Re: Did Peter walk on water?

From: George Murphy (
Date: Sat Oct 05 2002 - 21:10:44 EDT

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    Adrian Teo wrote:
    > At this point in my limited research on this topic, I am trying to
    > understand how scholars explain the patristic consensus on the
    > authroship of Matthew. What, in your opinion, is the most convincing
    > one?

            It's important to remember just what the consensus was. There are many
    references to Matthew as the author of the 1st Gospel with no further
    discussion. The
    two fathers of the 2d century who go into more detail are Papias and
    Irenaeus. Since
    both of the them come from the Johannine circle, it is possible that
    they are expressing
    a common tradition from that part of the church.
            Also significant is the fact that, with some exceptions like Origen and
    Jerome, the Greek and Latin fathers often knew little or nothing of the semitic
    languages. Thus the claim that Mt was originally written in Hebrew
    or Aramaic would not
    have been something that they could have tested independently.
            A primary concern of the fathers was that the NT scriptures
    be apostolic. This
    is especially the case for Irenaeus, who argumea against the gnostics
    that the catholics
    can trace their teaching back to the apostles & the gnostics can't.
    My point here is
    not that he or others were deliberately making up a tradition about
    the authorship of
    Mt, but that such a tradition, once it did get going (& that would
    have been ~100 years
    before Irenaeus) might have been accepted by them without challenge.
            Having said all that - it is quite possible that there is a
    good deal of truth
    in the tradition. Papias' statement that "Matthew put together the
    _logia_ in the
    Hebrew language_ could refer to Q, part of Q, or a collection of the
    sayings of Jesus
    peculiar to Mt. It is also possible that Matthean authorship has to
    be understood in
    terms of a "school of St. Matthew", disciples of the apostle who made
    use of his
    teaching in the same way that the final form of some of the OT
    prophetic books should be
    ascribed to disciples of the prophet in question.
            The introduction to David Hill's commentary on Mt in the New
    Centur Bible series
    gives a good discussion of some of these possibilities.


    George L. Murphy

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