Saturday, July 11, 2015

Who Wrote the Book of Matthew?

I was asked:  And you are saying that the Apostle Matthew is the same person as the Evangelist Matthew?

While "some" modern Bible scholars dismiss that St. Matthew, the Apostle, wrote the Book of Matthew:
Although the first Gospel is anonymous, the early church fathers were unanimous in holding that Matthew, one of the 12 apostles, was its author.  http://www.biblica.com/en-us/bible/online-bible/scholar-notes/niv-study-bible/intro-to-matthew/

Since the times of the early church fathers, the apostle Matthew has always been accredited with the authorship of the first gospel (canonically). Even the title "According to Matthew" (KATA MAQQAION) is found in the earliest manuscripts, and was the most highly regarded and quoted of the gospels by the church fathers.  https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/intros/matthew.cfm
The author of this book was beyond a doubt the Matthew, an apostle of our Lord, whose name it bears. He wrote the Gospel of Christ according to his own plans and aims, and from his own point of view, as did also the other "evangelists."  https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionaries/dict_meaning.php?source=1&wid=T0002443 

The early church unanimously held that the Gospel of Matthew was the first written Gospel and was penned by the apostle of the same name (Matt. 10:2-4).  Lately, the priority of Matthew as the first written Gospel has come under suspicion with Mark being considered by many to be the first written Gospel.  The debate is far from over.  https://carm.org/when-were-gospels-written-and-by-whom

Matthew, a tax collector also known as Levi and one of the twelve disciples, wrote the first gospel in the New Testament of Matthew.  https://beyondfaith.wordpress.com/2008/01/03/the-rock-who-actually-wrote-the-four-gospels-of-matthew-mark-luke-and-john-and-can-we-trust-them/ 

This book is known as the Gospel of Matthew because it was written by the apostle of the same name. The style of the book is exactly what would be expected of a man who was once a tax collector. Matthew has a keen interest in accounting (18:23-24; 25:14-15). The Gospel of Matthew is very orderly and concise. Rather than write in chronological order, Matthew arranges this Gospel through six discussions.  http://www.gotquestions.org/Gospel-of-Matthew.html

Sometime after 244 the Scripture scholar Origen wrote, "Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language" (Commentaries on Matthew [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 6:25]).  http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/was-matthews-gospel-first-written-in-aramaic-or-hebrew

I could go on and on.  While I do not dispute that SOME modern Bible scholars disagree with Matthean authorship, I believe the majority still agrees with the unanimous consent of the Early Church Fathers. 

4 comments:

  1. I guess I didn't really directly answer the question! I will do so now, yes - I am saying St. Matthew the Apostle and St. Matthew the Evangelist are one and the same (as the Eastern icon I included also portrays).

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  2. A friend of mine posted to the CathApol Facebook page: :
    MM: I think people get Disciple and Apostle mixed up. Matthew the Levite and tax collector was a disciple. Matthew the Apostle was the leader of the community in Antioch a generation later. They are not the same individual if for no other reason than the disciple would have been like 100 years old when the Gospel was written. And those folks in Jerusalem were either killed or taken as slaves when Rome burned the temple (which was decades before Matthew was written). Another way we can tell is the great emphasis on each believer becoming a stone in the new living temple, something that first Matthew would not have considered in his day.

    Any of those early authors and leaders can be called an Apostle. They may not have sat at Jesus' feet as disciples, they carried a message under the authority of the message's originator and not their own authority. As for dates... the usual thinking is that since Matthew includes and expounds on Mark, it had to have come after Mark. But none of these things were written in one sitting at one time. There is this mysterious very early "Q" source. It's possible that "proto-Matthew" was the Q source... and then it had Mark written into it... and then the Infancy Narrative added last. We don't know for sure on any of that. We know that the final form of Matthew's Gospel, Acts, and letters attributed to Paul (but not his work) all came out of the Marcion controversy. The "orthodox" church (before it was split into Rome and Constantinople) believed Christianity to be a fulfillment and continuation of Judaism. Marcion taught that Jesus introduced the world to Abba, the true Father-God and that YHWH of Judaism and the "Old Testament" was a different and inferior god. Marcion put together his "New Testament" and focused on Jesus and his Return and the Inerrant nature of his New Testament, many ideas still in the church at large. But to show Christianity as a continuation of Judaism, the Orthodox church put together their own Canon of Scripture, claimed it was also inerrant, included the Septuagint, and put the most-Jewish-of-Gospels (Matthew) first in their New Testament. That's the only reason it's first.

    Thessalonians and Galatians are the oldest and Acts was written after Paul's letters to sort of tie everything together... (Marcion included his translation of Luke)... Matthew and John were not in their final form for another few decades. There ya go... that's what we know so far.
    July 11 at 3:54pm

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    Replies
    1. MM: I think people get Disciple and Apostle mixed up. Matthew the Levite and tax collector was a disciple. Matthew the Apostle was the leader of the community in Antioch a generation later. They are not the same individual if for no other reason than the disciple would have been like 100 years old when the Gospel was written. And those folks in Jerusalem were either killed or taken as slaves when Rome burned the temple (which was decades before Matthew was written). Another way we can tell is the great emphasis on each believer becoming a stone in the new living temple, something that first Matthew would not have considered in his day.

      SW: Many experts believe the Book of Matthew was written sometime between 60 and 75 AD. The Apostle would have been an old man and at the later side of that scale he'd be pushing 100.

      MM: Any of those early authors and leaders can be called an Apostle. They may not have sat at Jesus' feet as disciples, they carried a message under the authority of the message's originator and not their own authority.

      SW: Agreed. An apostle is one who was "sent out."

      MM: As for dates... the usual thinking is that since Matthew includes and expounds on Mark, it had to have come after Mark.

      SW: I don't buy into the Matthew copied from Mark conspiracy theories. Matthew was there, an eyewitness, whereas Mark was not. Now did they perhaps collaborate? I would not dismiss that possibility.

      MM: But none of these things were written in one sitting at one time. There is this mysterious very early "Q" source. It's possible that "proto-Matthew" was the Q source... and then it had Mark written into it... and then the Infancy Narrative added last. We don't know for sure on any of that.

      SW: Not only do we not know for sure, we have no real evidence that "Q" ever existed. It's all speculation.

      MM: We know that the final form of Matthew's Gospel, Acts, and letters attributed to Paul (but not his work) all came out of the Marcion controversy.

      SW: No, we don't "know" this - that too is speculation.

      MM: The "orthodox" church (before it was split into Rome and Constantinople) believed Christianity to be a fulfillment and continuation of Judaism.

      SW: Well, we still believe this! :-)
      (cont.)

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    2. (continued...)
      MM: Marcion taught that Jesus introduced the world to Abba, the true Father-God and that YHWH of Judaism and the "Old Testament" was a different and inferior god. Marcion put together his "New Testament" and focused on Jesus and his Return and the Inerrant nature of his New Testament, many ideas still in the church at large. But to show Christianity as a continuation of Judaism, the Orthodox church put together their own Canon of Scripture, claimed it was also inerrant, included the Septuagint, and put the most-Jewish-of-Gospels (Matthew) first in their New Testament. That's the only reason it's first.

      SW: Well, Marcion believed in a dualism, and that the God of the Old Testament was some lesser god and that the true God was the God of the New Testament. He also believed the God of the New Testament came to destroy the God of the Old Testament. He compiled his own canon of Scripture, which orthodox Christianity found to be quite flawed. It is quite possible that Marcion's errant canon is the motivation for the Church to formalize the Canon of Sacred Scripture - however, that too would take a few more centuries.

      MM: Thessalonians and Galatians are the oldest and Acts was written after Paul's letters to sort of tie everything together... (Marcion included his translation of Luke)... Matthew and John were not in their final form for another few decades. There ya go... that's what we know so far.

      SW: Well, "know so far?" The word "know" is a pretty big word here. I do not discount that there are many who speculate as you have here - but objectively speaking, I don't think anyone can declare we "know" all the facts - and may never know them all.

      Delete

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