It is argued that the Matthean Gospel partially reflects the unstable political and religious situation in which this document originated. Broad outlines are postulated of this probable religious situation. This article presents an investigation of the developments within the broader Jewish society during the time of the New Testament. This implies the investigation of developments within Judaism, which entails some fragmentation of Judaism and a development towards Formative Judaism. The 'Jesus movement' and eventually the Matthean community evolved among these developments.