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Words from GOD – Words to GOD

Mathew 1-7, The Life of Jesus, part 3, by Archbishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz, MA,DD

Jesus

4.3 Avoided Words in Matthew

Preliminary Notes: In order to avoid uncertainties, this list includes only those words that Matthew with reservations takes over from the Gospel of Mark to the degree that they are significant.
The columns are the same as in 4.2. In the first column “Mark” means that the word is one of the preferred words of the Markan redaction.

→ = a reference to 4.2.

ἀγαθός 16, 4, 16
c. 8x red.
ἀκάθαρτος 2, 11, 6
Mark 11x with πνευ̃μα; → δαιμονίζομαι
no. 1
ἀλλά 37, 45, 35
Matthew avoids ἀλλά following negations (simplification) and as the beginning of a main clause; cf. Neirynck, Agreements, 221–22
ἀνίστημι 4, 17, 17
Matthew prefers ἐγείρω; in theological usage it is community language
no. 1, Mark
ἄρχω 13, 27, 31
Matthew omits with infinitive 20x (retains 13x; 3x red.). Since it is superfluous, it is awkward. It may be an Aramaism (Dalman, Words, 26–28). Cf. Neirynck, Agreements, 242–44
βαπτίζω 7, 13, 10
→ βαπτιστής. Matthew avoids the nontechnical usage. Community language
Mark
διαστέλλομαι 1, 5, 0
Term of the Markan messianic secret; minor agreement
Mark
δύναμαι 27, 33, 26
Matthew omits c. 7x Markan red. passages, c. 20x for other reasons
ἑαυτοῦ
no. 1
πρὸς ἑαυτούς 0, 7, 6
often unclear text-critically. Schmid, Matthäus und Lukas, 54: vulgar
εἰσπορεύομαι 1, 8, 5
ἐκπορεύομαι 6, 11, 3
ἐπερωτάω 8, 25, 17
(nos. 1, 2) Mark
εὐθύς 5, 41, 1
Neirynck, Agreements, 274–75. Markan εὐθύς is not unclassical but in part pleonastic; Matthew omits and replaces with → εὐθέως
θαμβέω 0, 3, 0
minor agreement
ἐκθαμβέω
minor agreement
θεωρέω 2, 7, 7
Ἰάκωβος 6, 15, 8
James, son of Zebedee, omitted 5x
no. 2
ἴδε 4, 9, 0
5x omitted as pleonastic; 3x → ἰδού
ἵνα 39, 64, 46
Matthew often replaces Markan nonpurposive ἵνα with direct address. Peter Lampe, EDNT 2.188: the usage of Matthew and Mark is not classical. Material: Neirynck, Agreements, 217–19
Ἰωάννης 26, 26, 31
John, son of Zebedee, omitted 6x
καθώς 3, 8, 17
Mark
κηρύσσω 9, 14, 9
In Mark almost always redactional, often in summaries. Matthew deals quite freely with it
κοράσιον 3, 5, 0
Matthew omits popular diminutive, also ὠτάριον,
θυγάτριον. Minor agreement
No. 1
κράβατος 0, 5, 0
“the poor man’s bed” (BDAG, s.v.), popular. Minor agreement
Mark
μηδείς 5, 9, 9
partly a term of the Markan messianic secret
no. 1
ξηραίνω 3, 6, 1
avoided in connection with sicknesses since popular
no. 2
ὅπου 13, 17, 5
avoiding superfluous parenthetical clauses
οὐδείς 19, 26, 33
οὐκέτι 2, 7, 3
Matthew avoids double negations
ὅτι 141, 101, 174
Neirynck, Agreements, 213–17: ὅτι recitativum before direct address is almost always (c. 40x), ὅτι interrogativum always (3x) omitted
no. 2, Mark
πάλιν 17, 28, 3
Markan redactional embellishment; used by Matthew only when clearly appropriate
Mark
παρίστημι 1, 6, 3
Markan redactional participle οἱ παρεστηκότες is always paraphrased by Matthew
no. 2, Mark
περιβλέπω 0, 6, 1
Markan redactional word, sometimes omitted, sometimes replaced. Minor agreement
πολλά adverb 2, 16, 2
Neirynck, Agreements, 278–79
πρός 41, 65, 166
only with accusative
no. 1
σατανᾶς 4, 6, 5
Matthew avoids Aramaisms but not as consistently as Luke
Mark
συζητέω 0, 6, 2
Markan redactional word. Minor agreement
no. 2
τίθημι 5, 11, 16
usually tightenings
τις 21, 34, 80
no. 1
φέρω 4, 15, 4
usually replaced by ἄγω or → προσφέρω; nonspecific word; Neirynck, Agreements, 279
no. 2
φωνέω 5, 10, 10
usually to tighten the text

From this list we can draw several conclusions:
1. Although Matthew is relatively free in his use of Markan redaction, it is evident that on the whole he accepts Markan redactional diction.
2. Although Matthew improves Markan Greek at many points, he seldom does so as consistently as does Luke.
3. Neither Aramaisms nor Latinisms162 are consistently omitted.
5 The Evangelist’s Relationship to His Sources

Literature
Luz, “Matthew and Q.”
James M. Robinson, “The Matthean Trajectory from Q to Mark,” in Adela Yarbro Collins, ed., Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Bible and Culture: Essays in Honor of Hans Dieter Betz (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998) 122–54.
Eduard Schweizer, “Aufnahme und Gestaltung von Q bei Matthäus,” in Lorenz Oberlinner and Peter Fiedler, eds., Salz der Erde—Licht der Welt: Exegetische Studien zum Matthäusevangelium: Festschrift für Anton Vögtle zum 80. Geburtstag (Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1991) 111–30.

More important than the question of which sources the evangelist used is the question of how he used them. The analysis of the structure showed that the evangelist did not write freely but to a large degree wanted to follow especially his main source, Mark. The analysis of the individual texts will show that Matthew is quite familiar with the Gospel of Mark, that he anticipates future material in his editing, and that in many cases he uses words from omitted verses of Mark at another place. It is as if the evangelist, in spite of his many abridgments, wanted to use as much of Mark’s text as possible. I will try in different ways to enlarge this picture of a tradition-oriented evangelist.
5.1 Matthew as Heir of Mark and the Sayings Source
5.1.1 The Linguistic Relationship to Mark and Q

The evangelist did not create many of the words of the Matthean preferred vocabulary; they are suggested by his sources.
Examples of the influence the Sayings Source exerted on Matthew are ὀλιγόπιστος (“little faith”; Q 12:28 = Matt 6:30*), ἀνομία (“lawlessness”; Matt 7:23* = Q), and the threatening expression about wailing and gnashing of teeth (Q 13:28 = Matt 8:12*). Also from Q is ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται (“the Law and the Prophets”; Q 16:16 = Matt 11:13*) and perhaps his preference for ἀμήν (λέγω ὑμῖν) (“Amen [I say to you]”). Πραΰς (Matt 5:5*) comes from Q.
The influence of the Gospel of Mark on Matthew’s language was, if anything, even greater. The following Matthean preferred words, for example, come from Mark: ἀναχωρέω (“depart,” Mark 3:7*), ἀκολουθέω (“follow”), the expression πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (“all the nations,” Mark 13:10*), εἰσέρχομαι (“entering”) into life or into the kingdom of heaven, μαθητής (“disciple”), μικρός (“little,” Mark 9:42*), and προσκυνέω (“worship”). It is theologically important that Mark influenced Matthew in connecting the son of David title and miracle stories (Mark 10:47–48* with ἐλεέω [have mercy]) and perhaps in the formulation of his introduction to the fulfillment quotations (πληροῦσθαι [fulfilling] the scriptures [Mark 14:49*]).165 Other important words of the Markan redaction are also used by Matthew in his redaction: scribes, elders, Pharisees, and Sadducees as opponents of Jesus; Γαλιλαία (Galilee), διδάσκω (teach), εὐαγγέλιον (gospel), κηρύσσω (preach), ὄχλος (crowd), συνίημι (understand), and so on.
Matthew is indebted to the written source of 5:21–6:18* for the antitheses formula and the catchword “hypocrite” (6:2*, 5*, 16*).
5.1.2 The Theological Relationship to Mark and Q

Theological Influences from Q

Even theologically the evangelist carries on to a large extent ideas of his two main sources. Matthew is the pupil, or better, the heir of his theological “fathers,” Mark and Q.
In much the same way as with the Sayings Source, the idea of judgment is central to the Gospel of Matthew. Most of the individual blocks of the Sayings Source as well as the entire source culminate in the idea of judgment. The same is true of the composition of the discourses in the Gospel of Matthew. With the exception of the sending discourse, they all end by threatening judgment; indeed, that is the theme of the entire final discourse. The Son of Man christology has central significance for both of them. In Q, Son of Man sayings often appear in prominent position at the beginning or at the end of individual blocks of material or at the beginning and end of the entire source.167 In Q the Son of Man is the future World Judge, even in sayings of the “present” Son of Man. Matthew has created four new Son of Man sayings that speak of the future judgment of the Son of Man. As in Q, with Matthew also the words of Jesus are at the same time those of the future World Judge. Finally, both bear the imprint of the conflict with Israel. In Q the polemic is direct. Beginning with the Baptist’s discourse, the words against “this” evil and perverse generation are repeated (e.g., Q 7:31). The sending discourse leads to the words of judgment on the Galilean cities (Q 10:13–15). The miracle cycle ends in a dispute with those who are not with Jesus and thus are against him (Q 11:23–32). We should especially note the sevenfold woes against Pharisees and scribes (Q 11:37–52). The disciples section following the woes discourse speaks of persecution in Israel (Q 12:2–12; cf. Q 6:22–23; 11:49–51) and culminates again in the accusation against Israel (Q 13:25–35). The collection of threatening words about the judgment of the Son of Man (Q 17:23–37) must be read against this background. Judgment on Israel is just as important for Matthew, but he speaks differently about it. With him, many Q threats against Israel become threats directed to the church.170 By contrast the judgment on Israel takes on decisive significance in the story of Jesus taken over from Mark. However, this does not exhaust the basic points of contact between Matthew and Q. They are to be understood on the sociological as well as the theological level.171

Mark’s Theological Influence

There are also close points of contact between Mark and Matthew. Matthew, who has taken over the narrative outline of the Gospel of Mark, is in literary terms a new version of the Gospel of Mark and not a new version of Q. There are several implications of this relationship. For both Matthew and Mark the story of Jesus is a transparent—that is, inclusive—story for the church’s own situation.172 For both Matthew and Mark “disciples” (μαθηταί) and “follow” (ἀκολουθέω) are key concepts that describe not only the story of Jesus but also one’s own existence. For both, the miracle stories express one’s own experiences with Jesus. As for Mark, so also for Matthew the Son of God title is decisive. For Mark also the conflict with Israel was important;174 here Matthew follows his story and expands it dramatically with the help of the threats against Israel from Q and special material. Elsewhere Matthew is farther removed from the basic stance of the second Gospel. Above all, in Matthew the messianic secret no longer appears to play a key role.

Differences between Mark and Q

There are major differences between the Gospel of Mark and the Sayings Source on especially two points, and on both of them Matthew was faced with an alternative. One of the points was Jesus’ relationship to the law. Mark emphasizes the element in Jesus’ proclamation that was critical of the law. Mark 7:1–23* in particular, with its extensive community interpretation in 7:18–23* based on 7:15*, shows that Mark has basically a free attitude toward the ritual law.175 In Q almost all traditions of Jesus critical of the law are missing; one appears to have understood Jesus’ preaching more as a new approach to the law that fundamentally remains valid (Q 11:39–42; 16:17). Matthew sides here decisively with those who affirm the validity of the entire law. Indeed, in contrast to the Sayings Source he puts the question of the law in the foreground (Matt 5:17–19*). On another point, however, he takes over the Markan position. While the Q materials transmit the tradition about Jesus’ punctilious openness to Gentiles, nowhere do they presuppose the existence of a Gentile mission. In Mark, however, it is both implicitly (5:18–20*; cf. 7:24–8:10*) and explicitly (13:10*; 14:9*; 15:39*) affirmed. Matthew places particular emphasis on it. His Gospel ends in 28:16–20* with the programmatic command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη).
Conclusion: Not only Matthew’s language but also his theology is—pointedly but basically bound to tradition—a continuation of the heritage of his fathers. When we ask what is new in it, the answer must be nuanced. Compared with Q, in Matthew what stands out is the emphatic refocusing inwardly of the idea of judgment, thus the judgment parenesis directed to the church. A new element in comparison with Mark is the ethical accenting of the “gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1*) as a “gospel of the kingdom”—that is, as Jesus’ ethical proclamation—an accenting made possible by bringing together the Gospel of Mark “without teachings” and the Q materials. What is especially new, however, is the integration of the Q materials into the story of God with his Son, Jesus, that opens a new, deep dimension of grace for the hearers of the ethical gospel. The community that is confronted with Jesus’ demand knows that it is directed first of all to the story of Jesus in which it experiences God’s “with us”—Immanuel. Finally, the programmatic turning to Israel’s Bible that is claimed equally for Jesus’ story and his proclamation is new. But it is precisely on this point that Matthew shows that he is not absolutely new but is an exponent of his community who takes up and sharpens not only his theological “teachers” but also the language and thought of his community.
5.2 Matthew as an Exponent of His Community
5.2.1 Grounding in Worship
The Matthean version of the Lord’s Prayer gives a clear indication that Matthew’s perspective was grounded in the worship of his community. Again and again scholars have correctly emphasized that it is inconceivable that Matthew edited this preeminent community prayer as an independent author. In my judgment the wording reveals that Matthew offers the version that was spoken in his church.178 If this is correct, there are consequences: it is evident that the language of the Matthean Lord’s Prayer and the language of the Matthean redaction are largely identical. “Father in heaven,” “will of the Father,” and “evil” are central concepts of the evangelist and at the same time his community’s language of prayer. That means that at important points Matthew’s redactional language is rooted in worship.
This can be corroborated on the basis of another text. When the eucharistic words of institution in 26:26–28* are formulated in the imperative—“Take, eat,” and “All of you drink of it”—that reflects the liturgy just as does the addition “of this fruit of the vine” in the eschatological preview.179 “For the forgiveness of sins” in the cup saying also points to its use in worship. That the forgiveness of sins played a major role for the Matthean community is also substantiated by 9:8*. In chap. 18 the entire second half of the community discourse has the theme of forgiveness, and the old church discipline of 18:15–17* is correspondingly “framed.”180 Thus an experience of the Matthean community in eucharistic worship here determines the evangelist’s theology.
One can develop this thesis further, although in so doing we approach the beginnings of speculation. From 28:19* we know that baptism was performed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (cf. Did. 7.1–2). That is in keeping not only with the understanding of God as Father but also with the use of the Son of God title in the Gospel of Matthew. It probably reflects not only Mark’s usage (15:39*) but also that of the church when “Son of God” becomes Matthew’s most important title of confession (Matt 14:33*; 16:16*; 27:54*). That the influence of the LXX can be seen again and again in the Gospel of Matthew may also be related to the experience of worship. “Lord, save” (κύριε σῶσον, twice) and “Lord, have mercy” (κύριε ἐλέησον, 3–4 times) are the language of psalms. Elsewhere as well the language of the LXX repeatedly flows from the evangelist’s quill. He lives in his Greek Bible, because worship plays a decisive role for him.
5.2.2 Matthew and His Church’s Scribes
Matthew speaks of Christian scribes (13:52*; 23:34*). When talking about Israel he speaks of “their synagogues” (4 times) and “their scribes” (7:29*) but not of “their Pharisees.” We may surmise that this happens because there were “our” scribes and synagogues separate from “their” scribes and synagogues. The activity of these scribes is clear in the background of the Gospel of Matthew. In anticipation of the excursus on the fulfillment quotations182 I suggest here some of its results. The “school” that is visible behind the fulfillment quotations is, in my judgment, not identical with the evangelist. The evangelist, who is influenced by the LXX, is hardly himself completely responsible for their wording. Since many fulfillment quotations belong together with those traditions in which they appear today, and since Matthew is not their author, we can surmise that in his community many traditions, especially those of special material, are the result of reflection by the scribes in the light of the Bible. Thus one can see behind Matthew the work of the scribes that he makes use of. That he programmatically lays claim to the OT does not happen without prior preparation.
It may be possible to see the activity of these scribes in other places as well. The pre-Matthean addition to the story of plucking grain in 12:5–6* or the traditional “rabbinic” argument of the sheep that has fallen in the ditch (12:11–12*) show that the Gospel of Mark was also the subject of reflection in the Matthean church. The “targumizing” of Jesus’ last cry on the cross (27:46*) may go back to them.183 Additions in QMt such as 7:6*; 18:15–20*; and 23:16–22* may go back to the “halakic” tradition of scribes. Finally, in 13:52* Matthew transmits to us the well-known parable of the Christian scribe who brings out of his treasure old and new things. Many exegetes assume that Matthew gives us here a small self-portrait.184 Even if I have reservations about this thesis, 13:52* makes clear that scribes who above all give new interpretations to the “old” biblical texts were highly esteemed in the Matthean community.
Visible behind the Gospel of Matthew, therefore, are Christian scribes who work with Q, the Gospel of Mark, other Jesus traditions, and the Bible. Matthew, the new narrator of the Markan story of Jesus, takes their work seriously. Not only his own language, which frequently shows points of contact with contemporary rabbinic Judaism; not only his conservative attitude toward the law, revealed in 5:17–19* and in many other texts; not only many precedents that he takes over from the tradition of Christian scribes (in particular the fulfillment quotations), but also texts such as 23:34* or the admonition in 23:8–10* directed specifically to them show how important they are for him.
To sum up, in his language and in his theology Matthew is influenced by his community. He does not write in a vacuum. He follows the heritage of his fathers and the liturgical and scribal traditions of his church. For him his own theological creativity and his orientation toward tradition combine in a harmonious whole.
6 The Historical Situation of the Gospel of Matthew

Literature
Bacon, Studies, 3–49.
Schuyler Brown, “The Matthean Community and the Gentile Mission,” NovT 22 (1980) 193–221.
Kenneth W. Clark, “The Gentile Bias in Matthew,” JBL 66 (1947) 165–72.
Elian Cuvillier, “Particularisme et universalisme chez Matthieu: Quelques hypotheses à l’épreuve du texte,” Bib 78 (1997) 481–502.
Davies, Setting, 208–315.
Dobschütz, “Matthäus.”
Donald A. Hagner, “The Sitz im Leben of the Gospel of Matthew,” in Bauer-Powell, Treasures, 27–68.
Hummel, Auseinandersetzung, 26–33, 159–61.
Jean Claude Ingelaere, “Universalisme et particularisme dans l’Évangile de Matthieu: Matthieu et le Judaïsme,” RHPhR 75 (1995) 45–59.
Kilpatrick, Origins, 101–39.
Josef Kürzinger, “Das Papiaszeugnis und die Erstgestalt des Matthäusevangeliums,” BZ NF 4 (1960) 19–38, quoted according to idem, Papias von Hierapolis und die Evangelien des Neuen Testaments (Eichstätter Materialien 4; Regensburg: Pustet, 1983) 9–32.
Idem, “Irenäus und sein Zeugnis zur Sprache des Matthäusevangeliums,” NTS 10 (1963/64) 108–15, quoted according to Papias von Hierapolis, 33–42.
Luomanen, Entering, 262–77.
Meier, Law, 9–21.
Idem, The Vision of Matthew: Christ, Church, and Morality in the First Gospel (New York: Paulist Press, 1979) 15–25.
Richard E. Menninger, Israel and the Church in the Gospel of Matthew (American University Studies: Theology and Religion 162; New York: Lang, 1994) 23–62.
Poul Nepper-Christensen, Das Matthäusevangelium: Ein judenchristliches Evangelium? (Acta theologica danica 1; Aarhus: Universitetsvorlaget, 1958) 13–100, 180–207.
J. Andrew Overman, Matthew’s Gospel and Formative Judaism: The Social World of the Matthean Community (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990).
Boris Repschinski, The Controversy Stories in the Gospel of Matthew (FRLANT 189; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000) 13–61, 343–50.
Anthony J. Saldarini, “The Gospel of Matthew and Jewish-Christian Conflict,” in Balch, History, 38–61.
Schweizer, “Church.”
Alan F. Segal, “Matthew’s Jewish Voice,” in Balch, History, 3–37.
Sim, Gospel.
Stanton, Gospel, 85–191.
Strecker, Weg, 15–35.
Kenzo Tagawa, “People and Community in the Gospel of Matthew,” NTS 16 (1969/70) 149–62.
William G. Thompson, “A Historical Perspective in the Gospel of Matthew,” JBL 93 (1974) 243–62.
Idem and Eugene A. Laverdière, “New Testament Communities in Transition: A Study of Matthew and Luke,” TS 37 (1976) 567–97.
L. Michael White, “Crisis Management and Boundary Maintenance: The Social Location of Matthew’s Gospel,” in Balch, History, 211–47.
Kun Chun Wong, Interkulturelle Theologie und multikulturelle Gemeinde im Matthäusevangelium (NTOA 22; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992), esp. 185–95.
6.1 The Gospel of Matthew—a Jewish Christian Gospel
Matthew as a Jewish Christian
In the heyday of redaction criticism the thesis was often put forward that the Gospel of Matthew in its final redaction comes from a Gentile Christian church and from a Gentile Christian author. Then the Jewish Christian elements are part of the tradition and are regarded as obsolete. The arguments given in support of this assumption are:
1. Matthew affirms the Gentile mission and is universal in his orientation.
2. He strongly condemns Israel.
3. He avoids Aramaic words.
4. Many passages in the Gospel of Matthew reveal an ignorance of Judaism.
The arguments are not convincing. It is precisely a Jewish Christian who could be expected to engage in an especially vigorous debate with the synagogue that distances itself from Jesus and to pronounce such severe judgment on Israel. The linguistic evidence says nothing one way or the other, since Greek stylistic sensitivity would require Jews and Gentiles to reduce foreign words. Furthermore, in Syria Jews and Gentiles spoke Aramaic. Solely decisive, therefore, is at the most the fourth argument: Matthew writes passages that reveal an ignorance of Judaism that would be impossible for a Jewish Christian. On closer examination, however, the supposed ignorance in these passages fades away.
In my judgment, the Gospel of Matthew originates in a Jewish Christian community and comes from a Jewish Christian author. The following reasons support this view:
1. The structure and composition of the Gospel show that the evangelist is influenced by Jewish literature.

The Testimony of Papias
In his famous “testimony,” Papias of Hierapolis writes in the first half of the second century: “Matthew put together the sayings in the Hebrew dialect” (Μαθθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο). From our observations on the composition and structure of the Gospel of Matthew it is tempting to understand this sentence in the sense of Kürzinger’s interpretation that in my judgment is philologically well grounded: “Matthew arranged the traditions190 in a Jewish manner.” Then the sentence would have been misunderstood in the ancient church in the sense that Ἑβραΐ̃ διάλεκτος meant “Hebrew language.” The error occurred when one heard of the existence of a Hebrew “Gospel of Matthew” (= Gospel of the Nazarenes) in, for example, the library of Pamphilus in Caesarea.193 Of course, this interpretation of the Papias fragment cannot be proven, and the assumption that almost all church fathers later misunderstood Papias is in itself doubtful. If we want to take seriously the testimony of Papias, the only alternative is to understand it as a tradition he takes over and to interpret it in his original statement as referring to an earlier collection of Jesus’ “logia,” perhaps to the Sayings Source, Q.194 Otherwise we must agree with most modern critical scholars that Papias was completely ignorant. However, chronologically and geographically Papias was fairly close to the Gospel of Matthew, and he was concerned with the Jesus tradition. The idea that he was completely uninformed is simply a prejudice. The remaining fourth possibility is to question the universally accepted thesis of Matthean scholarship that the original language of the Gospel of Matthew is Greek. Quintum non datur. My conclusion: Kürzinger’s suggested interpretation is the least difficult.
2. The Matthean sources, Mark and Q, have been transmitted and fashioned in a Jewish Christian community before the writing of the Gospel of Matthew.195
3. The numerous points of contact between the language of the Gospel of Matthew and the LXX and Jewish linguistic characteristics point to a Jewish Christian author.196
It is not clear whether the evangelist knew Aramaic. But it is probable that his mother tongue was Greek; both his good Greek and his familiarity with the LXX speak for such a conclusion. Why, however, should a Syrian—whether a Jew or not—not know Aramaic? The language question is not relevant for the question of whether the author was a Jew.
4. The Matthean theology, especially his understanding of the law and his use of the OT, speak in my opinion for a Jewish Christian author.
5. Not only did the Gospel of Matthew become the most important Gospel in orthodox Christianity; it also played a special role in Jewish Christian circles.

The History of the Gospel of Matthew in Jewish Christianity
The special role of the Gospel of Matthew in comparison with other Gospels is obvious in many Jewish Christian writings or writings close to Jewish Christianity. Among them from the second century is the Gospel of the Nazarenes, which was in use in the fourth century among the Jewish Christians of northern Syria and which one can almost call an expanded paraphrase of Matthew. Another is the Gospel of the Ebionites, which was regarded as a Gospel of Matthew and at the same time makes use of important Matthean theological statements. Other Jewish Christian writings that show Matthew’s influence are the Christian adaptation of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs201 and the Pseudo-Clementines, in Gnostic circles the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Peter203 as well as the Syrian Didascalia, which belongs in a Jewish Christian setting. In the broadest sense of the word one could also designate as Jewish Christian 5 Ezra (which was strongly influenced by Matthew), the Christian interpolations in the Sibylline Oracles (1.323–401), and the Ascension of Isaiah. In these writings the Matthean conflict with Israel was influential.208 It is noteworthy that Matthew plays a greater role in the Jewish Christian “Peter” literature than in the “James” literature. Thus in many parts of Jewish Christianity the Gospel of Matthew had an especially intensive influence. It is not surprising that the ancient church’s tradition understood Matthew as a missionary to the Jews210 and that the Gospel writings of the Ebionites and the Nazarenes were regarded as a Gospel of Matthew.
What Kind of Jewish Christianity?

It thus appears to be an assured conclusion that the Gospel of Matthew comes from a Jewish Christian community. However, the crucial question is: From what kind of Jewish Christian community does it come? I would like to offer three provisional indications.
1. The Gospel’s understanding of the Torah offers a first indication. Jesus commands that one obey the entire law down to its last iota and stroke (5:17–18*). Of course, there are degrees: justice, mercy, and faithfulness are among the basic requirements of the Torah, the tithing of cooking herbs is not (23:23*; cf. 5:19*). There appears to be a similar weighing of the laws in 15:1–20*, but even there purity commandments are not abolished. The Matthean church kept the Sabbath (24:20*).211 It paid the temple tax without regarding it as of fundamental importance (17:24–27*). We hear nothing about circumcision, but that does not mean that the church did not practice it or perhaps even require it of Gentiles.
2. The texts that show a marked distance from Pharisaic- protorabbinic Judaism offer a second indication. Most obvious is that in 23:5* the tefillin are described as “amulets.”212 Other woes also reveal a complete lack of understanding for the meaning of Jewish purity and ritual requirements (23:16–22*, 25–26*, 27–28*). Relevant here is the strict distinction between the Torah and the “traditions” of the Pharisees (15:1–3*); Matthew’s church appears to recognize a living oral Torah only with Jesus’ commandments. Also noteworthy is the idea that the Pharisees and scribes “lay heavy burdens” on people (23:4*). Of course, other Jews did not regard the Torah as a “burden.” There are also other indications such as the observation that for the Matthean community obviously the day begins in the morning (28:1*)213 and that basic Jewish cultic commandments remain as a way of providing metaphorical images (7:6*).214
3. The Matthean church celebrated the Lord’s Supper according to a ritual that was similar to that of the Gentile Christian Markan community (26:26–29*). Nothing suggests that it celebrated it only annually as a Passover. Whether it celebrated a substitute Passover festival—far removed from the temple—we do not know. Following the example of Jesus (3:15*), it baptized its newly won members in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (28:19*). It is noteworthy that precisely here we hear nothing about circumcision. Thus in its basic rituals it was no different from other Jesus communities, even though there were parallel Jewish rituals to these basic rituals.
Conclusion

The total picture is complicated. Much of the evidence suggests that the Matthean community comes from a Judaism that belonged to the “people of the land”—a Judaism that already is distanced from a Pharisaic and scribal Judaism. If that is the case, then the Gospel of Matthew becomes one of the few witnesses for the piety of the ʿam haʾareṣ. Now the community orients itself exclusively on Jesus who, in my judgment, also was part of the non-Pharisaic and nonscribal Judaism of the land. He has become its “only teacher” (23:8*). The community keeps the entire law, but it does so—to state it pointedly—not so much because it belongs to Israel but because Jesus commands it (5:17–18*). That its understanding of the Torah is determined exclusively by Jesus is also shown by the fact that the special rituals legitimated by Jesus have become basic rituals for them. It is also in keeping with this thesis that, although the Gospel of Matthew is Jewish Christian, it only marginally (13:55*) mentions James, the brother of Jesus, who belongs to Jerusalem (and who is closer to the Pharisees?). Matthew’s contacts are more with the parts of the church that regard Peter as the central figure.
6.2 The Position of the Gospel of Matthew in the History of Jewish Christianity
Matthew and Q

The Gospel of Matthew was created by working the Q tradition into the Markan narrative thread. In my opinion we must relate this literary process back to the history of the Matthean community. The combination of these two sources reflects part of the history of the Matthean community. It seems to me that much suggests that the prehistory of the Matthean community is associated in a special way with the Sayings Source. Between Q and the Gospel of Matthew there is not only a linguistic and theological continuity but also a sociological and historical one.
Church Offices
A look at the church offices makes that clear. There are prophets in the Matthean church. In 23:34* the exalted Lord says that he will send prophets, sages, and scribes to Israel;216 10:41* speaks of receiving the prophets in the community; 23:37* (cf. 5:12*) also speaks of Christian prophets. Almost all of these sayings certainly come from Q, but the way they are used by the evangelist makes clear that his community is also familiar with prophets—and that means itinerant prophets as we know them from the Sayings Source and as they appear again in the Didache (11–13) along with the community prophets (10.7; cf. 13.1–4; 15.1–2). The warning against false prophets (Matt 7:15–23*; 24:10–12*) presupposes that there were prophets in the Matthean community.
Similar things can be said of the scribes. In contrast to the prophets they are mentioned redactionally by the evangelist (13:52*; cf. 8:19*; 23:34*). The Sayings Source spoke of the sages (σοφοί) who along with the prophets are sent to Israel (23:34* = Q 11:49). It is not Matthew’s intention to give special emphasis to the position of the scribes in the community. On the contrary! Since “one is your teacher” (23:8*) and “all”—including the scribes—are “brothers,” and since the entire church has the power to bind and loose (18:18*), the Matthean tendency is more in the direction of making the scribes members of the community. Likewise Matthew is not interested in emphasizing the special honor of the itinerant radicals (the prophets and righteous men, 10:41*) but rather in strengthening the “little ones” as disciples of Jesus in the fullest sense of the word (10:42*).
Thus in my opinion the evangelist presupposes the existence of the itinerant prophets and sages of Q. Compared with Q, however, the perspective has shifted. Matthew writes from the perspective of a settled community that is merely visited by wandering charismatics. Even Jesus has an established home in Capernaum (4:13*).
As my first thesis I therefore maintain that the Gospel of Matthew comes from a community that was founded by the itinerant messengers and prophets of the Son of Man of the Palestinian Sayings Source and that continues to be in close contact with them.
Thus the Q traditions reflect for the church experiences from its own history. They are “our” traditions. In the present the Matthean churches live in Syria;218 they probably had been driven there by the Jewish War.
Matthew and Mark
It is much more difficult to determine the position of the Gospel of Mark in the history of the Matthean community. O. H. Steck has posed the helpful hypothesis that after the Jewish War Jewish Christians displaced from Palestine had “joined the Hellenistic Christian communities” in Syria. In this hypothesis historical development and literary-critical evidence are combined. In this case the Gospel of Mark could essentially represent the tradition of the local Hellenistic community. The Gospel of Matthew would then be an ecumenical Gospel. As helpful as that is, in my judgment some critical questions are necessary about its details.
Speaking against this hypothesis is the assumption favored again today that the Gospel of Mark originated in Rome. Then simply for geographical reasons in Syria it would be a foreign book brought in from the outside. Also speaking against Steck’s hypothesis is the source-critical observation that before it was used by Matthew the Gospel of Mark had been transmitted in a Jewish Christian scribal milieu, that is, a milieu that was foreign even to him. In addition, Matthew’s pleading for fundamental faithfulness to the law (5:17–19*) and the fact that, unlike Mark, he does not anchor the Gentile mission in the life of the earthly Jesus also weigh against the theory. All of these arguments speak against the view that the Gospel of Mark was the local Gospel of the mixed Syrian Matthean community and for the view that it is more likely that it came into a Jewish Christian community from the outside—a community whose own traditions were essentially represented by the Sayings Source. Once in the community it quickly became important.
My second thesis is that the Gospel of Matthew originates in a situation in which this Jewish Christian community was at a turning point.
The Sayings Source with its intensified proclamation of judgment on Israel already documents that the Jesus proclamation in Israel was in a crisis. The community experienced the destruction of Jerusalem in the Jewish War as God’s judgment on Israel (22:2–7*; 23:37–39*). In this situation a new orientation was necessary. In Syria it lived in a Gentile environment. Other churches in Syria evangelized among the Gentiles, and it is probable that the Gentile mission had already begun in the Matthean community, perhaps influenced by the Gospel of Mark.221 This decision would not have been uncontroversial in the church, and that leads me to the third thesis:
One of Matthew’s most important concerns is to champion the decision for the Gentile mission in his community.
That this mission is not self-evident in the Matthean community but is an intentional departure for new destinations is shown, in my judgment, by the fact that on this point—and only on this point—the Gospel of Matthew contains a rupture: the mission commandment of the risen Lord is set in antithesis to the command of the earthly Jesus (28:19–20*; 10:5–6*).222 The entire course of the Jesus story accounts for this radical break: Matthew portrays the conflict of Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, with the leaders of the people. It culminates in the passion narrative, where the people side with the leaders who are leading them astray (27:24–25*). Thus the Gospel of Matthew tells how it happened that in the end the greatest portion of Israel rejects Jesus (cf. 28:11–15*). The risen Lord responds to this rejection by commanding the disciples to make disciples of “all nations” (28:16–20*). This rupture in the story of Jesus also took place in the story of the church, which failed in its mission to Israel, experienced the divine judgment of the destruction of Jerusalem, and now in Syria is called by the evangelist to a new task.223
Thus the Matthean community faced the same basic decision that many other Jewish Christian churches in the Diaspora faced after the separation from the synagogues. It had to choose between going its own separate way that in the final analysis would lead to the existence of Jewish Christianity as a marginal phenomenon between non-Christian Israel and the Great Church (as Jewish Christianity in Syria in part became in late antiquity) or the possibility of embracing the Gentile mission and thus taking a fundamental step in a direction that ultimately had to lead to integration into the Great Church. Matthew stands at the beginning of this second way. Where it ultimately led depended decisively on how the community understood its Torah observance and how it practiced its Gentile mission.
Gentile Mission and Circumcision
It is not inconceivable that a Jewish Christian community turned to the Gentile mission only after the destruction of Jerusalem; something similar probably also happened in those churches that are behind the Pseudo-Clementines. If with his advocacy of the Gentile mission Matthew basically sides with Paul, with his affirmation of the unconditional validity of the law he appears to be un-Pauline or pre-Pauline. Did he conceive of the Gentile mission as involving circumcision and fundamental obedience to the law for the Gentiles who believed in Christ? Since the Matthean Jesus unconditionally affirms the law (5:17–18*), this would logically follow.
That is not impossible. There is evidence elsewhere for a Jewish Christianity faithful to the law that is involved in a mission to the Gentiles. One thinks of Paul’s opponents in Galatia, of the Jewish Christians cited by Justin in Dial. 47.2–3 who want to “persuade” other Christians to accept circumcision and Sabbath observance, and perhaps the Jewish Christians whom the Syrian Didascalia opposes. It is possible that we must also mention here the Jewish Christian Gnostics in the Pastorals (cf. 1 Tim 1:7*). We have in post-Matthean Christianity an example of a Christian, Cerinthus, who presumably demanded circumcision.227 The influence of the Gospel of Matthew can be seen at least indirectly with other Jewish Christians who also required circumcision.
There is also evidence, however, of a Jewish Christianity that at least in part was faithful to the law and that probably abandoned circumcision. I am thinking of all those Jewish Christians who require of the Gentiles not complete obedience to the law but a limited obedience (limited by the thesis of “forged” pericopes), such as the Elkesaites. In the Pseudo-Clementines, which also show a strong Matthean influence, circumcision is replaced by baptism, although many purity regulations remain in effect. The Judaizers of the epistles of Ignatius appealed to the OT (Phld. 8.2), held to the Sabbath and other “ancient things” (Magn. 9.1), and did not submit to the bishop. These Jewish Christians did not require circumcision.230
Thus there is wide evidence for a combination of Gentile mission and affirmation of the law. One must simply give up the idea that this question had been decided by the apostolic council for the entire church. The increasingly sharp debate over Paul in the church shows that the reality was quite different.
Thus different solutions are possible in Jewish Christianity in the question of the validity of the law for the Gentiles who are being evangelized. We do not know directly how the Matthean churches here acted. Since sooner or later the majority probably became part of the larger orthodox church, they will have adapted that church’s idea about faithfulness to the law. The speedy dissemination of the Gospel of Matthew and its high esteem in the entire church suggest as much.
The Matthean understanding of the law made such adaptation possible, since it did not regard the Torah as an independent reality alongside Jesus. Instead, Jesus was the only teacher even in reference to the law and was the key to its understanding. It was precisely those parts of the Torah that distinguished Israel from the nations—that is, circumcision, purity commandments, cultic commandments—that for both Jesus and Matthew retreat in favor of the commandments that bring the nations together, especially the love commandment. The distinction between the “heavier things of the law” (βαρύτερα τοῦ νόμου), such as the love commandment, Decalogue, and moral law (Matt 23:23*), and the more peripheral ceremonial laws to which purity commandments, Sabbath, and circumcision belonged make understandable why it was possible for the people who followed Matthew to stop requiring them for the Gentiles.
This attempt to fit the Gospel of Matthew into the history of Jewish Christianity is, of course, a hypothesis. It rests on the assumption that there is not simply a source-critical operation behind the origin of the Gospel of Matthew but that an author who is indebted to his church makes use of its own normative traditions and rethinks them in light of the Gospel of Mark. This hypothesis thus presupposes that it is possible to draw church-historical conclusions from a singular source-critical process with community-oriented texts much as in form criticism one can draw sociological conclusions from the general characteristics of a microgenre about its Sitz im Leben. Methodologically the result is the possibility of locating the Gospel of Matthew in the history of the church.
6.3 The Position of the Matthean Churches in Judaism
Matthew in Judaism: State of Research

How are we to think of the position of the Matthean communities with regard to Judaism? It is noteworthy that in the Gospel of Matthew on the one hand statements that limit salvation to Israel and negative statements about the Gentiles (e.g., Matt 5:46–47*; 10:5–6*; 15:24*; cf. 5:18–19*; 23:3*) are confronted with, on the other hand, universal statements with positive judgments about the Gentiles (e.g., 2:1–12*; 5:14*; 13:38*; 22:9*; 28:18–19*). How are they to be reconciled? Five different historical hypotheses try to explain this textual evidence.
1. A first basic position, and at the same time the first extreme position, sees the Gospel of Matthew as representative of the Petrine church tradition in Antioch. According to this view Matthew’s attitude toward the Gentiles is negative (5:46–47*; 6:7–8*; 10:5–6*; 15:21–28*); his exclusive Jewish Christian community sees its task as the mission to Israel until the parousia (10:23*).235 The mission command with which the Gospel ends defines not the Matthean community’s own task; it merely acknowledges that there is a Gentile mission in other parts of the church.
This position is not plausible. It is based primarily not on the text of the Gospel of Matthew but on an image of the history of early Christianity into which the texts—not only the Matthean texts—are forced. In particular, it ignores the conduit of the Matthean narrative in which everything flows toward the universal mission command. Sim, who primarily holds this position, interprets the Matthean narrative in terms of its beginning rather than its ending.
2. A second basic position understands the Matthean community as rooted in a doubled cultural-religious identity or as an ecumenical “interculturally” open community that sociologically consists of Jews and Gentiles.237 It combines Jewish Christian particularistic and universal open traditions and calls the readers to tolerance. The Gospel of Matthew can be seen as representative of a “universal … Christian Judaism” that is open to the Gentile mission and at the same time does not neglect the lost sheep of Israel.239 A special pronouncement of judgment is directed only at Israel’s leaders.
3. According to the third basic position Matthew’s community is still intra muros of Judaism and its conflict with the hostile synagogues led by Pharisees and scribes is an inner-Jewish conflict. This position, earlier held, for example, by Günther Bornkamm’s school, is frequently advocated today in English and American scholarship. For Saldarini, Overman, and others the Matthean community is a “deviant” Jewish sect242 (“deviance association”) within a Judaism that was on the way to established and universally binding structures of leadership, halakot and convictions (“formative Judaism”). It is clearly in the minority244 but not yet excluded, and it polemicizes bitterly (only!) against the leaders of the hostile majority.246 To be sure, it has “lost the battle for Judaism” and has already developed a stabilized “deviant Jewish identity.” It is on the road to a “conversionist orientation” and a “new community organization.”
4. According to the fourth position Matthew is already looking back on a rupture between his church and the local synagogues. His church is no longer a “community” within the local synagogue; it has had to leave the synagogue nolens volens and has institutionalized itself as a religious fellowship. His Gospel helps its members work through the trauma of the separation from the “mother fellowship” and reflect anew on their task and their self-understanding.
5. The fifth basic position, and at the same time the second extreme position, understands the Gospel of Matthew as a theology-of-history or salvation-history scheme that from a distance looks back on the past story of Jesus and on the separation of church and synagogue and reflects on it from the theology-of-history perspective. This position is often combined with the assumption that Matthew was a Gentile Christian.250
This position also seems to me to be very problematical. It makes of the narrator, Matthew, a theologian who from a distance reflects on salvation history. In so doing it probably brings a modern theological set of questions to the Matthean story of Jesus. In addition, it tends to neglect the concrete situation in which and for which Matthew wrote.
My Own Position

In my opinion the Matthean community, whose mission in the land of Israel has come to an end, no longer belongs to the Jewish synagogue. The evangelist speaks emphatically of “their” or “your” synagogues and scribes (4:23*; 7:29*; 9:35*; 12:9*; 13:54*; 23:34*).251 That assumes that there are also our scribes (13:52*; 23:34*; cf. 23:8–10*) and our assemblies, that is, that the institutionalization of independent Christian communities is well advanced. It is not significant that there is no trace of the “heretics’ blessing”252 in Matthew, since Matthew does not expect non-Christian Jews to read his Gospel.
This is the only position that explains why the Jewish leaders and finally in 27:24–25* also the Jewish people are so thoroughly typecast. It fits in with the entirety of Matthew’s story of Jesus. At the climax of his controversy with Israel’s leaders Jesus with his disciples for the last time leaves the temple, the central institution of Israel (24:1–2*). At the end the hostile leaders succeed in winning the entire nation to their side (27:24–25*). In my opinion, that Matthew’s entire Jesus story is a story of conflict makes impossible an integrative or “intercultural” interpretation of the Gospel (interpretation 2). The way the conflict ends, Jesus’ exodus from the temple and the move of the “entire nation” onto the side of its leaders who were hostile to Jesus clearly speaks, in my judgment, against an inner-Jewish intra muros conflict (interpretation 3). Admittedly, the difference between the third and the fourth interpretations is relatively small.
The Matthean Church’s Self-Understanding

It is quite another question whether the members of the community understood themselves as Jews or Christians. It seems to me that the question is not easily answered. I would prefer to speak of a nascent split identity of the Matthean church.256 Its identity was given solely by Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, its only teacher and the coming World Judge. What does that mean? Matthew and his church certainly did not regard as something foreign the Gentile Christian Jesus communities in their surroundings with which they shared baptism and Lord’s Supper and from which “their” Gospel of Mark came. On the other hand, they belonged to Israel. It is noteworthy that a firm “inside-outside way of thinking” about Israel and corresponding self-designations of the community are still absent from the Gospel of Matthew. It does not yet speak, as does the Gospel of John, stereotypically of “the” Jews as a negative other. It does not call the church “people of God” (cf. 21:43*), “remnant,” or “true Israel”258 as opposed to a false Israel. Only once, and then not in a technical sense, does Jesus speak of “my ἐκκλησία” (16:18*). Stanton says firmly that “Matthew’s community is Extra-Muros yet still defining itself over against Judaism.”260 But how? That was precisely the question facing it. Its members understood themselves as followers of Jesus. That it was now becoming increasingly clear to them that they were faced with the alternative of defining themselves as Jews or as Christians was a profound crisis for them and was for the evangelist the main reason he told the story anew for them.
Conclusion

The Gospel of Matthew is a response to the no of Israel’s majority to Jesus. It is the attempt to come to terms with this no by defining the community’s position and to contribute to forming and preserving its identity in a situation of crisis and transition.
Matthew and Johanan ben Zakkai
Johanan ben Zakkai lived and taught at about the same time as Matthew. The similarity between the Gospel of Matthew and many of the traditions about him is amazing. Like Matthew, Johanan—here in an un-Pharisaic way—resolutely elevated mercy and charity over sacrifice and purity commandments.263 If the tradition is correct, Hos 6:6* was a central passage for both of them (“I desire mercy more than sacrifice”). Like Matthew, Johanan was also open to the Gentiles.264 Both maintained the ritual law, although it does not hold a central position for them. Both raised the question of the highest commandment, the norm of norms.266 In the Jewish War both probably belonged to the peace party. For both, the future judgment was central. Even an individual parable is similar for both of them.268 Like Matthew, Johanan ben Zakkai interpreted faith ethically, as practical commandment for daily living.
In my judgment, the similarities nowhere point to direct contacts between the two. Of course, how much of these traditions actually go back to Johanan must remain an open question. It is also uncertain whether Johanan was a Pharisee.270 It remains noteworthy, however, that Matthew and the leading representative of the Jewish consolidation after 70 were so similar in many things that for centuries afterward would no longer be the case between Christians and Jews. However, the gulf between the church and the synagogue was already too deep for a dialogue to be able to emerge from these similarities.
6.4 The Situation within the Community

Not only does the Gospel of Matthew bear the imprint of the schism with Israel; a number of the community’s other problems are also visible. They are like those with which we are familiar from other NT writings and thus are typical problems of the second and third Christian generations.
1. Most important is that Matthew repeatedly has to call his community to action. His important catchword “little faith” shed’s light on the church’s situation. It must be exhorted to perseverance, to faithfulness, to practice, to courageous faith. The basic problem is how Christians or a community remain what they are without weakening. In this situation parenesis and the prospect of judgment become increasingly significant. Jesus’ “gospel of the kingdom” that Matthew develops in his discourses is an ethical gospel. However, by telling the story of Jesus anew as the story of God’s being-with-us and by embedding God’s will in it, Matthew has also given the proclamation of grace a new dimension.272
2. It is a problem of only secondary importance that the Matthean community had to deal with false prophecy (7:15–23*; 24:10–12*). It is difficult to know what characterized these false teachers.273 We know only that they were pneumatics (prophets, miracle workers: 7:22*). It may be because of these false teachers that Matthew so consistently understands his message as the command of the earthly Jesus (= gospel of the kingdom) and binds the community to the earthly Jesus. The Spirit plays a notably minimal role for Matthew. It is not the Spirit but Jesus himself who will be with his community until the end of the world (28:20*). Prophecy and miracles are judged in terms of Jesus and his demands.
6.5 Place of Writing

Literature
Carl H. Kraeling, “The Jewish Community at Antioch,” JBL 51 (1932) 130–60.
John P. Meier, “Antioch,” in Raymond E. Brown and John P. Meier, Antioch and Rome: New Testament Cradles of Catholic Christianity (New York: Paulist Press, 1983) 11–86.
Robert E. Osborne, “The Provenance of St. Matthew’s Gospel,” SR 3 (1973) 220–35.
Sim, Gospel, 40–62.
Slingerland, “Origin.”
Rodney Stark, “Antioch and the Social situation for Matthew’s Gospel,” in Balch, History, 189–210.
Theissen, Gospels in Context, 249–52.
B. T. Viviano, “Where Was the Gospel according to St. Matthew Written?” CBQ 41 (1979) 533–46.
Jean Zumstein, “Antioche sur l’Oronte et l’Évangile selon Matthieu,” SNTU A 5 (1980) 122–38.

Where the Gospel was composed cannot be answered conclusively; the information on the subject is too meager. The numerous hypotheses all have in common that they are based on very weak arguments. There is a widespread consensus that Matthew comes from the area of Syria, but exactly where is a matter of controversy. We will first consider the external evidence.
External Evidence
The special influence of the Gospel of Matthew in the Jewish Christianity of Syria and perhaps in 1 Peter speaks for Syria as its place of origin. Of the various Syrian cities Antioch276 continues to have the most supporters for several reasons.
1. The Gospel of Matthew must come from a large city located on good highways, otherwise it would not have become known so quickly. However, that is true of many Syrian cities.
2. There are many Jews in Antioch. But there are also many Jews in other cities. There is evidence even of scribes in various Syrian cities in the time of the Mishnah and Talmud.279
3. The Peter traditions of Matt 16:17–19* could point to Antioch. Peter’s names and the traditions of his primacy are also in the Gospel of John that may also come from Syria. This argument carries some weight, for there are relationships between Matthew and Petrine Christianity,280 but it is not compelling.
4. The Gospel of Matthew was in early use particularly in Antioch (Ignatius). However, since the Gospels were spread very quickly in the church, it is not surprising to find Matthew also relatively early in the capital of the province, Antioch.
However, the arguments against Antioch are no more convincing:
1. Matthew is not aware of an episcopacy. But this means almost nothing. Matthew writes some thirty years before Ignatius. In addition, it is likely that in Ignatius’s day every larger urban church in Syria had a bishop. Furthermore, no Gospel mentions a bishop, because they are exclusively concerned with the story of Jesus.
2. From its beginning the Antioch community was Hellenistic and was open to the Gentile mission (Acts 11:19–26*). Furthermore, in Antioch Matthew would have known about Paul. This argument carries more weight. However, we must also consider how the Antiochene conflict ended (Gal 2:11–14*), and we may not forget that Antioch was a major city in which there were several Jewish quarters.281 Almost certainly there were different Christian house churches. Furthermore, after 70 CE the makeup of many churches changed with the influx of Palestinian refugees.
What other possibilities are there? Another suggestion is a city in Galilee, perhaps a hellenized city such as Sepphoris or Tiberias, since after 70 a controversy with Pharisees and scribes, the leading figures of “formative Judaism,” was quite conceivable. Other suggestions are Phoenicia,284 Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea Philippi,286 Damascus, Transjordan,288 or East Syria (Edessa). The arguments have so little merit that a discussion of the individual suggestions is not worthwhile. In general we can say that the smaller and more remote a community of Matthew is, the more difficult it is to explain the rapid spread of the Gospel of Matthew.
Internal Evidence

What about the indications from the Gospel itself? They are meager. “Nazarene” (Ναζωραῖος, 2:23*) is a Syrian term for “Christian.” In 4:24* Syria is mentioned. The Syrophoenician woman of Mark 7:26* becomes a Canaanite woman in Matt 15:22*, the term the Phoenicians used for themselves in their own Semitic language.290 All of these things speak decisively for Syria. It is plausible that the Gospel comes from a city. It is less obvious that the Matthean community had to be rich, as some have concluded from a certain preference of the evangelist for large sums of money.292 “Common people” can also speak of large sums of money.
In short, the Gospel of Matthew does not betray where it was written. It originated certainly in a larger Syrian city whose lingua franca was Greek. In my opinion Antioch is not the worst hypothesis. Thus perhaps the Gospel of Matthew comes from a (!) church of Antioch, but that is no more than a hypothesis.
6.6 Time of Writing

The terminus a quo is the formation of the Gospel of Mark and the destruction of Jerusalem (22:7*). The terminus ad quem is more difficult to determine. The date depends on where and by whom the Gospel of Matthew has been used.
Much here is controversial. I will limit my comments to a general description of my views that on the whole are closer to Massaux than to Koester. The Matthean redaction is doubtless presupposed in the Didache. Passages such as chap. 8 or, less certain, 10.5 or chap. 16 permit us to say with almost complete certainty that the Didache originated in a church that was influenced by Matthew. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible to date the Didache with precision.
Ignatius was not primarily influenced by the Gospel of Matthew, but he was familiar with it, because there are passages that presuppose Matthean redaction (Smyrn. 1.1 = Matt 3:15*; cf. Phld. 3.1 = Matt 15:13*).294 Polycarp is familiar with Matthew in his (second) letter (Phil. 2.3 = Matt 7:1–2*; 5:3*, 6*, 10*; Phil. 7.2 = Matt 6:13*; 26:41*), but since the date is not certain we can only say that the Gospel of Matthew may have been known in Smyrna around 115. I regard it as conceivable that there are points of contact between the Epistle of Barnabas and the Gospel of Matthew (cf. esp. 5.8–12 with Matt 5–7, 8–9, 23–24), but it cannot be proven. Much the same is true for 1 Clement (cf. esp. 24.5 with Matt 13:3–9* and 1 Clem. 46.6–8 with Matt 18:6–7*). Thus it is possible that the Gospel of Matthew was known in Rome before 100 and somewhat later in Egypt. The canonical 2 Peter, which is to be dated into the second century, presupposed the Gospel of Matthew (2 Pet 1:17* = Matt 17:5*). Finally, it seems to me that Justin presupposes the Gospels; he uses the Gospel of Matthew more than the other Gospels.
First Peter poses a special problem. There are an exceptional number of connections with the Synoptic tradition (among others, 2:7* = Matt 21:42* pars.; 2:20* = Luke 6:46*?; 2:25* = Matt 9:36*?; 3:8–9* = Matt 5:39*, 44*; 4:13* = Matt 5:11–12* par.). In particular, in two texts connections with Matthean redaction are more than simply possible (2:12* = Matt 5:16*: “good works” [καλὰ ἔργα], “glorify” [δοξάζω]; 3:14* = Matt 5:10*: “if indeed you suffer” [εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε], “because of righteousness, blessed” [διὰ δικαιοσύνην μακάριοι]). These points of connection are certainly not compelling, but in view of their number they are extraordinary. In my judgment, we must seriously consider the likelihood that 1 Peter presupposes the Gospel of Matthew. If it comes from Syria from the time before the high point of the Domitian persecution (Babylon = Rome [1 Pet 5:13*] is not evidence to the contrary, since Rome belongs to the Petrine fiction), then we would have here the first and quite early witness for the use of the Gospel of Matthew.
Conclusion: We may not date the Gospel of Matthew long after the year 80.
6.7 Author

We do not know the author. The Gospel was ascribed to Matthew quite early. The first testimony is not that of Papias or his presbyter but perhaps the title “Gospel according to Matthew” (εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μαθθαῖον), which originated at the latest about 100.
Martin Hengel has demonstrated without contradiction that our Gospel titles have to be very old: in the second century they were uniformly transmitted. It may be that they originated when Christian writers copied Gospels for other churches and preserved these several Gospels. The unusual formulation εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ … (“Gospel according to …”) can properly be understood only in the sense of a name of an author, and it was also never understood by the ancient church any other way. Since the genitive already had a traditional usage with εὐαγγέλιον (Θεοῦ [“of God”], Χριστοῦ [“of Christ”], etc.), only the preposition κατά (“according to”) remained as a way of designating the author.
Thus the Gospel was probably attributed to Matthew the apostle earlier than 100 CE. That leaves little time for ascribing to the apostle an originally anonymous book or a book that came from an unknown Jewish Christian named Matthew. However, that is what the “normal hypothesis” that κατὰ Μαθθαῖον is a secondary attribution based on Matt 9:9* and 10:3* presupposes. I mention this difficulty because it is scarcely ever mentioned in the face of the obvious “normalcy” of this hypothesis. Nevertheless, I also think that the Gospel was secondarily attributed to the apostle Matthew. If the author had been an apostle, as an eyewitness he would not have used the book of a non-eyewitness as his main source. In my judgment, transferring the tradition about the call of Levi to the “original disciple,” Matthew, also clearly speaks against Matthew as the author.
That the author performed a function in his community—for example, as a teacher—is an attractive suggestion, but it cannot be proven. He had a Jewish feeling for style, a good feeling for Greek, and synagogue training. He probably was not a scribe in the sense of a rabbinically trained exegete.
7 Text

Little emphasis is placed on textual criticism in this commentary. Text-critical variants are discussed (usually in footnotes) only when the text suggested by Nestle-Aland is uncertain or when I (only infrequently) differ from it.
Still, I would like to call attention briefly to two textual forms of the Gospel of Matthew that have recently become known.
a. The first is the Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew that is preserved in the major polemical work אבן בוחן (“touchstone”) of the Shem-Tov ben Issac ben Shaprut, a Spanish Jew who lived around 1400. It is clearly of Jewish Christian origin and contains quite interesting variants, for example, “sacred meat” (instead of ἅγιον) in 7:6*, תמידית (“eternal”) instead of ἐπιούσιον in 6:11*, and the retention of the letter of divorce and the oath justified by a serious matter in 5:32*, 34*. In 23:39* he has Jerusalem bless its savior at the parousia (ברוך מושׁענו), and in 28:19–20* he has neither the trinitarian baptismal command nor the mission command to “all nations.” Many variants show a readership that understood Latin (e.g., 2:11*; 4:13* [“maritime”]; 5:31*; 12:42*); a few show ascetic tendencies (e.g., 13:23*). Still others reflect the situation of the Jews under Christian domination.305 Sometimes the text contains explanatory additions. I think that this highly interesting Jewish Christian document arrived at its present form after a longer process of transmission (thus is not a late medieval direct translation from the Greek) and in part goes back to antiquity but not that it represents an original version of the text independent of the canonical Greek Matthew.307
b. The other text of Matthew deserving special mention is the Middle Egyptian text of the Codex Schøyen (see the endpapers). The text of this manuscript from the fourth century is quite free, and it contains so many variants that the publisher, Hans Martin Schenke, surmises that it could be the Coptic translation of a completely different Gospel of Matthew—not the canonical Matthew, perhaps a Hebrew Gospel of Matthew used by Jewish Christians. After an initial reading, I myself would rather include it among the numerous “free” texts of the second and third centuries. While there are an exceptionally large number of variant readings, the contents of few of them are significant; they are not as extensive as the divergences of Codex D in Acts. I was able to discover no affinities to Jewish Christian positions.
8 On the Intention of this Commentary and on the Hermeneutical Significance of the History of the Text’s Influence (Wirkungsgeschichte)
Methods

In my interpretation of the text I would like to combine different methodological approaches on the basis of history. I understand Matthew’s newly interpreted and actualized story of Jesus as an effort to communicate with his church(es) in a specific, concrete situation. Therefore, I will give special attention to the Gospel’s first readers and ask what possible understandings were open to them. The implied reader immanent in the text interests me almost only as a “window” to the concrete readers in Matthew’s community. I will pay attention to the story of Jesus as a whole, but I will not examine the narrative in terms of its textual world; I will instead ask what this narrative could have meant for the first recipients in their own historical situation. I intend to practice source criticism but not because I imagine an evangelist to be an intellectual of that day who at a writing table pastes together a new text from two sources or writes a new historical outline from theological intuition. Instead, I would like to see behind the combining of two sources a process of church history that was significant for the people in Matthew’s community. Thus I am trying to combine different methodological approaches on the basis of history.
Of course, the emphasis here is on the evangelist, Matthew, his situation, and his community or communities. I have not gone into the question of the prehistory of Markan texts (tradition history, questions of authenticity), and I refer here especially to the commentary on Mark by Joachim Gnilka. In the case of Q or special material texts I must go into brief detail, as there is not yet a detailed Q commentary.
My hermeneutical interest is closely bound up with the history of the text’s influence and the history of interpretation.
Definitions
First, some definitions. Under “history of interpretation” (Auslegungsgeschichte) I understand the interpretations of a text particularly in commentaries. Under the “history of the influence of the text” (Wirkungsgeschichte) in the narrower sense I want to understand how the text is received and actualized in media other than commentaries—in verbal media such as sermons, canonical documents, and “literature,” as well as in nonverbal media such as art and music, and in the church’s activity and suffering, that is, in church history. It is not always easy to distinguish between the two, as the sermon commentaries of John Chrysostom can show. At the same time, I understand the “history of the influence of the text” (Wirkungsgeschichte) to be a more inclusive concept that includes “history of interpretation” (Auslegungsgeschichte) and “history of the influence of the text” (Wirkungsgeschichte) in the narrower sense. Instead of Wirkungsgeschichte I could have said Rezeptionsgeschichte, which from the perspective of literary scholarship would probably have been more appropriate. I did not do so, because Rezeptionsgeschichte connotes for me primarily the people who receive the text, while Wirkungsgeschichte suggests for me the effective power of the texts themselves. For me that is what is basic.
The term Wirkungsgeschichte, coined by Hans Georg Gadamer, is important to me, because, like Gadamer, I am convinced that past history, especially biblical history, is for us modern people a supporting and forming horizon into which we enter and not simply another subject about which we are concerned. To be sure, I am aware that in this commentary I am doing what Gadamer himself did not want, namely “enquiry into the effective-history of a particular work as it were, the trace a work leaves behind.” In this work I am doing openly nothing more than deepening (or perhaps often even creating?) a “historical consciousness” that knows “the otherness of the other.”315 However, I think that in our modern age, which has forgotten history, this is an unavoidable preliminary work before we can achieve at all what Gadamer calls “effective-historical consciousness.” For how can we recognize and experience history as the foundation of our own life and give thanks for it when we no longer even know it?
Criteria for the Selection
Of course, one must make choices in the history of a text’s influence, and two of these were particularly important. On the one hand was a decision about the importance of pericopes. In contrast to other writings of the NT where it is more likely possible to speak of a history of the influence of basic ideas, the Wirkungsgeschichte of the Synoptic Jesus tradition is one of individual pericopes, indeed of individual verses and half verses. Making choices was unavoidable. In the commentary I have favored especially influential biblical texts, in particular those whose later influence paradigmatically form and illuminate the present situation of churches, confessions, and Christians.
Even more difficult was, on the other hand, the selection of material. While it is relatively easy to gain an overview of the most important Matthew commentaries in church history, the material in other theological and nontheological texts and even more in art, the history of piety, literature, and so on, is nearly infinite. However, the knowledge of every commentator is finite. Much that may have been important I have simply not found. Nevertheless, I have tried to offer more than a little casual or accidental material. My goal here was not to offer in each case a brief survey of the influence of a text in chronological order. Rather, the study of a text’s influence should help bring its interpretation into our own present. More appropriate for that purpose were “typologically” arranged portrayals that show basic possibilities of interpretation. The following criteria guided me in my selection.
1. I have given preference to interpretations that influence our own personal, ecclesiastical, and cultural preunderstanding of the texts down to today.
2. In particular, in the framework of a “Protestant-Catholic commentary” I have preferred interpretations that influenced the Catholic and Protestant churches as confessions.
3. Preferred among various possible sources were, on the one hand, the earliest, on the other hand, those that were potentially the most influential.
4. The sources concentrated on European history. Relatively seldom have I looked beyond these borders to other continents. On the one hand, that is clearly a deficiency; I simply am not knowledgeable enough here. On the other hand, however, it is also intentional. We Europeans live in our own historical, social, ecclesiastical, and cultural space. We should first get to know it, including its light and dark sides. We should give thanks for it and at the same time come to terms with it self-critically. We should help shape it by means of our own modern conversation with the Bible.
5. Finally, I have favored interpretations that I think can offer corrections for us, especially when they approach the original sense of the text in a changed situation.
The fifth criterion especially shows that the selection and arrangement of the materials in the history of the text’s influence could not simply take place according to so-called objective criteria. It was always determined in part by the potential for meaning or trajectory that I myself have seen in the biblical texts for our situation. It was determined in part by my own view of the present social and ecclesiastical situation. I cannot go into detail about this here, but I must call attention to it. It is precisely because I regard the examination of the history of the texts’ influence hermeneutically as an important dimension for our modern understanding of them that their exposition had to be directed toward this understanding. However, modern understanding of biblical texts is always also a personal risk.
In spite of all the criteria, the attempt to produce a commentary with the accent on the history of the text’s influence remains hopelessly dilettantish. However, this dilettantism seemed to me to be necessary. If I see the situation correctly, a major problem of historical-critical exegesis is that it isolates a text in its own time and in its own original situation and thus keeps it from saying something to the present. Avoiding the problem by ignoring the historical dimension with a retreat from history into the narrated or structured world of the text or with a fundamentalist elimination of history that hypostasizes the text as a word of God beyond history do not appear to me to be practicable; they are more in the nature of alarm warnings. Historical-critical interpretation should have a twofold function. It should distance the text from the interpreter and make it alien by putting it back into its own period, and it should make the interpreters aware of their own preunderstanding in the confrontation with the foreign texts and teach them something about themselves. The combination of both impulses should keep the historical-critical interpretation from only distancing the text from the present. For a number of reasons, historical-critical interpretation has, in my judgment, only inadequately fulfilled the second aspect of its twofold task. This is where the history of the text’s influence can help and can make clear to the interpreters (1) who they are in their confrontation with the texts and (2) who they might become in their confrontation with them. We now need to explore what that means.
1. The history of the interpretation and influence of the texts shows what we have become because of them. Of interest here are above all the interpretive traditions of one’s own church and one’s own cultural sphere.
1.1 The history of the interpretation and influence of the texts teaches us to understand how the interpreters are indebted to their texts. They never meet them in an abstract space that permits them simply to make of the texts an objective other that they can scientifically examine. They are rather like people who have to examine the water of a stream while they are sitting in a boat that is carried along by that very stream. We theologians are borne by our texts. From that perspective historical-critical distancing blinds us to one of life’s realities. Studying the history of the text’s influence is designed to call attention to the power of the texts that precedes our interpreting. It is to make us thankful.
1.2 The history of the interpretation and influence of the texts is to help us understand how the specific interpreters are formed by their texts. It sheds light on the prehistory of their preunderstanding. It shows them, for example, in an exemplary way what Catholicism or Protestantism is as both of them have defined themselves in association with biblical texts. It is not primarily a matter here of Protestant or Catholic “misunderstandings.” It is instead more fundamentally a matter of discovering what is distinctive that we, for example, have become as Protestants or Catholics because of the texts. At the same time, however, the distinctiveness—what we are permitted to be—requires a distinctive, situation-related listening to the original meaning of the text. Precisely that is what the history of the interpretation and influence of the text is to help us do.
1.3 The history of the interpretation and influence of the text also has a negative function. It wants to keep the interpreter from naïvely making the text contemporary by skipping over the centuries. By calling attention to the distinctiveness of each historical situation, including one’s own, it frees the present from overly hasty biblical dictates whose negative side has always been the neutralizing of the text by means of reinterpretation, internalization, and so on. At the same time it calls attention to the power the texts themselves have to become alive anew in every new situation. It calls attention to the uniqueness of every historical situation by telling how this uniqueness—among other ways, through the texts—came to be. Thus, figuratively speaking, they invite us not to leap across the “disgusting wide gulf” but to go down into it and to climb up the other side.
2. However, the history of the interpretation and influence of the text also provides correctives. It shows in an exemplary way what we could become through the texts. In the search for exemplary corrections the interpreters will especially be interested in interpretive models from other church (or cultural) traditions. In so doing the study of the text’s influence contributes to the ecumenical dialogue—by no means an incidental by-product. The history of the text’s influence offers correctives in basic-hermeneutical ways (= 2.1–3) and for dealing with individual texts (= 2.4–5).
2.1 The interpretations of the ancient church, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period before the Enlightenment are of abiding importance, because they always connect an individual biblical text to the entirety and the center of faith, whether that be the two-natures doctrine, the regula fidei, gnostic enlightenment, church dogma, or the Reformation’s justification by faith. By contrast, historical-critical scholarship distances the text to be interpreted not only from the interpreters, their faith convictions, and the church’s belief; it also, by emphasizing its distinctiveness, distances the text from the entirety of the biblical witness. The church’s classical interpretation can continually confront modern interpreters with what mutatis mutandis is also their own task, namely to interpret the meaning of an individual text for today in terms of the entirety of faith.
I regard the hermeneutics of the ancient church, especially its christological interpretations, and the Reformation’s interpretation based on the middle of scripture as hermeneutically and theologically highly significant. I do not mean here that the christological, dogmatic interpretation of the early church could serve as a model today in any direct sense. It is fascinating, however, because it does not split the biblical witness into infinitely many individual statements among which the interpreter then must choose. It knows neither a gulf between past and present nor a diastasis between tendentiously objective “explaining” and tendentiously subjective “application.” It asks instead about the sense and the truth of a text in and for the present.322 It reminds the interpreters what interpreting a biblical text actually means, namely a responsible and binding new stating of what has concerned the author of a text. Understanding a biblical text happens in the present, and interpretation can take place only for the present, because only in the present can the concern of the text become the concern of the interpreter. The hermeneutics of the ancient church and the Reformation remind us that biblical texts are to be interpreted thusly. Hence they remind the interpreters that with the historical-critical exegesis their work is not yet finished, because one has not yet understood what the concern of a text means today when one understands what it once meant.
2.2 In a special sense the history of the text’s influence that goes beyond the history of interpretation reminds us that understanding a biblical text takes place not only through determining what it says, but also through doing and suffering; through singing, painting, and composing poetry; through praying and hoping. It reminds us that understanding biblical texts is the task of the whole person.
2.3 The history of the interpretation and influence of the text reminds us of the abundance of the meaning potential in biblical texts. It reminds us that biblical texts do not simply have a fixed, closed meaning; they are full of possibilities.
It is important to present side-by-side different interpretations in the ancient church, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period to the seventeenth century. Doing so is not simply the expression of a traditionalism that passes on everything indiscriminately. It comes rather from the basic recognition that the texts are filled with possible applications that are not mutually exclusive. In the same way, it seems to me, comparing different meanings of scripture in the Middle Ages also has a fundamental significance. It is all part of remembering the freedom that resides in biblical texts. In addition, the history of the influence of a text is like a tree that repeatedly puts out new sprouts or like soil in which new flowers repeatedly grow. Dogmaticians and also exegetes who are always looking for the “right” exegesis in an effort to legitimize their church’s or their own position will likely be dismayed at such a suggestion. For my part I have learned to be amazed at the abundant richness of the life that has grown from the biblical texts. It corresponds to the richness of possible readings that a reader-oriented exegesis already assumes for the original readers. In this regard, reader-oriented exegesis and reception criticism are siblings.
2.4 The history of the influence of biblical texts opens our horizon by mediating a large treasure of experiences that other people have made with them. It opens our eyes for the reality that the biblical texts themselves in large measure are open and make possible a diversity of possibilities for understanding and applying them. Here the experiences of Christians who belong to other confessions or live in other situations are especially important as correctives.
2.5 Finally, the history of the influence of the texts also helps us learn from successful and unsuccessful realizations of biblical texts. It shows where historical experiences call attention to open passages and unsolved problems. It asks about the consequences of biblical texts and their interpretations. The history of the influence of biblical texts asks about their fruits (cf. Matt 7:15–23*). It helps not only by self-critically recognizing and avoiding “rotten fruits” but also in some circumstances by asking questions of the texts based on their fruits.324
Thus it also contains a critical potential and mediates not only a grateful entry into the realm of history that the biblical texts have influenced; it also makes us mindful that there is no truth without historical consequences and that every theological truth and every interpretation of the Bible must come to terms with its consequences. Sometimes the consequences of the Matthean texts and of their reception were very difficult (I am thinking of the influence of Matt 13:36–43* or of 16:18*). Occasionally they were completely negative (I am thinking of the modern reception of Matthew 23). Sometimes the church’s reception has almost completely silenced the trajectory of the texts as a glance at certain interpretations of the Sermon on the Mount or the disciples discourse (Matthew 10) can show.
In these reflections I want to make clear that the history of the interpretation and influence of the text is not trying to accumulate historical material in addition to the exegetical material. Instead, I want to help overcome a deficiency in historical-critical interpretation. I want to help lead the biblical texts into the present. Therefore, in the commentary, whenever possible, the history of the interpretation and influence of the text is not an appendage but is an integral part of the interpretation. It helps to shed light on one’s own locus of understanding and thus contribute to one’s own modern understanding at precisely this locus. Such an understanding is always contextual and always partly new and different, although—or, more accurately, precisely because—what is at stake is an understanding of the ancient biblical texts that are permanently given to us.
Thus it is a characteristic of this commentary that it—occasionally, and perhaps still not often enough—brings the biblical texts of the past into the present and in so doing thus also contains judgments about the present. I think that only in this way can we do justice to the claim of the texts. To be sure, I hardly do this in the form of theses or directives; instead, I try to speak of the direction in which the texts point for today in order, on the one hand, to sketch the space and the direction in which the texts might direct us today, but, on the other hand, to leave the users of this commentary the space they need to seek with the texts their own avenue of understanding. I try here not to exclude my own perplexity, and I also sometimes try to say “I” vigorously. Thus the commentary contains not only an element of personal engagement but also an element of subjective limitation. With my personal understanding I want to help others achieve their personal understanding. Such attempts are both made possible and mediated by the study of the history of the text’s influence. They are not later additions to our understanding of the texts; they belong to the text itself.
Luz, U. (2007). Matthew 1–7: a commentary on Matthew 1–7. (H. Koester, Hrsg.) (Rev. ed., S. 39–66). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

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