61Re: [ematthew] the mission to the gentiles
- Oct 18, 2002[I sent this once already and it seems to have been lost in cyber space. If the
lost posting suddenly appears I apologize now in advance for the double posting]
Steve, your tension persists gospel wide, not just at these two points.
The problem is how do we reconcile the positive statements about
inclusion of the Gentiles with statements that Jesus is only for
Originally I was plying with the idea that 28:19 was a later interpolation.
There are problems with this approach - but not in these early references to
Gentiles. My [attempted and now mostly aborted] reconstruction put Mt's mission
(or whatever) as being directed towards the Jews. These early Gentile references
all have Gentiles *coming to* the Jews. This theme of Gentiles coming to the
Jews can be found in the OT (Mt even quotes the OT in this regard as if to highlight
the "orthodoxy" of such an expectation - see;12:18ff) and I think it might be
considered as part of many "orthodox" expectations of non-Xn Jews of the 2nd
Temple era. Thus there is nothing new or particularly Xn in the belief that
Gentile will come to the Jews and to their God. 28:19 changes all this by having
the Jews GO TO THE Gentiles. This "proactive" approach is a significant shift.
As I said, I have [mostly] abandoned this theory because of other Gentile references
later in the gospel that would forces me to posit too many interpolations in
rather unplausible places. (Mt 21:43, 24:14)
Your approach. if I understand it correctly, falls within my previously "enumerated"
2. The tension can be dealt with by a "salvation history" approach.
3. These two texts can be explained by a pre-textual history.
It certainly makes sense - but it seems to me to require that Mt's final redaction
was very conservative. Not unlike the final redactor of the Pentateuch who left
blatant holes/bumps in the narrative in order to preserve ancient traditions.
I think Mt shows no hesitation in changes his sources to suite his agenda. Why
did he not alter 10:5b-6 to suggest that this legislation was only temporary?
(don't go to the Gentiles "until/yet/now/etc") As the text stands now we have
to add this provision extra-textually to the story ourselves.
Vancouver School of Theology
Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...
-Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
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