Nazarene Space

Fragments from the Goodnews according to the Hebrews


Irenaeus

Irenaeus Against Heresies, i.26.2. But the Ebionites use only that Gospel which is according to Matthew, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, calling him an apostate from the Law.


Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis i. 9. 45). Even (or also, in the Gospel according to the Hebrews is written the saying, 'he that wondereth shall reign, and he that reigneth shall rest'.

id. (Strom.) v.14.96. For those words have the same force as these: He shall not cease from seeking until he find, and having found, he will be amazed, and having been amazed will reign, and having reigned will rest.


Origen

Origen on John, ii. 12. And if any accept the Gospel according to the Hebrews, where the Saviour himself saith, 'Even now did my mother the Holy Spirit take me by one of mine hairs, and carried me away unto the great mountain Thabor', he will be perplexed, &c. . . .

On Jeremiah, homily xv.4. And if anyone receive that saying, 'Even now my mother the Holy Spirit took me and carried me up unto the great mountain Thabor', and the rest. . . .


Pseudo-Origin

It is written in a certain Gospel which is called according to the Hebrews (if at elast any one care to accept it, not as authoritative, but to throw light on the question before us):

The second of the rich men (it saith) said unto him: Master, what good thing can I do and live? He said unto him: O man, fulfil (do) the law and the prophets.

He answered him: I have kept them. He said unto him: Go, sell al that thou ownest, and distribute it unto the poor, and come, follow me. But the rich man began to scratch his head, and it pleased him not. And the Lord said unto him: How sayest though: I have kept the law and the prophets? For it is written in the law: Though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, and lo, many of thy brethren, sons of Abraham, are clad in filth, dying for hunger, and thine house is full of many good things, and nought at all goeth out of it unto them.

And he turned and said unto Simon his disciple who was sitting by him: Simon, son of Joanna, it is easier for a camel to enter in by a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.


Eusebius

Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. iii.39.17, speaking of the early writer Papias, says: He has also set forth (or expounded) another story, about a woman accused of many sins before the Lord, which the Gospel according to the Hebrews also contains.

It is the obvious, and general, view that this story was that of the woman taken in adultery, which, as is well known, forms no part of the true text of St. John's Gospel, though it is inserted by most manuscripts at the beginning of the eighth chapter. A few manuscripts place it in St. Luke's Gospel. The description suggests that Papias's story, with its mention of many sins, differed from ours in detail.

id. iv.22.8. Hegesippus made use in his Memoirs of the Gospel according to the Hebrews.

id. iii.25.5 (in his list of antilegomena, writings whose canonicity was disputed): And among them some have placed the Gospel according to the Hebrews which is the especial delight of those of the Hebrews who have accepted Christ.

iii.27.4. (The Ebionites repudiated Paul) and used only the Gospel according to the Hebrews, making but slight account of the others.

Theophany, iv.12 (preserved in Syriac). As we have found somewhere in the Gospel which the Jews have in the Hebrew tongue, where it is said: I choose for myself them that are good (or well pleasing): the good are they whome my Father which in heaven giveth (or hath given) me.

ibid. (A passage preserved in Greek also.) But since the Gospel written in Hebrew characters which has reached our hands turns the threat not against the man who hid the talent, but against him who had lived riotously (for it told of three servants, one who desereved his master's substance with harlots and flute-girls, another who multiplied it by trading, and another who hid the talent; and made the one to be accepted, another only rebuked, and another to be shut up in prison), the question occurs to me whether in Matthew, after the conclusion of the speech against the man who did nothing, the threat that follows may refer, not to him, but by epanalepsis (i.e. taking up a former subject again) be said of the first, who ate and drank with the drunken.


Epiphanius

They [The Nazarenes] have the Gospel according to Matthew quite complete, in Hebrew: for this Gospel is certainly still preserved among them as it was first written in Hebrew letters. I do not know if they have even removed the genealogy from Abraham to Christ.
((Epiphanius, Panarion 29:9:4)

In the Gospel that is in general use among them [the Ebionites] which is called "according to Matthew", which however is not whole and complete but forged and mutilated - they call it the Hebrews Gospel-it is reported:

There appeared a certain man named Jesus of about thirty years of age, who chose us.
And when he came to Capernaum, he entered into the house of Simon whose surname
is Peter, and opened his mouth and said: "As I passed the Lake of Tiberias, I chose John
and James the sons of Zebedee, and Simon and Andrew and Thaddeus and Simon the
Zealot and Judas the Iscariot, and you, Matthew, I called as you sat at the receipt of
custom, and you followed me. You, therefore, I will to be twelve apostles for a testimony
unto Israel." (Epiphanius, Panarion 30.13.2-3)

And:

It came to pass that John was baptzing; and there went out to him Pharisees and were
baptized, and all of Jerusalem.  And John had a garment of camel`s hair and a leather girdle about his loins, and his food, as it is said, was wild honey, the taste if which was that of manna, as a cake dipped in oil.
Thus they were resolved to pervert the truth into a lie and put a cake in the place of locusts.
(Epiphanius, Panarion 30.13.4-5)

And the beginning of their Gospel runs:

It came to pass in the days of Herod the king of Judaea, when Caiaphas was high priest,
that there came one, John by name, and baptized with the baptism of repentance in
the river Jordan. It was said of him that he was of the lineage of Aaron the priest, a
son of Zacharias and Elisabeth : and all went out to him.
(Epiphanius, Panarion 30.13.6)

And after much has been recorded it proceeds:

When the people were baptized, Jesus also came and was baptized by John.
And as he came up from the water,  the heavens was opened and he saw the
Holy Spirit in the form of a dove that descended and entered into him.
And a voice sounded from Heaven that said:
"You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased. "
And again: " I have this day begotten you".
And immediately a great light shone round about the place.
When John saw this, it is said, he said unto him :
"Who are you, Lord?"
And again a voice from Heaven rang out to him:
"This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
And then, it is said, John fell down before him and said:
"I beseech you, Lord, baptize me."
But he prevented him and said:
"Suffer it; for thus it is fitting that everything should be fulfilled."
(Epiphanius, Panarion 30.13.7-8)

Moreover, they deny that he was a man, evidently on the ground of the
word which the Saviour spoke when it was reported to him:


"Behold, your mother and your brethren stand without." namely:
"Who is my mother and who are my brethren?"
And he stretched his hand towards his disciples and said:
"These are my brethren and mother and sisters, who do the will of my Father."
(Epiphanius, Panarion 30.14.5)

They say that Christ was not begotten of God the Father, but created as one of
the archangels ... that he rules over the angels and all the creatures of the
Almighty, and that he came and declared, as their Gospel, which is called
Gospel according to Matthew, or Gospel According to the Hebrews?,
reports:

"I am come to do away with sacrfices, and if you cease not sacrificing,
the wrath of God will not cease from you."
(Epiphanius,  Panarion 30.16,4-5)

But they abandon the proper sequence of the words and pervert the saying,
as is plain to all from the readings attached, and have let the disciples say:

"Where will you have us prepare the passover?"
And him to answer to that:
"Do I desire with desire at this Passover to eat flesh with you?"
(Epiphanius, Panarion 30.22.4)


Jerome

"Matthew, who is also Levi, and from a tax collector came to be
an emissary first of all evangelists composed a Gospel of
Messiah in Judea in the Hebrew language and letters, for the
benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed, who
translated it into Greek is not sufficiently ascertained.
Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the
library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently
collected.  I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this
volume in the Syrian city of Borea to copy it. In which is to be
remarked that, wherever the evangelist... makes use of the     
testimonies of the Old Scripture, he does not follow the
authority of the seventy translators [the Greek Septuagint], but
that of the Hebrew.  To these belong the two "Out of Egypt have
I called my son" and "For he shall be called a Nazaraean."
(Of illustrious Men 3)

In the Gospel according to the Hebrews,
which is written in the Chaldee and Syrian language,
but in Hebrew letters, and is used by the Nazarenes
to this day (I mean the Gospel according the Apostles,
or, as is generally maintained, the Gospel according to
Matthew, a copy of which is in the library at Caesarea,
We find:

    Behold, the mother of our Lord
    and His brothers said to him,
    John the Baptist baptizes for the remission of sins;
    let us go and be baptized by him.
    But He said to them, what sin have
    I committed that I should go and be baptized by him?
    Unless perchance, the very words which I have said
    Is [a sin of] ignorance.
(Jerome; Against Pelagius 3:2)

In the Gospel according to the Hebrews,
which is written in the Chaldee and Syrian language,
but in Hebrew letters, and is used by the Nazarenes
to this day (I mean the Gospel according the Apostles,
or, as is generally maintained, the Gospel according to
Matthew, a copy of which is in the library at Caesarea,)
We find: …

    “If your brother sin against you in word,
    and make amends to you,
    receive him seven times in a day.”
    Simon, His disciple, said to Him,
    “Seven times in a day?”  The Lord
    answered and said to him, “I say
    unto you until seventy times seven.”
    Even the prophets, after they were
    anointed with the Holy Spirit,
    were guilty of a word of sin.”
(Jerome; Against Pelagius 3, 2)


According to the Gospel written in the Hebrew speech,
which the Nazarenes read, the whole fount of the
Holy Spirit shall descend upon him… Further in the
Gospel which we have just mentioned we find
the following written:

When the Lord ascended from the water,
the whole fount of the Holy Spirit descended
and rested upon him, and said to him, “My Son,
in all the prophets I was waiting for you,
that you might come, and that I might rest in you.
For you are my rest; and you are my firstborn son,
who reigns forever.
(Jerome; Commentary on Is. 11:2)

And in the Gospel according to the Hebrews,
which the Nazarenes are accustomed to read,
one of the greatest sins is
“To grieve the spirit of one’s brother”,
(Jerome; Commentary on Ezek. 18:7)

As also we read in the Hebrew Gospel
that the Lord spoke to his disciples:
“And never,” he said, “be joyful
except when you look on your brother
with love.”
(Jerome on Eph. 5:4)


Also the gospel called according to the Hebrews, recently translated by me into Greek and Latin, which Origen often uses, says after the resurrection of the Savior:

Now the Lord, when he had given the cloth to the servant of the priest,
went to Ya’akov and appeared to him.

(for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he had drank the Lord’s cup until he should see him risen from among them that sleep).  A little further on the Lord says,

Bring a table and bread.

And immediately it is added,

He took bread and blessed and broke and gave it to Ya’akov HaTzadik
and said to him,  My brother, eat your bread, for the Son of Man is risen
from among them that sleep.”
(Jerome; On Illustrious Men, 2)


In the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews
Instead of “essential to existence” I found “mahar” (rxm)
which means “of tomorrow”, so that the sense is:
“Our bread of tomorrow (that is of the future)
give us this day.
(Jerome; on Mt. 6:11)

In the Hebrew Gospel according to Mathew
It is thus: “Our bread of tomorrow (that is of the future)
give us this day.”
That is, “The bread which you will give us in the Kingdom
give us this day”.
(Jerome; On Ps. 135)

Matthew, who wrote his Gospel in the Hebrew speech,
Put it thus: “Osanna barrama,” i.e. Osanna in the highest.
(Jerome; Letter to Damascus 20)

In the Gospel which the Nazarenes and Ebionites use
which I have lately translated into Greek from the Hebrew
and which is called by many people the original of Matthew,
this man who has the withered hand is described as a mason,
who prays for help in such words as these: "I was a mason
seeking a livelihood with my hands:  I pray you Yeshua,
to restore me my health, that  I may not beg meanly for food."
(Jerome; On. Mt. 12:13)

Bethlehem of Judea.  This is a mistake of the scribes: for I think it was originally expressed by the Evangelist as we read in the Hebrew
(On Mat. 2:6)

In the Gospel which the Nazarenes use,
instead of “son of Barachias”
we have found written “son of Joiada.”
(Jerome; Commentary on Matthew 23:35)

Barabbas… is interpreted in the so-called
Gospel according to the Hebrews as
“son of their teacher”
(Jerome; On. Mt. 27:16)


But in the Gospel which is written in Hebrew letters
we read not that the veil of the Temple was rent,
but that the lintel of the Temple of wonderous size
collapsed.
(Jerome; Letter 120 to Hedibia and in his Commentary on Mt. 27:51)

Also the Gospel called according to the Hebrews,
recently translated by me into Greek and Latin,…

Of the Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp.  In it he also inserts
a testimony about the person of Messiah, from the Gospel
which was recently translated by me; his words are:

    But I both saw him in the flesh after the resurrection,
    and believe that he is in the flesh:  
    and when he came to Peter, and those who were with Peter,
    he said to them, “Lo, feel me and see that I am not a
    bodiless spirit”.  And forthwith they touched him and believed.
    (Jerome; Of Illustrious Men 2, 16 and Comm. on Isa. Preface to Book 18)

The early second century “Church Father” Ignatius in his letter to the Smynaeans, quotes this story from the Goodnews according to the Hebrews (he never names his source, but Jerome does) while rebutting the false doctrine of Docetism:

    He was also truly crucified… And he suffered truly
    as he also truly raised up himself: And not, as some
    unbelievers say, that he only seemed to suffer,
they themselves only seeming to be [believers]….
But I know that even after his resurrection he
was in the flesh; and I believed that he is still so.

And when he came to those who were with Peter,
he said to them, “Take, handle me, and see that I
am not a bodiless demon.”  And straightway they
felt and believed; being convinced both by his flesh
and spirit.  

For this cause they despised death, and were found
to be above it.  But after his resurrection he did
eat and drink with them, as he was flesh; although
as to his Spirit he was united to the Father.
(Smyraneans 3:1-2 (1:9-12 in some editions))

You Jerome (above) had wrongly placed the quotation in Ignatious’s letter to Polycarp, but it actually appears in his letter to the Smyraneans.  According to Eusebious’s Ecclesiastical History 3:36, it also appeared in a lost book known as the Doctrine of Peter.  


Didymous the Blind

It seems that Matthew is named Levi in the Gospel according to Luke.  But they are not the same, but Matthias who replaced Judas and Levi are the same with a double name, this appears from the Gospel according to the Hebrews.
(Didymous the Blind; Comm. On Psalms K-R, 198)


From the Middle Ages

As it is said in the Gospel of the Nazarenes:

    At this word of the Lord many thousands of Jews
    who were standing around the cross became believers.
    (Haimo of Auxerre; Commentary on Isaiah 53:2)


In the Gospel books which the Nazarenes use we read:    

    Rays went forth from his eyes,
    by which they were frightened and fled.

(A Marginal note in a versified 8th century Bible manuscript known as the Aurora of Peter Riga)

This is likely the source for a similar comment made by the fourth century “Church Father” Jerome who elsewhere frequently quotes from the Goodnews according to the Hebrews gives the following citation without giving a source:

    For a certain fiery and starry light radiated
    from his eyes and the majesty of the Godhead
    gleamed in his face.
    (Jerome; Commentary on Matthew 21:12)


These eight days of Passover, at which Messiah the son of God rose again, signify eight days after the recurrence of the Passover, at which the seed of Adam will be judged, as is proclaimed in the Gospel of the Hebrews; and for this reason the learned believe that the day of judgment will be at Passover, because on that day Messiah rose again, that on that day also the saints should rise again.
(cited in Cateches celtique of the Breton Vaticanus Reginus, lat. 49; Studi e Testi 59, 1933, p.58)


For thus the Gospel which is entitled According to the Hebrews
reports:

    When Joseph looked out with his eyes, he saw a crowd of pilgrims
    Who were coming in company to the cave, and he said:
    I will arise and go out to meet them.  And when Joseph went out,
    he said to Simon, “It seems to me as if those coming were
    soothsayers, for lo, every moment they look up to heaven
    and confer with one another.  But they seem to be strangers,
    for their appearance differs from ours; for their dress is very rich
    and their complexion quite dark; they have caps on their heads
    and their garments seem to be silky, and they have breeches
    on their legs. And they have halted and are looking at me,
    and lo, they have halted and are looking at me,
    and lo, they have again set themselves in motion and are coming here.

From these words it is clear that not merely three men, but a crowd
of pilgrims came to the Lord, even if according to some the foremost
leaders of this crowd were named with the definite names Melchus,
Casper and Phadizarda.
(Sedulius Scotus, Commentary on Matthew; MSS: Berlin, Phill. 1660,
9th century; fol. 17v; Vienna 740, 9th century, fol. 15 r.v.; cited by
Bischoff in Sacris Erudiri VI, 1954, 203f.)

According to a citation from the Gospel according to the Hebrews found in an 8th to 9th century commentary on Matthew the woman’s name was “Mariosa” (Comm. On Mt. 9:20; MS: Wurzburg, M.p.th. fol. 61, 8th-9th Century; cited by Bischoff in Sacris Erudiri VI, 1954, 252)


“a man” by name Malchus [Melekh] and he was a mason.
(Commentary on Matthew 12:10; MS: Wurzburg, M.p.th. fol. 61,
8th-9th Century; cited by Bischoff in Sacris Erudiri VI, 1954, 252)


“the queen”, namely Meroe, “of the South” that is Ethiopia.
(Commentary on Matthew 12:42; MS: Wurzburg, M. p. th. Fol. 61,
8th-9th Century; cited by Bischoff in Sacris Erudiri VI, 1954, 252)


“the daughter”, that is the synagogue, whose name is Mariossa.
(Historical Commentary on Luke 8:42; MS: Clem. 6235
fol. 55v, cited by Bischoff op.cit., 262)

In these cities (namely Chorazin and Bethsaidsa)
Many wonders have been wrought, as their number
The Gospel according to the Hebrews gives 53.
(Historical Commentary on Luke 10:13; MS: Clem. 6235
fol. 55v, cited by Bischoff op.cit., 262)

“the queen of the south” whose name is Meruae.
(Historical Commentary on Luke 11:31; MS: Clem. 6235 fol. 57v, cited by Bischoff op.cit., 262)


[And he wiped their feet] And as it is said
in the Gospel of the Nazarenes:  “He kissed the feet
of each of them.”
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Theolog.
Sammelhandschrift 14th-15th Century, Foll. 25v)

And how the angel strengthened Messiah in his struggle
in prayer, as is told in the Gospel of the Nazarenes.
And the same is also adduced by Anselm in his lamentation:
Be constant, Lord, for now comes the time in which through
your passion mankind sold in Adam will be ransomed.
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Tholog. Sammelhandschrift
14th-15th Century, Fol. 32r)

In the Gospel of the Nazarenes the reason is given
why John was     known to the high priest.  As he was
the son of the poor fisherman Zebedee, he had often
brought fish to the palace of the high priests Annas
and Caiaphas.  And John went out to the damsel
that kept the door and secured from her permission
for his companion Peter, who stood weeping loudly
before the door, to come in.
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Theolog.
Sammelhandschrift 14th-15th Century, Foll. 35r)

We read in the Gospel of the Nazarenes that the Judeans
bribed four soldiers to scourge the Lord so severely
that the blood might flow from every part of his body.
They had also bribed the same soldiers to the end
that they crucified him as it is said in John 19…
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Theolog.
Sammelhandschrift 14th-15th Century, Foll. 44r)

[Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do]
Note that in the Gospel of the Nazarenes we have to read that
at this virtuous discourse of Messiah eight thousand were later
converted to the faith; namely three thousand on the day of
Pentecost as stated in the Acts of the Apostles 2 [2:41],
and subsequently five thousand about whom we are informed
in the Acts of the Apostles 10 [really 4:4?]
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Tholog. Sammelhandschrift
14th-15th Century, Fol. 55r)


Also in the Gospel of the Nazarenes we read that at the time of Messiah’s death the lintel of the Temple, of immense size, had split (Josephus says the same and adds that overhead awful voices were heard which said: “Let us depart from this abode).
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Theolog. Sammelhandschrift 14th-15th Century, foll. 65r)


Cyril of Jerusalem

In Budge's Miscellaneous Coptic Texts is a Discourse on Mary by Cyril of Jerusalem. Cyril (Pseudo-Cyril) relates that he had to send for a monk of Maioma of Gaza who was teaching false doctrine. Called on for an account of his belief the monk (p. 637, Eng. trans.) said: It is written in the Gospel to the Hebrews that when Christ wished to come upon the earth to men, the good Father called a mighty power in the heavens which was called Michael, and committed Christ to the care thereof. And the power came down into the world and it was called Mary, and Christ was in her womb seven months. Afterwards she gave birth to him, and he increased in stature, and he chose the apostles, . . . 'was crucified, and taken up by the Father'. Cyril asked: Where in the Four Gospels is it said that the holy Virgin Mary the mother of god is a force? The monk said: In the Gospel to the Hebrews. Then, said Cyril, there are five Gospels? Where is the fifth? The monk said: It is the Gospel that was written to the Hebrews. (Cyril convinced him of his error and burned the books. No more is told of the Gospel, which, whatever it may have been, was certainly not the book we have been dealing with, but a writing of pronouncedly heretical (Docetic?) views. The last sentence of themonk's account of Christ, which I did not quote in full just now, is perhaps worth recording.) 'After they had raised him up on the cross, the Father took him up into heaven unto himself.' This, with its omissin of all mention of the resurrection, might be construed as heretical: on the other hand, it may be merely a case of extreme compression of the narrative.


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