Barabbas and the Original Hebrew Gospels

Barabbas and the Original Hebrew Gospels
James Scott Trimm

There is an account, found in all four gospels, that there was a prevailing Passover custom in Jerusalem that allowed Pilate, the governor of Judea, to commute one prisoner’s death sentence by popular acclaim. According to all four Gospels (Matt. 27:15-26; Mk. 15:6-15; Lk. 23:13-25 and Jn. 18:38b-40) . According to all four accounts, Pilate put forward to individuals, and let the crowd choose between the two: Yeshua and Barabbas. As the accounts go, the crowd chose Barabbas.

However in the Commentary to Matthew by the Fourth Century Church Father Jerome, he makes an interesting comment, speaking about Barabbas in his commentary to Matthew 27:16 he writes “… is interpreted in the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews as ‘son of their teacher’ (Latin: filius magistri eorum). (Jerome on Matthew 27:16)

I have written in depth about the Gospel according to the Hebrews elsewhere. It is the original source text behind the synoptic gospels (and to a lesser extent John) and our Gospel of Matthew is essentially an abridgement of it.

It has been proposed by some authors that Jerome is saying that Barabbas (Bar Abba) was not really names “Bar Abba” (son of a father) but “Bar Rabbon” (Son of their master”). The problem is that when Jerome says “their” here, is is almost certainly doing so to distinguish himself from the Jews. It is very unlikely that anyone would be given the name or title “son of their master”. It is much more likely that the word “their” is Jerome’s, and that the term that appeared in the original Hebrew Gospel source was “Son of the Master” or “Son of a Master” not “Son of their Master.” Thus we would expect the original Hebrew to read Bar Rabbah (בר רבה) rather than Bar Abba (בר אבא).

It has been proposed (by Dr. Miles Jones) that a manuscript known as the “Catalan” Gospels may express Jerome’s proposed original reading here. (The Catalan Gospels are Hebrew Gospels which are a Hebrew translation of a version in the Catalan language. Dr. Miles Jones has proposed that this Catalan version was translated from the original Hebrew (Hebrew>Catalan>Hebrew) and that this Catalan version thus holds as an important witness to Gospel origins).

Unfortunately the Catalan version has here בראבן or בר אבן in it’s text. Which might be “son of their father” but not “son of their master” and since the word “their” is almost certainly Jerome’s and not part of the original name, the Catalan Gospels do not really testify in this passage to this original reading at all.

However, both the DuTillet Hebrew Matthew and the Munster Hebrew text of Matthew, have in their accounts, not “Barabbas”, or “Bar Abba” but “Bar Rabbah” (בר רבה) just exactly as we would expect to find in the original Hebrew of the Gospels!

I have recently been given (by Dr. Al Garza) a thumb drive containing literally thousands of pages of Hebrew manuscripts of “New Testament” books, and their relationships to the Gospel according to the Hebrews and well as Du Tillet and Munster Matthew will be important clues, as I sort out those that are merely medieval Hebrew translations from Greek or Latin, from those that may actually play an important part on Hebrew and Aramaic NT origins.

Emergency Alert! Several bills are hitting our account tonight (6/6/24), and we do not have the funds in our account to cover them. We must raise at least $540 by the end of the day today or we will have cascade of bouncing returned items tonight! We need your help today!

As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.orgor by Zelle or GoFundMe.

Click HERE to donate

2 thoughts on “Barabbas and the Original Hebrew Gospels”

  1. I would say it has to be Bar Abba as this makes it a Day of Atonement fulfillment having the two scapegoats, one is killed, one is set free. To justify this, we know when Yah reset the calendar with Israel , He adjusted it six months. Therefore Day of Atonement became Passover and vice versa.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *