Irenaeus of Lyons in 180 AD wrote "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the Church" (Against Heresies Book III, 1:1).
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels, as they follow a similar pattern in describing the Life of Jesus and his teachings.
On the matter of whether Q was written, Tuckett writes (, v. 5, p. 568): "The theory that Q represents a mass of oraltraditions does not account for the common order in Qmaterial, which can be discerned once Matthew's habitof collecting related material into his large teachingdiscourses is discounted (Taylor 1953, 1959). Such acommon order demands a theory that Q at some stageexisted in written form."
C. M. Tuckett comments on theargument that variations between Matthew and Luke aredue to variant translations of an Aramaic Q (op. cit., pp. 567-568):
This gospel does not see the need to explain Jewish tradition. It is the only gospel that reports the story which the Jewish priests put into circulation to explain the empty tomb. It uses the distinctly Hebraic formula "Kingdom of Heaven", where the other books in the New Testament speak only of the "Kingdom of God". It alone reports Jesus as saying, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel", and instructing the disciples "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel". It uses the term "son of David" more times than the other gospels combined. And so on. The Jewishness of Matthew's gospel is evident from start to finish.
The Gospel of Matthew is especially important for it is one of the two Gospels originally written by an Apostle (the other being the Gospel of John).
All of Mt.'s terms are present in the text of Ignatius, who merely changed the Matthean phrase to the singular as the context demanded - he is writing to Polycarp - and inserted in the first clause and in the second.
Moreover, the apocryphal gospels give a totally different motive for the baptism of Jesus. So it is that, according to Jerome, the Gospel according to the Hebrews notes a certain reticence on the part of Jesus to be baptized, since he is not a sinner. In the Gospel according to the Ebionites, the sequence of words is different, and the word is missing. The , on the other hand, mentions that, urged by his mother and almost against his will, Christ allowed himself to be baptized. Let me add finally then, when Eph. 18:2 states that the motive for Christ's baptism is the purification of the water by his Passion, Ignatius himself confirms my point of view. Indeed, if he did [not] show a literary dependence on Mt. in the text which I am analyzing, I do not see why he would give here a different motive from the one he states in Eph. 18:2.
Of all the evangelists, only Mt. furnishes this motive for the baptism of Jesus: it is fitting to fulfill all righteousness. The same words of Ignatius are found in Mt. The use of the phrase corresponds so typically to the character of the first gospel, where plays such an important role that it would be unreasonable to refer to another writing.
There is one final piece of evidence that may establish the for the Gospel of Matthew. In Matthew 23:35, Jesus is made to say, "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." In the parallel verse of Luke 11:51, the reference is to the Zechariah (son of Jehoiada) whose murder is recounted in 2 Chr 24:20-22, which is the last murder recounted in the Old Testament and which also caught the eye of the rabbinic writers for being such. Q theorists consider the Lucan form to be primary (Kloppenborg, , pp. 81-2); the author of Matthew has understood the identification to refer to one Zechariah, son of Barachias. The murder of this individual occurred in 67 or 68 and is described in Josephus, 4.335. Unfortunately, it is also possible that this refers to the OT prophet of the same name.
"The Gospel According to St. Matthew" won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Festival (the Golden Lion went to Antonioni's fiercely secular "Red Desert"). Right-wing Catholic groups picketed it, but the film won the first prize of the International Catholic Office of the Cinema, which screened the film inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; the French left was as outraged as the Italian right, and Sartre met with Pasolini, telling him somewhat obscurely, "Stalin rehabilitated Ivan the Terrible; Christ is not yet rehabilitated by Marxists."
Thus, Kummel argues to date the Gospel of Matthew in the last two decades of the first century (, pp. 119-120): "Even if, indeed, Mk and Mt originated in different regions, precisely in his reworking of Mk Mt shows so clear a development of community relationships and theological reflection (see, e.g., 18:15 ff and 28:19) that a date of writing shortly after Mk seems less likely than a time between 80 and 100. A date of origin after 100 is excluded by Mt's having been used by Ignatius."
Here we cannot be so certain. But it is possible that we can find evidence that Matthew was writing after the war between the Romans and the Jews which ended in the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem in A.D. 70. See, for example, 22:7: ; and compare also 21:41, 27:25. Similarly, Matthew's Gospel contains a strongly anti-Jewish note running through it, from the teaching not to do in Chapter 6, to the Woes on the in Chapter 23; and this may point to a date after c. A.D. 85 when the Christians were excluded from the Jewish synagogues. It is worth noting here that Matthew often speaks of (4:23, 9:35, 10:17, 12:9, 13:54), as if to distinguish Christian meetings and meeting places from those of the Jews, from which the Christians had now been turned out.