Many believe Matthew written by eyewitness

info@islandpacket.comAugust 20, 2013 

This is an abbreviated response to an Aug. 15 letter about Reza Aslan's book on Jesus.

The letter writer states that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were not written as eyewitness accounts of Jesus' ministry. He said that they copied from Mark (who also was not an eyewitness).

Luke was a Greek from Antioch and was not an eyewitness, and probably Luke and Acts were dictated from Peter and Paul. Mark was from Peter.

However, Matthew was one of the 12 selected by Jesus. The writer seems to imply that Matthew didn't write this Gospel. Matthew, or Levi the son of Alphaeus, is mentioned many times in Matthew, Mark and Luke as one of the chosen 12 sent out by Jesus. Since he was a tax collector, he was most likely literate.

Many commentaries differ as to which Gospel was written first. A commentary I use, published in 1988 by Tyndale, states that Matthew was written from A.D. 60 to A.D. 65 and Mark from A.D. 55 to A.D. 65. Most other authors show this overlap. Even Luke is listed as A.D. 60 in some.

It is interesting that at least six of Paul's first eight epistles were written before the first Gospel and the Gospels confirm Paul on all counts.

I'm curious as to where the letter writer gets the idea that Matthew didn't write his Gospel. It sounds as if it comes from the head of the religion department at the University of North Carolina, Bart D. Erhman, who wrote "Misquoting Jesus."

Al Strickland

St. Helena Island

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