Today is the Feast Day of St. Bartholomew (Aramaic) who is listed as Nathanael (Hebrew, “gift of God”) in John’s Gospel.
In Warren H. Carroll’s book THE FOUNDING OF CHRISTENDOM page 433, states:
“Eusebius ( Ecclesiastical History, V, 10) says a copy of the “Hebrew” Gospel of Matthew was taken to India by the Apostle Bartholomew and found there at the end of the second century by the Christian scholar and traveler Pantaenus.”
So, thanks to Bartholomew we have some very early evidence of Matthew Gospel being the first Gospel written.
How does the presence of Matthew’s Gospel in India at the end of the second century prove that Matthew’s Gospel preceded Mark’s? The earliest Gospel fragment found is a bit from John dated about 125 AD, so much earlier than the end of the second century; but I’ve never heard anyone assert that John’s Gospel was the first written.
It’s not the fact that Matthew’s Gospel was in India at the end of the second century, it’s the fact that another APOSTLE took that Gospel with him to India. Therefore suggesting that Matthew’s Gospel was very early indeed, if other Apostles were taking it with them on their journeys.
I find historian Warren H. Carroll’s research to be quite impressive. His bibliography for just this volume which only goes up to the year AD 324] to be 23 pages with most pages listing over a dozen different works. Those who would question his judgment have little to hang their hat on other than to offer data or questions which they themselves do not understand.
After making a solid case for Matthew having written the first Gospel he offers the above as just part of a footnote. The entire footnote is below which lists several works that back up his conclusions.
If time permits I will address this more, along with historical difficulties of Markan Priority
Entire Footnote on page 433 :39 Fouard, St. Peter, pp. 216-226. After a long period during which the very cogent arguments set forth by Fouard and other writers of his time were, for no particularly good reason, almost totally rejected by New Testament critics (even those thoroughly orthodox), the proposition that the Gospel of Matthew was after all written first, before any of the other gospels—as Church tradition had always maintained-is now being revived even by critics whose premises and methods are very different from those accepted herein, e.g… John Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia, 1976), pp. 92-99. See also a foreshadowing of this change of view in Danielou and Marrou, Christian Centuries, I, 25. For a brilliant summation of the linguistic arguments for an Aramaic original of St. Matthew’s Gospel, see John Chapman’s almost forgotten Matthew, Mark and Luke, a Study in the Order and Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels (London, 1937), pp. 182-214: for a similar summation of the arguments for the Apostle Matthew’s author*ship of the Gospel which bears his name, see ibid., pp. 253-260. St. Jerome (De Viris Illustribus 3) says that the original version of Matthew’s Gospel, in “Hebrew,” was extant in his time, a copy being preserved in the library of the famous early Christian scholar Pamphilus (c. 300) at Caesarea in Palestine; and Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History, V, 10) says a copy of the “Hebrew” Gospel of Matthew was taken to India by the Apostle Bartholomew and found there at the end of the second century by the Christian scholar and traveller Pantaenus. In his commentary on Eusebius’ Chronicle (Patrologia Latina XXVII, 577-578), Jerome dates the composition of the Gospel of Matthew to the last year of Gaius (40 A.D.), just one year before the date here proposed.
(Text above colored blue for clarity.)