Mon, 28 December 2009
St. Jerome tells us that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic, and that it was reworked into a Greek version later, which is supported by some evidence. Jerome also tells us that Matthew was the first gospel, but the actual order of composition is not clear. Matthew is also associated with a winged human in ecclesiastical symbolism, though this is not part of the inspired text.
The initial genealogy is abbreviated and separated into 3 sets of 14 generations beginning with Abraham, which provide a synopsis of Jewish history. Three women are mentioned in this genealogy, which is unusual for Jewish genealogies: Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth.
Matthew then begins the infancy narrative. Mary is a virgin who is betrothed to Joseph, which was more like marriage than a modern-day engagement. When Mary is found with child, Joseph resolves to divorce her privately, but an angel tells Joseph to remain with Mary and the child, who is to be called Emmanuel, which is translated for the benefit of Greeks as 'God with us.'
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com