Interesting counter-argument...there's always one.
I would be suprised if there wasn't one....
About the timekeeping I agree. But stricktly speaking that doesn't mean it wasn't written Hebrew.
There are very early Hebrew manuscripts found too. LXX is also a Greek translation of the Hebrew. So our NT could be another LXX.
Christians were hunted down by the Romans in the early days. I think that minimized the number of copies (in any language)
Then Constantine made it the state religion. Roman and Greek religion was very similar. Different names but more or less the same story.
I wouldn't be suprised that the Hebrew copies where destroyed.
I can't verify this but it's very interesting. An argument I put a lot of weight in:
Dr Robert Lindsey, who was my pastor when I was growing up in Israel, translated the book of Mark from Greek into Hebrew. He discovered something rather interesting. He found that when he read the translation in Hebrew rather then from Greek, it made more sense. It wasn't as disjointed as it was in Greek, rather it began to flow and many of the things that were written even had more meaning to the Hebrew ear.
Papias (150-170 C.E.) Matthew composed the words in the Hebrew dialect
, and each translated as he was able
. (quoted by Eusebius Eccl. Hist. 3:39)
==> So Matthew wrote the original in Hebrew and then later translated it (into Greek)
Ireneus (170 C.E.) Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect
. (Irenaeus; Against Heresies 3:1)
==> What was the dialect of the Hebrews?
Origen (c. 210 C.E.) The first [Gospel] is written according to Matthew, the same that was once a tax collector, but afterwards an emissary of Yeshua the Messiah, who having published it for the Jewish believers, wrote it in Hebrew
. (quoted by Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 6:25)
==> This sounds like they knew the originals where in Hebrew but they no longer use/have them....?
Eusebius (c. 315 C.E.) Matthew also, having first proclaimed the Gospel in Hebrew
, when on the point of going also to the other nations, committed it to writing in his native tongue, and thus supplied the want of his presence to them by his writings. (Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:24)
Epiphanius (370 C.E.) They [the Nazarenes] have the Gospel according to Matthew quite complete in Hebrew
, for this Gospel is certainly still preserved among them as it was first written, in Hebrew letters
. (Epiphanius; Panarion 29:9:4)
==> The Nazrenes only had a large part of Matthew. That sounds a bit like only Matthew was ever in Hebrew but I'm sure they likely would have given their life to get the whole NT in Hebrew if they felt is was superior. But it's also unlikely if Matthew was the only Hebrew book they accidently lost part of it. There is a gap in history around that time. Lot's of material (also secular) was lost when libraries where burned down in wars.
Jerome (382 C.E.) "Matthew, who is also Levi, and from a tax collector came to be an emissary first of all evangelists composed
a Gospel of Messiah in Judea in the Hebrew language and letters
, for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed, who translated it into Greek is not sufficiently ascertained.
Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea
, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Borea to copy it. In which is to be remarked that, wherever the evangelist... makes use of the testimonies
==> Strange quote. First is sounds like Matthew was written (composed) in Hebrew but a bit later it sounds like it was translated after the Greek was finished because Hebrew people could not read Greek.
==> Again only Matthew is mentioned. Why always Matthew and not the others?