The Jews of Palestine, who had fondly expected a temporal deliverer, gave so cold a reception to the miracles of the divine prophet, that it was found unnecessary to publish, or at least to preserve, any Hebrew gospel. Edward Gibbon, Ch. 15, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (circa 1776).
(Emphasis added)(Footnote omitted).
Palestine: I have heard from extreme supporters of Israel that there is no such place as Palestine, like it is some sort of a made up term. It struck me to see something that was written before the United States was a country use the term. I wonder on what the no-such-thing-as-Palestine movement bases its claim.
so cold a reception : For such a careful historian, it is shocking that Gibbon so completely subcumbs to the narrative of his culture. Cold reception? Every follower of Jesus in the Bible is a Jew. Paul may have not been considered a Palestinian, but he was ceratinly a Jew. It is kind of obnoxious to read that the people who are responsible for the entire Christian movement be brushed aside.
Hebrew gospel: Gibbon adds a note that some say Matthew was written in Hebrew, but the evidence suggests otherwise, hence the hedging with “or at least preserve.” Now we know that none of the Gospels were written contemporaneously with the life of Jesus and none in Hebrew. The Q source was also written in Greek.
Is it significant that the Gospels were not written until after Paul’s letter and they were written in the common language–Greek–rather than the language of the Jewish people?
Matthew and Luke were both written after the fall of Jerusalem, but I think both Mark and the Q were written before. Does that matter?