Volume 14 - Issue 2

Matthew’s gospel in recent study

By Dick France

An excellent sixty-page survey of the study of Matthew since the Second World War up to 1980 has been compiled by Graham Stanton,1 and as this should be available in most theological libraries there is no need for me to cover the same ground here. My own Matthew, Evangelist and Teacher, forthcoming from Patemoster/Zondervan, will soon offer another, fuller, discussion. So this article can concentrate on some main trends and issues, without listing every relevant book and article of recent decades.

Synoptic questions

When I was a student we had no doubt that the synoptic problem was solved in all essentials, and that ‘Matthew used Mark and Q’. Most of us neither knew nor cared that this was a very recent idea, and that the priority of Matthew had been the almost universal assumption of the church until the mid-nineteenth century. Like all ‘pre-critical’ theories, it could safely be relegated to the theological museum, and no one took seriously the few Catholic scholars who had attempted to resurrect the ‘Augustinian’ view of synoptic relationships.2

Today the situation has changed. The Augustinian view has won few adherents, but in its place a vigorous resuscitation of the ‘Griesbach Hypothesis’, spearheaded by W. R. Farmer, has won a significant number of supporters.3 On this view Matthew came first, and Mark is a deliberate conflation and ‘reduction’ (if such a term can be used for a gospel which in parallel narratives is typically at least twice as long as Matthew!) of material from the other two synoptic gospels. This is not the place to chronicle the revival of Griesbach’s eighteenth-century theory,4 but it is obvious that if a significant number of scholars cease to believe that ‘Matthew used Mark’ the effect on Matthean studies will be enormous. This is particularly true of redaction-critical studies, which have typically assumed, and based their results squarely on, the priority of Mark, There have not so far been many significant attempts at redaction criticism on the basis of the priority of Matthew, but C. S. Mann’s Anchor Bible commentary on Mark (1986) points the way, and the determination of the Griesbach lobby is such that we must expect to see others.

Of course you do not need to be a convinced Griesbachian (or even Augustinian) to have qualms about saying that ‘Matthew used Mark’. Many others have come to feel that the simple linear dependence of traditional synoptic theories is too mechanical to be true. The ‘awkward’ data of the actual literary relationships between the finished gospels which have always kept synoptic specialists busy, and some of which have proved suitable ammunition for the Griesbachians (though others are as powerfully deployed against them!), perhaps suggest that no such tidy theory is likely to correspond to the way books were actually written in the experimental atmosphere of early Christianity. While to speak simply of ‘the independence of Matthew and Mark’5 may be too radical, there is a lot to be said for the recognition of a more ‘living’ process of interaction between strands of gospel tradition, written and oral, lying behind the completion of the gospels as we know them, which casts doubt on any simple assumption of the ‘priority’ of one gospel to another.6

So while some redaction-critical studies continue to comb through every minute ‘alteration of Mark by Matthew’ and discuss what made him do it, others now prefer to study the character of the gospel as it stands (using comparison with the other gospels as one means to this end) without assuming that Matthew had the text of Mark in front of him at all times. This change of synoptic perspective has appropriately coincided with the rise of ‘narrative criticism’, which approaches each gospel as an independent text with a character and message of its own, rather than primarily as one element in a network of literary relationships.7 We may expect the next few years to see a developing (and, I hope, creative) tension between these two approaches to the gospels.

Who and when?

While most scholars continue to assume that the gospel was written some time after AD 80, and that its attribution to Matthew is at best a pious guess, both points continue to be contested by a minority.

The most stimulating recent protest against the consensus view is in the ‘Higher-Critical Conclusions’ to Gundry’s commentary,8 which offer a date before AD 63 and the apostle Matthew as the author. Gundry’s arguments include a controversial reassessment of Eusebius’ famous quotation from Papias—controversial both in that he proposes to date Papias a generation earlier than has been normal (and thus make him a direct disciple of the original apostles), and also in that he adopts Kürzinger’s translation of Papias’ Hebraidi dialectoas ‘in a Hebrew style’ and thus understands him to be speaking of the Greek Gospel of Matthew. But even if his reinterpretation of the Papias tradition is debatable, Gundry offers other arguments derived from the text itself which deserve to be taken seriously as pointing to a period before the Jewish War.

The Anchor Bible commentary on Matthew by Albright and Mann (1971) also contains an unusually confident, if idiosyncratic, argument on internal grounds for the apostle Matthew-Levi as the author. And of course no one disputes the unanimity of the patristic tradition after Papias for apostolic authorship. But second-century and later traditions about authorship are seldom taken very seriously these days, and the case for Matthew is complicated by the equally widespread patristic assertion that the gospel was written in ‘Hebrew’, a possibility few modern students of the Greek gospel have been able to allow.

The question of the reliability of early traditions about authorship has, however, been reopened with regard to all the gospels by Martin Hengel’s discussion of the origin of the titles ‘According to Matthew’, etc.9 If he is right, the gospels are no more ‘anonymous’ than any other book which bears its author’s name on the title page rather than in the text, and these ancient attributions must be understood to derive from the earliest circulation of the gospels rather than from second-century tradition.

In short, while few would agree with N. B. Stonehouse that ‘the apostolic authorship of Matthew is as strongly attested as any fact of ancient church history’10 (unless, of course, he intended this as a wry comment on the lack of proof positive for any such ancient tradition!), it is less clear these days than it once seemed that the traditional attribution can be safely ignored. If we dare listen to Robinson’s siren call to ask fundamental questions about the whole relative dating scheme which twentieth-century scholarship has established for the NT books, the dating of Matthew to the post-apostolic period seems a strong candidate for re-examination.

Matthew’s church and Judaism

One of the arguments most confidently advanced for dating the gospel late in the first century is based on the relations which apparently existed between Matthew’s church and non-Christian Judaism. Did they still regard themselves as part of Judaism (intra muros, to use Bornkamm’s phrase which has become the focus of this debate), or was the breach now final and irreparable? The relevance of the issue for dating is seen in relation to the insertion into the synagogue liturgy of the anti-Christian imprecation, the Birkat ha-Minim, which is usually dated about AD 85. After this point it is assumed that no Christian could continue to worship in the synagogue, and if Matthew’s gospel reflects such an extra muros situation it must therefore be dated after 85.

Commentators eagerly defend opposite sides on this issue,11 though with the majority going for the extra muros scenario as more compatible with Matthew’s clear hostility to the Jewish establishment as focused in the ‘scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites’ of chapter 23. I suspect, however, that it is a rather artificial debate. For one thing, the date of origin and extent of acceptance of the Birkat ha-Minim remains a matter of dispute.12But, more significantly, to assume a sudden and universally effective ‘cut-off point’ in Jewish-Christian relations as a basis for dating is surely naïve. In one area it might prove impossible for Jews and Christians to co-exist from quite an early period, while in another a more ‘laid-back’ attitude might allow a much more gradual drifting apart. We do not know where the gospel was written, and even if we did our information on the development of Jewish-Christian relations in the different centres of early Christianity is far too sketchy to allow us to use this to determine a date before which it could not have been written.

And in any case, is a simple ‘inside’/‘outside’ divide at all realistic? The puzzle of Matthew’s gospel lies precisely in the fact that he exhibits strong elements of both perspectives. The gospel is at the same time extremely Jewish and apparently designed to appeal to Jewish readers, and yet extremely hostile to the Jewish establishment. I have no difficulty in envisaging such a situation for a Jewish Christian, proud of his Jewish heritage, who finds the majority of his own people (and particularly their official leadership) rejecting the Messiah, and an inevitable but painful gulf developing between their position and his. It is precisely because he is still ‘inside’ in his own sympathies that he is so hostile to those whom he finds to be increasingly pushing him ‘outside’. And what may be true of the individual may equally be true of the church to which he belongs. Such a situation makes a great deal of sense of the paradoxical attitudes of the gospel, but gives us little direct help in dating it, since this sort of situation may have been experienced by Christians in different parts of the eastern Roman Empire at any time from the ’30s to the ’90s!

In the above I have assumed that Matthew was a Jewish Christian, writing in a primarily Jewish context. This almost universal belief was challenged in a brief article by K. W. Clark on ‘The Gentile Bias in Matthew’ in 1947,13 and his view that only a Gentile Christian could have written such a book has since won a significant following.14 Those who opt for a Gentile Matthew must of course accept the very Jewish character of much of the tradition incorporated in the gospel, but see this as at odds with the final redactor’s perspective. Strecker argues for this position not only on the grounds of Matthew’s ‘anti-Jewish’ tone, but also because he finds evidence in the gospel that the author was himself unfamiliar with matters of Jewish law and with the Hebrew scriptures.15 Most commentators remain unconvinced. If my account of the basis of the ‘anti-Jewishness’ of a Jewish Christian above rings true, there is no need for a Gentile redactor to explain it.

Matthew and the Old Testament

It is in his handling of the OT that Matthew’s Jewishness becomes most clearly evident. His prominent ‘formula-quotations’ were much discussed a decade and more ago,16 and there is now a general agreement that they represent not a traditional collection of proof-texts but the author’s own creative handling of Scripture.17 They display a quite sophisticated and very Jewish hermenteutical approach for which the ‘surface meaning’ is only a starting-point, allowing a rich variety of ‘midrashic’ inferences and connections with related passages of the OT.18 In the process some quite drastic reshaping of the text can occur, as well as some initially surprising applications to situations quite distant from the apparent original intention of the OT writer.

This led Gundry to speak of ‘Matthew the Targumist’,19 and the description is a good one, in that Matthew’s use of Scripture is often creative rather than literal. Indeed it has sometimes been described as ‘forced’ or ‘arbitrary’,20 and so it might be if attempted in our literalistic culture; but it is far from unprincipled, and underlying the surprising connections Matthew discovers it is possible to discern significant theological links. In particular, Matthew is clearly addicted to what later came to be called ‘typology’, the perception of models for NT events in the narrative and institutions of the OT as well as in its explicit predictions.

The recognition of Matthew’s hermeneutical ingenuity lies behind a much more adventurous thesis, that of M. D. Goulder’s Midrash and Lection in Matthew (1974), a book full of interest and stimulation, but one which has not carried widespread conviction on either of its two main proposals.

The first is that the gospel was compiled to fit an existing lectionary based on the Jewish synagogue readings; this is an area of great uncertainty, and even if Goulder’s proposals matched Matthew convincingly at most points to his reconstructed lectionary (and few agree that they do), the dispute over what lectionaries were in fact in use in the first century leaves the whole enterprise on insecure foundations.21

Goulder’s other main argument is that Matthew’s gospel is a ‘midrash’ (by which he means an imaginative expansion inspired by scriptural meditation) on the Gospel of Mark, much as Chronicles was based on Kings. Since Goulder does not believe in ‘Q’, he sees no other factual tradition behind Matthew than what is in Mark; the rest derives from Matthew’s willingness and ability to ‘make up’ edifying material and to present it in narrative form as the words and deeds of Jesus; it is assumed that this practice would have deceived no one in Matthew’s own Jewish milieu, even though it has misled his modern interpreters into reading his story as sober history. It has been interesting to see this approach adopted in principle by Gundry in his commentary, and explicitly defended as compatible with a theology of biblical inerrancy,22 though it must be added that since Gundry believes in ‘Q’ (and a much more extensive ‘Q’ than is normally allowed) his invocation of ‘unhistorical midrash’ is largely confined to the embellishment of existing factual traditions rather than the wholesale creation of stories envisaged by Goulder. Volume 3 of the Tyndale House series Gospel Perspectives was entirely devoted to ‘studies of midrash and historiography’,23 in the light of the work of Goulder and Gundry, and concluded with a sceptical verdict both on the view of Jewish midrashic convention which underlies it and on the plausibility of interpreting Matthew’s intention in such terms.24


Whether or not ‘midrash’ is an appropriate term for what Matthew is doing, there is no denying his enthusiasm for and his subtlety in the study of the OT to find in it pointers to Jesus. Thus H. Frankemölle asserts that the verb pleroo points us to ‘Matthew’s fundamental theological idea’, and T. L. Donaldson rightly sees Matthew’s central interest in the way he ‘combined christological terms, OT citations, and other typological and narrative elements to form a comprehensive picture of Jesus as the fulfilment of OT hopes and ideals’.25 For Frankemölle Matthew’s emphasis is on the working out of Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness through Jesus and his church; for Donaldson it is on a Zion-theology which expresses itself in the repeated presentation of Jesus in this gospel as teaching and acting on a mountain, which corresponds to Mount Zion. Others, like Bacon, find a ‘new Moses’ theme at the heart of Matthew’s portrait of Jesus.26

But no one OT theme dominates Matthew’s concept of fulfilment; what is impressive is the sheer exuberance of his wide-ranging search for suitable predictive themes and typological models. It is not merely the formal quotations with their pleroo-formula which draw out this emphasis, but the subtle interweaving of scriptural themes in both narrative and teaching, more often by allusive reference than by direct quotation.27

To speak of ‘fulfilment’ is to envisage both a continuity with what has gone before, and also a degree of discontinuity, of newness, in that the ‘fulfilment’ represents a new stage in the development of the Heilsgeschichte, and the old is seen as provisional and anticipatory. This tension between continuity (which is at the heart of the developing self-consciousness of early Jewish Christianity) is reflected in most of the recent debates over the situation and the theology underlying Matthew’s gospel.

The law

Matthew has traditionally been regarded as the most ‘legalistic’ of the gospels, a view based primarily on the apparently very ‘hard-line’ statements of 5:18–19 about no jot or tittle being lost from the law and the seriousness of failing to ‘do and teach’ even one of the least of its commandments. When to this is added the apparent endorsement even of scribal tradition in 23:2–3, 23, the case seems amply established.28 On this view the emphasis is on continuity; as far as the function of the law is concerned, nothing much has changed, and Matthew’s aim is to put down any incipient ‘antinomianism’ in his church.29

In recent studies of Matthew, however, and especially of Matthew 5:17–20, a different understanding has been more prominent. Noting that 5:17 speaks of Jesus’ attitude to the law as one of ‘fulfilment’ parallel to his role in relation to the prophets, R. J. Banks has argued that this fulfilment has, for Matthew, radically changed the role of the law, in that Jesus has brought that to which the law pointed forward (cf. 11:13 for the idea of the law as ‘prophetic’). The function of the law is now therefore to witness to Jesus rather than to be observed as literal regulations for Christian living. It is on Jesus and his teaching (including his radical reinterpretations of the law) that discipleship is now to be focused.30 This new type of ‘righteousness’ exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (5:20) not by being more scrupulously law-abiding but by operating on a different plane altogether, and the six examples by which the theme is developed in 5:21–47, together with the staggering summary in 5:48, make it clear how much more radical is the approach of Matthew’s Jesus than a mere reinforcement of literal obedience to the OT laws as regulations. The rest of the gospel reinforces this view, with its frequent portrayal of Jesus as in conflict with the scribes precisely because his attitude to law-keeping, both in his teaching and in his association with the wrong elements in society, was regarded as unacceptably lax. Any suggestion that Matthew’s Jesus approves a ‘Pharisaic’ approach to law-keeping is hard to square especially with the diatribe of chapter 23 (within which the apparently ‘scribal’ statements of vv 2–3 and 23 are best understood as concessive—‘keep these rules if you like, but get your priorities right’).31

Israel and the church

The issue of continuity/discontinuity comes to the fore especially in this area. Some have concluded from the pronounced ‘anti-Jewish’ tone of parts of the gospel that Matthew believed that the Jewish rejection of Jesus was total and irreversible, so that there was no further point in evangelism among Jews—God had rejected Israel.32 This negative attitude to Israel comes into sharpest focus in the statement that ‘the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation which produces its fruits’ (21:43), and in the embarrassing contrast of 27:24–25 between the declared innocence of Pilate and the eager acceptance by ‘all the people’ of the responsibility for the death of Jesus. It is further underlined by the strong stress on judgment which runs through the book, particularly judgment on Jerusalem, on the temple, and on ‘this generation’, in whom all Israel’s past rebellion has come to its climax (23:29–39).33 It is this sort of language which underlies the proposals mentioned earlier to regard Matthew as in its final form an anti-Jewish manifesto by a Gentile Christian writer.

Two factors, however, must not be overlooked in evaluating these negative elements in Matthew’s attitude to Israel. One is the sustained contrast which the gospel draws between the leaders of Israel and the people as a whole. The leaders (who up to chapter 23 are most frequently characterized as scribes and/or Pharisees,34 while the ‘chief priests and elders’ come to the centre of the stage for the passion narrative) are presented as almost uniformly hostile to Jesus and intent on destroying him. It is to them specifically that most of the threats of judgment (particularly in the three polemical parables of 21:28–22:14) are addressed. The ‘crowds’, by contrast, are represented as still open to persuasion, impressed by Jesus’ authority and enjoying his verbal victories over his opponents, so that when Jesus launches into his diatribe against the scribes and Pharisees in chapter 23 it is addressed over their heads to the crowds who are warned against following their lead.35 At the same time, it must be noted that the judgment pronounced against the Jewish leadership seems at times to involve a larger community (‘another nation’, 21:43; ‘their city’, 22:7); it is Jerusalem and its temple that is to be destroyed, not just its leadership replaced (23:37–24:2). And by the time the leaders’ rejection of Jesus reaches its climax they have the crowds on their side as well (26:55; 27:15–23) so that ultimately ‘all the people’ accept their responsibility for his death (27:25).36

The other factor is, once again, the idea of ‘fulfilment’. If it is right in one sense to speak of the failure and rejection of ‘Israel’ in Matthew’s perspective, this does not entail that God has changed his mind about having ‘a people’, but only that that people are no longer to be identified in racial, still less political, terms. An important strand in Matthew’s ‘typological’ allusions to the OT is the conception of Jesus as himself the ‘fulfilment’ of Israel, the one in whom the national ideal reaches its full embodiment, and of the disciples of Jesus as thus taking over the role of Israel as the people of God. As ‘many from east and west’ (8:11–12) thus find their way into the people of God through faith in Jesus, this church drawn from all nations comes to be seen as itself the true Israel, the ekklesia of Jesus (16:18). It is, to use Dodd’s phrase, ‘not a matter of replacement but of resurrection’.37

The suggestion that only a Gentile author could have espoused such a theology of the people of God was interestingly called in question in a short article by Graham Stanton in which he showed how the same theology is further developed in the second-century 5 Ezra, a clearly Jewish-Christian work which nonetheless pictures the church as a ‘people soon to come’ which will inherit the privileges which Israel lost by disobedience. Yet this new community, like its predecessor, looks to Jerusalem as its ‘mother’. Here we see Matthew’s careful balance of continuity and discontinuity maintained by his Jewish-Christian successors.38

Matthew’s church

Matthew’s has traditionally been seen as an especially ‘ecclesiastical’ gospel, not only on the (remarkably flimsy) grounds that it, unlike the other gospels, twice includes the word ekklesia, but also because chapter 18 in particular has been seen as a sort of ‘manual of discipline’ designed for the use of church leaders.39 A thorough study of chapter 18 by W. G. Thompson40 has, however, questioned this view of its function, pointing out its lack of reference to any leadership structure, and its focus on pastoral concern rather than on formal ‘church discipline’.

The lack of reference to church offices has been emphasized by E. Schweizer, whose portrait of ‘Matthew’s Church’41 offers a stimulating alternative to the traditional ‘ecclesiastical’ image; he pictures a church in which prophets, wise men and scribes have an important role, but do not occupy exclusive office, where all disciples recognize one another as ‘little ones’, and where any move towards a formally constituted leadership is resisted. If Schweizer’s picture is overdrawn, it nevertheless seems closer to the atmosphere of Matthew 18 than do those who read into Matthew’s ‘ecclesial’ language an anachronistic scenario of formal ecclesiastical organization.

It has been generally recognized, however, that Matthew writes as a pastor/teacher in his church, with an eye to the relevance of his material to the life and thinking of a typical first-century congregation.42 The organization of his teaching material into extended ‘discourses’ with coherent themes points to such a purpose, and the repeated emphasis on the nature of the church as a corpus mixtum seems to reflect the unsettling experience of division within the professing Christian group.43 It has been argued by some that Matthew is better characterized as a pastor than as a theologian.44


Among the various christological titles used in Matthew, two have been the subject of interesting recent discussion.

‘Son of David’ is clearly of special importance for Matthew’s presentation of Jesus as Messiah, but attention to the contexts in which it occurs indicates a particular connection with his healing ministry. While this could be purely coincidental (in that it tends to be used by ‘outsiders’ approaching Jesus, and such approaches are often in connection with a request for healing), the suggestion has been made that a healing Son of David formed part of Jewish? messianic hope, perhaps modelled on the reputation of Solomon in later Jewish tradition as a healer and exorcist.45 But it is more probable that Matthew associates the title ‘Son of David’ with Jesus’ ministry of healing and compassion in order to distance Jesus from the more triumphalistic aspects of popular messianic expectation, since it has been pointed out that the title is used of him predominantly by those of no standing in Jewish society—the blind, the lame, the dumb, and even the Gentile mother of a possessed girl.46

J. D. Kingsbury has become well known for his reiterated emphasis on the central importance of ‘Son of God’ for Matthew’s (and Mark’s) christology,47 a point with which few would disagree, though not so many have been convinced by his desire to find the title present by implication where Matthew actually uses other titles for Jesus (as ‘surrogates’, so Kingsbury).48 A stimulating recent article by D. J. Verseput49 offers a more restricted understanding of Matthew’s use of the term than Kingsbury envisages, designed to focus attention on Jesus’ filial relationship with God (rather than his ontological status) and the obedient, gentle, suffering ministry in which this resulted, in deliberate contrast to ‘the imperial triumphal traits of Jewish Davidic expectation’; the term therefore represents a calculated challenge to popular ‘Son of David’ messianism. This is an important article, but it is not the last word on the subject, and it is to be hoped that subsequent discussion will do fuller justice to the ‘ontological’ implications of Matthew’s ‘Son of God’ language, especially in the light of his deliberate presentation of the virgin conception of Jesus in chapter 1, and of his extension of the role of ‘the Son’ beyond Jesus’ earthly ministry, culminating in the trinitarian formula of 28:19.

Two other christological themes have been usefully opened up. B. Gerhardsson has shown the importance for Matthew of the Isaianic figure of the Servant (the subject of two of his formula-quotations) as the basis of a motif of service running through the whole gospel, and culminating in Jesus’ obedient self-giving as a ransom for many.50 And while M. J. Suggs has not convinced many in his attempt to elevate the theme of Wisdom to a central place in Matthew’s christology,51 he has successfully drawn attention to Matthew’s careful adaptation of the tradition of a few of Jesus’ sayings in order to present Jesus as not merely Wisdom’s messenger but himself the presence of the divine Wisdom among men.52

But Matthew’s Jesus is not to be confined within ready-made models and titles, however exalted. Running through the gospel is a perception of Jesus as breaking through existing categories. It is seen in his authority,53 particularly as displayed in his miracles.54 In this authority men are confronted with the presence of God in a new way, and are forced to ask, ‘Who is this?’ And Matthew has made his answer clear from the start, in the phrase ‘God with us’ (1:23), an idea which is progressively filled out until it culminates in the final declaration of the risen Jesus, ‘I am with you always’ (28:20).55

Most recent interpreters agree in finding in the final scene in the hills of Galilee (28:16–20) the culmination of and the key to the gospel’s christology.56 There the vision of ‘the enthronement of the Son of Man’ drawn from Daniel 7:13–14 reaches its triumphant fulfilment in the universal authority of the risen Lord, who can now be included (as ‘the Son’) together with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the object of allegiance for disciples from all nations.57

1 G. N. Stanton, ‘The Origin and Purpose of Matthew’s Gospel: Matthean Scholarship from 1945 to 1980’, in H. Temporini and W. Haase (eds.), Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, II Principat vol. 25, part 3 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1985), pp. 1889–1951. See also G. N. Stanton (ed.), The Interpretation of Matthew(Philadelphia: Fortress/London: SPCK, 1983), for a collection of some significant essays on Matthew from 1928 to 1974.

2 J. Chapman, Matthew, Mark and Luke (London: Longmans, 1937); B. C. Butler, The Originality of St. Matthew (Cambridge: UP, 1951).

3 W. R. Farmer, The Synoptic Problem (Dillsboro: Western North Carolina Press, 21976), and other articles; J. B. Orchard, Matthew, Luke and Mark (Manchester: Koinonia, 1976); and many others. An important weapon used against the ‘post-Streeter consensus’ has been H.-H. Stoldt, History and Criticism of the Marcan Hypothesis (ET Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1980).

4 See C. M. Tuckett, The Revival of the Griesbach Hypothesis (Cambridge: UP, 1983).

5 J. M. Rist, On the Independence of Matthew and Mark (Cambridge: UP, 1978). Rist does, of course, recognize common tradition, both oral and written, but denies that either gospel is based on the other.

6 E. P. Sanders, The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition (Cambridge: UP, 1969), pointed this way. The approach is more fully developed in J. A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (London: SCM, 1976), pp. 92–117.

7 For ‘narrative-critical’ studies of Matthew see e.g. R. A. Edwards, Matthew’s Story of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985); J. D. Kingsbury, Matthew as Story (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986), and his articles in JSNT 21 (1984), pp. 3–36, and JSNT 25 (1985), pp. 61–81.

8 R. H. Gundry, Matthew: a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), pp. 599–622.

9 M. Hengel, Studies in the Gospel of Mark (ET London: SCM, 1985), pp. 64–84.

10 N. B. Stonehouse, Origins of the Synoptic Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963), pp. 46–47.

11 The opposing sides are conveniently surveyed in J. P. Meier, Law and History in Matthew’s Gospel (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1976), pp. 9–13, and by Stanton in ‘Origin’ (see n. 1), pp. 1911–1916.

12 See R. Kimelman in E. P. Sanders et al (ed.), Jewish and Christian Self-Definition vol. 2 (London: SCM, 1981), pp. 226–244.

13 JBL 66 (1947), pp. 165–172.

14 Notably P. Nepper-Christensen, Das Matthäusevangelium: ein judenchristliches Evangelium? (Aarhus, 1958); G. Strecker, Der Weg der Gerechtigkeit (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962), pp. 15–35. Also R. Walker, E. L. Abel, S. Van Tilborg, W. Pesch, L. Gaston, J. P. Meier and perhaps, with caution, W. Trilling.

15 M. D. Goulder, Midrash and Lection in Matthew (London: SPCK, 1974), pp. 21–24, deals trenchantly with Strecker’s arguments. On the specific question of Matthew’s alleged ignorance about Sadducees, see D. A. Carson, JETS 25 (1982), pp. 161–174.

16 Major studies include K. Stendahl, The School of St. Matthew (Uppsala, 1954); R. H. Gundry, The Use of the Old Testament in St. Matthew’s Gospel (Leiden: Brill, 1967); W. Rothfuchs, Die Erfüllungszitate des Matthäus-Evangeliums (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1969); G. M. Soares Prabhu, The Formula-Quotations in the Infancy Narrative of Matthew (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1976).

17 Stendahl’s proposal of a ‘school’ rather than an individual as the source of the material has been quietly set aside with the rise of redaction-criticism and its focus on individual authorship.

18 I have attempted to trace some of these hermeneutical patterns in the four formula-quotations of Matthew 2 in NTS 27 (1980/81), pp. 233–251.

19 Gundry, Use, pp. 172–174; cf. Soares Prabhu, Formula-Quotations, pp. 73–77.

20 An interestingly moderate and sympathetic presentation of this charge is by C. F. D. Moule, The Origin of Christology (Cambridge: UP, 1977). pp. 127–134. Moule distinguishes more sharply than I would wish to do between the (unacceptable) exegetical technique and the (acceptable) theology which gives rise to it.

21 See L. Morris in Gospel Perspectives 3 (see n. 23), pp. 129–156.

22 Gundry, Matthew, a Commentary, pp. 623–640 (‘A Theological Postscript’).

23 R. T. France and D. Wenham (eds.), Gospel Perspectives 3 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1983).

24 An important corrective to Goulder’s approach from the point of view of Jewish studies is P. Alexander’s paper ‘Midrash and the Gospels’, in C. M. Tuckett (ed.), Synoptic Studies (Sheffield: JSOT, 1984), pp. 1–18.

25 H. Frankemölle, Jahwe-Bund und Kirche Christi (Münster: Aschendorff, 21984), pp. 382–394; T. L. Donaldson, Jesus on the Mountain: a Study in Matthean Theology (Sheffield: JSOT, 1985), pp. 204–205.

26 E.g. E. P. Blair, Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Nashville: Abingdon, 1960), pp. 124–137. Donaldson’s focus on a different OT mountain leads him to play down this theme (as had W. D. Davies, The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount (Cambridge, 1963), pp. 25–93); see D. C. Allison, ExpT 98 (1986/7), pp. 203–205, for a recent response to Donaldson.

27 R. H. Gundry, Use, pp. 2–5, drew attention to the importance of the allusive references over against Stendahl’s concentration on direct quotations.

28 This interpretation of Matthew as ‘conservative’ with regard to the observance of the law is most recently defended by R. Mohrlang, Matthew and Paul (Cambridge: UP, 1984), pp. 7–26, 42–47.

29 Matthew’s concern with antinomianism was stressed especially by G. Barth in G. Bornkamm, G. Barth & H. J. Held, Tradition and Interpretation in Matthew (ET London: SCM, 1963), esp. pp. 159–164; cf. J. Zumstein, La Condition du Croyant dans l’Evangile selon Matthieu (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1977), pp. 199–200.

30 R. J. Banks, JBL 93 (1974), pp. 226–242; Jesus and the Law in the Synoptic Tradition (Cambridge: UP, 1975), pp. 182–235. Substantially the same interpretation is supported e.g. by Meier, Law, pp. 41–124, 160–161; R. A. Guelich, The Sermon on the Mount (Waco: Word, 1982), pp. 134–174; D. J. Moo, JSNT 20 (1984), pp. 3–49 (in the course of a more wide-ranging and significant survey of Jesus and the law), and by the commentaries of Carson and myself.

31 For this interpretation cf. Banks, Jesus, pp. 175–180. On chapter 23 as a whole see the excellent study of D. E. Garland, The Intention of Matthew 23 (Leiden: Brill, 1979).

32 So especially D. R. A. Hare, The Theme of Jewish Persecution of Christians in the Gospel according to St. Matthew (Cambridge: UP, 1967). A specific application of this understanding of Matthew was in the proposal of Hare and D. J. Harrington (CBQ 37 [1975], pp. 359–369) that panta ta ethne in 28:19 should be translated ‘all the Gentiles’, thus excluding the Jews from the Great Commission; in response see J. P. Meier, CBQ 39 (1977), pp. 94–102.

33 Matthew’s emphasis on judgment is exhaustively studied by D. Marguerat, Le Jugement dans l’Evangile de Matthieu (Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1981).

34 For Matthew’s particularly hostile presentation of the Pharisees see G. Strecker, Weg, pp. 137–143; D. R. A. Hare, Persecution, pp. 80–96.

35 For this more favourable attitude to the crowds see S. Van Tilborg, The Jewish Leaders in Matthew (Leiden: Brill, 1972), pp. 142–165; P. S. Minear, ATR Supp. 3 (1974), pp. 28–44.

36 There is a sensitive discussion of this issue by S. Légasse, ‘L’ “antijudaisme” dans l’Evangile selon Matthieu’, in M. Didier (ed.), L’Evangile selon Matthieu (Gembloux: Duculot, 1972), pp. 417–428. Cf. also Garland, Intention, pp. 39–41, 213f.

37 C. H. Dodd, The Founder of Christianity (London: Collins, 1970), p. 90.

38 G. N. Stanton, ‘5 Ezra and Matthean Christianity in the Second Century’, in JTS 28 (1977), pp. 67–83.

39 The attempt of Stendahl, School, to read Matthew in the light of the Qumran texts played a part in promoting this view. The term Gemeindeordnung was applied to Mt. 18 especially by G. Bornkamm in his 1956 essay on ‘End-expectation and Church in Matthew (Bornkamm, Barth & Held, Tradition, pp. 15–51), and the theme of disciplinary authority in his ‘The Authority to “Bind” and “Loose” in the Church in Matthew’s Gospel’ (in Stanton, Interpretation, pp. 85, 97).

40 W. G. Thompson, Matthew’s Advice to a Divided Community: Mt 17:22–18:35 (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1970).

41 E. Schweizer, ‘Matthew’s Church’, in Stanton, Interpretation, pp. 129–155, an extract from a collection of essays entitled Matthäus und seine Gemeinde (Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1974); cf. NTS 16 (1969/70), pp. 213–230.

42 P. S. Minear, Matthew: the Teacher’s Gospel (London: Darton Longman & Todd, 1982), sees Matthew as a teacher writing for teachers in the congregation.

43 This emphasis of the gospel is noted by Bornkamm in the 1956 essay referred to in n. 39 above, and is discussed e.g. by Zumstein Condition, pp. 381–385; Marguerat, Jugement, pp. 424–447.

44 W. Pesch, Matthāus, der Seelsorger (Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1966); R. Thysman, Communauté et directives éthiques: Id catéchèse de Matthieu (Gembloux: Duculot, 1974).

45 C. Burger, Jesus als Davidssohn (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970); B. Nolan, The Royal Son of God (Göttingen Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979), pp. 158–215. The Solomonic connection has been explored further by D. C. Duling, HTR 68 (1975) pp. 235–252; NTS 24 (1977/8), pp. 392–410.

46 J. M. Gibbs, NTS 10 (1964/5), pp. 446–464; J. D. Kingsbury, JBL 95 (1976), pp. 591–602; W. R. G. Loader, CBQ 44 (1982), pp. 570–585.

47 J. D. Kingsbury, Matthew: Structure, Christology, Kingdom (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975), pp. 40–127; JSNT21 (1984), pp. 3–36.

48 See e.g. D. Hill, JSNT 6 (1980), pp. 2–16.

49 D. J. Verseput, ‘The Role and Meaning of the “Son of God” Title in Matthew’s Gospel’, NTS 33 (1987), pp. 532–556.

50 B. Gerhardsson, ST 27 (1973), pp. 73–106; and in R. J. Banks (ed. J. Reconciliation and Hope (Exeter: Paternoster, 1974), pp. 25–35.

51 M. J. Suggs, Wisdom, Christology and Law in Matthew’s Gospel (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1970); critical review by M. D. Johnson, CBQ 36 (1974), pp. 44–64.

52 E.g. J. D. G. Dunn, Christology in the Making (London: SCM 1980), pp. 197–206. For a full study of the Wisdom motif in Mt. 11:25–30 (the most significant instance) see C. Deutsch, Hidden Wisdom and the Easy Yoke (Sheffield: JSOT, 1987).

53 See esp. Blair, Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

54 See the fine study by B. Gerhardsson, The Mighty Acts of Jesus according to Matthew (Lund: Gleerup, 1979).

55 See Frankemölle, Jahwe-Bund, pp. 7–83, for the ‘being with’ theme.

56 O. Michel’s famous essay (in Stanton, Interpretation, pp. 30–41) was followed e.g. by W. Trilling, Das wahre Israel (München: Kösel, 31964), pp. 21–51; G. Bornkamm in J. M. Robinson (ed.), The Future of our Religious Past (London: SCM, 1971), pp. 203–229; J. P. Meier, JBL 96 (1977), pp. 407–424; O. S. Brooks, JSNT 10 (1981), pp. 2–18. Donaldson, Jesus, pp. 170–190. A valuable dissertation on 28:16–20 is B. J. Hubbard, The Matthean Redaction of a Primitive Apostolic Commissioning (Missoula: Scholars’ Press, 1974).

57 Davies, Setting, pp. 196–198. The view of the ‘Son of Man’ as king is one of the most distinctive features of Matthew’s christology; cf. 13:41; 16:28; 19:28; 25:31 ff. For a substantial demonstration of the essential connection between the kingdom of God and the Son of Man (so long denied in German scholarship) see C. C. Caragounis The Son of Man (Tübingen: Mohr, 1986).

Dick France

Llangelynin, Gwynedd