Re: [Synoptic-L] Authorship of Matthew
- Jack wrote, with thinly veiled incredulity:
>He defends the position that an Aramaic-speaking, Palestinian Jew...theBrian is right, France's views are accessible in _Matthew, Evangelist and
>disciple known as Matthew...wrote the Gospel?? The present Canonical
>Gospel of Matthew?
> Reference please.
Teacher_, (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1989), and also, at a very simple
level, in his commentary on Matthew in the Tyndale New Testament series
(Leicester: IVP, 1985). I expect he has also written elsewhere, and I would
be happy to dig around and find some more material.
I take it the tone above that Jack does not think that this is a terribly
attractive proposition! Sadly, I will be on holiday for two weeks, and will
not be able to debate this immediately. That is not to say that I hold
France's position - I do not. However, as I have pointed out elsewhere, I
think that the way in which such views are dismissed rhetorically, before a
sufficient consideration of the actual arguments, is somewhat sad. In my
experience many views that are swept aside in this manner are held by very
able, intelligent scholars, and are perfectly defensible. We only need to
note the variety of sometimes esoteric and minority views that are advanced,
to an extent with success, on this list to realise that it is far more
difficult to refute another position than one's initial language and
attitude implies. In conclusion, and to give a flavour of France's
perspective, allow me to present the following citation:
"...I believe that authorship of the first gospel by the tax-collector
apostle Matthew is the most economical explanation of all the relevant
factors...[but]...I would be reluctant to claim it as a 'fact' tout simple.
It fits comfortably into the context of first-century church life but it
would not be responsible to claim objective certainty for my reconstruction
any more than for those of other scholars...the apostolic authorship of
Matthew should not be regarded as an article of faith; in that sense it does
not really matter very much who wrote it. But i happen to believe that it
fits the historical and literary data sufficiently comfortably to give us
strong reason to accept that the early Christians who saw it as his work
were not mistaken." (Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher, 79-80)
Jack, if you wish to debate with me the extent to which such a view can be
held to be responsible and intellectually coherent scholarship, please do.
However, if you wish to refute the view outright, I would be interested to
read your ideas, but would be less happy to engage in such discussion.
Either way, I will be incommunicado until at least the last week of August.
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com