Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reading Matthew for the First Time

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reading Matthew for the First Time

Article excerpt

Reading Matthew for the First Time. By Wilfrid Harrington. New York: Paulist, 2014. Pp. iii + 156. $14.95.

In his three-page introduction, Harrington, professor emeritus of the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Dublin and a prolific popularizer of current biblical scholarship, deftly indicates the post-70 AD circumstances of Matthew's Gospel and its Jewish-Christian author's concern to present Jesus as teacher or sage for a community "in a state of 'cold war' with official Judaism" (2). A 25-page overview fleshes out the initial characterization of the Gospel with attention to its date (AD 80-90); context in Judaism (apocalyptic and formative/rabbinic); author, sources, structure in five narrative/discourse sections; and literary features (OT quotations and parables about evildoers).

The majority of the book focuses on the five major discourses of Jesus presented in Matthew, within the framework of the infancy narrative at the beginning and the passion narrative at the end. H. treats the birth of Christ (Mt 1-2); the Sermon on the Mount (5-7); the mission sermon (10); the sermon in parables (13); the sermon on the church (18, with attention to Matthew 16:13-20); teachings foretelling the Passion (19-23); the judgment sermon (24-25); and the passion, death, and resurrection (2628). …

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