Sunday, February 12, 2006

It's Matthew Time
Thanks to all of you who have kindly noticed Gospel of Matthew (Alan Bandy, Mike Bird, James Crossley, I’m talking to you all; thanks most recently to Mark Goodacre). I intentionally told no one, in part to wait and see if I really would stick with it. Apparently it only takes a few weeks for a blog on the right topic to get Googled by someone somewhere and enter the biblioblog matrix. I feel a bit like Conrad entering the Congo Delta...

James suggested football. I'd like to do something 'professional,' but perhaps for Germany 2006 we can make an exception to Matthew and the NT.

Alan left no indication of any recommendations, but these were probably edited out by a redactor, since we all know that Alan himself (the real Alan) is opionated.

Mike suggested 11 topics:
1. The meaning and application of the exception clauses on divorce
2. The meaning of Mt. 5.18
3. Was there a Matthean community?
4. The significance of "Syria" in 4.24
5. Did Luke use Matthew?
6. What does he think of Alistair Wilson's book on judgement in Matthew (should be interesting since Alistair is his supervisor)
7. Give a summary of Matthew's interpretation of the OT
8. Did the "M" source really exist or is it just Matthean redaction?
9. Analyse the restoration/exile motif in Matt 1-4.
10. Matthew's relation with Judaism and the Synagogue.
11. Give us some snippets from what he's work on with his PH.D thesis.

Whew. What a list. I certainly plan to at least bring some of these up. Unfortunately, I’m only man enough to do one dissertation (if that!). But who can resist this list?

Let me target one of these quickly: 3. Was there a Matthean community? Yes, but not the one most have conceived—a small congregation, perhaps in Antioch, fighting with the synagogue down the block (I’m exaggerating a bit, but that’s not far from the way it’s frequently portrayed). Bauckham and co. have some mileage as far as Matthew is concerned, if only because things had tilted so far the other direction. For my part, I’m content to acknowledge that Matt may have seen problems in his community that were addressed in the text, and that these influenced his writing. Very well—go ahead and ride that all the way to a chair in NT studies by committing the intentional fallacy if you wish. But given Markan priority, shouldn’t we note some universal value for Matthew—probably intentional? It’s hard for me to see how Matt’s use of Mark merely reflects a “local” reading. If anything, Matthew produces a more universal text (28.16-20, etc). As for conflict with the synagogue, this was a problem all over the Roman Empire early on (1 Thessalonians 2, Galatians) and for a good while (Colossians? Lk-Acts?), not merely in post-70 Galilee and Antioch.


Blogger Michael F. Bird said...

Jase, good to have your blog back up and running I'm trying to argue something similar about a "Marcan Community" in a couple of forthcoming articles in EJT and JTS.

6:49 AM, February 14, 2006  

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