Gospel of the Hebrews Open this page in a new tab

The Gospel of the Hebrews is mentioned by a number of early writers (Edwards, 2009). Legend has it that it was composed in Hebrew by the Disciple Matthew in Jerusalem before ~40 CE after which he left; possibly to evangelize in Parthia1 Whether this legend is true is a matter of dispute. Some scholars believe that the Gospel of the Hebrews was written in the second century CE and was derived from earlier canonical Gospels. Edwards (2009) argues that the Gospel of the Hebrews was written early – earlier than the four canonical gospels. He notes that it was referred to by a minimum of 17 authors2 writing from the 2nd to 8th centuries CE – starting with Papias who, writing between ~95 and ~120 CE said3
Therefore Matthew put the logia in an ordered arrangement in the Hebrew language, but each person interpreted them as best he could

1 The source of the legends and church traditions for the dispersal of the Apostles appears to be shrouded in mystery. The oldest textual sources mentioning these traditions were written centuries or millenia after the fact leaving one only able to speculate about their origins and wonder about their veracity. Nevertheless, by the time Eusebius finished writing Church History in ~324 CE, there was an account by Papias (and Iraneus, Pantaenus, Clement of Alexandria, possibly Hegesippus, Hippolytus, Origen, and likely others) that Matthew, also known as Levi, had written a Hebrew Gospel before his departure to parts possibly unknown. In Book III, Ch XXXIX, Verse 16 of History of the Church by Eusebius, it is written

Matthew had begun by preaching to Hebrews; and when he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own gospel to writing in his native tongue, so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote.

2 For Example
3 From Eusebius Church History Book 3 Chapter XXXIX – The Writings of Papias p. 127