17 NOVEMBER 1961, Page 15

SIR,—Assuming for the purposes of argument that Matthew was in

fact the author of the gospel as we have it, it is surprising that in this one instance he lapsed into thinking in Hebrew in his use of ews (until) when on all other occasions he uses the word in its normal sense i.e. 'a state of action continuing up to the point indicated but not after it' : cf. xvii, 9, 'Tell no one what you have seen until the son of man be risen from the dead' (and then you may); cf. xxiv, 39, 'and they knew it not until the flood came' (and then they did!).

With a dozen or so ews or ems or clauses of similiar sense in the author under discussion what is the point of quoting I Maccabees v, 54, or going to Thucydides and pretending that corovetnrova-L ovv ett/TOV Isinv K0110%It (they sent him away without a hearing) and OVK 61.),VotIO-KeV 81,Tyl, 60,S OV 67"61061' 1401, (he did not know her until she had brought forth a son) are parallel clauses or have any mutual relevance?

If Knox be right then the Vulgate of St. Jerome is also in gross error in giving us 'et non cognoscebat earn donee peperit filium suum primogeniutm: