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