You are on page 1of 23

The Evangelist

• Matthew from Greek “Μαθθαίος”, a

shorter form of the Hebrew
“Mattanyah”=Gift of Yahweh
• Nowhere mentioned as author
• 9:9-13: Call of the tax-collector Matthew
but very impersonal
• If he was an eyewitness (apostle), why
does he copy from Mark, a non-disciple?
The Evangelist

• Unknown to us
• A Greek speaking Jew with rabbinic
education (a Jewish scholar?)
• His gospel was used very early in the
worship of the Church
• See: Ignatius of Antioch (c 115); Origen (c
185-254); Papias; Eusebius; Irenaeus of
Lyon (c 180-190)
Time of Writing

• Written in a time
free from disputes
of the first
• Many scholars favor
a time around AD 85
Place of Writing

• Many suggestions: Jerusalem, Alexandria,

• Caesarea Maritima, Syria (Edessa),
• Most probable candidate: Antioch, a
predominantly Greek-speaking metropolis
• See: Acts: Barnabas, Paul; Gal 2:11-14:
Antioch (Antakya), Turkey
Cave of St. Peter
Cave of St. Peter

• History
• This cave is widely believed to have been
dug by the Apostle Peter himself as a place
• for the early Christian community of Antioch
to meet, and thus to be the
• very first Christian church.
• Whether or not this is so, St. Peter (and St.
Paul) did preach in Antioch around 50 AD
• and a church had been established in
Antioch by as early as 40 AD.
Cave of St. Peter

• Antioch became a major center for planning

and organizing the apostles' missionary
efforts, and it was the base for Paul's earliest
missionary journeys. Famously, it was the
inhabitants of Antioch that first called Jesus'
followers "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
• The attractive stone façade of the church
was built by Crusaders, who identified the
grotto during their rule of Antioch from 1098
to 1268.
Cave of St. Peter

• The interior of the grotto church is austere

and simple. The only permanent furnishings
are a small altar, a single statue, and a stone
throne. On the walls are the barely
discernible remains of frescoes, and on the
floor can be seen some traces of mosaics. In
the back of the church is a tunnel that leads
into the mountain interior, popularly believed
to be a means of escape in times of
Altar in the Cave of St. Peter
Situation of the Church in Antioch

• 1st Christian generation: 40-70 (Acts 11-

15; Gal 2:11-21)
• 2nd Christian generation: 70-100 (Matthew)
• [3rd Christian generation: after 100
• 80s: Gentile Christians began to
outnumber the Jewish Christians →
identity crisis
Situation of the Church in Antioch
Problem: Internal Factions
• Steadily growing group of Gentile
• Liberal Jewish Christians who
preserved Paul’s ideals
• Conservative Jewish Christians who
preserved the ideals of Peter and James
• Need of bringing these groups together
• Matthew emerged as a “liberal
Matthew’s Edition of Mark
Stress on Power and Authority of Jesus
• Mk 6:1-6a • Mt 13:53-58
• Mk 10:18: Why do • Mt 19:17: Why do
you call me good? you ask me about
Only one is good, what is good?
• Mk 4:35-41 • Mt 4:35-41
• Teachings here and • Sermon on the
there Mount (ch 5-7!)
Purpose and Setting

• 1. Catechetical Purpose (instructions for

missionaries; discipline in the community)
• 2. Liturgical Setting (Lord’s Prayer)
• 3. Social Setting (worship in house
“churches” close to Synagogues)
• Answer to “Why is the Christian faith better
than the traditional Jewish faith?
85 AD: Synod of Jamnia

• Rabbi Gamaliel II inserts into the daily

prayed 18 Benedictions as 12th
Benediction: “For apostates; may there
be no hope, and may the Nazarenes
and the heretics suddenly perish”
(birkat ha-minim=blessing of the heretics)
• It became impossible for Jewish
Christians to attend services in the
Location of Jamnia
Jesus – The Second Moses but Greater
than Moses
• Christians needed the assurance that Jesus
was really the Messiah, foretold by the
prophets, the second Moses but greater than
• Ex 4:20: “Moses took his wife and his sons
and went to the land of Egypt”
• Mt 2:14: “Joseph got up, took the child and
his mother by night, and went to Egypt”
• Moses received the law – Jesus gives the law
Matthew’s Groupings
a) Topically

• About the law (5:17-48)

• About piety (6:1-18)
• Demands of discipleship (10:1-42)
• Parables of the Kingdom (13:1-52)
• Polemic against opponents (23:1-39)
• Eschatology (24:4-25:26)
Matthew’s Groupings
b) Numerically
• 3: Three sets of 14 generations (1:1-17)
3 messages to Joseph (1:20;2:13.19)
3 temptations of Jesus (4:1-11)
3 modes of piety (6:1-18)
• 7: Genealogy
7 parables (ch 13)
7 woes (ch 23)
• 10: Ten miracles (ch 8-9)