hile attempting to translate the Gospel of Mark into modern Hebrew I came to the startling conclusion that there once existed a Hebrew Life of Jesus that was later translated into Greek, and that descendants of this literal Greek translation of the Hebrew Life of Jesus served as the basis of the Synoptic Gospels. We may, therefore, speak of a Hebrew source from which the Synoptic Gospels stem.
Despite the popularity of the modern suggestion that the Synoptic Gospels are the end result of several decades of oral transmission, the internal evidence indicates that this is not the case. Dozens of pericopae in Matthew and Luke translate to Hebrew so easily and so idiomatically that we must conclude that the Synoptic Gospels are the result of literary transmission. Let me illustrate this contention by placing side by side the Greek text of Luke 22:67-70 and my Hebrew reconstruction.
Today when we hear the word “gospel” we tend to think of a message about Jesus that tells people how to “get saved.” But in the ancient world in which Jesus lived the word “gospel” was applied to “good news” of a certain type. When people in the ancient world heard the word “gospel” they understood it to mean a royal proclamation that someone had become king.
Explore this fascinating topic with Joshua Tilton in his new eBook “Jesus’ Gospel.”
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