Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament. It is one of four gospels. It tells the story of the life of Jesus as conveyed by Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples. Matthew is one of the synoptic gospels, meaning part of the grouping of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The three share a common structure which shows an interrelationship. It is generally believed today that Mark came first and Matthew and Luke borrowed his structure, but church tradition held that Matthew was first and some still follow this idea. There is reference by the church fathers to a gospel of Matthew originally being written in Aramaic. If this is the case, the original of that work has been lost to time.
The Gospel of Matthew does not name its author, but the ancient church fathers were unanimous that the author was Jesus' disciple Matthew. Mark and Luke both use the name Levi, Matthew's other name, but the book of Matthew does not.
Place of Writing
There are different thoughts on when it was written. If Mark was written first, then depending upon when Mark was written, Matthew would have to have been written after it. Dates from the late 50's all the way to the 70's or beyond are speculated. Some believe that based on the Jewish character of Matthew, that it must have been written when the church was still mostly Jewish, and so they believe it was written in 50 or so and was the first gospel subsequently drawn upon by Mark and Luke.
The purpose of Matthew is to show that Jesus is the Messiah who has come according to the Old Testament scriptures. Indeed, Matthew includes 9 additional proof texts that the others Gospels do not. Matthew is also known for the use of sermons, such as the sermon on the mount. It is these sermons that contribute to Matthew's size more than the any extra content or stories within the text.