The Gospel of Matthew
One would expect multiple traditions and some manuscripts without the title page if the authorship was once unknown. Many Jews spoke both Greek and Aramaic. Knowing two languages is very common, especially if one of them is the lingua franca and one of them is your local language. This is why people across Europe often speak their own national language and English. This would be even more true if Americans were everywhere and America ruled European countries as client states, as was true in ancient Palestine.
Matthew was also a tax collector, employed by the Roman state. He had to know Greek, and be a capable speaker, if he were to fulfill his job. He was likely capable in shorthand, and taking notes from the oral teachings of a revered teacher or prophet was known in the ancient world. All these factors actually make Matthew ideal to write the first Gospel.
Why would an apostle use a non-apostle? Tradition unanimously states that Matthew preceded Mark, and there is some good evidence for this. In certain cases, in order for Matthew to be relying on Mark, he would have to radically rearrange and dislocate sentences, so much so that it would be easier to compose it from scratch.
So, is there any good reason to dismiss the ancient tradition of Matthean authorship? If they were making it up, why choose an obscure apostle such as Matthew? Why not pick Peter, John, or James?
Most scholars date it to about As with before, there is no evidence for this view. Here are the essential arguments:. Matthew reflects conflict with the Jewish community, which did not occur until later in the first century. There is no evidence for this idea. Essentials - The Bible 3. Essentials - Word Searching 4.
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Subscribe to our Newsletter. Daily Bible Reading Plans x. Recently Popular Pages x. What Does Genesis 3: Study Guide for 1 Samuel 28 Don Stewart:: Recently Popular Media x. Vernon McGee 1 Thessalonians: Vernon McGee Ezra 1: Vernon McGee Luke Intros to the Bible:: The Gospel of Matthew. Authorship Since the times of the early church fathers, the apostle Matthew has always been accredited with the authorship of the first gospel canonically.
Purpose and Audience It is quite obvious and widely accepted that Matthew was written to the Jews. Themes The overriding theme shows Jesus as the messiah, but there are also several minor themes, some of which directly relate to the major theme. Newsletters Facebook Twitter Donate Contact. Blue Letter Bible is a c 3 nonprofit organization.
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The best source for Matthew as we have it today is, like the rest of the New Testament, the common Greek version, of which there are numerous ancient manuscripts or manuscript fragments. Still, it would not be surprising in principle to learn that Matthew, Mark or any other early Jewish Christian wrote a gospel in Hebrew; Hebrew was the language used in the synagogue, and Christians initially tried to witness within the synagogues.
First century Jews would be accustomed to dealing with religious texts written in Hebrew.
When was the Gospel of Matthew Written?
If Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, this would imply that the Greek Matthew we have today is a translation from the Hebrew. The genealogy of Matthew 1: This could be just coincidental, but by comparison the genealogy in Luke 3: Furthermore, Matthew ends his genealogy with the comment that there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 generations from the exile to Christ. Hebrew letters double as numbers, and as a result, every Hebrew word has a number associated with it, the number usually being calculated by summing the individual letters.
David's name has a very low number - This would have been common knowledge to Jewish Hebrew language readers, and Matthew is perhaps using the three 14's to further point to Jesus being the Son of David, the Messiah. This interesting point of course makes sense only in Hebrew and is obliterated in any translation. Note that the examples we have offered so far are all limited to just the first chapter of Matthew. We could offer more, but for purposes of brevity, will stop at this point.
It has been much observed that the New Testament writers quote more from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, than they do from the Masoretic Text, the most common Hebrew Text. Now often it is impossible to tell which Old Testament version is being used, since the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text are frequently essentially identical. Still, when there are differences, the New Testament writers usually draw from the Septuagint.
This is understandable, since the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Septuagint was a readily available Greek translation of the Old Testament. Also, in a Greek speaking congregation, the Septuagint would be the Bible used by the people, providing the apostles all the more reason to quote from it. However, Matthew along with the letter to the Hebrews goes against the trend. An example of this can be seen in Matt 2: This is a case where the Hebrew Text and the Septuagint are substantially different, as the Septuagint of Hosea At this point, we will introduce an unusual piece of evidence in the discussion of the original language of Matthew.
A complete Hebrew text of Matthew appears in a 14th century text entitled Even Bohan.
Gospel of Matthew
This is a lengthy text written in opposition to Christianity, so Shem Tov uses his Gospel of Matthew in a hostile fashion, to attack it. It is beyond the purpose of this book to deal with the Shem Tov Matthew in great detail. However, there are still some useful points that can be made. Some fringe organizations have seized on the Shem Tov Matthew as being a significant text, but mainstream scholarship has largely set it aside.
The weaknesses of the Shem Tov Matthew are very apparent: There are numerous Greek texts of Matthew much older than the 14th century The book shows signs of significant tampering in important theological areas. All references to the need to spread the gospel to gentiles as in Matt Narrative references to Jesus as Christ have also been changed, though the characters in the story are still allowed to call Him Christ.
Also, passages dealing with John the Baptist have been altered to give him a somewhat more elevated status than appears in the canonical gospels. The book looks as if the Hebrew has been updated from what it would have been in the first century A.