Anti-semitic? The Pharisees and the Jewish people in Matthew’s gospel

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

In yesterday’s post on Matthew, I looked at some of his key themes. Today I want to develop that further, by looking at what seems to be a fairly complicated relationship between what we would nowadays call Christians and Jews. In Matthew’s context, both communities are made up of Jews, one a community that believes in Jesus as the Messiah, and one that doesn’t. Matthew’s group of Jesus-believing Jews may include some non-Jews, but his book seems mainly directed to Jewish believers in Jesus.

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A well-trained scribe: Matthew and the call to perfection

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

This will be the first of two posts on Matthew’s gospel. As he tells the story, Matthew showcases both his admiration for, and frustration with, Mark’s version of Jesus’s life. We see his admiration, because he adopts Mark’s basic idea, and often follows him almost word for word. We see his frustration because while Mark describes Jesus as a teacher, he includes very little of Jesus’ teaching. Matthew, by way of contrast, has gathered together a wide range of Jesus’ teaching, which he often presents in extended teaching sessions, beginning with the collection we now know as the sermon on the mount.1

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Four portraits, no photo: every gospel tells a story

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

The order of the biblical books is is not accidental but deliberate. The Old Testament ends with prophecy. The New Testament begins with the gospel that puts the greatest stresse on Jesus as the fulfilment of prophecy. This is Matthew’s version of the story of Jesus.

The canonical order is almost certainly not the order in which the gospels were written. In a rare instance of near universal academic agreement, biblical scholars think that this sub-genre of ancient biography was invented by Mark: the first person to write a gospel.

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