Matthew 4:15, Where was the book of Matthew written?
And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum … beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
//Many scholars locate the origin of the book of Matthew to be Syria, modern day Jordan. Why do they think this?
Today’s verse provides a subtle clue. When Matthew writes of Capernaum, he refers to it as “beyond Jordan.” Capernaum was on the west side of the Jordan river, implying that the author was on the east side of the river.
Of course, there’s much more to the research than this. Matthew, though it is written in Greek like all of the other gospels, is the most “Jewish” of the four, and this corner of Syria happens to be where the Jewish Christians (known later as Ebionites) were strongest after the fall of Jerusalem. Some scholars surmise that Matthew’s author fled Jerusalem during the war (his gospel contains hints of this trauma) and if this is true, he could very well have landed in Pella, there on the east side of the Jordan river. A tradition–which I’m inclined to believe is true–is that a large number of Christians fled Jerusalem before it went under siege and resettled in Pella.
A speculative proposition, as is everything else in ancient history, but it all makes sense to me.