From: George Murphy (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Oct 05 2002 - 21:10:44 EDT
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
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
two fathers of the 2d century who go into more detail are Papias and
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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