I haven't read it either! I got it reading through some posts on a NT scholarship message board-and summarized the chatter a bit. I was hoping somebody else had put up the $150 bucks and could vet it for me. As for the links, it was just about as much as I could find.
For the record, I am not religious, nor does my work or writing push in those directions. I'm a historian.
In this case, since the source text is so well known and documented, I too was a bit surprised that no other english translations are available. (By the way, touchstone = evan bohar, so that was a translation and not meant to imply that "I" think its "the touchstone." As you obviously are aware, bohar/zohar in combination with eban also means Diamond- or specifically "light stone")
It is indeed tantalizing though isn't it. Perhaps too much so? The Ebionite Gospel is well known enough, by fragment and ancient commentary. Pursuant to your idea, have you seen this quote of Jerome's?
"Matthew, also called Levi, apostle and aforetimes publican, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library. at Caesarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me bythe Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of Syria, who use it. In this it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his own account or in the person of our Lord the Saviour quotes the testimony of the Old Testament he does not follow the authority of the translators of the Septuagint but the Hebrew."
I got that from the Amazon page for the book.
Anyway, I want it for a different reason. I don't care who wrote it.
I sense that you think I have some sort of axe to grind with yours (and Joe's) theses, so I'll be plain about why I ask, and maybe you'll realize that I'm not here to antagonize. I'm researching Arsacid dynastic succession within the Parthian empire. As I'm sure you are aware, Parthia was a province of the Seleucid Greek empire from Alexander until about 250BC, during which the Seleucids were weakened by the conflict with the Egyptain Ptolemies. The Parthian structure of nation states emerged under centralized leadership at that time, and fought the Seleucids off and on until the Romans replaced their influence. Crassus, a Roman Consul within the triumvirate of Pompey and Julius Caesar, was routed whe he tried to subjugate Parthia, resulting in an invasion by the Parthians of Rome's territory in 40BC in which they conquered Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor. There was a Parthian satrap installed named Antigonus (yep), then Mark Antony's invasion of 37bc which marked the beginning of the Herodians. (Antony lost, retreated, and a period of detente, with the border at the euphrates ensued until 58ad)
So hopefully you see why I'm so interested in your identifications.
To cut to the chase- I see the Palestine during this period as crouched between two superpowers, and am trying to tease out ways in which *the conflict* was really just local between Rome and the Jews, or perhaps wider than is realized. A hebrew matthew would really be something then, as it would show a political undercurrent speaking to the east-not just to Judea.
There's alot more there that I won't bore you with unless you want me to.
Responses To This Message
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.