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5684Re: [textualcriticism] New Posting of Chicago Manuscripts at CSNTM

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  • Larry Swain
    Apr 2, 2010
      Jovial wrote:
      >>There are places where some MSS read "in the IOUDAIKW" it says...., and Jerome makes a similar comment but says "In the Hebrew it says..."  So it is not exactly a big stretch of conclusion to ascertain that the "IOUDAIKW" was the Hebrew version, not a Jewish Greek or Aramaic version.  I can't remember exact ones off the top of my head, but I have come across that comparison before.<<

      Since IOUDAIKOS means "Jewish", when referring to language, it simply means "Jewish language". It isn't a far stretch to posit it as Hebrew. Nor is it a far stretch to posit it as Aramaic, and so far as I know, the ancient authors don't differentiate these languages yet...perhaps by the time of Jerome, but not earlier. Nor is it a far stretch to posit it as "in Jewish dialect." Hence, the problem. Nor can be automatically assumed that each author uses the term in the same way, so for Jerome it may be Hebrew, but for Papias, Aramaic etc.

      Jovial continues:
      >>As for Jerome's level of personal contact, I don't think any of us know how many Jewish believers lived in Rome or how many he interactived with on any kind of regular basis. That's totally conjecture.<<

      Sure, except that Jerome when referring to the Nazarenes and Ebionites doesn't mention Rome in connection with them, but rather modern Aleppo and the East....and so far as I recall (always open to correction) none of his contemporaries mention these groups being in Rome either. They could have been there in the fourth century, but unless there's some evidence we're missing, there doesn't seem to be much support for maintaining that Jerome encountered them there.

      Jovial remarked:
      >>Jerome had said in his commentary on Matt. 12:13 that he had translated the Gospel according to the Hebrew into Latin.  But that was a separate publication from the Vulgate, and one we no longer have any copies of.<<

      Thanks for the reminder; I had completely forgotten about that reference. I went and looked this up and what the text says is:

      In Evangelio quae utuntur Nazareni et Ebionitae quod nuper in Graecam de Hebraeo sermone transtulimus et quod vocatur a plerisque Matthaei authenticum.....

      I. E. he does say he translated it into GREEK. Many reject this, some finding that his citations seem mostly to come from previous writers. I, however, have another take. This commentary was written in 398. Jerome reported in 393 that he had received a copy of the Gospel of the Hebrews (GH). It would seem to me that anything written before 398 quoting this GH likely does come from a previous source. But I suspect that in preparation for his commentary on Matthew, Jerome did translate the GH into Greek *for his own use* in comparing the GH with the Greek text of Matthew, so that he can compare the Matthaei Authenticum with the text received by the church and discuss any differences in the commentary. He doesn't remark that he released or shared his translation anywhere that a quick search has uncovered. He also doesn't say that the translation made it into Latin.

      Jovial concluded:
      >> It's pretty much conjecture to assess whether he did anything "in person", but the simple fact is, what does it matter?<<<

      There's a big difference between "conjecture" and probability. Going on the evidence of what Jerome actually says and reports makes it probable that in acquiring a copy of the GH Jerome acted through intermediaries and so did not have direct, first hand knowledge of the sect.

      Why does it matter? Hmm, interesting question: but rather than offer a defense of why it matters to try and get as accurate a picture of the historical situation as possible, I must ask why, being on a list such as this, you would think it didn't matter.

      Larry Swain
      Independent Scholar

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