The Women in Matthew’s Genealogy: Answer to a Reader

Yesterday I received this question in response to a post:

QUESTION:

I have also heard that hints of the possibility of Jesus’ illegitimacy can be found in Matthew’s hereditary narratives. It is a bit of a stretch but Matthew names 4 women in them and all 4 are somewhat” loose” women, giving the hint that illegitimacy can still produce remarkable people. Any thoughts on this?

RESPONSE:

Ah, great question.  Here is what I say about it in my textbook on ...

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Speaking in Tongues and Virgin Births: Readers’ Mailbag September 3, 2017

I will deal with two questions in this week’s Readers’ Mailbag.  The first has to do with why some conservative Christian theologians insist that the “gifts of the Spirit” (such as speaking in tongues and doing miracles) are no longer available to believers today (doesn’t the Bible indicate that they are?), and the second about whether the Gospel of Matthew mistranslates or misunderstands the passage of Scripture that allegedly indicated that the messiah would be born of a woman who ...

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Did Matthew Write in Hebrew? Did Jesus Institute the Lord’s Supper? Did Josephus Mention Jesus? Weekly Readers’ Mailbag July 9, 2016

Was the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew?  Did Jesus have a Last Supper?  And does Josephus mention Jesus’ brother James?  These are the three questions I will be addressing in this week’s Reader’s Weekly Mailbag.   If you have any question for me to address, let me know!

 

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QUESTION:

Just a short question: is there any possibility that Matthew gospel’s was written in Hebrew or Aramaic ?

RESPONSE

There was a long tradition throughout early and medieval Christianity that maintained that Matthew – commonly ...

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Readers’ Mailbag on Revelation: November 6, 2015

Last week I started a new feature on the blog, a weekly “Readers’ Mailbag,” where I answer two or three fairly random questions that have come in to me, ones that I do not simply want to answer in a sentence, as in most of my replies to “Comments” on my posts, but also not as fully as a thread or even a full post.  Most of these questions do indeed deserve full posts, or threads, and I may in ...

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Why Was The Gospel of Matthew Attributed to Matthew?

I have now gotten to a point where I can discuss why the four Gospels were specifically given the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.   Recall the most important points of my preceding posts on the blog so far:  the Gospels were all written anonymously and they circulated anonymously, for years and decades; we have no certain evidence that they – these particular Gospels — were called by their familiar names until around 180 CE, in sources connected with ...

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Ancient Forerunners of Modern Gospel Critics

In my previous post I argued that critical scholars who insist that the Gospels are not historically accurate accounts of what happened in the life of Jesus – even though they do contain some historically accurate information, which needs to be carefully and cautiously ferretted out of their narratives – are not trashing the Gospels.  They are trashing unfounded fundamentalist assumptions about the Gospels.  In this post I’d like to argue that this view — that the Gospels are not ...

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Jesus’ Birth: Some Comparisons

Here is another illustration of how the Comparative Method works with Luke, as described in my textbook on the New Testament. A personal anecdote. It was precisely the differences between Matthew and Luke in the birth narratives that led me to formulate the comparative method. Unlike the other methods I discuss in my book, this is one that is not widely discussed in scholarship. In fact, I had never heard of it until, well, I came up with it. But ...

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Jesus at the Movies: Infancy Narratives

I’m having a terrific time with my undergraduate course this semester, a first-year seminar that I call “Jesus in Scholarship and Film.” Last month I posted my syllabus for the class on the blog. This past week was the first time we’ve done any film in the class, and it was very interesting.

For the class I had the students do a writing assignment, in which they compared the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke in detail (Mark and John, of ...

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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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