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Matt 23:2: “The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.” — This short verse contains a simple but quite informative contradiction. The phrase “in Moses’ seat” is a Jewish metaphor for absolute religious authority. Did the Scribes and Pharisees have absolute religious authority? Well, no and yes. In the time of Jesus absolute religious authority was invested in the office of the high priest so the correct answer then would be “no”. Jesus could not possibly have spoken these words ascribed to him in AD30-35. After the destruction of the temple and the high priesthood in AD70, religious authority did devolve on the Scribes and Pharisees so at that time the answer would be “yes” — but 40 years later after the death of Jesus. So these are the words of the unknown writer that we eventually named Matthew and not any authentic words of Jesus. The contradiction also informs us that the gospel was written some time after the year AD70.

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