Was the Author of Matthew Matthew?

In my previous post I showed that the claim that Matthew, the tax-collector, was the author of the Gospel of Matthew (as we continue to call it) cannot be traced earlier than about 180 CE.  It is not found in Justin, who lived in Rome in 150 CE and who quotes the Gospel – along with Mark and Luke – without indicating who wrote them.  And the evidence of Papias (120-140 CE) is more than just ambiguous: he actually does ...

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When Was Matthew Called Matthew?

For years I agreed with those scholars who claim that we have very early “evidence” that the Gospel of Matthew was actually written by Matthew, the tax-collector who was a disciple of Jesus. I no longer think so. Let me give some of the relevant information.

The anonymity of this author – as is true for the other three NT Gospels as well, was respected by Christians for decades. When the Gospels of the New Testament are alluded to and quoted ...

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The Identity of “Matthew”

In a previous post I dealt very briefly with the question of whether the author of the Gospel of Matthew was Jewish. I want to say a few more things about the issue, although I’m not planning on providing anything like an exhaustive treatment. It’s a complicated issue. At the end of the day, my view is that we simply don’t know.

In this post I want to say something about what we know about the identity of ...

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Was Matthew a Jew?

QUESTION:

I’m currently reading your book “Forged”…not sure whether I read this there or in the blog, but it puzzled me. You said the authors of Mark and Luke were not Jews? I’d somehow assumed the authors of all the Canonical Gospels were Jews – among the educated elite, of course, since they could write in Greek…. I’m sure the author of Matthew was a Jew, though very dissatisfied with some of his fellow Jews!

 

RESPONSE:

This comment is part of a larger ...

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Spong’s New Book on John: Part 2

Yesterday I wrote a post in which I began to discuss the recent Huffington Post article by John Shelby Spong in which he discusses his new book on John; the book is called The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic and the article can be found this address: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shelby-spong/gospel-of-john-what-everyone-knows-about-the-fourth-gospel_b_3422026.html?ref=topbar

Today I will finish out what I started to say yesterday.

Let me say again that I have long appreciated Spong’s work and am sympathetic to his mission. He is trying ...

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Spong’s New Book on John

John Shelby Spong, former Episcopal bishop of New Jersey and highly controversial author (because of his skeptical views about the New Testament and traditional Christian doctrine) has just published a new book on the Gospel of John, called The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic. I have not read the book, but Spong has written an interesting article on it that appeared in the Huffington Post yesterday, at this address:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shelby-spong/gospel-of-john-what-everyone-knows-about-the-fourth-gospel_b_3422026.html?ref=topbar

In the article Spong summarizes the ...

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Jesus’ Inflammatory Words

QUESTION:

Were the claims Jesus made about himself, or the comments he made about other sects or leaders within Judaism, likely to have produced an angry or violent response from devout Jews in Jerusalem during Passover? Were his comments any more “out of the ordinary” than others would have been making about, say, the Temple authorities or whomever?

RESPONSE:

A full answer to this very good question would take a full book.  In fact, scholars *have* written entire books ...

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Mark and the Resurrection

QUESTION:

I heard a scholar (I think it was JD Crossan) saying that the absence of a resurrected Jesus in Mark’s original gospel reflects the confusion and anxiety that forlorn Jews would have felt after the destruction of the Temple? Do you think this is the case? If so, how does it fit in with the belief (widespread among scholars, I believe)  that the accounts of a visibly resurrected Jesus were in circulation long before 70 AD and probably ...

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More on Mark and Peter

In answering the question about why it appears that Mark did not serve as the scribe/secretary for Peter, writing down Peter’s (Aramaic) recollections of his time with Jesus and putting them in narrative form in Greek, I already discussed the slender record of that being the origin of Mark’s Gospel, based on the discussion in Papias. Now in this post I want to discuss the direct evidence that suggests that this is not how Mark’s Gospel came into being. Here ...

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Mark as Peter’s Scribe

QUESTION:

Why are scholars almost certain that Peter did not give the general details of Jesus’ life and ministry to his companion Mark, who faithfully recorded the details in Greek, in the style found in his gospel? I know you’ve said that someone such as Peter, aside from not knowing Greek, almost certainly wouldn’t have had the ability to build the relatively sophisticated structure of Mark’s gospel, but why couldn’t Mark have “put form” on Peter’s prosaic verbal account ...

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