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The Original Gospel of Matthew
The Final Reconstruction of the Earliest Matthew
Standford Rives seeks to provide the best approximation of the original Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew. There is no disputing Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew. In about 400 AD, Jerome translated it from a copy at the Library of Caesarea. It was quoted dozens of times by the earliest church commentators. Jerome explained that our Greek version of Matthew came from this Hebrew version. Jerome noted a score of variants that were interesting. Rives takes the 49 quotes in the early church and combines them with the best sources that reflect the early Hebrew Matthew, such as the Shem-Tob version of Matthew. In addition, Rives uses the Agrapha -- early quotes of the Lord Jesus by the early church commentators but which do not match any surviving gospel. Scholars regard the Agrapha as likely sayings from the original Hebrew Matthew. They are thus restored in this volume. Also, Jesus' sayings contained in the Didache -- the oldest manuscript of sayings of Jesus which are similar to Matthew --- has numerous interesting variants. It too is believed to contain much from the original Hebrew Matthew.
Standford Rives, an evangelical Christian and attorney, tries to meticulously assemble what likely was the original Matthew from all these sources. It is hoped that this will be edifying to the faithful, providing an essential devotional text for followers of Jesus Christ.
This third volume represents the devotional version of the Original Gospel of Matthew. It is the best estimate of what the first Hebrew Matthew contained. There is no commentary or footnotes. It is simply a smooth flowing text with the best variants reflected in the text. It uses color coding to signify the source of each variant. The purpose of the color coding is to allow anyone to use this text for devotions, free to disregard certain variants by using the color codes. If one regards a certain color code matches a source one believes is not an authoritative source, one then can disregard that source by noting its color-code.
If one wishes to delve further into examining those source materials, one will need volume 1. It provides extensive footnotes with the precise citation for the original variant. This will give the reader the bibliographical information necessary to verify the reliability of what Mr. Rives has concluded should be regarded as the authentic original.
Further, the first and third volumes are separated to keep customer purchase costs down as color printing is very expensive. Thus, some readers will be satisfied with volume 3. They do not need to purchase volume 1 which has the same version of color-coded text as in volume 3 but with extensive footnoting. Yet, for others, they will seek to go more deeply into the study of the sources, and they will need volume 1.
Regardless, it is recommended that everyone obtain first volume 3 for devotions. Then, based upon whether one finds these variants meaningful for their lives, then the reader can seek greater confirmation by acquiring volume 1.
To save costs further, all appendices which do not use color printing were placed in volume 2. The appendices represent Mr. Rives' articles on what he sees as the apologetic advantages offered by the Original Gospel of Matthew. Mr. Rives also studies the impact on doctrine that the Original Gospel of Matthew provides, such as on the usage of the name of Yahweh; the virgin birth account; the Marcan priority claim; issues regarding whether Jesus spoke about Paul; the Ebionites, the passion week chronology; the trinitarian baptismal formula in Matthew 28: 19, etc.
Finally, Mr. Rives' primary purpose besides edification is to provide the variants that help Christian defenders of the faith reply cogently to critics of Christianity. It turns out Matthew did not originally contain texts which have given rise to the serious challenges of critics. Only time will tell if critics of Christianity will be open-minded enough to accept the fruit of Mr. Rives' labor.
- Publication Date:
- 146815656X / 9781468156560
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Full Color with Bleed
- Related Categories:
- Religion / Biblical Studies / Jesus, the Gospels & Acts