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Matthew’s gospel – second lecture 1.“Secret Mark” 2.Matthew’s infancy narrative 3.Themes of Matthew 4.The “five discourses”

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Presentation on theme: "Matthew’s gospel – second lecture 1.“Secret Mark” 2.Matthew’s infancy narrative 3.Themes of Matthew 4.The “five discourses”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Matthew’s gospel – second lecture 1.“Secret Mark” 2.Matthew’s infancy narrative 3.Themes of Matthew 4.The “five discourses”

2 A backward glance at “Secret Mark” “Secret Mark” was discovered (if it was discovered) in 1958 by Morton Smith, a biblical scholar, in an 18th cent. text of Clement of Alexandria, handwritten into the endpapers of the book. Smith photographed it, and the original was apparently seen by four other scholars in the library. The book was transferred from the Mar Saba library to the Patriarchal library in Jerusalem, and no one has seen the mss. pages since. So there’s considerable doubt about authenticity – two books in 2005, one in 2006 make the case that this was a forgery by Morton Smith (who died in 1991). The suggestion, in the handwritten text purporting to be by Clement, is that another version of Mark existed, which told the events given in Secret Mark. Was the boy understood to be coming for initiation, baptism? The Carpocratians gave an alternate interpretation, implying a homosexual affair with Jesus. But the Carpocratians were a notorious gnostic sect, believing one needed to liberate oneself from the world by a multitude of illicit practices. So is “Secret Mark” a trace of another version of the gospel of Mark? An ancient forgery (perhaps by the Carpocratians)? Or a modern forgery?

3 Matthew’s infancy narrative Entirely different from Luke’s. They share only four things: Names of parents; Virgin birth (but described differently); Birth in Bethlehem (but explained differently). Nazareth and Galilee (but explained differently in each.) All other details completely different. In both Bethlehem has symbolic rather than literal significance. Mark and Paul say nothing of a miraculous conception for Jesus. Modern scholarship sees infancy stories as essentially mythic or legendary accounts.

4 Character of Matthew’s infancy narrative Darker than Luke’s? Joseph’s desire to dismiss Mary. Story of Herod and magi, slaughter of children. Passages of Hebrew Scriptures seem to motivate the account: Hosea, Jeremiah. Matthew’s story neither historical nor fictional, rather symbolic and theological. The point being what the symbolic means, not what literally occurred.

5 Matthew and the Law “Do not suppose that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets...” 5:17. “... until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass away until all is accomplished.” And “whoever breaks one of the least commandments and teaches others to do so...” Will be called least in the kingdom. Which must mean Paul! And everywhere Matthew ties his gospel to passages of Hebrew Scriptures. “Golden rule” at 7: 12: “This is the law and the prophets.” Which was also the teaching of Rabbi Hillel, one of the two leading Pharisaic teachers contemporary with Jesus: "do not unto another what you would abhor to have done to yourself.“ See also J’s commission to disciples at 10: 5-6.

6 Jesus and Pharisees in Matthew While being the most “Jewish” of the gospels, M. is also the most anti-Pharisaic. John attacks Pharisees and Saducees right at beginning: 3: 7-10. Various other attacks on “hypocrites” in ch. 6. And implied in ch. 10: 17-23. Chapter 23 the harshest attack in the NT on the Pharisees. In fact the historical Jesus probably agreed with much of the Pharisaic program. Agreed with them, against the Saducees, about the “resurrection of the dead” and judgment after death. Why the hostility in Matthew? The historical circumstances after 85 CE.

7 What Matthew adds to the portrait of Jesus he found in Mark. First, how can we define, summarize the Jesus portrayed in Mark? Teaches, yes, but between active works that define the kingdom. Something of a wonder-worker? Matthew’s Jesus? Predominantly a teacher, a rabbi. See the added amount of teaching material in Matthew: all of Q, plus 8 parables, 14 separate teachings.

8 Matthew’s organization of the teaching material Into five discourses: “Sermon on the Mount,” Chapters 5 to 7. "Missionary discourse", ch. 10. Parables of the kingdom, ch. 13. Teaching about church (actually rather miscellaneous teaching), ch. 18. Anathemas and discipleship, chs. 23, 24- 25.

9 The “Sermon on the Mount” The mountain setting may be chosen to suggest authority (Luke puts the discourse “on the plain”). Not really a sermon, but a group of sayings. The “beatitudes” from Q: four sayings: the poor, the hungry, those who mourn, those who are reviled. Luke’s version: 6:20-22. Matthew’s discourse expands this to nine. Adding sayings on meek, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, those “persecuted for righteousness.” And changes the focus somewhat of those directed toward “poor,” “hunger,” “mourning.” The effect of the additions in Matthew?

10 “Sermon” continued: other themes: Refinement of teachings from Law: Murder > anger; Adultery > looking with lust; Divorce > no divorce (“except for unchastity”); Swearing falsely > no swearing at all; “Eye for an eye” > no resistance at all. Love your neighbor > love your enemy! Interiority of righteousness: Hide your almsgiving. Pray in secret. Fast secretly. Avoidance of anxiety: set kingdom first

11 “Lord’s prayer” The Aramaic Kaddish and the Lord's Prayer: Kaddish, now the Jewish prayer at death, was a simple benediction of God. Kaddish: “Magnified and sanctified be his great name in the world which He hath created according to his will.” Lord’s prayer: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed [sanctified] be your name.” Kaddish: “May He establish his kingdom during your life and during your days, and during the life of all the house of Israel, ever speedily and at a near time, and say ye, Amen.” Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

12 “Do unto others”: “In everything do unto others as you would have them do unto you; for this is the Law and the prophets” (7:12). Rabbi Hillel: “Do not do unto others what you would not have them do to you.” Both this teaching and the Lord’s Prayer indicate the rabbinic nature of these teachings. Including the use of “Abba” to refer to God – “an invocation in which reverence and intimacy are mingled” (Geza Vermes). Dead sea scrolls (Qumran) also address God as Father. A close relationship between these teachings of Jesus and the Judaism of his time.

13 “Missionary discourse”: ch. 10 Coordinates with passages in Mark (6:8-11) and Luke (6: 12-16, 9: 2-5) But Matt. 10: 17-25 is almost entirely unique -- Suggesting the time when Matthew was written and the tensions and hostilities of that time. Persecution in synagogues, “before governors and kings.” Betrayal within families. “Hated by all” because of his name. Reflective of time late in the first century. As we saw, there’s a kind of dual time scheme – Jesus speaks over the decades to Matthew’s community.

14 Parables of the kingdom The reason for speaking in parables explicitly fulfills prophecy: 13: 14-16. Parable of the weeds growing in grain – its meaning? 13: 36-43. Parable of hidden treasure and the pearl of great value. Parable of the net. Any connections among them? Judgment?


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