Sunday, March 21, 2010

NT Pod 29: The Matthean Riddle

NT Pod 29 discusses The Matthean Riddle, the question of why it is that Matthew's Gospel is apparently so Jewish and yet so anti-Jewish.

It is thirteen and a half minutes long. Feel free to leave your comments below.

NT Pod 29: The Matthean Riddle (mp3)

NT Pod 29: The Matthean Riddle (mp3) (Alternative location)

Key texts: Matthew 1-2, Matt. 3.7, 5.10-12, 6.7, 8.10-12, 9.20, 10.17, 12.34, 13.52, 21.43, 23.5, 23.23-24, 27.25.

Thanks to Ram2000, Me and You, for the opening theme, released under a Creative Commons agreement.


  1. Thank you. Very interesting topic, in my view, and I have one remark. You state that it seems as if Matthew "mapped the story of Jesus on the story of Israel", while he also quoted from the LXX, created stuff after the fact etc. and is in general the most Jewish (i.e. the most regional) author of the synoptics. I agree, and worded like this it could of course also refer to a transpositional technique, i.e. rewriting and adapting a story to conform to a certain local/regional culture. This in itself would mean that it used to be a different story (for whatever reasons), and that Matthew was not only author but also adapting. So it is possible that the antagonisms in his gospel (apparently against the Jews) belong to the earliest layer of the text, and that all his prophecy stuff, fulfillments of scripture, midrashim is a later redaction, a symptom of the process of adaptation and transposition. We know that this method was not unusual for Christian authors, e.g. the Gospel was transposed into the Western Roman Latin epos, especially by Arator, where it was adapted to conform to Roman legends and history, e.g. the Civil War by Lucan etc., right down to the choice of words—e.g. both Arator and Iuvencus independently "map" Christ's baptism on Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon. The whole thing is simply the standard way of adapting non-indigenous stories. So it surely isn't impossible that this could also apply to Matthew and his Jewish mapping fervor.

  2. Thanks for the interesting thoughts.

  3. Nice summary. While I have read Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, I haven't read the Gospel for All Christians. I will certainly do so now. I am very much looking forward to your podcasts on the passion narratives. Thanks again for these wonderful podcasts.
    Fr. Dan

  4. Thanks very much, Fr. Dan. That reminds me that I must do a podcast on Jesus and the Eyewitnesses at some point.