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Matthew, Apostle, St.


Traditional author of the first Gospel. His name (Gr. Ματθα[symbol omitted]ος or Μαθθα[symbol omitted]ος) is from Aramaic mattai, a shortened form of the Hebrew mattanyâ or mattatyâ (gift of Yahweh). By deriving it from another root, some give it the meaning of "the faithful." He is named seventh in the list of apostles in Mk 3.18 and Lk 6.15; eighth in Mt 10.3 and Acts 1.13. In Mt 10.3 he is called a τελώνης, i.e., tax collector or publican; this fits with his being called by Jesus from the τελώνιον (toll-house) in Mt 9.9. The calling of a tax collector is found also in Mk 2.1314 and Lk 5.2729, but there he is called Levi (to which Mark adds, "the son of Alphaeus"). Because all three Synoptics relate the same event, we must conclude that they speak of the same person: Matthew-Levi. This identification has been challenged by some: Heracleon and perhaps Origen (in Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 4.9; Patrologia Graecae 8.1281; Origen, Contra Celsum 1.62; see Patrologia Graecae 14.835). The banquet presented in Mk 2.1517 and Lk 5.2932 as given by Levi is also in Mt 9.1013, where Matthew, however, is not expressly mentioned.

Nothing is definitely known about his later ministry. The Liber de ortu beatae Mariae et infantia Salvatoris

attributed to him is a 5th-century apocryphon [see bible, iii (canon), 5]. Tradition relates that he had an early ministry in Judea and later went to Gentile lands, given variously as Ethiopia, Persia, and Parthia. He is revered as a martyr and is commemorated in the Latin Church on September 21, in the Eastern on November 16. In art he is represented with a spear in his hand (an allusion to his martyrdom); his symbol (as evangelist) is a winged man. His relics are said to have been found at Salerno in 1080.

See Also: matthew, gospel according to st.

Bibliography: Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) from a. van den born, Bijbels Woordenboek, 147980. m. bonnet and r. a. lipsius, eds., Acta apostolorum apocrypha (Leipzig 1898) 1.2. e. mangenot, Dictionaire de la Bible, ed. f. vigouroux, 5 v. (Paris 18951912) 4.1:872876. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol and h. i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 190753) 10.2:268283. f. haase, Apostel und Evangelisten in den orientalischen Überlieferungen (Münster 1922) 102103; 272.

[j. a. lefranÇois]

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