Monday, February 27, 2006

Ben Witherington III on Matthew
From his blog, BWiii makes the following (informal) announcement:

In late April Smyth and Helwys (yes the Baptist Press in Georgia) will be publishing my Gospel of Matthew commentary. It is a hardback multi-media commentary with a CD Rom included and many paintings, charts, and drawings. It is about 600 pages or so and I am trying something different. I have read the whole Gospel through the lens of Jewish Wisdom literature because I am convinced this is what the Evangelist wanted us to do. It leads to some interesting insights. For example, have you noticed how the title Son of David shows up much more in Matthew and in connection with healings? Why-- especially since David was not a healer and there was no strong tradition in early Judaism about a healer messiah? The answer is that early Jews believed that healing took place through having wisdom from God as great as Solomon. There were even traditions about Solomon being taught how to cure demon possession. Thus when Jesus is called Son of David, it at least in part refers to his having the wisdom of cures, like Solomon.

I agree that Matthew is deeply embedded in the Jewish wisdom tradition, and I think BW3 has hit on something that many fail to realize. For example, I've just stressed in an earlier post the importance of Ps 37 (wisdom lit) for Matthew 5. I certainly believe him when he says this approach will turn up "some interesting insights. " I imagine he approaches his task with a good measure of caution, though I still suspect that reading Matthew through a "wisdom monocle" could easily lead one in some faulty directions. I can't wait to read it, though--and I was surprised not to have heard of this one previously.

4 Comments:

Blogger Michael F. Bird said...

BW3 also has commentaries on the Pastoral and Johannine Epistles coming out this year. Impressive volume of out put and all of it is worth reading.

3:03 PM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger J. B. Hood said...

I've really appreciated his material on Paul, although I'm probably in the majority in seeing the specific sociorhetorical approach as "overdoing it" just a tad. Flexibility in genre and

There should be some sort of award for that kind of output. I suggest "The Annual Jacob Neusner Award for Biblical Research Output," or TAJNABRO for short.

Or perhaps the "Bird Award for Lots of Laudable Offerings," or ballo (almost as good in English as it is in Greek).

3:23 PM, February 28, 2006  
Blogger Billy V said...

I am wondering what this says about Joseph who is also referred to as "Son of David" in Matthew. Totally unconnected?

9:02 PM, March 02, 2006  
Blogger J. B. Hood said...

Billy V,
Yep, unrelated I think. Actually by referencing Joseph you've hit on a potential weak point in a 'wisdom' reading of GospMatt...you can easily begin to screen out the "Kingly" aspect of Jesus as David's Son...

1:23 PM, March 03, 2006  

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