nder the direction of David Bivin, Jerusalem Perspective has launched an attempt to reconstruct the account of Jesus’ life which, according to church tradition, was written in Hebrew by Jesus’ disciple Matthew. Although this ancient eyewitness account is no longer extant, we believe that significant portions of this source have been preserved in the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. If this theory is correct, then the first three canonical Gospels are the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of that conjectured Hebrew biography, which we refer to as the Hebrew Life of Yeshua.
An attempt also has been made to reconstruct the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua, a more immediate ancestor of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Reconstructing the Hebrew Life of Yeshua is possible because the traditions preserved in the Synoptic Gospels show signs of literary development that occurred as these traditions passed through various stages before reaching their present form. These stages include: (1) translation from a written Hebrew biography to Greek, (2) a stage in which the highly literal and, consequently, unidiomatic Greek translation passed into improved Greek versions, and (3) the stages of development that took place as the traditions passed from the earliest Synoptic Gospel to the second Gospel, and from the second to the third. “The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction” is an attempt to follow those stages backward to reach the earliest form of the Gospel traditions that originated in the Hebrew Life of Yeshua.
A commentary accompanying each section of the reconstruction discusses the new insights that are gained from reconstructing Yeshua’s words in their original language and in their original contexts.
Since we suppose that the Hebrew Life of Yeshua ordered its stories differently from the order they are presented in the Synoptic Gospels, we have provided a Map (or outline) of the conjectured Hebrew biography.
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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