Stuart wrote: ↑Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:22 pmThere is a simpler solution. Those citing Papias had no clue about the original language, and frankly didn't care. Their objective was to justify the binding order of the four gospels with Matthew first, before Mark. By saying he wrote in Hebrew helped give priority to Matthew, since it dovetailed into the orthodox factions claim of Jewish origin (fought by some of the heterodox). Hebrew was a badge of authenticity, and we see it in the Aramaic phrases in the Gospels, which usually are followed by a "which translated means", showing they were added for effect.
Matthew was the preferred Gospel since it best fit the theology of the orthodoxy. Mark lacked infancy and resurrection stories. John was the other competitor, but even in the Western order it came 2nd, not first.
There is no evidence that Matthew wrote in Hebrew. quite the contrary, the evidence is pretty strong for an underlying Greek source. Otherwise how does one explain the misunderstanding of Psalms 110:1 in Matthew 22:44. Surely a Hebrew speaker would have been scandalized by that.
How do you fit the use of Matthew among Jewish Christians and the orthodox opposition to Jewish Christians into this?
In my scenario, Papias' Hebrew Matthew was not the same as the NT Matthew and the latter incorporated only parts of one or more translations of the former (in the same way it had incorporated Mark). And since the NT Matthew circulated among orthodox Christians, I assume they were responsible for the creation of it and/or whatever additions to it that support orthodoxy. So in that respect, I see the original Hebrew Matthew becoming less "Jewish" in the NT Matthew (e.g., it incorporates a badly translated part of the Hebrew version, as per Gordon regarding 23:3, and has the misunderstanding you refer to), while still retaining things that are in keeping with Jewish Christianity (such as pro-Torah observance), in consequence of its Jewish Christian Hebrew source.
In my view, if the orthodox were so keen on connecting Matthew (and orthodoxy) to Jewish origins, they would not have altered the original Hebrew Matthew and they would not have opposed Jewish Christians.
As for the orthodox giving Matthew priority, I think it's reasonable to suppose that Papias said more about Matthew than the one sentence that Eusebius cites and that he thus could have been Irenaeus' source for this idea and that thus the idea originated with Papias' elders, who were followers of Jewish Christians. So perhaps Irenaeus was simply reporting a matter of fact about the origin of Matthew rather than promoting an orthodox agenda.