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Interpreting the Gospels: Matthew RLST 210/Div/Rel 3152.

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Presentation on theme: "Interpreting the Gospels: Matthew RLST 210/Div/Rel 3152."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interpreting the Gospels: Matthew RLST 210/Div/Rel 3152

2 Today 3:10-4:00 Presentation of the Semester 4:05-4:55 Discussion in Groups: Your Interpretations of Matthew 5:13-16 & Discipleship 5:00-5:30 Discussion of your Interpretations: reports by Scribes

3 Introducing the Semester Amy Allen, 2 nd year Ph. D. candidate New Testament & Theology & Practice Arthur Francis Carter Ph.D. candidate New Testament, soon ABD (all but dissertation), Dissertation on Acts as Diaspora Discourse Daniel Patte Because we will function as a seminar, despite the number of participants. Each of us will lead a “roundtable” for which you will have signed up to discuss YOUR interpretation of a text as compared with others’ interpretations Today we will break up in three groups, where we will 1) get acquainted with you and 2) proceed to an exercise of Rountable Discussion of your interpretations of Matt 5:13-16

4 Syllabus & CBI Form Each of you should have a Syllabus & a Form Amy Allen and Arthur Francis Carter will give Syllabi to those without one. & Blank Contextual Bible Interpretation Forms. & Blank Contextual Bible Interpretation Forms. I will presuppose you have these in front of you although you can find them at although you can find them at 210/210.htm 210/210.htm See Presentations (PowerPoints)

5 PEDAGOGICAL GOALS listed in syllabus Becoming responsible readers of the Gospels, gaining –a solid knowledge of the Gospel of Matthew –Assuming responsibility for our interpretations: an ethical obligation, because we have a choice among a great variety of interpretations Assuming responsibility for our interpretations by: a) accounting for the ways Christian believers interpret the Gospel of Matthew as Scripture; b) accounting for the role of religious, cultural, and social contexts in interpretation; c) accounting for the historical, sociological, literary, rhetorical, and religious character of the Gospel of Matthew

6 Introducing the Semester Each class meeting will have three segments. Each class meeting will have three segments. 1) Plenary: Lecture on Methods for Reading the Gospel of Matthew or specific issues of interpretations –Sept 5: Relationship between Mark and Matthew (following Powell, & CDC) how the methods discussed by Anderson and Moore about Mark apply to Matthew. 2) Roundtable Discussion of Your own reading of an assigned section of Matthew: Sept 5: Matthew 1-4 3) Plenary: Reports from the groups; different interpretations of the key themes: Sept 5: Jesus- Messiah, Son of God, Emmanuel (as related to the kingdom/empire of God and salvation)

7 Please Sign Up ONCE as EITHER “Leader” OR “Scribe” We will progressively read the entire Gospel according to Matthew (see the syllabus) –Reading in Greek? Any of you? Please stay a few minutes after class to see if we can find a time to read passages of Matthew in Greek. First part of semester, using the CBI FORM you will formulate your interpretation of the passage of the week You will compare your weekly interpretation –1) with that of one of three commentaries (according to the group for which you signed up) (CBI Form C1) –2) with that of the Leader of your Group (CBI Form C2) PLEASE SIGN UP as EITHER Leader OR Scribe… for ONE CLASS KEEP THE SIGN UP SHEET MOVING. Thank you.

8 Your interpretations as One of the Primary Topics of the Class Your own interpretations of each passage of Matthew will be prepared using the CBI Form –CBI Forms graded M-Sept. 5 & M-Sept. 26 (Please forms) + M-Oct. 3 (proposal) They will be respected, as legitimate and plausible until proven otherwise (not vice versa!) To understand the choices you made, we may ask for clarifications – essential Part B1, and its analysis Part A1-3, B2, and C As for any interpretation we will critically assess the value of these choices. Is this “the best” interpretation? For whom?

9 Part B1 and Part A1 Part B1: Formulating the Teaching “The main teaching of this Scriptural text – Matt 1—4, regarding the theme “Jesus-Christ, Emmanuel, Son of God, Kingdom (3:2, 4:17; 4:23, see also 1:6; 2:1, 2:3; 2:2) & Salvation (1:21)” [focus on one or a few of these] for these believers’ life as Christians in this situation today Part A 1: identifying these believers and their needs in a concrete situation –They need to be “Christians” for whom this text is Scripture, Word-to-live-by… Imagine such Christians (especially if you are not a Christian yourself) and their PARTICULAR situations in which they need such a teaching Of your choice; may be people you know; yourself, or people you imagine (as can easily be done if you are not yourself a Christian)

10 Analyzing Your Interpretations Part A & Part B Which part of the PASSAGE of Matthew did you emphasize? (Part A2) How did you understand or envision, the needs of the Christian believers (Part A3) –Located in which part of life? Part A3a –What root-problem did you presuppose as PRIMARY in your description of the context (A1)? Part A3b As you formulated your teaching, which role of Scripture did you use? (Part B3) –Is it consistent with Part A3b? (Root-problem) What understanding of the theme did you presuppose? (Part B2)

11 Roundtable # 2: Part C1 & 2: Comparing your reading with two other interpretations Comparing with ONE of 3 scholarly interpretations – David Garland, Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the First Gospel –Warren Carter, Matthew and the Margins: A Sociopolitical and Religious Reading –Daniel Patte, The Gospel According to Matthew: A Commentary on Matthew’s Faith. (several copies on reserve) Comparing with your leader’s interpretation

12 Signing Up for Next Week Sept 5 Which Group do you want to participate in next week? on Matt 1—4 (Jesus- Messiah, Son of God, Emmanuel, Kingdom-empire of God and salvation) the leaders and scribes have been chosen the leaders and scribes have been chosen Group # 1 Comparing your interpretation with Garland Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary Group # 2 Comparing your interpretation with Carter Matthew and the Margins: A Sociopolitical and Religious Reading Group # 3 Comparing your interpretation with Patte, The Gospel according to Matthew. A Commentary on Matthew’s Faith

13 Part C: Preparing Roundtable # 2 Your interpretation vs. 2 others The different understandings of the THEME See The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity for different plausible understandings of the THEME) (compare with your view as presented in Part B2) The different features/verses of the passage of Matthew viewed as most important/significant in each case (compare with your view, as presented in Part A 2) The different kinds of contextual problems and root- problems presupposed or stated by the two formulations of the teaching of the passage of Matthew (compare with your view as presented in Part A 3)

14 The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity I edited it… Because I am preparing a commentary on Romans … and I am teaching New Testament: Matthew To help us recognize that ANY theological concept, or view of a Christian practice that we hold, or use in our study of the Bible, or “find” in a biblical text as we read it is an interpretation –of a text (or tradition) –In terms of a given contextual (and cultural) situation –& in terms of a particular (view) of religious experience (that varies with the religious settings) Thus, there is a plurality of understandings of each concept or practice

15 Weekly use of The Cambridge Dictionary of the Bible (CDC) The CDC presents for each concept and practice A plurality of understandings of whatever concept(s) or practice(s) is (are) chosen as theme(s) for the week –Different understandings because in different historical and in different cultural and religious contexts After formulating your “Teaching” the question is: Which among the several views of the “theme” did I presuppose (or explicitly use) in my interpretation (of course, because I thought this is what the text said)? Then, same question regarding the interpretations by your leader and by the commentary you were reading.

16 Roundtable, Theme: Discipleship. Matt 5:13-16 & Several Views in CDC Roundtable, Theme: Discipleship. Matt 5:13-16 & Several Views in CDC Matt 5:13-16 & Being a disciple of Jesus Christ seems a simple enough concept. Is it not being like the Twelve, who followed Jesus during his ministry? Yet they are less than reliable models (e.g. Judas’s betrayal; Peter’s denials; the disciples’ misunderstandings). The Gospels (and other NT books) offer different views of discipleship, reflecting particular practices of the Christian life in various 1 st -c. church contexts. Different views found through the centuries and across cultures today = Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity

17 Matthew 5:13-16 (NRSV+) What is its teaching about Discipleship? 13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others (NIV, men), so that they may see your good works (NAB, deeds) and give glory to your Father in heaven.

18 Basic Question P ART B: Preparing ROUNDTABLE # 1 What is “The main teaching of this Scriptural text – MATT 5:13-16 – regarding this theme – DISCIPLESHIP - - for Christian believers’ life as Christians in a particular, concrete situation today” ? What is “The main teaching of this Scriptural text – MATT 5:13-16 – regarding this theme – DISCIPLESHIP - - for Christian believers’ life as Christians in a particular, concrete situation today” ? “For Christians” = people taking this text as Scripture – “Word-to-live-by” and thus related to their concrete life describe this concrete situation in Part A1. –No need to be Christian to answer this question: imagine… as most of you will imagine what will be a concrete situation in which this teaching is most meaningful

19 Form, B2: your view of the Theme? Discipleship. Which View did I Choose? Before you come to class, you will have to ask which of several views of the theme found in CDC did I chose (B2) Discipleship, as the life practice of followers of Christ, has been and is understood differently according to (1) the aspects of biblical text(s) deemed most significant or important, = ANALYTICAL CHOICES (2) the practical life-CONTEXT issues one has to address in a community = CONTEXTUAL CHOICES and (3) the theological views one holds = THEOLOGICAL OR HERMENEUTICAL CHOICES = the 3 processes (INTERPRETIVE CHOICES) involved in interpretation as explained in Scriptural Criticism

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21 Form, B2: your view of the Theme? Discipleship. Which View did I Choose? We will have different views of discipleship in our discussion of Matthew 5:13-16, according to (1) the aspects of the text, Matt 5:13-16, that we saw as most significant (Part A2, and Part B1) (2) the contextual issues in a community we envisioned as demanding today disciples’ attention (Part A1, 3), and (3) the theological views you hold as reflected in a) the role of Scripture you presupposed (Part B3) b) that reflects the root-problem faced by Christian believers (Part A3b), and c) your view of discipleship (Part C1a)

22 Theme: Discipleship. Several Theological Views in the CDC Two broad understandings of discipleship are commonly distinguished: either (1) Discipleship as Doing God’s will as taught by Jesus; or (2) Discipleship as Imitating Christ.

23 1. Discipleship as Doing God’s Will Revealed by Jesus: 2 variants A) Discipleship involves learning from Christ the basic moral principles (God’s will) that should govern disciples’ lives and that they should model for others in society. A) Discipleship involves learning from Christ the basic moral principles (God’s will) that should govern disciples’ lives and that they should model for others in society. –Root-problem: not knowing God’s will (A3b) –Teaching: lamp to my feet or rule of community (B3) B) Discipleship is being called by Christ to play a role in society and being willing to play it. –Root-problem: not willing to do God’s will (A3b) –Teaching: rule of community (and its warnings) or Good News (and its promises) (B3)

24 2. Discipleship as Imitating Christ: 3 variants Discipleship requires a close, intimate relationship with Jesus, through which disciples are progressively trained and equipped to become disciples –Here Peter and Andrew become “disciples-in-training” when Jesus called them, Matt 4:19; and full-fledged disciples only when they finally went in mission (Matt. 28:19–20). A) Discipleship involves being resocialized, acquiring a new identity, sharing Christ’s vision of the Kingdom, learning to be children of the Kingdom and children of God (e.g. praying with Christ, “Our father in heaven”) A) Discipleship involves being resocialized, acquiring a new identity, sharing Christ’s vision of the Kingdom, learning to be children of the Kingdom and children of God (e.g. praying with Christ, “Our father in heaven”) –Root-problem: lack of vision (of Kingdom as kindom (= the people of God) and of self as children of God (A3b) –Teaching: Family album - book of the [new] Covenant (B3)

25 2. Discipleship as Imitating Christ: 3 variants = B B) Discipleship involves imitating Christ = sharing Jesus’ faith-vision that discerns in society those who are actually “blessed” by God (not the rich but the poor) & salt and light and other manifestations of the Kingdom that should orient the disciples’ ministry. B) Discipleship involves imitating Christ = sharing Jesus’ faith-vision that discerns in society those who are actually “blessed” by God (not the rich but the poor) & salt and light and other manifestations of the Kingdom that should orient the disciples’ ministry. –Root-problem: lack of vision/recognition/discerning of who or what are the manifestations of the Kingdom (of God’s kingly activity) in our present society in front of us (A3b) –Teaching: Corrective Glasses (promise, prophecy) that gives disciples a vision of God’s presence in their lives (where in their lives are these promises fulfilled?) and show them that God is at work in their lives (B3)

26 2. Discipleship as Imitating Christ: 3 variants = C C) Discipleship involves imitating Christ, acting as he was, because one is sharing in his power. Although the forces of evil and oppression seem overwhelming, as they imitate Christ disciples discover that God empowers them to overcome these obstacles – they are salt and light of the world – even if they have to go “the way of the cross” following Christ (undergoing various kinds of hardships and eventually martyrdom). –Root-problem: powerlessness, feeling overwhelmed by the powers of evil (A3b) –Teaching: Empowering Word that gives disciples the power/ability to struggle for the kingdom and God’s justice.(B3)

27 Let Us Go in Discussion Groups Group # 1 Leader ? G25 Group # 2 Leader ? G26 Group # 3 Leader ? G28 Instructors will be Scribes today


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