Matthean Priority?


Today is the feast of St. Matthew, Evangelist.

Numbered among the Twelve, and identified as a tax collector, he answered the call of Jesus. He is also known by the name, Levi.

(This statue of an angel is the symbol of the Evangelist Matthew – it is located on the Duomo (Cathedral) of Orvieto in Italy, which I visited this Spring)


One thing that seems vogue today in Catholic biblical circles is an ongoing discussion of the dating and priority of the Gospels, specifically whether Matthew or Mark was written first.

Logical arguments abound on both sides, but the vehemence with which they are pursued are often over the top for my tastes.

Today it seems harder than ever to agree to disagree on a given topic. Whatever happened to the adage that “men of good will can disagree on an issue?”

Today we have a new adage, you see, many people think that those who don’t believe exactly as they do are somehow suspect, are somehow deficient.

Not only is that factually incorrect, it is also the application of poor logic. We’ve seen much of this faulty thinking around the confirmation hearing of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States. Instead of deciding to confirm him on his legal skill and background, some senators are trying to ascertain how he will decide cases linked to their favorite pet causes.

To disagree with Roberts personal view on abortion, is not a LOGICAL reason to vote against confirming him. A valid, logical reason would be something to do with his abilities as a lawyer or judge.

Perhaps the inspiration that guided St. Matthew in recording the Good News will also inspire the US Senate to judge Roberts on his merits and qualifications, rather than conjecture about a future ruling on a given topic.

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Categories: Catechetics, Commentary, Gospel Accounts | Leave a comment

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