Mt 5:20a "For I tell you that unless
your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and
the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of
Mt 23:2-3a "Then Jesus said to the
crowds and to his disciples: "The
teachers of the law and the
Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you
must obey them
and do everything they tell you.
“Matthew” added:] But
do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
Because the emerging Rabbis were seen as
enemies by Jewish Christians (“Leave
them; they are blind guides”
made up virulent diatribes against them, such as:
love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in
the synagogues; they love
to be greeted in the marketplaces and to
have men call them `Rabbi.' But
you are not to be called `Rabbi,'
you have only one Master and you are all brothers."
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees,
you hypocrites! You
shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces.
You yourselves do not enter, nor will
you let those enter who are trying to.”
Note: Pharisees are "second fiddle" to the teachers of
the law in gMark but become predominant in GMatthew, written
"Pharisees"/"teachers of the law": gMark = 12/20, gMatthew = 28/19
gMatthew describes a time when Pharisees had already become righteous & respected leaders of the Jews, and also having a lot of influence on those.
And this is exactly how Josephus
described them in 'Antiquities of the Jews' (published 93), XVIII, I,
"... on account of which doctrines, they [the Pharisees] are able greatly to persuade the body of the people; and whatsoever they do about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction; insomuch the cities gave great attestations to them on account to their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives and their discourses also..."
Note: In 'Wars', written some fifteen years earlier than 'Antiquities', the corresponding section in II, VIII, 14 does not describe the Pharisees as either teachers, or leaders, or having any appeal on other Jews.
The passage from 'Antiquities' indicates also that in 93 (or years
before) the time of distress of the Jews (following the destruction
of Jerusalem & its temple) was over with. And this is exactly
what “Matthew” alluded to in his gospel, when he was writing it:
24:21a “For then [after Jerusalem destruction] there will be great distress ...”
24:29a "Immediately after the distress of those days [advent of the kingdom]...”
This is a sure sign the gospel was written before 93.
A first century date is also justified by:
Mt 16:28 “Verily I say unto you, There be some [among Jesus' disciples] standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
Mt 24:34 “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things [which include the advent of the Kingdom (24:30-31)] be fulfilled.”