syriac (SyS and SyC).
                >He perhaps has more parallels with the Old Syriac than any other textual
                >tradition (though I have not counted them).

                Maybe counting agreements can not solve all of the problems, but it surely is a
                strong indicator when it comes to questions of textual relationships. So, why
                not counting them? Maybe, because counting agreements also involves counting
                _disagreements_?
                I am somehow puzzled by the fact that the Latin traditions (Old Latin and
                Vulgate MSS, Harmonies) are not mentioned as possible candidates for testing
                agreements/disagreements in relation to Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew (as Bill
                Petersen already pointed out).

                >I suppose we can go two ways (maybe more). 1. We can say that Shem-Tob was an
                >eclectic scholar who prepared a special text of Matthew in his polemic against
                >the church, choosing readings from a great many sources.

                Again, a closer look at the Latin tradition presumably would have prevented this
                type of carricature. Virtually every single Vulgate MS displays at least some
                Old Latin readings. When dealing only with the Latin harmony tradition(s) - not
                to mention the other vernacular harmonies - we find therein a considerable
                degree of "mixed" textual situation, i.e. generally "vulgatized" harmonies
                nevertheless display sometimes unique agreements with various parts of textual
                transmission. It would simply be hazardous to label each and every
                scribe/producer of textually "mixed" MSS an "eclectic scholar..., choosing
                readings from a great many sources".

                >2. He preserves an ancient
                >text whose readings crop up in a multiplicity of ancient and medieval
                >documents.

                As Bill Petersen already pointed out: Each and every copy of the Gospel of
                Matthew in each and every language preserves a lot of ancient readings, and,
                therefore, a somehow ancient text. In the case of Shem Tob or any other medieval
                source it is essential to establish a reasonably _distinct_ text which may or
                may not be "ancient", depending on the level of agreement (and disagreement) of
                this distinct text with other witnesses. As long as only parts of the textual
                tradition (predominantly old ones as, e.g., the Old Syriac or P 45) are sought
                through, and as long as agreements and disagreements are not counted, I simply
                remain unconviced of the distinct "ancient text" preseved in Shem-Tob's Hebrew
                Matthew. It may well be another amalgam of medieval (Latin or vernacular) Gospel
                traditions.

                snip

                >Number 1 is fraught with a great many problems. Number 2 is much more
                >reasonable.

                In my own judgment the alternative is simply mistaken.

                Ulrich Schmid, Muenster
              • Stephen C. Carlson
                ... My thanks to this list for pointing out both Shedinger s and Petersen s articles. My biggest problem with Shedinger s article is his use of P45 s readings
                Message 7 of 9 , Mar 18, 1997
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                  At 05:18 3/7/97 -0500, William L. Petersen wrote:
                  >The article mentioned is by R.F. Shedinger; it has some errors in fact as
                  >well as in its presuppositions. Additionally, it (inexplicably?) fails to
                  >address points I raised in my review (in JBL 108 [1989], pp. 722-726) of the
                  >first edition of Howard's book (which was titled *The Gospel of Matthew
                  >according to a Primitive Hebrew Text* [1988]; the second, revised edition
                  >is more modestly titled, *Hebrew Gospel of Matthew* [1995]). The remarks in
                  >my review are self-explanatory, and supported by textual evidence; I am
                  >preparing a critique of Shedinger's article for publication.

                  My thanks to this list for pointing out both Shedinger's and Petersen's
                  articles. My biggest problem with Shedinger's article is his use of
                  P45's readings in Luke and Mark. For example, Lk11:13 is understood
                  to be from Greek Q, not a Hebrew Matthew. So how does a Hebrew Matthew
                  fit in?

                  Petersen, p. 723, criticized Howard's first edition for presenting 21
                  variants explanable on the presumption that Greek Mt is based on a
                  Hebrew text. (Howard's second edition, which I have, handles this
                  point better.) Petersen pointed out that requires the following assump-
                  tions: (a) Greek Matthew depends on a Hebrew Matthew and (b) Shem-Tob's
                  Hebrew Matthew is faithful to original Hebrew text of Mt. In my view,
                  Shedinger's article requires the additional assumptions: that (c) Luke
                  [and Mark!] too depends on Hebrew Matthew and (d) P45 is more faithful
                  to Lk's Greek text.

                  Stephen Carlson
                  --
                  Stephen C. Carlson : Poetry speaks of aspirations,
                  scarlson@... : and songs chant the words.
                  http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/ : -- Shujing 2.35
                • Michael Collins
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 19, 1997
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                    You do know the work of Bill Farmer (William R.) et al.? They posit
                    Matthean priority in a form that includes Mark and Q and M material.
                    They would love more grist for their mill! But it just won't work for a
                    large number of reasons. Cheers! -- John Hurd

                    >
                    > At 05:18 3/7/97 -0500, William L. Petersen wrote:
                    > >The article mentioned is by R.F. Shedinger; it has some errors in fact as
                    > >well as in its presuppositions. Additionally, it (inexplicably?) fails to
                    > >address points I raised in my review (in JBL 108 [1989], pp. 722-726) of the
                    > >first edition of Howard's book (which was titled *The Gospel of Matthew
                    > >according to a Primitive Hebrew Text* [1988]; the second, revised edition
                    > >is more modestly titled, *Hebrew Gospel of Matthew* [1995]). The remarks in
                    > >my review are self-explanatory, and supported by textual evidence; I am
                    > >preparing a critique of Shedinger's article for publication.
                    >
                    > My thanks to this list for pointing out both Shedinger's and Petersen's
                    > articles. My biggest problem with Shedinger's article is his use of
                    > P45's readings in Luke and Mark. For example, Lk11:13 is understood
                    > to be from Greek Q, not a Hebrew Matthew. So how does a Hebrew Matthew
                    > fit in?
                    >
                    > Petersen, p. 723, criticized Howard's first edition for presenting 21
                    > variants explanable on the presumption that Greek Mt is based on a
                    > Hebrew text. (Howard's second edition, which I have, handles this
                    > point better.) Petersen pointed out that requires the following assump-
                    > tions: (a) Greek Matthew depends on a Hebrew Matthew and (b) Shem-Tob's
                    > Hebrew Matthew is faithful to original Hebrew text of Mt. In my view,
                    > Shedinger's article requires the additional assumptions: that (c) Luke
                    > [and Mark!] too depends on Hebrew Matthew and (d) P45 is more faithful
                    > to Lk's Greek text.
                    >
                    > Stephen Carlson
                    > --
                    > Stephen C. Carlson : Poetry speaks of aspirations,
                    > scarlson@... : and songs chant the words.
                    > http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/ : -- Shujing 2.35
                    >
                    >
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