Script error: No such module "For". Template:Books of the New Testament The Gospel According to Matthew (Script error: No such module "lang".; also called the Gospel of Matthew or simply, Matthew) is the first book of the New Testament. The narrative tells how the Messiah, Jesus, rejected by Israel, finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Most scholars believe the Gospel of Matthew was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110 (a pre-70 date remains a minority view).Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". he drew on three main sources: the Gospel of Mark, the hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source, and material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

The divine nature of Jesus was a major issue for the Matthaean community, the crucial element marking them from their Jewish neighbors; while Mark begins with baptism and transfiguration, Matthew goes back further still, showing Jesus as the Son of God from his birth, the fulfillment of Old Testament messianic prophecies.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The title Son of David identifies Jesus as the healing and miracle-working Messiah of Israel (it is used exclusively in relation to miracles), sent to Israel alone.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". As Son of Man he will return to judge the world, an expectation which his disciples recognise but of which his enemies are unaware.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". As Son of God he is God revealing himself through his son, and Jesus proving his sonship through his obedience and example.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

The gospel reflects the struggles and conflicts between the evangelist's community and the other Jews, particularly with its sharp criticism of the scribes and Pharisees.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Prior to the Crucifixion the Jews are called Israelites, the honorific title of God's chosen people; after it, they are called "Ioudaioi", Jews, a sign that through their rejection of the Christ the "Kingdom of Heaven" has been taken away from them and given instead to the church.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Composition and setting

File:Papyrus BnF Suppl. gr. 1120 ii 3 (Gregory-Aland papyrus P4) - Gospel of Matthew's title, euangelion kata Maththaion.jpg

Papyrus Template:Papyrus link, fragment of a flyleaf with the title of the Gospel of Matthew, ευαγγελιον κ̣ατ̣α μαθ᾽θαιον (euangelion kata Maththaion). Dated to late 2nd or early 3rd century, it is the earliest manuscript title for Matthew

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Template:Papyrus link, a 3rd-century papyrus of Matthew 26

Background

The original versions of the Gospel of Matthew and the other gospels are lost. The oldest relatively complete extant manuscripts of the Bible are the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus, which date from the 4th century. Besides these, there exist manuscript fragments ranging from a few verses to whole chapters. Template:Papyrus link and Template:Papyrus link are notable fragments of Matthew. These are copies of copies. In the process of recopying, variations slipped in, different regional manuscript traditions emerged, and corrections and adjustments were made. Modern textual scholars collate all major surviving manuscripts, as well as citations in the works of the Church Fathers, in order to produce a text which most likely approximates to the lost autographs.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Author

File:The Evangelist Matthew Inspired by an Angel.jpg

The Evangelist Matthew Inspired by an Angel (Rembrandt)

The Gospel of Matthew is anonymous: the author is not named within the text, and the superscription "according to Matthew" was added some time in the 2nd century.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The tradition that the author was Matthew the Apostle begins with Papias of Hierapolis (c. AD 100–140), an early bishop and Apostolic Father, who is cited by the Church historian Eusebius (AD 260–340), as follows: "Matthew collected the oracles [logia: sayings of or about Jesus] in the Hebrew language [Hebraïdi dialektōi], and each one interpreted [hērmēneusen—perhaps 'translated'] them as best he could."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".[Notes 1][Notes 2] On the surface this could imply that Matthew's gospel itself was written in Hebrew or Aramaic by the apostle Matthew and later translated into Greek, but nowhere does the author claim to have been an eyewitness to events, and Matthew's Greek "reveals none of the telltale marks of a translation."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Scholars have put forward several theories to explain Papias: perhaps Matthew wrote two gospels, one, now lost, in Hebrew, the other the surviving Greek version; or perhaps the logia were a collection of sayings rather than the gospel; or by dialektōi Papias may have meant that Matthew wrote in the Jewish style rather than in the Hebrew language.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The consensus is that Papias does not describe the Gospel of Matthew as we know it, and it is generally accepted that Matthew was written in Greek, not in Aramaic or Hebrew.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Sources

The majority view of modern scholars is that Mark was the first gospel to be composed and that Matthew (who includes some 600 of Mark's 661 verses) and Luke both drew upon it as a major source for their works.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The author of Matthew did not, however, simply copy Mark, but used it as a base, emphasising Jesus' place in the Jewish tradition and including other details not covered in Mark.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". An additional 220 (approximately) verses, shared by Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark, from a second source, a hypothetical collection of sayings to which scholars give the name "Quelle" ("source" in the German language), or the Q source.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". This view, known as the Two-source hypothesis (Mark and Q), allows for a further body of tradition known as "Special Matthew", or the M source, meaning material unique to Matthew; this may represent a separate source, or it may come from the author's church, or he may have composed these verses himself.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The author also had the Greek scriptures at his disposal, both as book-scrolls (Greek translations of Isaiah, the Psalms etc.) and in the form of "testimony collections" (collections of excerpts), and, if Papias is correct, probably oral stories of his community.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". These sources were predominantly in Greek,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". but mostly not from any known version of the Septuagint;Script error: No such module "Footnotes". although a few scholars hold that some of them may have been Greek translations of older Hebrew or Aramaic sources.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Setting and date

The majority view among scholars is that Matthew was a product of the last quarter of the 1st century.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".[Notes 3] This makes it a work of the second generation of Christians, for whom the defining event was the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in AD 70 in the course of the First Jewish–Roman War (AD 66–73); from this point on, what had begun with Jesus of Nazareth as a Jewish messianic movement became an increasingly Gentile phenomenon evolving in time into a separate religion.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The Christian community to which Matthew belonged, like many 1st-century Christians, were still part of the larger Jewish community: hence the designation Jewish Christian to describe them.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The relationship of Matthew to this wider world of Judaism remains a subject of study and contention, the principal question being to what extent, if any, Matthew's community had cut itself off from its Jewish roots.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Certainly there was conflict between Matthew's group and other Jewish groups, and it is generally agreed that the root of the conflict was the Matthew community's belief in Jesus as the Messiah and authoritative interpreter of the law, as one risen from the dead and uniquely endowed with divine authority.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

The author of Matthew wrote for a community of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians located probably in Syria (Antioch, the largest city in Roman Syria and the third-largest in the empire, is often mentioned).Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Unlike Mark, he never bothers to explain Jewish customs, since his intended audience was a Jewish one; unlike Luke, who traces Jesus' ancestry back to Adam, father of the human race, he traces it only to Abraham, father of the Jews; of his three presumed sources only "M", the material from his own community, refers to a "church" (ecclesia), an organised group with rules for keeping order; and the content of "M" suggests that this community was strict in keeping the Jewish law, holding that they must exceed the scribes and the Pharisees in "righteousness" (adherence to Jewish law).Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Writing from within a Jewish-Christian community growing increasingly distant from other Jews and becoming increasingly Gentile in its membership and outlook, Matthew put down in his gospel his vision "of an assembly or church in which both Jew and Gentile would flourish together".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Structure and content

Template:Content of Matthew

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Beginning of the Gospel of Matthew in Minuscule 447

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The Chi Rho monogram from the Book of Kells is the most lavish such monogram

Matthew, alone among the gospels, alternates five blocks of narrative with five of discourse, marking each off with the phrase "When Jesus had finished..."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". (see Five Discourses of Matthew). Some scholars see in this a deliberate plan to create a parallel to the first five books of the Old Testament; others see a three-part structure based around the idea of Jesus as Messiah; or a set of weekly readings spread out over the year; or no plan at all.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Davies and Allison, in their widely used commentary, draw attention to the use of "triads" (the gospel groups things in threes),Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and R. T. France, in another influential commentary, notes the geographic movement from Galilee to Jerusalem and back, with the post-resurrection appearances in Galilee as the culmination of the whole story.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Prologue: genealogy, Nativity and infancy

Script error: No such module "main". The Gospel of Matthew begins with the words "The Book of Genealogy [in Greek, "Genesis"] of Jesus Christ", deliberately echoing the words of Genesis 2:4 in the Old Testament in Greek.[Notes 4] The genealogy tells of Jesus' descent from Abraham and King David and the miraculous events surrounding his virgin birth,[Notes 5] and the infancy narrative tells of the massacre of the innocents, the flight into Egypt, and eventual journey to Nazareth.

First narrative and discourse

Script error: No such module "main". The first narrative section begins. John baptizes Jesus, and the Holy Spirit descends upon him. Jesus prays and meditates in the wilderness for forty days, and is tempted by Satan. His early ministry by word and deed in Galilee meets with much success, and leads to the Sermon on the Mount, the first of the discourses. The sermon presents the ethics of the kingdom of God, introduced by the Beatitudes ("Blessed are..."). It concludes with a reminder that the response to the kingdom will have eternal consequences, and the crowd's amazed response leads into the next narrative block.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Second narrative and discourse

From the authoritative words of Jesus the gospel turns to three sets of three miracles interwoven with two sets of two discipleship stories (the second narrative), followed by a discourse on mission and suffering.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Jesus commissions the Twelve Disciples and sends them to preach to the Jews, perform miracles, and prophesy the imminent coming of the Kingdom, commanding them to travel lightly, without staff or sandals.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Third narrative and discourse

Opposition to Jesus comes to a head with accusations that his deeds are done through the power of Satan; Jesus in turn accuses his opponents of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The discourse is a set of parables emphasising the sovereignty of God, and concluding with a challenge to the disciples to understand the teachings as scribes of the kingdom of heaven.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". (Matthew avoids using the holy word God in the expression "Kingdom of God"; instead he prefers the term "Kingdom of Heaven", reflecting the Jewish tradition of not speaking the name of God).Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Fourth narrative and discourse

Script error: No such module "main". The fourth narrative section reveals that the increasing opposition to Jesus will result in his crucifixion in Jerusalem, and that his disciples must therefore prepare for his absence.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The instructions for the post-crucifixion church emphasize responsibility and humility. (This section contains Matthew 16:13–19, in which Simon, newly renamed Peter, (πέτρος, petros, meaning "stone"), calls Jesus "the Christ, the son of the living God", and Jesus states that on this "bedrock" (πέτρα, petra) he will build his church: this passage forms the foundation for the papacy's claim of authority).

Fifth narrative and discourse

Script error: No such module "main". Jesus travels toward Jerusalem, and the opposition intensifies: he is tested by Pharisees as soon as he begins to move towards the city, and when he arrives he is soon in conflict with the Temple's traders and religious leaders. He teaches in the Temple, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders and speaking in parables about the Kingdom of God and the failings of the chief priests and the Pharisees. The Herodian caucus also become involved in a scheme to entangle Jesus (Matthew 22:15-16), but Jesus' careful response to their enquiry, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s" (Matthew 22:23), leaves them marveling at his words (Matthew 22:24).

The disciples ask about the future, and in his final discourse (the Olivet Discourse) Jesus speaks of the coming end.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". There will be false Messiahs, earthquakes, and persecutions, the sun, moon, and stars will fail, but "this generation" will not pass away before all the prophecies are fulfilled.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The disciples must steel themselves for ministry to all the nations. At the end of the discourse, Matthew notes that Jesus has finished all his words, and attention turns to the crucifixion.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

The events of Jesus' last week occupy a third of the content of all four gospels.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph and drives the money changers from the temple, holds a last supper, prays to be spared the coming agony (but concludes "if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done"), and is betrayed. He is tried by the Jewish leaders (the Sanhedrin) and before Pontius Pilate, and Pilate washes his hands to indicate that he does not assume responsibility. Jesus is crucified as king of the Jews, mocked by all. On his death there is an earthquake, the veil of the Temple is rent, and saints rise from their tombs. Mary Magdalene and another Mary discover the empty tomb, guarded by an angel, and Jesus himself tells them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

After the resurrection the remaining disciples return to Galilee, "to the mountain that Jesus had appointed", where he comes to them and tells them that he has been given "all authority in heaven and on Earth." He gives the Great Commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you". Jesus will be with them "to the very end of the age".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Theology

File:Matthew Evangelist Incunabula Koberger Bible wiki.jpg

Woodcut from Anton Koberger's Bible (Nuremberg, 1483): The angelically inspired Saint Matthew musters the Old Testament figures, led by Abraham and David

Christology

Christology is the theological doctrine of Christ, "the affirmations and definitions of Christ's humanity and deity".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". There is a variety of Christologies in the New Testament, albeit with a single centre - Jesus is the figure in whom God has acted for mankind's salvation.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Matthew has taken over his key Christological texts from Mark, but sometimes he has changed the stories he found in Mark, giving evidence of his own concerns.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The title Son of David identifies Jesus as the healing and miracle-working Messiah of Israel (it is used exclusively in relation to miracles), and the Jewish messiah is sent to Israel alone.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". As Son of Man he will return to judge the world, a fact his disciples recognise but of which his enemies are unaware.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". As Son of God he is named Immanuel (God with us) (Matthew 1:23), God revealing himself through his son, and Jesus proving his sonship through his obedience and example.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Relationship with the Jews

Matthew's prime concern was that the Jewish tradition should not be lost in a church increasingly becoming gentile.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". This concern lies behind the frequent citations of Jewish scripture, the evocation of Jesus as the new Moses along with other events from Jewish history, and the concern to present Jesus as fulfilling, not destroying, the Law.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Matthew must have been aware of the tendency to distort Paul's teaching of the law no longer having power over the New Testament Christian into antinomianism, and addressed Christ's fulfilling of what the Israelites expected from the "Law and the Prophets" in an eschatological sense, in that he was all that the Old Testament had predicted in the Messiah. Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

The gospel has been interpreted as reflecting the struggles and conflicts between the evangelist's community and the other Jews, particularly with its sharp criticism of the scribes and Pharisees.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Prior to the Crucifixion the Jews are called Israelites, the honorific title of God's chosen people; after it, they are called "Ioudaioi", Jews, a sign that through their rejection of the Christ the "Kingdom of Heaven" has been taken away from them and given instead to the church.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Comparison with other writings

Christological development

The divine nature of Jesus was a major issue for the community of Matthew, the crucial element marking them from their Jewish neighbors. Early understandings of this nature grew as the gospels were being written. Before the gospels, that understanding was focused on the revelation of Jesus as God in his resurrection, but the gospels reflect a broadened focus extended backwards in time.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The gospel of Mark recounts prior revelations in Jesus' lifetime on earth, at his baptism and transfiguration. Matthew and Luke go back further still, showing Jesus as the Son of God from his birth. Matthew more than all the other gospels identifies how his coming to earth was the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies. Finally John calls God the Word (Jesus) pre-existent before creation, and thus before all time.

Matthew is a creative reinterpretation of Mark,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". stressing Jesus' teachings as much as his acts,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and making subtle changes in order to stress his divine nature – Mark's "young man" who appears at Jesus' tomb, for example, becomes a radiant angel in Matthew.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The miracle stories in Mark do not demonstrate the divinity of Jesus, but rather confirm his status as an emissary of God (which was Mark's understanding of the Messiah).Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Chronology

There is a broad disagreement over chronology between Matthew, Mark and Luke on one hand and John on the other: all four agree that Jesus' public ministry began with an encounter with John the Baptist, but Matthew, Mark and Luke follow this with an account of teaching and healing in Galilee, then a trip to Jerusalem where there is an incident in the Temple, climaxing with the crucifixion on the day of the Passover holiday. John, by contrast, puts the Temple incident very early in Jesus' ministry, has several trips to Jerusalem, and puts the crucifixion immediately before the Passover holiday, on the day when the lambs for the Passover meal were being sacrificed in Temple.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

See also

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References

Notes

  1. Eusebius, "History of the Church" 3.39.14-17, c. 325 CE, Greek text 16: "ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἱστόρηται τῷ Παπίᾳ περὶ τοῦ Μάρκου· περὶ δὲ τοῦ Ματθαῖου ταῦτ’ εἴρηται· Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο, ἡρμήνευσεν δ’ αὐτὰ ὡς ἧν δυνατὸς ἕκαστος. Various English translations published, standard reference translation by Philip Schaff at CCEL: "[C]oncerning Matthew he [Papias] writes as follows: 'So then(963) Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.'(964)" Online version includes footnotes 963 and 964 by Schaff.
  2. Irenaeus (died c. 202 CE) makes a similar comment, possibly also drawing on Papias, in his Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 1: "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect". See Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  3. This view is based on three arguments: (a) the setting reflects the final separation of Church and Synagogue, about 85 AD; (b) it reflects the capture of Rome and destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD; (c) it uses Mark, usually dated around 70 AD, as a source. (See R.T France (2007), "The Gospel of Matthew", p. 18.) France himself is not convinced by the majority – see his Commentary, pages 18-19.
  4. France, p. 26 note 1, and p. 28: "The first two words of Matthew's gospel are literally "book of genesis".
  5. France, p. 28 note 7: "All MSS and versions agree in making it explicit that Joseph was not Jesus' father, with the one exception of sys, which reads "Joseph, to whom was betrothed Mary the virgin, begot Jesus."

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Footnotes

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Bibliography

Commentaries

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General works

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External links

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New Testament
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Succeeded by
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