Talk:Gospel of the Ebionites

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Featured article Gospel of the Ebionites is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 14, 2013.

Neutrality tag[edit]

I have added an NPOV tag to the article on the basis of what seems to me to be an overt attempt at minimalization of the point of view of one academic, Boismard, whose material is both discussed at comparative length in at least one reference source, and cited as a source in two. Also, I honestly have to say that the attempted downplaying of the topic in the content, calling it "only speculation," seems to me to be utterly laughable. Can anyone point out to me much anything, other than a verbatim recitation of Epiphanius, which isn't "only speculation" about this topic. I beleive there is no reasonable cause for the removal of this tag until and unless material from academic sources of at least the same level of reliability and reputability as the two reference works I indicated above suggest/support this hypothesis be produced. Otherwise, removing the tag, or not giving it the same regard as the other "speculation" regarding this topic which is not individually pointed out to be "speculation" in the same way, would itself be rather clearly a violation of OR/SYNTH. John Carter (talk) 17:50, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Boismard's published work is already cited in the article, both indirectly through the Anchor Bible Dictionary and directly using Boismard as a source. His conclusions are summarized in a note with a citation. If you are saying you have documented manuscript evidence for the existence of a Hebrew Gospel of Matthew please share it. Meanwhile, its putative existence remains a scholarly speculation. I have updated the content to clarify that it remains a subject of scholarly debate. Ignocrates (talk) 18:04, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
Ignocrates, I am once again amazed that you can make such statements without apparently ever even reading the comments of others. I provided a direct quote from the article, in which it stated that Boismard's statements were "only speculation." That was a clearly prejudicial statement, and had no place in the article. At no point was I implying that I had any sort of evidence as you imply above, and I don't think any neutral, rational editor would assume I did. I very much question what seem to me to be ongoing efforts to throw in straw man arguments which only serve to distract from the points made, and very sincerely request them to stop. In any event, I believe at this point the tag is still reasonably placed, because I believe that, based on the reference sources, which are the closest approximation to our own goals for our own materials, the matter is not given the weight as per [{WP:WEIGHT]] it deserves. Also, I believe it to be not unreasonable that if individuals believe that this particulr point demands explicit statement that it is of "scholarly debate," then, honestly, each and every other point in the article which may also be the subject of scholarly debate be individually indicated as such as well. John Carter (talk) 19:00, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
What specific wording do you propose for the inclusion of the Boismard material? Ignocrates (talk) 19:41, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
I do not believe that it is necessarily required of me to propose specific phrasing for a proposal to be considered actionable, nor do I believe that the above comment directly or even indirectly acknowledges the question that, if such material is considered appropriate for one academic view included in the article, that it is not similarly appropriate for inclusion in the discussion of any or every other academic view included in the article which may at some point be questioned for lack of concrete evidence. Personally, I believe in this case that the best thing one editor might do is to perhaps allow others who do not have what some might consider prejudiced opinions on the topic to have some input. Please allow some other editors to comment as well. Although you have done a significant degree of contribution to the article, the tag at the top of each edit box I have ever added to says clearly "Work submitted to Wikipedia can be edited, used, and redistributed—by anyone—subject to certain terms and conditions," and I believe that there may well be enough "everyone" else who have shown some interest in the article, other than yourself, who might be interested in offering their input as well. John Carter (talk) 19:56, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I have filed a case with the DRN WP:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Gospel of the Ebionites in an attempt to facilitate the resolution of this content dispute. Ignocrates (talk) 20:08, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I have made comments there regarding why I believe this may be more of a behavior dispute. However, I still believe it not irrational for other editors who have already marked this page for their watchlist to comment on the current and proposed changes to the article. John Carter (talk) 20:55, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

While we are awaiting a response from WP:DRN, I have asked User talk:In ictu oculi#Boismard for a WP:3O on the question of the proper WP:WEIGHT for the Boismard content. In ictu oculi is as close as we have to a resident expert on the Hebrew Gospel hypothesis and he is fluent in French. Ignocrates (talk) 16:31, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment - Sorry, nothing to hand. To be honest my main problem is with having editorial content in notes: Note "Boismard postulates that two different traditions underlie the Gospel of the Ebionites, a later, more developed, tradition in Greek, and a primitive Semitic tradition which he equates with the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew mentioned by Epiphanius" rather than citations. There's no actual link to Évangile des Ébionites et problème synoptique 1966, no citation, cannot locate it in Google Books, so who knows whether it is the case or not. I wouldn't put much scholarly weight on anything Boismard said in 1966. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:08, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, this is a great help. The note is a paraphrase of the summary of Boismard's work on the Gospel of the Ebionites in the ABD encyclopedic article, which is in turn a (hopefully accurate) translation of Boismard's paper in French. His paper on the GEbi is cited in the Oxford Bible Dictionary (2005) and also cited by Klijn (1992), so it can't be written-off as fringe. However, I agree this has not received much scholarly weight at all (other than in the ABD article). That is why I subordinated Boismard's conjecture to a note. It's disturbing that you can't pull up the paper in Google Books. I will look into that. Ignocrates (talk) 00:44, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I found 6 citations with Google Scholar here, one of them being Klijn's 1992 book. The article in French is cited correctly, but I could not pull it up either. Ignocrates (talk) 00:51, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I expanded the ABD citation into a note and added Petersen's direct quotation, instead of summarizing it. I included Boismard's paper as a secondary citation, in case someone wants to track down the original paper in French. If someone else has a different idea, please discuss it here. Ignocrates (talk) 12:58, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
In reply to Ignocrates's request on my page (I'm sorry I haven'ìt had the time to work on these several pages given the heavy workload at Khazars), I was inclined to accept in ictu oculi's point - we should accept only the most recent work where possible, which Ignocrates generally has done - however the problem for me is that contemporary scholarship over the last few decades still keeps citing Boismard's work frequently (Wolf-Dietrich Köhler (‎1987);Rudolf Pesch (1989); Édouard Massaux, Arthur J. Bellinzoni (‎1990); Albertus Frederik Johannes Klijn (‎1992); Andreas Ennulat (‎1994);Simon Claude Mimouni (‎1998);David Neville (‎2002); Simon-Claude Mimouni (‎2004); Michael J. Kruger (‎2005);James Keith Elliott (‎2005); James A. Kelhoffer (‎2005);Oskar Skarsaune, Reidar Hvalvik (‎2007); J. V. M. Sturdy, Jonathan Knight(‎2007); Guido Baltes (‎2011) etc., to cite just book length technical studies which cite Boismard's work. This means that he is still regarded as relevant, and therefore, in some form or another, may be included, preferably through a specific secondary source that reliably excerpts his position. I think this has been done.Nishidani (talk) 19:28, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I think we have a talk page consensus among three editors - myself, In ictu oculi, and Nishidani - to include Boismard as a source, but cautiously as a tiny minority view. That being the case, is it time to remove the npov tag and move forward? Ignocrates (talk) 21:44, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't think one challenged minor source on a page is sufficient to raise NPOV issues warranting a tag. It is a small technical issue, easily resolved, and is being addressed. So, if that is the objection, then I think the NPOV tag can be removed, though, as always I would leave it there for a discretionary day or two (if it hasn't already been removed: no time to check!) Nishidani (talk) 15:04, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
I believe the numerous references to Boismard in the academic literature produced by Nishidani above very seriously calls into question the apparently unfounded assertion "I agree this has not received much scholarly weight at all" and think perhaps it might make sense if certain parties were to make an effort to actually consult the academic literature, as he has, before making such apparently unfounded assertions. I also very much agree that there is a very real problem with editorializing in the notes, and other potentially dubious behavior, and think that, in general, most if not all of them really could/should be incorporated into the text or perhaps be changed into citation-type notes which can and in this circumstance easily could incorporate quotations from the sources into the note itself. Unfortunately, on Thursday, my off day, an electrical fire pretty much screwed up connectivity, among other things, for a while, and I wasn't able to do as much as I would like. However, under the circumstances, I can't see any reservations about editors who do not have previously expressed positions which could very easily be taken as substantive cause for POV complaints, editors like Nishidani and In ictu oculi, for instance, to remove such tags, or even add more if they deem it appropriate. I regret to say that I have seen a bit of an effort to not deal with some concerns in the past, but that in general tagging seems to be an effective way to get them addressed, when other matters fail. John Carter (talk) 15:07, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
And I think your refusal to offer specific suggestions for improvement of the article while ignoring the input of two WP:3Os and refusing to participate in WP:DRN are all evidence that you are nothing more than a tendentious tag-spammer. Your actions on this article are completely inappropriate and intended to provoke an edit war. Ignocrates (talk) 15:42, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Comment - "ignoring the input of two WP:3Os" - just lukewarmly on that specific issue, overall I share some of the unease of John Carter about this, I have a twitch that something is off, and, sorry, Ignocrates, what John Carter says about your editing/commenting practices is more than fair. My main problem however is that this summer I don't have access to my own personal library, nor a decent university library, and I haven't studied this area in detail for more than 20 years. Sorry everybody. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:14, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
It is very frustrating to be expected to respond to "I have a twitch that something is off" because that is neither specific nor actionable. Since you don't have access to your library resources, and I do have access to a university library, tell me what you think is wrong and I will track down the sources for you. Ignocrates (talk) 23:42, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I realise that is indeed a frustrating comment, but honestly given that my name was invoked I couldn't not say anything, but also cannot just go on memory and impressions of study of 20 years ago and intermittent interest since. What can I say. I'm commenting now on overall impression of the friction above, not on the sources, overall I would like to see you get these articles to featured status and think it's a good work. You've also, mainly, been less supportive than before of the "fountainhead" and Papias related synthesis at Gospel of Matthew which seems to come up in the pasture annually like heracleum sphondylium (persistent common hogweed to British/Irish farmers). For this, mainly, thanks. The real problem with this is we really lack a decent pool of SBL-familiar scholarship in New Testament articles, I include myself in the lack. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:03, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your support. Frankly, this article was a test case to see if any article in this sub-category could make it to FA-class and stay there. If not, I'm not going to waste my time and energy on improving any of the others. With respect to the Papias related content, I have not been opposed to your ends, only the means you have sometimes used to achieve them. Process matters to me. Ignocrates (talk) 02:34, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Am I correct in thinking that when John Carter added the POV tag he was objecting to this paragraph?: Epiphanius incorrectly refers to the gospel in his possession as the Gospel of Matthew and the gospel "according to the Hebrews", perhaps relying upon and conflating the writings of the earlier Church Fathers, Irenaeus and Eusebius, respectively.[n 52] His 4th century colleague Jerome remarks that the Nazoraeans and Ebionites both used the Gospel of the Hebrews, which was considered the original Matthew by many of them. Jerome's report is consistent with the prior accounts of Irenaeus and Eusebius.[n 53]

If so, I imagine it's the very categorical way it calls Epiphanius "incorrect" (citing Skarsaune and Koch) - is that right?

I suggest - assuming this is what the dispute is over - that a way to resolve this would be to recast the sentence to it says something like: Epiphanius identified GEb as GM "according to the Hebrews" (so we begin with a nice little statement of fact). Then: "He presumably meant that GEb was the hypothetical Hebrew version of Matthew believed to underlie that gospel on the basis of an ambiguous comment by Papias (dates). If so, the majority of modern scholars (Skarsaune) think he was mistaken, as the GM shows no signs of having been translated from Hebrew, but the case is still argued by some, eg (names - Boismard?)."

Finally: how on earth can you guys get so emotional about something so dry? PiCo (talk) 05:28, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

PiCo, he is objecting to this sentence: Its relationship to a hypothetical original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew remains a subject of scholarly debate., saying it is far too under-weighted. If you read the whole thread from the top of the page, I initially stated Boismard's conjecture -- that the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is an underlying source for the Gospel of the Ebionites -- is fringe scholarship. I did more research and revised my position to state it is a tiny minority view; therefore, WP:WEIGHT applies here, not WP:FRINGE. JC is unhappy because Boismard's conjecture is mentioned prominently in the ABD encyclopedic article on the GEbi (see my analysis above). The ABD stands alone in mentioning it so prominently, but I accommodated JC by including a quotation from the ABD article in a note. He thinks it should be mentioned even more prominently in the main text similar to the ABD. Frankly, that is an absurd thing to do, and it undermines the very concept of WP:WEIGHT. Ignocrates (talk) 14:39, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Noting once again the reversion to calling me "JC" by the above editor, which has been previously objected to by me on this page already, to apparently little if any attention by that editor, I find it rather amusing that Ignocrates seems to brush off the rather thorough research Nishidani did above, indicating that the Boismard hypothesis is discussed to some degree in all those sources he indicated. The concern was immediately raised because it struck me at the time that this article differed in rather significant ways from the most highly regarded comparatively recent reference sources on this topic in ways which, to the best of my ability to determine, were not so far as I can see ever "rejected" or found less creditable in the interim. I also found a 2005 Oxford reference book which includes both Boismard and the ABD in its very short article, above. And, regarding the emotionality of the editing here, I believe that the evidence I am gathering at User:John Carter/Ebionites 2 evidence preperatory to seeking Arbitration involvement indicates the basis for one party's extreme emotionalism on this topic. Given other concerns, and an electrical fire last week, I am still, unfortunately, preparing it. But the material which I have begun to gather there is probably the best indicator as to why I believe there are extremely serious POV problems with one of the editors here regarding this content, and that based on that likely prejudice it would be very much in the interests of the project if editors who did not share those prejudices to more actively involve themselves more directly to ensure that such POV is not kept in the article. John Carter (talk) 14:55, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Nishidani did not indicate a problem with my edits, so who are you to claim to speak for him? With respect to your droning on about my prejudice, as though you are somehow plugged into my innermost thoughts, please save your propaganda for arbitration and use this page to discuss improvements to the content of this article per WP:TPG. Ignocrates (talk) 17:00, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

I started a discussion at WP:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard#Gospel of the Ebionites to resolve the dispute over how much to weight Boismard's conjecture. Ignocrates (talk) 02:41, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

As a result of the discussion at NPOV/N, a summary of Boismard's conjecture was added to mainspace and a quotation from Boismard's paper (in French) was added as a supporting note. Ignocrates (talk) 16:06, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Proof-reading the lead[edit]

Just some comments on the lead:

The Gospel of the Ebionites is the conventional name given by scholars[n 1] to an apocryphal gospel that may have been used by a Jewish Christian sect known as the Ebionites.[n 2] All that remains of the gospel are seven brief quotations found in a heresiology known as the Panarion, written by Epiphanius of Salamis, the only witness for this gospel;[1] he misidentified it as the "Hebrew" gospel, believing it to be a truncated and modified version of the Gospel of Matthew.[2] The quotations were embedded in a polemic to point out inconsistencies in the beliefs and practices of the Ebionites relative to Nicene orthodoxy.[n 3]

The surviving fragments derive from a gospel harmony of the Synoptic Gospels, composed in Greek with various expansions and abridgments reflecting the theology of the writer. It is believed to have been composed some time during the middle of the 2nd century[3] in or around the region east of the Jordan River.[n 4] Distinctive features include the absence of the virgin birth and of the genealogy of Jesus; an Adoptionist Christology[n 5], in which Jesus is chosen to be God's Son at the time of his Baptism; the abolition of the Jewish sacrifices by Jesus; and an advocacy of vegetarianism.[n 6] Although the gospel was said to be used by "Ebionites" during the time of the early church,[n 7] the identity of the group or groups that used it remains a matter of conjecture.[n 8]

The Gospel of the Ebionites is one of several Jewish–Christian Gospels, along with the Gospel of the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Nazoraeans; all survive only as fragments in quotations of the early Church Fathers. Due to their fragmentary state, the relationships, if any, between the Jewish–Christian Gospels and a hypothetical original Hebrew Gospel are uncertain and have been a subject of intensive scholarly investigation.[4] The Ebionite gospel has been recognized as distinct from the others,[n 9] and it has been identified more closely with the lost Gospel of the Twelve.[n 10] It shows no dependence on the Gospel of John and is similar in nature to the harmonized gospel sayings based on the Synoptic Gospels used by Justin Martyr, although a relationship between them, if any, is uncertain.[4] A similarity between the gospel and a source document contained within the Clementine Recognitions (1.27–71), conventionally referred to by scholars as the Ascents of James, has also been noted with respect to the command to abolish the Jewish sacrifices.[n 11]

  • In line 1 of para 1 we have "...may have been used by a Jewish Christian sect known as the Ebionites." Then at the end of para 2 we have: "Although the gospel was said to be used by "Ebionites"..." In other words, two mentions of the community separated by a wide gap. It would be better if they were brought together. I suggest deleting the mention from para 1, like this: "The Gospel of the Ebionites is the conventional name given by scholars to a fragmentary apocryphal gospel extant only as seven brief quotations in a heresiology known as the Panarion, by Epiphanius of Salamis." (Note that I'm taking out the phrase "the only witness for this gospel" - that's already implied in the sentence as I've redrafted it).
  • Para 2: "the relationships, if any, between the Jewish–Christian Gospels and a hypothetical original Hebrew Gospel are uncertain and have been a subject of intensive scholarly investigation." I have strong doubts about including this at all - the Hebrew Gospel is probably not real, but there's a Gospel of the Hebrews that is, and I think this risks confusing the reader. Cover it in the main article by all means, but not in the lead.
  • Para 2 deals with the contents and composition of the GEb, para 3 with Jewish Christian communities and gospels in general. The info about the community of the GEb belongs here, not in the 2nd para. Move "Although the gospel was said to be used by "Ebionites" during the time of the early church,[n 7] the identity of the group or groups that used it remains a matter of conjecture" from the end of the 2nd para to somewhere in the 3rd. Probably the first sentence: "Although the gospel was said to be used by "Ebionites" during the time of the early church, the identity of the group or groups that used it remains a matter of conjecture. It is one of several Jewish–Christian Gospels, along with the Gospel of the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Nazoraeans, surviving only as fragments in quotations of the early Church Fathers." Etc.
  • "A similarity between the gospel and a source document contained within the Clementine Recognitions (1.27–71), conventionally referred to by scholars as the Ascents of James, has also been noted with respect to the command to abolish the Jewish sacrifices." Passive voice - this similarity has been noted by whom? Try to avoid this sort of thing, I find it irritating. (Well, I'm old and cranky, I find Korean boy-bands irritating too, but they have their fans).

PiCo (talk) 02:36, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

PiCo, thanks for all these suggestions and welcome back. I will try to incorporate them in the next few days. The immediate priority is to shepherd the article thru FAR successfully. Ignocrates (talk) 04:47, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Ignocrates, the above comment seems to me to demonstrate a very strong inability to understand what the purpose and nature of FAR is, and could very easily be taken as perhaps yet another in what might be seen as a longstanding habit of refusing to address legitimate concerns on the basis of some other cause. If legitimate concerns are expressed here, they will almost certainly be considered in the FAR. Basic logic would indicate that if there are problems which could conceivably cause it to fail FAR, that those problems should be addressed in the attempt to get this article through FAR. Putting them off for later, in this context, is completely nonsensical, and might easily be taken as an attempt at misdirection, which, in these circumstances, would not be considered sufficient grounds, as refusing to deal with problems such as those expressed above is often one of the leading reasons for an article to fail FAR. I very strongly suggest that the above editor perhaps more thoroughly familiarize himself with the process of FAR before making such almost completely incomprehensible and inaccurate jumps to conclusions as are implicit in the above statement. John Carter (talk) 14:58, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
The point is that addressing specific concerns and questions in FAR takes priority because FAR is typically open for a two week period. However, I didn't mean to imply that PiCo's suggestions for improvement of the lead can't be addressed. That being the case: Why don't you get off your ass and address them? Ignocrates (talk) 15:48, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I am really at a loss to respond to the obnoxious, arrogant, somewhat incendiary, and I believe deliberately nonproductive nature of this comment. Let me be honest with you, Ignocrates. Not all editors in wikipedia have displayed the sort of obsessive devotion to a single topic as you have. Some of us are trying to develop other pages as well, such as lists which indicate what topics receive substantial attention in other sources. Also, there are the details of getting together all the instances of misconduct of one other editor for ArbCom, which I believe just got another example of dubious conduct added to it. And, if you can remember back that far, unlike you, I some time ago recused myself from editing the article pages because of the numerous allegations of bias some editors made against me. There are other editors here as well, and they might be willing to weigh in and choose to agree or disagree as per WP:CONSENSUS, which really in general does involve more than just one SPA with possibly very serious issues of POV pushing or religious conflict of interests. Maybe if you could learn to conduct yourself in the manner of a rational adult, and not waste time with such counterproductive, incivil comments as the above, you might be able to do more to improve the article yourself, if actually improving it as per wikipedia guidelines and policies is more important than improving it to support the beliefs of certain non-notable groups. There is I believe a reasonable, well-founded question about the motivations of one editor around here, and some cause to believe that individual might be perhaps willfully behaving in a counterproductive manner, and that is the reason for the request for ArbCom to review the behavior of that editor seems indicated. Once that issue is resolved, however it is resolved, I believe that will make it much easier for others to actively improve the article. John Carter (talk) 16:37, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I remember reading this same excuse years ago: "I some time ago recused myself from editing the article pages because of the numerous allegations of bias some editors made against me". When I asked you to produce evidence in the form of diffs for these alleged "allegations of bias", you were unable to do so. I'll give you one more chance to do it now, PROVE IT. Ignocrates (talk) 19:23, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Ignocrates. I( do not believe that this irrational insistence on your part that people are somehow absolutely required to meet your aritrary and irrational demands to provide links to statements they make even remotely rational, and certainly I believe virtually any editor coming to this discussion would very likely find such arrogant, presumptive demands such as the above to almost certainly be a misuse of the article talk page. Despite the all-too-obvious presumptuous arrogance of the above comment, I am aware of no policy or guideline which demands such proof. If you can prove to me that somehow policies and guidelines support such irrational and blatantly arrogant comments such as your own above, I believe that would be more appropriate. Otherwise, please consider this possibly the final warning regarding misuse of the article talk page, completely off-topic comments, and other violations of WP:TPG. Thank you. John Carter (talk) 19:42, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I thought, there were no allegations of bias. Add another knowingly false statement to the long list. However, I'm willing to stipulate that you are too biased to be contributing to article content in the category of religious articles broadly construed, and therefore, too biased to be participating in talk page discussions in the category as well. Ignocrates (talk) 20:02, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I am in the process of reviewing the history of this matter in preparing the request for arbitration. Although I have not yet gotten to reviewing the previous attempts at mediation, it was I believe during the second of them that I first recused myself from editing. I am reviewing user talk pages first, but I think most reasonable editors would understand that someone with over 100,000 edits might have a bit of difficulty finding exactly which edit points is prove. I also believe that it is not unreasonable, given your own previous allegiance with the Ebionite Jewish Community as per the IP comments of its leader, as per User:John Carter/Ebionites 2 evidence that there is more than sufficient basis to question your own bias as per WP:POV as well. Yet, somehow, your history indicates that you do little if anything else. Should I add the template? John Carter (talk) 20:37, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

I was perfectly happy with Ignocrates' reply to my suggestions. PiCo (talk) 05:32, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

The current article (Gospel of the Ebionites) purports: "The Gospel of the Ebionites is one of several Jewish–Christian Gospels, along with the Gospel of the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Nazoraeans; all survive only as fragments in quotations of the early Church Fathers."

When one reads the collection of testimonies by the Church Fathers in Klijn's momentous work, "Patristic Evidence for Jewish Christian Sects," it is easy to see how someone reading these testimonies on a superficial level can be led into thinking that there were three gospels used by the early Jewish following of Jesus when, in actuality, there was only one Aramaic/Hebrew Gospel written by Matthew. Anyone who examines these testimonies with a critical demeanor can't help but come up with the same conclusion. For one obvious reason: Both, the Ebionites and the Nazoraeans made use of the same Gospel, as we learn in Jerome (Commentariorum in Mattheum Libri IV, ch.12, vs.13, ed. D.Hurst): "…In the Gospel which the Nazoraeans and the Ebionites use which we translated recently from Hebrew to Greek and which is called the authentic text of Matthew by a good many, etc."

You can see, then, why some might call this Gospel, "the Gospel of the Ebionites," or conversely, "the Gospel of the Nazoraeans," since it alone was used collectively by both groups. They - being Jewish - made use of a text written in the Aramaic language! Elsewhere, Jerome writes (Dialogus adversus Pelagianos, in: Migne, Patr. Lat. 23, Parisiis 1883, III, 2): "From the Gospel 'According to the Hebrews.' In the Gospel 'According to the Hebrews,' which was written in the Chaldaic and Syriac language but with Hebrew letters, and is used up to the present day by the Nazoraeans, I mean that according to the Apostles, or, as many maintain, according to Matthew, which Gospel is also available in the Library of Caesarea, etc." Here, again, the Nazoraeans were using the same Gospel mentioned earlier, only the Gospel used by them had its own appellation. It was called "According to the Hebrews," which same name is repeated by the Church Fathers in other places as well when describing the Gospel written by Matthew. In short, all of these titles are used to describe the one and the same book. If anyone is interested in seeing other demonstrations of this fact, I will be happy to show him. Davidbena (talk) 19:32, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

As Klijn stated in his opus magnum: Klijn (1992), pp. 30,41; Klijn, p. 30 – "Our conclusion is that from the various references in Christian authors three Jewish–Christian Gospels can be traced. They belong to three individual Jewish–Christian circles." p. 41 – "The presence of three Jewish–Christian Gospels is an established fact." As far as Klijn was concerned, the debate was over. Aside from his confident assertion, the identity of the Gospel of the Ebionites hasn't seriously been questioned since Schmidtke's (1911) 2GH model was rejected over 100 years ago. For more information on the historiography of the 3GH problem, see my work-page User_talk:Ignocrates/JCGSA. Ignocrates (talk) 20:56, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Moving forward[edit]

Now that arbitration has ended, it's time to put it behind us and move forward. Imo, the article is reasonably complete and stable as it stands. Therefore, I will be making occasional updates to the content as new academic views are published. In particular, there is a renewed interest in the history of gospel harmonies that may be reflected here as the GEbi is discussed in the context of the harmonizing traditions of the second and third centuries. Ignocrates (talk) 00:57, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Proposal for 2014[edit]

I agree with In Ictu Oculi that we should avoid "fringe theories" about this topic. The fact that the Gospel of the Ebionites was "composed in Greek many years after the time of the Disciples makes it unlikely there is any connection with Hypothetical Hebrew Gospel. Indeed the Ebionite theologies of vegetarianism, Adoptionist Christology, etc pretty much precludes this possibility. I would strongly suggest we steer clear of any major changes to this article. Now that arbitration has ended, I would propose we let Ignocrates smooth out any rough edges. I have little to add. All in all good work! Happy New Year! Ret.Prof (talk) 14:00, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

There are no "fringe theories" in this article I am aware of, per WP:FRINGE; however, WP:WEIGHT is always subject to interpretation. I welcome any suggestions for ways to further refine and improve the article content. Ignocrates (talk) 17:58, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Vielhauer & Strecker composition order[edit]

I can't do anything about this, since it would be original research, but their ordering is clearly wrong:

30.13.2-4 is quoted in one chunk so breaking it up makes little sense to begin with; furthermore 30.13.2 introduces Jesus, while 30.13.7 has Jesus without an introduction, so placing 13.7 after 13.3 is illogical; finally Epiphanius say that 30.13.7 comes "a good deal" after 30.13.6 yet Vielhauer and Strecker only fill this gap with one line (30.13.4) even if that requires them to both break up a quote and disregard logical internal continuity.

Evidently Epiphanius meant the beginning of this gospel to be something closer to this:

It came to pass in the days of Herod, King of Judaea under the high priest Caiaphas, that John came and baptized with the baptism of repentance in the river Jordan; he is said to be from the tribe of Aaron and a son of Zacharias the priest and of Elizabeth and all went out to him. (13.6) There was a man named Jesus, and he was about thirty years old; he has chosen us. And He came into Capernaum and entered into the house of Simon, surnamed Peter, and He opened His mouth and said, 'As I walked by the Sea of Tiberias, I chose John and James, the sons of Zebedee, and Simon and Andrew and Thaddaeus and Simon Zelotes, and Judas Iscariot; thee also, Matthew, when thou wast sitting at the receipt of custom, did I call and thou didst follow me. According to my intention ye shall be twelve apostles for a testimony unto Israel'. And it came to pass when John baptized, that the Pharisees came to him and were baptized, and all Jerusalem also. He had a garment of camels' hair, and a leather girdle about his loins. And his meat was wild honey, which tasted like manna, formed like cakes of oil. (13.2b–4) The people having been baptized, Jesus came also, and was baptized by John. And as he came out of the water the heavens opened, and he saw the Holy Spirit descending under the form of a dove, and entering into him. And a voice was heard from heaven: 'Thou art my beloved Son, and in thee am I well pleased'. And again: 'This day have I begotten thee'. And suddenly shone a great light in that place. And John seeing him, said, 'Who art thou, Lord'? Then a voice was heard from heaven: 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'. Thereat John fell at his feet and said: 'I pray thee, Lord, baptize me'. But he would not, saying 'Suffer it, for so it behoveth that all should be accomplished'. (13.7-8)

The only problem here is that it disagree with the order of events in the canonical gospels by placing the Call of the first Disciples before the Baptism of Jesus, but this changes comes naturally from this gospel having the Apostles collectively be the narrators. (Also note the possibility that there might be even more text between 13.6 and 13.7 that Epiphanius did not quote.) --Painocus (talk) 02:03, 7 August 2015 (UTC)