A Groundbreaking Attempt to Reconstruct the Conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua

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"The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction" is an attempt to follow the stages of Gospel transmission backward to reach the earliest form of the stories about Jesus that originated in the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua.

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Revised: 24-February-2017

Under 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;
  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 segment of the reconstruction explains the reasons for the decisions we made and discusses new insights that are gained from reconstructing Jesus’ words in their original language and in their original contexts.


LOY Introductory Materials

Life Of YeshuaIt is essential to read “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction’” before studying the reconstructions and accompanying commentary.


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. Click here to view the Map of the Conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua.



A Scripture Key to “The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction” is also available for easy reference.


LOY Reconstruction Segments with Commentary

Healing of Shimon’s Mother-in-law


Widow’s Son in Nain


Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple



Tower Builder and King Going to War Similes


“Cost of Entering the Kingdom of Heaven” complex


“Yeshua and Levi the Toll Collector” complex


“How to Pray” complex


“Mission of the Twelve” complex


Preparations for Eating Passover Lamb


Jesus and a Canaanite Woman


LOY Excursus


Mark’s Editorial Style



Catalog of Markan Stereotypes and Possible Markan Pick-ups



Greek Transliterations of Hebrew, Aramaic and Hebrew/Aramaic Words in the Synoptic Gospels


The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua


Greek-Hebrew Equivalents in the LOY Reconstructions



The featured image at the top of this page represents Jerusalem as it appeared in the Byzantine period. The image is part of the Madaba Mosaic Map from the Church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Comments 18

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  17. Goyo Marquez

    I notice the absence of Mat 21:21-22, Mark 11:22-24, Luke 17:6, Is there a reason for this? Are there any other scriptures not included in the map?

    1. David N. Bivin

      The account of the withered fig tree (Matt 21:20-22; Mark 11:20-26) does not appear to have a Hebrew undertext, and therefore no attempt will be made to reconstruct it; however, it’s text will be discussed in the commentary on the “Epileptic Boy Healed (Mt 17:14-21; Mk 9:14-29; Lk 9:37-43a; 17:5-6)” (see this pericope’s placement in the map above). On the other hand, the Matthean and Lukan versions of the “Epileptic Boy Healed” pericope are very Hebraic, and thus, an attempt will be made to reconstruct this story.

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