I. The Apostle.
II. The Gospel.
External Testimony (§ 1).
Criticism versus Tradition (§ 2).
The Sources (§ 3).
Content, Structure, and Purpose (§ 4).
Date and Value (§ 5).

I. The Apostle: In all the lists of the apostles in the New Testament Matthew appears as one of the Twelve, in Mark and Luke occupying the seventh place, in Matthew and the Acts the eighth. By the appellative "publican" (Matt. x. 3) he is to be identified with the Matthew of ix. 9 sqq. and doubtless with the Levi of Mark ii. 14 and Luke v. 27 sqq., Mark adding that his father was Alpheus; possibly Mark and Luke used his earlier name, Matthew being his name after he became a disciple. He was doubtless a Jew, as his name indicates, contrary to the statement of Julius Africanus. Nothing further regarding his life is told in Matthew or the Acts. In tradition his story developed. Thus Clement of Alexandria calls him a vegetarian ("The Instructor," II., i.; ANF, ii. 241) and places him in the list of those saints who did not suffer martyrdom; later tradition made him a martyr by fire, beheading, or stoning; he is said to have preached first to his own people, afterward in foreign lands (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III., xxiv. 6; NPNF, 2 ser., i. 152). The stories concerning his grave and his relics may be found in R. A. Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, p. 217, Brunswick, 1890.

II. The Gospel: In the early Church the authorship of the first Gospel was universally ascribed to Matthew. The tradition of apostolical authorship arose very early, and that Gospel was the chief source used by the Apostolic Fathers,
I. External while Papias is expressly quoted as Testimony. asserting the Matthean origin ("So then Matthew wrote the logia in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able," Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III., xxxix. 16; NPNF, 2 ser., i. 173). By the assertion that the logia were in the Hebrew was meant not the classical Hebrew of the Old Testament, but the dialect of Syriac which was the mother tongue of Matthew and of Jesus, and he implies that the translations (into Greek) are more numerous than could be desired because inaccurate. With this sentence of Papias, then, begins the external testimony to the authorship of the first Gospel. Later writers never contradict Papias but rather copy or corroborate him (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III., xxiv. 6, V., viii. 2, VI., xxv. 4). The fact of a Hebrew Matthew receives confirmation from still another source. And by this is meant neither what is related in the Apocryphal Acts of Barnabas (Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, ii. 2, pp. 270 sqq., 291 sqq.) concerning the finding of an auto-


[Page 253]


[Page 254]


[Page 255]


[Page 256]


[Page 257]


[Page 258]


[Page 259]


[Page 260]


[Page 261]


[Page 262]


[Page 263]


[Page 264]


[Page 265]


[Page 266]


[Page 267]


[Page 268]


[Page 269]


[Page 270]


[Page 271]


[Page 272]


[Page 273]


[Page 274]


[Page 275]


[Page 276]


[Page 277]


[Page 278]


in the discovery of the thirteen letters of Ignatius in Armenian translation and of the commentary of Ephraem Syrtis on the Gospel Harmony (of Tatian?). The institution in Venice has great influence even with Armenians not in the Roman Catholic Church, and branches in other lands-- Turkey, Russia, France, Austria, and Hungary-- have added to its wealth and prestige. Especially notable among these is the branch in Vienna, planted there in 1810, the printing department of which has contributed largely to the spread of knowledge in the home country. The mother house is now the goal of all modern scholars who desire an intimate knowledge of Armenian language and literature.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Bore, Saint Laaare, ou hid. de la soeUM religieuse armbnnienne de MEchitar, Venice, 1835; idem, La Couvent de S. Lazare h Venise, Paris, 1837; s. Somalian. Quadro delta etoria letterarla di Armenia, Venice, 1829; C. F. Neumann, Versuch einer Geechirhte der armenischen Litteratur, Leipsic, 1836; Windischmann, in TQ, 1835, part 1, cf. 1846, pp. 527 sqq.; Le Vaillant de Florival, Les MEkhitaristes de S. Lazare, Venice, 1856; V. Langlois, The Armenian Monastery of St. Lazame-Venice, Venice, 1874; P. A. Hennemann Das Kloster der amenisden MGnche auf der Intel St. Lazzaro, ib. 1881; A. Mayer, Die Mechitaristenbuchdruckerei, Vienna, 1888; F. Scherer, Die Mechitaristen in Wien, ib. 1892; K. Kalemkiarian, Skizze der litemrisclrtypopraphischen Thdtipkeit der Afechi tariaten Congregation in Wien, ib. 1898; S. Weber, Die katholische Ruche in Armenien, Freiburg, 1903; HL, viii. 1122-37. Some of the literature given under ARMENIA will be found pertinent. Consult also Heimbusher. Orden and %onyrnpationen, i. 313-319.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely