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Gospel of the Nazaraeans


"Jerome was yet a man of whom it has been said that he was canonized not for his qualities of saintliness, but for the services he rendered the Roman church. Hot-tempered, outspoken, passionately devoted to his work and his friends, Jerome is certainly one of the most extraordinary figures in church history. And doubtless, it is due to his special temperament that his Latin Bible has come to be regarded by many people almost as if it were the unmediated word of God himself" [p. 234].

"For Augustine had written to tell him that the Christian congregation of a nearby town, Tripoli, rioted when Jerome's new translation of the Book of Jonah had been read at the Sunday service! So indignant had they become that some of the members had gone into the Jewish quarter of the town to ask Hebrew readers their opinion of the true meaning of the words of the text. At that time Jerome had been meeting Jewish scholars for some twenty years and surely knew exactly where the truth of the matter lay. What Jerome had done was to replace the traditional reading of the Hebrew word qiqqayon, changing it from the Latin cucurbita meaning a gourd, to hedera meaning ivy, and this had brought into question a favourite image of the artists of his day, the gourd bower of Paradise" [p. 236].

As to the "gourd bower" referred to, it was a pagan motif well-known among the pagan religions of the world. "The Christian artists have teken these images of Paradise directly from the pagan world...so one of the pagan fish is a sea monster, the whale that swallows Jonah the biblical prophet, while in another part of the scene, in suspended time, another fish spews him out. Even the putti [Egyptian motif] fishing traditionally in these Egyptian-style scenes seem to have been turned into Christians - into fishers of men. Appearing once again, Jonah sits serenely in his Paradise under a bower of gourds." The image, however, actually shows the "ivy" of Jerome [p. 235].

"It was the new translation of Job which in 403 had brought on the riot in Tripoli. In his letter Augustine wondered whether or not Jerome should have translated those texts. Though they were probably quite incorrect in their older versions - Augustine says that he himself could not judge as he had little Greek and no Hebrew - they had served the faithful well enough. Less sensitive critics simply questioned Jerome's right to tamper with the sacred words at all, especially with the traditional translations of the words of Jesus, some of which he had changed considerably" [p. 240].

Jerome, in his arrogance, makes this statement: "Why not, he asks, go back to the original Greek and correct the mistakes introduced by inaccurate translators and the blundering alterations of confident but ignorant critics and, further, all that has been inserted or changed by copyists more asleep than awake? [p. 240]" He assumes that the Greek is error-ridden. Of the fact that he changed the original Hebrew there can be no doubt, for he, by his own admission, translated that original Hebrew gospel into a more "suitable" gospel for the "church". Eusebius, likewise, makes this admission. The evidence is found in the gospel fragments below.

Matthew 2:15: "And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."

To Matt. 2:15 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans, (in Jerome, On Illustrious Men 3)--"Out of Egypt have I called my son" and "For he shall be called a Nazaraean." Cf. Also margin of codex 1424 -- This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son . . ."


The original text of "Matthew" (whose name was appended to the present gospel) had "for he shall be called a Nazaraean"; Jerome left this out when translating, but makes mention of it later in his own works.

Matthew 4:5: "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple..."

To Matt. 4:5 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans: The Jewish Gospel has not to the holy city, but to Jerusalem.


The acknowledgment that there was a Jewish Gospel written prior to the Greek versions is clear. Naturally, the name of the most important city in the world would be stated. The phrase "the holy city", depending on who is reading the text, might refer to the Samaritan "holy city" (where the Samaritans were known to have built a copy of the Jewish Temple).

Matthew 6:11: "Give us this day our daily bread."

To Matt. 6:11 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans (in Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 6:11)--In the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews, for "bread essential to existence" I found "mahar," which means "of tomorrow"; so the sense is: our bread for tomorrow, that is, of the future, give us this day.


Note Jerome's admission of the Hebraic gospel. I believe the original gospel verse is correct, since Yahshua was preaching the coming "Kingdom of God".

Matthew 7:5: Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

To Matt. 7:5 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans: The Jewish Gospel reads here: "If you be in my bosom and do not the will of my Father who is in heaven, I will cast you away from my bosom."


You will note that this is an addition to the text we presently have that was, apparently, deleted from Jerome's version.

Matthew 10:16: "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

To Matt. 10:16 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans -- The Jewish Gospel: [wise] more than serpents.


The sense of "wise" here appears to be caution, not cunning.

Matthew 11:12: "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

To Matt. 11:12 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans: The Jewish Gospel has: [the kingdom of heaven] is plundered.


The words have been changed, thus damaging the original sense of the phrase. What is being said here appears to be that the death of John the Immerser was a great blow to the testimony for the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 11:25: "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

To Matt. 11:25 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans: The Jewish Gospel has: I am grateful to thee.


Even though the words have been altered, the context is the same.

Matthew 12:10: "And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? That they might accuse him."

To Matt. 12:10 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans (in Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 12:13)--In the Gospel which the Nazarenes and the Ebionites use, which we have recently translated from Hebrew to Greek, and which most people call the authentic [Gospel] of Matthew, the man who had the withered hand is described as a mason who begged for help in the following words: "I was a mason, earning a living with my hands; I beg you, Jesus, restore my health to me, so that I need not beg for my food in shame."


Here is the admission by Jerome that "most people" call the original Hebrew gospel (that the Nazarenes and Ebionites - sects of messianism - use the authentic (original) gospel. He also tells us here that he translated it from Hebrew to Greek (thus the additions, deletions, etc. that we now have in our New Covenant).

Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

To Matt. 12:40b cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans: The Jewish Gospel does not have: three days and three nights.

rest of the book: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/gospelnazoreans.html