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Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew Roots

Hebrew Roots FAQ's and Myths



Myth. The "Hebrew Matthew, Or Shem Tov, or Shem Tob Matthew prove a Hebrew original. The Hebrew Matthew proves that the NT was written in Hebrew first.

A. Many deny the inspiration and inerrancy of the Greek New Testament, and teach that it is full of “translation” errors. Many teach that the Greek was copied from the Aramaic, which was copied from the “original” Hebrew. Because of this belief, it is purported that the Greek is a third generation copy which was poorly translated.

This scholarly disaster is then upheld on the shaky toothpick of the alleged Hebrew New Testament which boils down to the claim of a Hebrew Matthew, thereby proving their postulating. The Hebrew Matthews have been known of and reviewed by scholars and others for centuries. The supposed "original" Hebrew Matthews, which are not in agreement with each other, are from the 1400-1500 range CE. Copies of the texts are readily available for review, and have not been "guarded" or hidden as some would claim. Precisely, ShemTob is dated 1380, while DuTillet and Muenster are about 1550. Together they make up the "Middle Ages Matthews" but, they are very different, and as one stated, that is one of the ironies. The Greek Matthew used for most Bibles is from the 250-400 CE range.

Hugh Schonfeld pushes the DuTillet, and his, An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew's Gospel,  suggests that Hebrew, not Greek, is the original text of the New Testament, is widely used by those within HR.. Schonfield is best known for his writing, The Passover Plot, which uses every argument to show why the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ were not as stated in the Scriptures. He looks at the Scriptures as 'legends', and wishes to set believers free from destructive teachings and deceptions and their "fairy dust called faith." 1  

Schonfield suggests in The Passover Plot, that if people depend only on the New Testament they would be unable to form a correct understanding of Jesus 2  He also believes that the authors, instead of being inspired by God write as they did, were at the disadvantage of having 'meager' documentation and dependent on their recollections. 3  

He then suggested, in spite of New Testament Scriptures which declare the writings to be by revelation of the Holy Spirit, that, today we are much better off today than New Testament writers. 4

Schonfield shows us his way to finding the 'truth', and reaching conclusions is through total detachment to any bias of Christian beliefs. Rather, one look to the realities of that time, using analysis and comparisons of data from a myriad of sources, scraps and hints, looking at traditions of the Jewish people and thereby come to the 'truth.'  5 

In what becomes his speculation and actual denunciation of the Scriptural account of Jesus Christ, Schonfield declared that in his analysis and reconstruction of events, that it could not be claimed as actually accurate.  6

That speculation becomes an exercise to destroy the validity of the Scriptures, the Deity of Jesus Christ, His crucifixion, His burial, His being raised from the dead and His ascension to the right hand of the Father. It attempts to destroy who Jesus Christ is, and the witness found in the New Testament. 

Many view the Shem Tov as the best "original" Hebrew Matthew. The reality is that the sources for Shem Tov or Hebrew Matthew anti-Christian writings included the infamous Toledoth Jeshu as noted by Dr. William Petersen. It also appears that the Shem Tov may also use the Talmud as a guideline for some of the alterations that appear in the text. The Toldoth Jeshu is based on the writings found in the the Talmud as well. The Shem Tob or Shem Tov, is known for abbreviations, verse omissions and changes, similarities to the gnostic Gospel of Thomas, and sourcing Dutch, Latin and other writings.

Dr. Petersen noted:

"...3. Hebrew versions of the Gospel of Matthew have been known to and used by New Testament scholars for centuries. Often referred to in scholarship as the "Old Hebrew Matthew," Sebastian Münster produced the first edition of such a manuscript in 1537 (Münster 1537); in 1555 Jean du Tillet edited a different but similar Hebrew Matthew manuscript (du Tillet 1555). However, in addition to these two, at least five other Hebrew Matthews (mostly fragmentary) are known...a Hebrew Matthew contained in the twelfth (in some manuscripts, the thirteenth) book of the Even Bohan (The Touchstone), a Jewish polemical treatise directed against Christians (Howard 1995: 160-161). ...

4. The Even Bohan was composed in Spain (presumably in Aragon) by a Castilian-born Jew named Shem-Tob ben-Isaac ben-Shaprut in 1380 (ibid.: xi). He revised his work at least three times: in 1385, around 1400, and once again, still later (ibid.)"..."

"104. There is no mystery about the genesis of Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew. It is obvious that it incorporates material from a variety of sources (e.g., from the Toledoth Jeshu, the Vetus Latina, etc.). But because of the high number of agreements with the Liège Harmony, many of them unique, the tradition behind the Liège Harmony--which we know to be a Latin gospel harmony--must also be the principal element responsible for the textual complexion of Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew:.."  7

Discussing the Toledoth Yeshu or Toledoth Jeshu in Part III of the series To Embrace Hebrew Roots, the article The Talmud & Jesus Christ, 9 it was noted,

"The Talmud and Cabala teachings of the Toledot Yeshu-- (or Tolodoth Ieschu or Sepher Toldoth Jehoshua) represent various teachings regarding Christ, which may be shocking to many. A brief overview of these teachings refers to writings that quote the Talmud, (treatise Sabbath, folio 104, treatise Sanhedrim, folio 107, and Sota, folio 47)..."

The Shem Tov also eliminates His title of Christ/Messiah. Both The Talmud, and the Toldoth Yeshu blaspheme Christ and His finished work, and distort the details of His ministry. In some versions of the Toldoth Yeshu, (geneaology of Yeshu) the name “Yeshu” is used as an acronym for "Yemach Shemo U'zikhrono" which translated means “May his name and memory be blotted out.” 10 

The Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew quotes are from George Howard's 'Hebrew Gospel of Matthew', published by Mercer University Press (1995) and are compared to the KJV. The name Yeshu, disclosed below, is currently the name that many people refer to Jesus as when speaking modern Hebrew in Israel.

These passages fail to identify Jesus as Messiah.

Mat 1:1 "...the generation of Jesus Christ..."

Shem Tov "...the generations of Jesus..." ***Please note that Jesus is translated from the name Yeshu in the Hebrew text of this translation.

Mat 1:18 " the birth of Jesus Christ..."

Shem Tov "...birth of Jesus..." ***This is also translated from the word Yeshu from the Hebrew text.

In this passage His ability to forgive all sin is eliminated.

Mat 1:21 "...thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins"

Shem Tov " will call his name Jesus because he will save my people from their sins." ***Jesus=Yeshua

Mat 9:2 " And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."

Shem Tov "9:2, "They brought to him one who was sick with contractions, that is, paralitico, lying upon his bed. Jesus saw their faith and said to the sick man: Have courage my son. It is by the faith of God that your sins have been forgiven." ***Jesus = Yeshu

In this passage Jesus is made equal to the scribes or sages.

Mat 7:29 "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

Shem Tov "because he was preaching to them with great power, not as the rest of the sages"

In this passage the coming of a future Kingdom is eliminated

Mat 6:10 "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

Shem Tov "may your kingdom be blessed; may your will be done in heaven and on earth"

In this passage the preaching of the gospel is eliminated. 

Mat 11:5 "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

Shem Tov "the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are revived and the poor are acquitted."

In this passage the temple is exalted above Christ

Mat 12:6 "But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple."

Shem Tov "Truly I say to you that the temple is greater than this"

In this passage their behavior not their doctrine is questioned.

Mat 16:12 "Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

Shem Tov "beware of the behavior of the Pharisees and the Saducees..." *** This does not have the verse broken up by number. There is a group of verses listed as 9-12 , and no verse 6, 7, or 8a. 

Mat 16:9-12 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Shem Tov 16:9-12, "Do you remember the five loaves and four thousand men how many seahs were left over? Therefore you should understand that I am not speaking of natural loaves but I am saying to you that you should (beware) of the behavior of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 

In this passage Elijah becomes the savior.

Mat 17:11 "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."

Shem Tov "11. He answered them and said: Indeed Elijah will come and will save all the world. 12 "I say to you, he has already come, they did not know him, and they did to him according to their desire. (So) they will do to the Son of Man. 13 "Then the disciples understood that regarding John the Baptizer he was saying this""

Mat 18:11 "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."

Shem Tov 18:11, "and the Son of Man has stopped saving the enemy."

In these passages the Deity of Christ is eliminated.

 Mat 19:28 "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory,..."

Shem Tov "Jesus said: Truly I say to you who follow me, in the day of judgement when man sits upon the throne of his glory you also will sit upon the twelve thrones of the twelve tribes of Israel." ***Jesus=Yeshu

Mat 20:30 "...when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David."

Shem Tov "...It was said to them: The prophet Jesus from Nazareth is coming. Then they cried out saying: Son of David, have mercy on us." ***Jesus=Yeshu

Mat 28:9 ".. Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."

Shem Tov "As they were going Jesus passed before them saying: May the Name deliver you. They came near to him, bowed down to him, and worshipped him" ***Please Note Jesus = Yeshu ; the Name =haShem

In this passage preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes, "the Anti-Christ" and "abomination of desolation."

Mat 24:14-16 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: "

Shem Tov "And this gospel, that is, evungili, will be preached In all the earth for a witness concerning me to all the nations and then the end will come. This is the Anti-Christ and this is the abomination which desolates which was spoken of by Daniel [as] standing in the holy place. Let the one who reads understand. Then those who are in Juda, let them flee to the mountains."

In the passages below, Jesus is hanged in accordance to what is written in Talmudic writings and the Toldoth Yeshu, instead of being crucified. This eliminates His blood atonement and His finished work on the cross. The same Hebrew word is used to describe the death by hanging of Judas Iscariot in reference to being hanged by a rope.

Matt 26:2  Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Shem Tov  Matt 26:2    Do you not know that after two days will be the Passover and the Son of Man will be delivered into the hand of the Jews for the gallows.

 Matt 27:22,23 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

Shem Tov  Matt 27: 22,23      Pilate said to them: If so, what shall I do with Jesus who is called Messiah? All of them answered that he should be hung. Pilate said to them: What evil has he done? Then they vigorously cried out: let them hang him, let them hang him, let them hang him.

Matt 27:26  Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Shem Tov  Then he released Barabbas (to them), and delivered to them Jesus for beating and affliction that they might hang him.

Matt 27:31,32 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.  32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. 

35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.  

38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Shem Tov  Matt 27:31 When they had mocked him (much), they stripped the robe from him, and dressed him in his own clothes, and gave orders to hang him.    As they were going out from the city, they met a man whose name was Simon the Canaanite. They compelled him to carry the gallows, that is, "The Cross".

35 When they had placed him on the gallows they divided his garments by lot 

38 Then two thieves were hung with him, one on his right and one on his left.

If Jesus were hung, He would have not been thirsty, because medical science has determined that it is impossible to drink or speak when one is being hung. This would then eliminate all of the words that are recorded in the Gospels that He spoke while on the cross, and He would have never been able to say "It is finished". Also If He was hung, then there would have been no need for the soldier to pierce his side, because He would have been dead almost instantly, which would deny His suffering. This errant translation of these passages denies all of His finished work, and also denies the cross, because there is no blood shed during hanging, hence no redemption.

Jesus constantly forgave sins--even before He was crucified, and that is not in Torah. But it is in the New Covenant because of Him.

Lev 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them

Lev 4:26 And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him

Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

2Ch 29:24 And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood on the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.

Heb 10: 1. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Heb 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Everything changed when Christ shed His blood for us. But even during His ministry He was showing that God's law encompassed more than what was given to Moses... and we know that because even Abraham obeyed God, and there had been no law given. He was faithful. Every jot and tittle is His law and His words---not just the Mosaic law--His words will never pass away, but we know that Bibles and manuscripts have and will pass away.

1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Isaiah 40:6-8 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.



1. Hugh Schonfield. The Passover Plot, p. 41,  New York, Bantam, 1967 

2. Ibid. p. 5

3-4. Ibid. p.6

5. Ibid. p.11

6. Ibid. p. 165

7  Some Observations on a Recent Edition of and Introduction to Shem-Tob's "Hebrew Matthew"

8 To Embrace Hebrew Roots >

9 The Talmud & Jesus Christ >

10 To view the “Toldoth Yeshu”, please click on the link below which originally was linked directly to the University of Pennsylvania:

***Hebrew Gospel of Matthew by George Howard Mercer University Press 1995

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Hebrew Roots FAQS & Myths

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Under the Law

Sacrifices, Feasts, Celebrations

Names For God & Jesus

Who Is Jesus

Talmud & Kabbalah



Note: "Strong's" for Hebrew and Greek Word definitions from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong

"Thayers" >  Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

"BDB" >Brown-Driver-Brigg's Hebrew Definitions


All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated

                Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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