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In this book, Nathan C. Johnson offers the first full-scale study of David traditions in the Gospel of Matthew's story of Jesus's death. He offers a solution to the tension between Matthew's assertion that Jesus is the Davidic messiah and his humiliating death. To convince readers of his claim that Jesus was the Davidic messiah, Matthew would have to bridge the gap between messianic status and disgraceful execution. Johnson's proposed solution to this conundrum is widely overlooked yet refreshingly simple. He shows how Matthew makes his case for Jesus as the Davidic messiah in the passion narrative by alluding to texts in which David, too, suffered. Matthew thereby participates in a common intertextual, Jewish approach to messianism. Indeed, by alluding to suffering David texts, Matthew attempts to turn the tables of the problem of a crucified messiah by portraying Jesus as the Davidic messiah not despite, but because of his suffering.
This chapter shows that Davidic traditions were closely connected to the temple. It looks at the way the Jesus tradition broadly, and Matthew specifically, ties Jesus’s activity in the sanctuary to Davidic imagery, arguing that this likely reflects memories that have their origin in Jesus himself. Among other things, special attention is given to the account of Jesuss triumphal entry and to Matthews accounts of Jesuss activity in the temple.
This chapter considers Matthew’s depiction of Jesuss application of temple and priestly imagery to himself and to his followers, with special attention to the scene of the commissioning of Peter in Matthew 16. The Parable of the Wicked Tenants and other overlooked traditions that are suggestive of priestly and cultic imagery are also analyzed.
By portraying Jesus both as a son of David through Joseph and as virginally conceived, Matthew and Luke suggest that Joseph adopted Jesus into the Davidic line. Most modern interpreters assume that Joseph adopted Jesus through some Jewish law or custom. However, Yigal Levin has argued that adoption did not exist in Judaism and therefore the First and Third Evangelists must have appealed to Roman law (implying a gentile provenance for Matthew and Luke). This article reviews and critiques Levin's study and argues that early Jews did have a concept and practice of adoption and therefore an appeal to Roman law is unnecessary.
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