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Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel according to Matthew (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ματθαῖον, romanizedEuangélion katà Matthaîon), also called the Gospel of Matthew, or simply Matthew, is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic Gospels. Matthew's prime concern was that the Jewish tradition should not be lost in a church that was increasingly becoming gentile.[1] 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:[2] before the Crucifixion they are referred to as Israelites, the honorific title of God's chosen people; after it, they are called simply 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.[3]

The divine nature of Jesus was a major issue for the Matthaean community, the crucial element separating the early Christians from their Jewish neighbors; while Mark begins with Jesus' baptism and temptations, Matthew goes back to Jesus' origins, showing him as the Son of God from his birth, the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.[4] 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.[5] As Son of Man he will return to judge the world, an expectation which his disciples recognise but of which his enemies are unaware.[6] As Son of God, God is revealing himself through his son, and Jesus proving his sonship through his obedience and example.[7]

Most scholars believe the gospel 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.[8][9] The work does not identify its author, and the early tradition attributing it to the apostle Matthew is rejected by modern scholars.[10][11] He 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.[12] Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek", he drew on the Gospel of Mark as a source, plus the hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source (material shared with Luke but not with Mark) and material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew".[13][14]

Composition

Papyrus 𝔓4, 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
𝔓37 The front side of Papyrus 37, a 3rd-century papyrus of Matthew 26; currently housed in the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor Library

Composition

Matthew's sources include the Gospel of Mark, the "shared tradition" called Q, and material unique to Matthew, called M.

The gospel itself does not specify an author, but he 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.[12] Early Christian tradition, first attested by Papias of Hierapolis (c. 125-150 AD), attributes the gospel to the apostle Matthew, but this is rejected by modern scholars.[10][11]

The majority view among scholars is that Matthew was a product of the last quarter of the 1st century.[15][Notes 1] The majority also believe 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.[16][17] 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.[18]

He took 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.[19] 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.[17] 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.[20]

Setting

The gospel of Matthew is 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.[21] The community to which Matthew belonged, like many 1st-century Christians, was still part of the larger Jewish community: hence the designation Jewish Christian to describe them.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

The author 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).[25] Unlike Mark, Matthew 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).[26] 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".[27]

Structure and content

Detailed content of Matthew
1. Birth stories
Genealogy (1:1–17)
Nativity (1:18–25)
Biblical Magi (2:1–12)
Flight into Egypt (2:13–20)
Jesus in Nazareth (2:21–23)
2. Baptism and early ministry
John the Baptist (3:1–12)
Baptism of Jesus (3:13–17)
Temptation of Jesus (4:1–11)
Capernaum (4:12–17)
First disciples of Jesus (4:18–22)
Galilee preaching tour (4:23–25)
3. Sermon on the Mount (5–7)
4. Healing and miracles
Healing many (8:1–17)
Foxes have holes (8:18–20)
Let the dead bury the dead (8:21–22)
Calming the storm (8:23–27)
Gadarene demoniacs (8:28–34)
Healing a paralytic (9:1–8)
Calling of Matthew (9:9–13)
On fasting (9:14–15)
New Wine into Old Wineskins (9:16–17)
Daughter of Jairus (9:18–26)
Two blind men (9:27–31)
Exorcising a mute (9:32–34)
Good crop but few harvesters (9:35–38)
5. Little Commission (10:1–11:1)
6. Responses to Jesus
Messengers from John the Baptist (11:2–19)
Cursing Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (11:20–24)
Praising the Father (11:25–30)
Lord of the Sabbath (12:1–8)
Man with withered hand (12:9–14)
Chosen servant (12:15–21)
Blind-mute man (12:22–28)
Strong man (12:29)
Those not with me are against me (12:30)
Unforgivable sin (12:31–32)
The Tree and its Fruits (12:33–37)
Request for a sign (12:38–42)
Return of the unclean spirit (12:43–45)
Jesus' true relatives (12:46–50)
Parabolic Discourse (13:1–52)
7. Conflicts, rejections, and conferences with disciples
Hometown rejection (13:53–58)
Death of John the Baptist (14:1–12)
Feeding the 5000 (14:13–21)
Walking on water (14:22–33)
Fringe of his cloak heals (14:34–36)
Discourse on Defilement (15:1–20)
Canaanite woman's daughter (15:21–28)
Healing on a mountain (15:29–31)
Feeding the 4000 (15:32–39)
Sign of Jonah (16:1–4)
Beware of yeast (16:5–12)
Peter's confession (16:13–20)
Jesus predicts his death (16:21–28,17:22–23,20:17–19)
Transfiguration (17:1–13)
Possessed boy (17:14–21)
Coin in the fish's mouth (17:24–27)
8. Life in the Christian community
The Little Children (18:1–7)
If thy hand offend thee (18:8–9)
The Lost Sheep (18:10–14)
Binding and loosing (18:15–22)
Unmerciful Servant (18:23–35)
9. Journey to Jerusalem
Entering Judea (19:1–2)
Divorce (19:3–9)
Celibacy (19:10–12)
Little Children Blessed (19:13–15)
Jesus and the rich young man (19:16–30)
Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (20:1–16)
Son of man came to serve (20:20–28)
Blind near Jericho (20:29–34)
10. Jerusalem, cleansing of the temple, debates
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem (21:1–11)
Temple incident (21:12–17)
Cursing the fig tree (21:18–22)
Authority questioned (21:23–27)
The Two Sons, The Wicked Husbandman, Parable of the Wedding Feast (21:28–22:14)
Render unto Caesar... (22:15–22)
Resurrection of the Dead (22:23–33)
Great Commandment (22:34–40)
Is the Messiah the son of David? (22:41–46)
11. Woes of the Pharisees (23:1–39)
12. Judgment day
Little Apocalypse (24)
Parables of the Ten Virgins, Talents (25:1–30)
Judgment of the Nations (25:31–46)
13. Trial, crucifixion, resurrection
Plot to kill Jesus (26:1–5)
Anointing of Jesus (26:6–13)
Bargain of Judas (26:14-16)
Last Supper (26:17–30)
Denial of Peter (26:31–35,69–75)
Agony in the Garden (26:36-46)
Kiss of Judas (26:47-49)
Arrest (26:50–56)
Before the High Priest (26:57–68)
Pilate's court (27:1–2,11–26)
Death of Judas (27:3-10)
Soldiers mock Jesus (27:27–31)
Simon of Cyrene (27:32)
Crucifixion (27:33–56)
Entombment (27:57–61)
Guarding the tomb (27:62–66,28:11–15)
Empty tomb (28:1–6)
Appearance to the women (28:7–10)
Great Commission (28:16–20)
Historicity
Life events
New Testament
Culture
Depictions
Christianity
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