Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Matthew's Christology and use of the Old Testament

I haven't had much of a chance to write this last week and a half. Nonetheless, I wanted to jot down some conclusions I have come to, after spending a good portion of the last 5 months working through the topic of Matthew's use of the Old Testament, and how this contributes to his Christology. I will present them in points:

1. Matthew is probably indeed a Christian of Jewish origin.
2. Matthew's primary text of the OT is a version of the LXX. It differs in some regards from extant LXX versions, in being revised towards the Hebrew, and this explains some of the textual forms of his quotations. (see Menken)
3. Nonetheless, Matthew likely knows Hebrew as well, and makes some redactional changes to his quotations, though not major changes.
4. Subsequently, the location of Matthew may indeed by a trilingual area, such as Palestine or Syrian Antioch as has been proposed.

5. Matthew does not use a 'testimony' - a collection of OT verses atomised from their context.
6. Matthew rarely alters his traditions, but rather connects his quotations to their contexts.
7. Matthew does not use OT citations to proof-text predictive prophecy from the OT with fulfilment in the New.
8. Rather, Matthew utilises a number of hermeneutic methods, including double fulfilment (Blomberg), fulfilment, and typology.
9. Matthew's major redactional work is in selecting the length of his quotations and inserting them into their contexts.

10. In a number of cases, Matthew alters his quotation with elements from another OT passage. He does so on the basis of contemporary exegetical practice, with the purpose of drawing attention to the secondary OT passage.
11. In at least 1 case (Zech/Jer), possibly 2 (Ps/Isa) the Introductory Formula to that quotation cites the secondary source, in order to make it clear, with the assumption that the primary source would be recognised regardless.

12. Matthew's Christology centres on 'Son of God', as Kingsbury claims. This involves both divine sonship as will as a royal Messianism.
13. Son of David is an important title for Matthew, and part of his strategy is to show how the Son of God is the Son of David.
14. Matthew's contextual usage of 'Son of David' in connection with the healing ministry of Jesus is subversive of populist Davidic expectations.
15. Matthew also utilises Suffering Servant theology from Isaiah. This element is not focused on vicarious suffering and atonement, though that is located elsewhere in Matthew. Suffering Servant Christology mutually interprets Son of David and Son of God elements.

16. Son of Man is used deliberately in Matthew, in public contexts with clear division between insiders/outsiders, and in disciple-contexts to speak of death/resurrection/parousia.
17. Son of Man is not a title with built-in semantic elements. Otherwise the exchange in ch 16 would be nonsensical.
18. Nonetheless, Jesus does appear to connect Son of Man language with Daniel 7.
19. Jesus himself is the source of Son of Man traditions.
20. Jesus combines different uses of Son of Man to re-interpret the title.
21. Matthew uses Jesus' use of Son of Man to contribute to his broader Christology

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