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The dispute with the Pharisees serves primarily as a warning to the community (see the introduction to chapters 24-25); but a reference to leading representatives of the Synagogue is not far below the surface.
What Matthew has done, in fact, is to produce a second and enlarged edition of Mark.
Moreover, the changes which he makes in Mark's way of telling the story are not those corrections which an eyewitness might make in the account of one who was not an eyewitness.
Mark, after all, did not even belong to the circle of the apostles.
Indeed Matthew's Gospel surpasses those of the other synoptic writers neither in vividness of presentation nor in detail, as we would expect in an eyewitness report, yet neither Mark nor Luke had been among those who had followed Jesus from the beginning of His public ministry.
It is also the consensus position that the evangelist was not the apostle Matthew. 3.39, Papias states: "Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could." In Adv. 3.1.1, Irenaeus says: "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." We know that Irenaeus had read Papias, and it is most likely that Irenaeus was guided by the statement he found there. 7): This means, however, that we can no longer accept the traditional view of Matthew's authorship. First, the tradition maintains that Matthew authored an Aramaic writing, while the standpoint I have adopted does not allow us to regard our Greek text as a translation of an Aramaic original.
Such an idea is based on the second century statements of Papias and Irenaeus. That statement in Papias itself is considered to be unfounded because the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek and relied largely upon Mark, not the author's first-hand experience. Second, it is extremely doubtful that an eyewitness like the apostle Matthew would have made such extensive use of material as a comparison of the two Gospels indicates.
I In the 1980’s palaeopathological studies found possible evidence that supported this hypothesis and that syphilis was an old treponeal disease which in the late 15th century had suddenly evolved to become different and more virulent.
Some recent studies however have indicated that this is not the case and it still may be a new epidemic venereal disease introduced by Columbus from America.
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