Matthew in History: Interpretation, Influence, and Effects

By Carter, Warren | Interpretation, July 1996 | Go to article overview

Matthew in History: Interpretation, Influence, and Effects


Carter, Warren, Interpretation


LUZ NAMES THREE LIMITATIONS deriving from the historical critical method: the ditch between past and present, that between objective meaning and personal interpretation, and the problem of plurality in the Bible. How, then, do we understand biblical texts so that they shape the living of contemporary interpreters and of the church?

Luz argues that texts produce new meanings in new situations throughout history. Texts have an openness that enables multiple readings. They create a direction or history of powerful effects which functions as a bridge between us and the biblical texts. Study of this history of effects reveals attempts to mollify, generalize, or ignore biblical material. It offers perspective on the present as well as alternative, correcting, or neglected directions. But not all readings in this history of effects originate from the Spirit. To assess the truth of readings, Luz proposes two interrelated criteria, correspondence with the essentials of the history of Jesus and their consequence of advocating active and inclusive love. This argument is sustained by discussions of Matthew 10 (chap. 3), of Matthew 16:18 and Petrine primacy (chap. 4), and of the parable of the tares in Matthew 13 and truth (chap. …

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Matthew in History: Interpretation, Influence, and Effects
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