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Monthly Archives: February 2023

Podcast Interview on the Sabbath in Mark’s Gospel

I did a zoom interview with Dr. Lyn Kidson looking at Jesus’s debates with certain Pharisees about how to observe the Sabbath in Mark 2:23-3:6, when Christians changed their holy day from the Sabbath to Sunday, and about what Christians can learn about the biblical teachings about the Sabbath. I first met Lyn when we were both part of a symposium on “Paul within Judaism” and we both work in Australia. I hope that you enjoy the podcast.


The Classes I am Teaching in Semester 1 2023

After having a teaching sabbatical for a semester to work on writing projects, I am back to teaching this year with four units. The first one is my introductory class “Jesus and the Gospels,” which surveys the history leading up to the lifetime of Jesus, the New Testament Gospel narratives about Jesus, and the introductory information about the four Gospels (e.g, authorship, date, audience, themes). The second one is called “Pauline theology and Romans,” which examines the key debates about Paul’s life and theology and exegetically examines the first eight chapters of the epistle to the Romans. I will be teaching Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament, at different levels for my other two classes. I also may be doing some supervision for our research methods class and for a few PhD students. Thus, my posting on the blog may be more sporadic over the next months.

Series on the Authorship of the Gospel of Matthew

I have updated my posts from a series that I wrote a few years ago on the case for and against the traditional authorship of Matthew’s Gospel. I go into much more detail when assessing the various arguments in my book. By the way, my book has now been published and you can read some excerpts from it on Google Preview. The following questions must be answered to resolve the debate over the authorship of this Gospel:

  • Why is the tax collector named Levi in Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27-28 and Matthew in Matthew 9:9 and why is “the tax collector” appended to Matthew’s name only in the list of the twelve apostles in Matthew 10:2-4 (cf. Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13)?
  • Why did Papias believe that Matthew wrote the “oracles” in the “Hebrew language” and what was he referring to?
  • Why was Papias’s tradition understood by subsequent Patristic writers in reference to the Greek Gospel that came to be known as the “Gospel according to Matthew”?
  • Why was Matthew identified as the author of the “Gospel according to the Hebrews” by a few Patristic authorities?

Here are all the posts in the series:

The Tax Collector Matthew: An Overview of the Theories

The Identities of Levi and Matthew in the Early Church

Did Matthew have Two Semitic Names?

“Matthew” as a Learning Disciple

Does Matthew 9:9 and 10:3 support a Pseudonymous Author?

Why was Levi’s Name not in the List of the Twelve Apostles?

A Vague Memory of Matthew as a Tax Collector?

James the Tax Collector?

The Case for Matthew’s Authorship

Did Matthew Rely on Peter’s Testimony?

Matthew’s Hebrew Style?

Matthew as the Author of a Lost Source?

Matthew’s References to Messianic Oracles about Jesus?

Matthew’s Literacy as a Tax Collector?

Matthew’s Knowledge of Money as a Tax-collector

The Authorship and Inspiration of Matthew’s Gospel

The Emergence of the Gospel Titles

Why was Matthew’s Name Attached to the Gospel according to the Hebrews

Studies on the Reception History of Matthew

The Date of the Gospel of Matthew

Over the last several posts, I have been examining the earliest references to the Gospel of Matthew. The probable references to the text from Papias, Ignatius, and the Didache entail that the text cannot be dated later than the beginning of the second century. The text also cannot be dated earlier than the publication of the Gospel of Mark, which is its main source. Mark’s Gospel is commonly dated either shortly before or after the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, though a handful of scholars date it as early as the Caligula crisis around 40 CE (see my posts on the date here and here). The best evidence that Matthew presupposes the destruction of the temple is in the addition of a reference to a king burning down his city in Matthew 27:7 (compare the parable in Matthew 22:1-14/Luke 14:15-25) and Ken Olson offers a strong case for reading this detail in light of 70 CE. Thus, the window for dating Matthew’s Gospel is between 70 and 100 CE. I would lean towards dating it closer to 70 than to 100 as Matthew seems to expect the Son of Man’s return soon after the events that would occur in the generation after Jesus, while Luke writing at a later date may allow for a longer “time of the Gentiles” before the end (cf. Luke 21:24) and avoids the disciples’ question about setting a date when Jesus would re-establish the kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:6-7).