The Original Hebrew of Luke and the Garza-Trimm Manuscript

The Original Hebrew of Luke and the Garza-Trimm Manuscript
James Scott Trimm

In a recent blog, I discussed a newly realized Hebrew Manuscript (which I have called the “Garza-Trimm” text) of the Synoptic Gospels containing a copy of Hebrew Matthew which is of the same family as the DuTillet and Munster texts, and thus is a descendant of the original Hebrew Matthew scribal tradition.

This manuscript of the synoptic gospels has a colophon indicating that the material had been hidden away underground by “Jews who has hidden their testimonies” i.e. secret Jewish believers in Yeshua as Messiah.

In that first blog, I focused on the Hebrew Matthew found in that manuscript. In this blog, I will focus on the Garza-Trimm text of Hebrew Luke. (I realize this is out of order, and at some point in the future, I will write a blog on this version of Mark).

The text of Luke in this manuscript, unfortunately, only contains the first seventeen chapters. A header for Chapter 18 appears, but there is no text under it, and the scribe never completed the manuscript.

The following are just a few interesting readings, far from exhaustive.

Luke 1:62

Here the Greek text of Luke opens with “And they made signs to his father…” and this is also the reading of the Latin Vulgate, the Peshitta, and every other ancient version of Luke I have found. However, the Old Syriac Aramaic Luke, has a unique reading here: “And they said to his father…” The Garza-Trimm Hebrew text of Luke also has “And they said to his father…”. This reading may seem minor, but it is especially significant, because the Old Syriac Aramaic was lost in ancient times, and not recovered until two manuscripts were discovered in the 19th century. The Old Syriac reading could not have been available to a Hebrew translator in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Luke 2:1

Here the KJV reads:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
(Luke 2:1)

In this verse, there is a variant reading between the major ancient versions in this verse. The Greek and Latin have words meaning “world” while the Old Syriac Aramaic has the Aramaic word ארעא (era) which is the Aramaic cognate of the Hebrew word ארץ (eretz). This word can mean “earth” (as in Dan. 2:35) “land” (as in Dan. 9:15) or “world” (as in Prov. 19:4) and which, when paired with the definite article (“the”) can be used as a euphemism for the Land of Israel (“HaEretz, “The Land”) (as in Dan. 9:6). Finally, the Peshitta Aramaic has here “people of his dominion” (עמא דאוחדנה).

Here the Garza-Trimm text of Luke reads כל (תבל) הארץ “all (world) the Land”. It is also extraordinary that the Garza-Trimm text has the word “Eretz” in this passage because Eretz is the Hebrew cognate of “Era” (the Aramaic word found here in the Old Syriac Aramaic) because the Old Syriac was completely unavailable in Europe from ancient times until the mid to late 19th Century.

(See also my recent blog An Original Hebrew Reading in a Hebrew Ms. of Luke in a Swedish Library? which deals with a different Hebrew manuscript which has Eretz here as well.)

Luke 2:11

Here the expected a translator from Greek or Latin would be to have the angel say that the child being born was “Messiah HaAdon” (i.e. “Messiah the Lord”) however in the Garza-Trimm text, the angel declares that the child being born is משיח יהוה “Messiah YHWH”. This extraordinary reading agrees with the Aramaic Old Syriac and Aramaic Peshitta which have here מריא which the Aramaic uses to translate YHWH as opposed to Adon/Adonai (As in Psalm 110:1).

Luke 3:4-6

Here the text is quoting Isaiah 40:3. but Greek and Latin Vugate Luke quote it as it appears in the Greek Septuagint with “make his paths straight” while the Masoretic Text of Isaiah 40:3 says “Make straight in the desert, a highway for our Elohim.” Here the Garza-Trimm text of Luke follows the Masoretic Text of Isaiah 40:3, also in a agreement with the Aramaic of the Old Syriac and Peshitta, and against the Greek and Latin Vulgate.

Luke 10:27

Here Yeshua quotes the Shema (Deut 6:5). In the Greek, Latin Vulgate, and even the Aramaic Old Syriac and Peshitta Luke he quotes the Shema incorrectly, saying:

…You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…

This fourth element “all your mind” does not appear in Deut. 6:5. To understand how it got into the Shema,we must first look at Matthew 22:37.

In Matt. 22:37 Yeshua quotes the Shema (Deut. 6:4-5).  But the Greek text of Matthew this appears (as it appears in the KJV):

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
(Matt. 22:37 KJV)

However the actual text of Deut. 6:4-5 reads:

4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
(Deut. 6:4-5 KJV)

So did Yeshua misquote the Torah?  Did he not know the correct wording of the Shema?  The answer lies in the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts of Matthew.

The original Hebrew of Matthew reads:

And Yeshua answered him, and said: You shall love YHWH your Elohim: with allyour heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
(Matthew 22:37 DuTillet, Munster and Shem Tob)

The Old Syriac Aramaic version of Matthew agrees with Hebrew Matthew saying:

And Yeshua answered him, and said: You shall love YHWH your Elohim: with allyour heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
(Matthew 22:37 Old Syriac)

The Greek translator must have misread the Aramaic חילך (might, strength) as הונך (mind).

The Peshitta which is a revision of the Old Syriac Aramaic towards greater agreement with the Greek clearly conflates (combines) the readings of the Old Syriac and the Greek having:

And Yeshua answered him, and said: You shall love YHWH your Elohim: with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might, and with all your mind.
(Matthew 22:37 Peshitta)

This conflation also appears in the Greek, Latin Vulgate, Old Syriac Aramaic and Peshitta Aramaic versions of Luke (10:27) and Mark (12:30).

However the Garza-Trimm Hebrew text of Luke 10:27 agrees with the Masoretic Text of Deut. 6:5 against all of the ancient Greek, Latin and Syriac (Aramaic) versions of Luke.

Of course this is only a preliminary look at just a few passages of the Garza-Trimm Hebrew text of Luke, far more research must be done. However these few examples make it clear that this Hebrew version of Luke is not a mere Hebrew translation of a Greek or Latin version, but is a descendant of the original Hebrew of Luke, with some unique connections with the Ancient Old Syriac Aramaic version of Luke.

In another blog soon, I will look at some interesting readings in this manuscripts Hebrew version of Mark.

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3 thoughts on “The Original Hebrew of Luke and the Garza-Trimm Manuscript”

  1. Thank you sir for your research. I greatly love to hear what is really in the scripture.
    I am retired and live on a budget. Last month I only had 4 dollors left in my checking with around 12 dollors in my savings after paying my bills and buying food. But this is every month. I am not able to give at this time. But I can pray. שלום

  2. I don’t have my rent either! Trusting Yah. Yah is teaching us to depend on HIM alone for provision and protection the nearer we get to the Great Tribulation.

    We know the correct rendition of Luke 2:11 cannot be “Messiah YHWH”, unless the “of” is implied.

    I find it interesting that differences are often attributed to scribal error or a misread. This is what these guys did for a living, could they be that bad at their jobs?

    1. That’s not actually how it works. You are working backwards. You are starting with a subjective theology, then selecting the texts that agree with your preconceived theology. The correct process is to apply objective rules of textual criticism to the manuscripts we have to achieve a “best text”, and then to apply objective rules of hermeneutics to understand those texts objectively, thus developing a theology objectively from the text. The correct process is to derive theology from the text, not to select texts that agree with preconceived theological positions.

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