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This chapter analyzes the evidence that suggests that Jesus endorsed and participated in the worship of the Jerusalem temple during his public ministry, arguing that the Gospel of Matthew offers important data that have been often overlooked and undervalued by the quest. Among other traditions, this chapter offers analysis of Jesuss instructions on offering sacrifice in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:23–24), Jesus’s Instructions to the leper to offer sacrifice (Matt 8:1–4); the healing of the paralytic (Matt 9:1–8); Jesuss quotation of Hosea 6:6 (Matt 9:13; 12:7); Jesuss statement that something greater than the temple is here (Matt 12:6); Jesus and the temple tax (Matt 17:24–27); Jesuss statement that the house is desolate (Matt 23:38); and Jesuss participation in the Passover celebration (Matt 26:17–19).
While it is easy to interpret the first and second of the Matthean Antitheses (5.21–30) as intensifications of the Mosaic law, it is difficult to interpret the remaining Antitheses (5.31–48) in this manner. In the history of interpretation, two main strategies have been adopted for dealing with these later Antitheses, the ‘rejected interpretation’ hypothesis and the revocation hypothesis. The ‘rejected interpretation’ hypothesis, however, is only plausible for the last Antithesis (5.43–8), which appends ‘and hate your enemy’ to the Levitical exhortation to love one's neighbour; in all other instances, the ‘thesis’ statement is either a biblical citation or a close paraphrase of one or more biblical passages. Although the revocation hypothesis has often been deployed in an anti-Jewish way, there is nothing intrinsically anti-Jewish about it; indeed, both biblical authors, such as the Deuteronomist and Ezekiel, on the one hand, and some rabbis, on the other, explicitly revise prior biblical laws while at the same time claiming to be changing nothing. Matthew does something similar when he introduces the revisionist Antitheses with a programmatic statement about the unchangeableness of the Law (5.17–20). The Matthean Jesus, then, is not ‘seconding Sinai’ but correcting it.
Matthew's Gospel is known for its long, flowing discourses. The speeches in Luke, by contrast, are shorter and scattered throughout his narrative. Some believe this difference is evidence against the so-called ‘Farrer hypothesis’ – the view that Luke used both Mark and Matthew as sources. One response, however, is that Luke wanted to bring his speech lengths into closer conformity with the literary standards of Greco-Roman bioi. An analysis of seventeen representative bioi suggests that Matthew's speeches were exceptionally long for medium-sized biographies such as his own. This fact provides a plausible literary motivation for Luke to abbreviate Matthew's discourses.
In addition to treating the critical issues that arise in the interpretation of Matthew, for example, the birth narrative and the Sermon on the Mount, the significance of the “formula quotations,” the implications of considering it to be a “Jewish gospel," the Synoptic Problem, and Q.
The NT displays the greatest intellectual retrieval of Hebraic thought and literature in antiquity. In this chapter, I explore the idea that the New Testament authors largely favor the Hebraic philosophical style and strategically engage the styles of Jewish-Hellenism and Roman philosophy. Any consideration of the philosophical style of the NT authors must reckon with the Hellenistic styles du jour. Hellenism’s philosophies developed into sophisticated Roman rhetorical forms in the first century, forms in which some of the NT authors might have been steeped. In this chapter, I consider which aspects of Hebraic and Hellenistic philosophical styles the gospel authors employ and possible motivations behind their employments.
In Sermon studies and their discussion of structure, scholars disagree on how to understand the latter half of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6.19–7.12). This section breaks the almost seamless structure of the first half of the Sermon (5.17–6.18). In what follows, I will argue that the latter half of the Sermon displays more structure than is generally acknowledged by Graham Stanton and others and gives us key insights into the overall message of the Sermon. I will argue that the structure of the latter half of the Sermon is marked by internal structuring, thematic consistency and verbal patterning. Matthew's emphasis in this section is on disciples having heavenly priorities while on earth.
The essay explores the contribution of a literary analysis to interpretation of the canonical Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The author begins by analyzing historical tendencies to read the biographies of Jesus atomistically, before moving to describe recent narrative approaches that focus greater attention on the overarching picture of how each story is told by means of plotting, characterization, and thematic development. The body of the essay involves two close, narrative readings, the first focused on Matt 4:23-9:38, which highlights the role of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) and the miracle chapters (Matt 8-9) in this part of the first Gospel. The second reading addresses John’s Gospel and the ways that author deploys allusions and echoes from Gen 1-2 to accent the theme of the renewal of creation in the person and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
L'article analyse la tension, repérable dans quelques passages du premier Évangile, entre l'obéissance aux commandements se situant à l'intérieur du cadre donné par la Loi, et la radicalisation à laquelle invite le Jésus matthéen. L'enquête débute par une exégèse détaillée de Mt 5, 17–20. Dans un second temps, elle s'intéresse à trois épisodes où la tension entre obéissance et radicalisation est apparente: les antithèses du Sermon sur la Montagne (5, 17–48); la controverse sur le divorce (19, 1–9); l’épisode du jeune homme riche (19, 16–22). Dans une troisième partie, l'interrogation porte sur la cohérence des passages analysés avec la déclaration de Jésus en Mt 23, 2–3. Il résulte de l'enquête le constat que le référent du premier Évangile s'est déplacé: la colonne vertébrale structurant la théologie de Matthieu—et donc son identité religieuse—n'est plus prioritairement la Loi et l'obéissance aux commandements, mais le Messie et son enseignement.
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