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Re: [ematthew] the mission to the gentiles

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  • Steve Black
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 21 , Oct 18, 2002
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      >Larry wrote...
      >
      >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
      >Israel? [snip]

      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" approaches...
      2. The tension can be dealt with by a "salvation history" approach.
      and
      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.

      --
      Steve Black
      Vancouver School of Theology
      Vancouver, BC
      ---

      Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...

      -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
    • Steve Black
      ... I agree that the interpolation as much as it would [almost] tidy things up - it is not very persuasive. For me this is so because of the references to the
      Message 2 of 21 , Oct 19, 2002
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        >Robert Brenchley wrote...
        >
        > If Gentiles are to have a status comparable to that of resident aliens in
        >the Torah - accepted but not invited, as it were - then that might explain
        >much of the text, but it still leaves 28:19 as a problem. It's tempting to
        >regard it as an interpolation, but there seems to be a good deal of Matthean
        >language there, and it seems like an easy way out.

        I agree that the interpolation as much as it would [almost] tidy
        things up - it is not very persuasive. For me this is so because of
        the references to the Gentiles in Mt 21:43 and 24:14. This still
        leaves us with a tension. Perhps I am wrong - and Mt really was a
        conservative redactor??

        As an aside - why is it, do you think, that in NT studies the
        presence of interpolations are only granted with extreme reluctance
        whereas in OT studies the are commonly seen everywhere and at all
        times?? Its not like we have enough textual witnesses to eliminate
        the possibilities. Scribal activity is just as volatile. Just
        wondering...

        --
        Steve Black
        Vancouver School of Theology
        Vancouver, BC
        ---

        Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...

        -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
      • L. J. Swain
        ... Includes both, yes. I m suggesting that the tension be read on multiple levels. In terms of Matthean structure, which chiastically moves us inward from a
        Message 3 of 21 , Oct 20, 2002
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          Steve Black wrote:
          >
          > 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" approaches...
          > 2. The tension can be dealt with by a "salvation history" approach.
          > and
          > 3. These two texts can be explained by a pre-textual history.

          Includes both, yes. I'm suggesting that the tension be read on multiple
          levels.
          In terms of Matthean structure, which chiastically moves us inward from
          a general perspective (within certain parameters) slowly into focus on
          Israel, Judea, Jerusalem, and then explodes outward at the last, and
          most important section....the final words of Jesus on earth, on a
          mountaintop, in Galilee, which "assumes" the going out of the apostles
          from the mountain into all nations.

          Narratively, the mission in chapter 10 is a response to Jesus'
          perception of a need WITHIN ISRAEL of "harvesting", and it is then and
          only then that the 12 are "summoned" and named (and the significance of
          12 should not be overlooked here), and sent out to proclaim the same
          message Jesus did (the kingdom of heaven is at hand) and to confirm the
          message with the same wonders that Jesus had to that point performed
          (except the power over the weather, which isn't specifically
          mentioned). It is interesting that one half of the references to the 12
          in the gospel are here in this passage. And in spite of Matthew's
          persistent reminders of prophecies regarding the Messiah's extending the
          "kingdom" to the Gentiles, Jesus himself has only so far been within
          Jewish territory. As you pointed out the Gentiles generally come to
          Jesus. Anyway, I'm getting far afield, I don't think we should read too
          much into the narrative of chapter 10 in terms of Matthew's overall
          scheme or understanding of the Gentiles: in chap 10 the 12 are
          commissioned to do what Jesus has so far done: proclaimed the message to
          Israel and confirmed it with signs.

          Theologically, I think Matthew's community is hammering out its own
          stance yet. And the solution they come to is the one Paul does (see
          below.). That is, the message of the kingdom is principally a Jewish
          message. The Gentiles will come to it by faith, hence the Isaiah
          passages that Jesus fulfills which rather than promise that the Gentiles
          will come to Israel, promise instead a going out of the message to
          include the Gentiles (he will give justice to the Gentiles, NOT the
          Gentiles will seek justice from him), the parable of the wedding feast
          in 21 (go out into the highways and byways....), sheeps and goats in 25,
          and finally at the end, make disciples of all nations.....(that is, of
          Jews and Gentiles). Rather than a "to the Jew first and then the Greek"
          Matthew seems to be saying "the Jews and the Gentiles through
          faith"(remember that in pivotal points of the gospel a Gentile's faith
          is upheld in the light of Israel's lack of faith, and also remember that
          the gospel begins with relating Jesus to two men who believed: David
          (and the promise of the universal kingdom) and Abraham (father of many
          nations).

          This still leaves something of tension, but not a large one. Last, the
          text is explained by a historical situation. I think that Matthew's
          community is Antioch. If Acts is in some way historical, we are told
          that the Antioch community was founded after the persecution following
          on Stephen's death, and that believers came there and preached to the
          Jews, but others came and preached to the Gentiles (Ac. 11:19). Thus,
          the picture presented to us of the 12 in Matt 10 suffering persecution
          etc is not so much the current situation of Matthew's community, but
          rather illustrates the historical situation from which the church in
          Antioch sprang....a "mission"(I use the word cautiously) to Israel
          alone, carried out by the 12, with resultant persecutions etc. that
          resulted in the founding of the community. I think this is probably
          where you and I differ most, for I think you would read these statements
          in chapter 10 as referring to the Matthean community's current
          condition.

          It is interesting to me as well that this "tension" in Matthew's gospel
          reflects the community's history in another way. It is the Antioch
          community after all that sent out Paul who eventually came to stress a
          mission to the Gentiles regardless of the original intent of the
          tradition behind Matt 28:18ff, and also claimed to have had Peter, who
          according to Acts was the first to preach to the Gentiles (Cornelius)
          and at the same time according to Paul kept his sphere of preaching to
          those of the circumcision. And here we can see both a tension in how
          the church is to accept the Gentiles, their relation to the Torah, and
          whether the Gentiles come to the church and express faith and so are
          accepted (as the Gentile characters in Matthew's narrative do) or
          whether they are to be sought out and made disciples (as the prophecies,
          the parables, and the "commission" indicate). We see these tensions in
          the gospel, but also in the history of the Antioch community.

          Finally, at long last, I will point out that one answer to the question
          of why there is a Jewish diaspora that if my memory serves (I'll have to
          go look this up again) correctly is 1st cent. BCE states that the Jews
          were scattered among the nations so that the nations be not left without
          the light. Clearly, Matt. 28:18f conveys this very same attitude: the
          Torah/Jesus message is a Jewish one, steeped in jewish tradition, rooted
          in the Jewish scriptures, and yet is not for the Jews alone, but is to
          be seen among the Gentiles as well.

          In my meandering way, I guess, I would say that Matthew does have a
          tension that ultimately he doesn't resolve so much as override.

          Larry Swain


          > 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.
          >
          > --
          > Steve Black
          > Vancouver School of Theology
          > Vancouver, BC
          > ---
          >
          > Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...
          >
          > -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
          >
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        • L. J. Swain
          ... Includes both, yes. I m suggesting that the tension be read on multiple levels. In terms of Matthean structure, which chiastically moves us inward from a
          Message 4 of 21 , Oct 20, 2002
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            Steve Black wrote:
            >
            > 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" approaches...
            > 2. The tension can be dealt with by a "salvation history" approach.
            > and
            > 3. These two texts can be explained by a pre-textual history.

            Includes both, yes. I'm suggesting that the tension be read on multiple
            levels.
            In terms of Matthean structure, which chiastically moves us inward from
            a general perspective (within certain parameters) slowly into focus on
            Israel, Judea, Jerusalem, and then explodes outward at the last, and
            most important section....the final words of Jesus on earth, on a
            mountaintop, in Galilee, which "assumes" the going out of the apostles
            from the mountain into all nations.

            Narratively, the mission in chapter 10 is a response to Jesus'
            perception of a need WITHIN ISRAEL of "harvesting", and it is then and
            only then that the 12 are "summoned" and named (and the significance of
            12 should not be overlooked here), and sent out to proclaim the same
            message Jesus did (the kingdom of heaven is at hand) and to confirm the
            message with the same wonders that Jesus had to that point performed
            (except the power over the weather, which isn't specifically
            mentioned). It is interesting that one half of the references to the 12
            in the gospel are here in this passage. And in spite of Matthew's
            persistent reminders of prophecies regarding the Messiah's extending the
            "kingdom" to the Gentiles, Jesus himself has only so far been within
            Jewish territory. As you pointed out the Gentiles generally come to
            Jesus. Anyway, I'm getting far afield, I don't think we should read too
            much into the narrative of chapter 10 in terms of Matthew's overall
            scheme or understanding of the Gentiles: in chap 10 the 12 are
            commissioned to do what Jesus has so far done: proclaimed the message to
            Israel and confirmed it with signs.

            Theologically, I think Matthew's community is hammering out its own
            stance yet. And the solution they come to is the one Paul does (see
            below.). That is, the message of the kingdom is principally a Jewish
            message. The Gentiles will come to it by faith, hence the Isaiah
            passages that Jesus fulfills which rather than promise that the Gentiles
            will come to Israel, promise instead a going out of the message to
            include the Gentiles (he will give justice to the Gentiles, NOT the
            Gentiles will seek justice from him), the parable of the wedding feast
            in 21 (go out into the highways and byways....), sheeps and goats in 25,
            and finally at the end, make disciples of all nations.....(that is, of
            Jews and Gentiles). Rather than a "to the Jew first and then the Greek"
            Matthew seems to be saying "the Jews and the Gentiles through
            faith"(remember that in pivotal points of the gospel a Gentile's faith
            is upheld in the light of Israel's lack of faith, and also remember that
            the gospel begins with relating Jesus to two men who believed: David
            (and the promise of the universal kingdom) and Abraham (father of many
            nations).

            This still leaves something of tension, but not a large one. Last, the
            text is explained by a historical situation. I think that Matthew's
            community is Antioch. If Acts is in some way historical, we are told
            that the Antioch community was founded after the persecution following
            on Stephen's death, and that believers came there and preached to the
            Jews, but others came and preached to the Gentiles (Ac. 11:19). Thus,
            the picture presented to us of the 12 in Matt 10 suffering persecution
            etc is not so much the current situation of Matthew's community, but
            rather illustrates the historical situation from which the church in
            Antioch sprang....a "mission"(I use the word cautiously) to Israel
            alone, carried out by the 12, with resultant persecutions etc. that
            resulted in the founding of the community. I think this is probably
            where you and I differ most, for I think you would read these statements
            in chapter 10 as referring to the Matthean community's current
            condition.

            It is interesting to me as well that this "tension" in Matthew's gospel
            reflects the community's history in another way. It is the Antioch
            community after all that sent out Paul who eventually came to stress a
            mission to the Gentiles regardless of the original intent of the
            tradition behind Matt 28:18ff, and also claimed to have had Peter, who
            according to Acts was the first to preach to the Gentiles (Cornelius)
            and at the same time according to Paul kept his sphere of preaching to
            those of the circumcision. And here we can see both a tension in how
            the church is to accept the Gentiles, their relation to the Torah, and
            whether the Gentiles come to the church and express faith and so are
            accepted (as the Gentile characters in Matthew's narrative do) or
            whether they are to be sought out and made disciples (as the prophecies,
            the parables, and the "commission" indicate). We see these tensions in
            the gospel, but also in the history of the Antioch community.

            Finally, at long last, I will point out that one answer to the question
            of why there is a Jewish diaspora that if my memory serves (I'll have to
            go look this up again) correctly is 1st cent. BCE states that the Jews
            were scattered among the nations so that the nations be not left without
            the light. Clearly, Matt. 28:18f conveys this very same attitude: the
            Torah/Jesus message is a Jewish one, steeped in jewish tradition, rooted
            in the Jewish scriptures, and yet is not for the Jews alone, but is to
            be seen among the Gentiles as well.

            In my meandering way, I guess, I would say that Matthew does have a
            tension that ultimately he doesn't resolve so much as override.

            Larry Swain


            > 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.
            >
            > --
            > Steve Black
            > Vancouver School of Theology
            > Vancouver, BC
            > ---
            >
            > Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...
            >
            > -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > ematthew-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          • L. J. Swain
            ... f ! ... Ernest, Thanks very much for the clarification. I think you and I are going in the same direction. Where I would differ from the position you
            Message 5 of 21 , Oct 20, 2002
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              "Munachi E. Ezeogu" wrote:
              >
              > Larry,
              >
              > You are right that reading Matt 29:19 as an in-house directive to admit non-Jews to the ministerial circle of disciples as opposed to making converts does not resolve all the tensions in Mt's gospel. But as Steve pointed out in his second posting on this thread, a major component of the tension is that between giving Gentiles access to the Good News as opposed to proactively persuading them to join (mission).
              >
              > I submit that it is possible to see some consistency in all of Mt's Gospel as it relates to Jews, Gentiles, and access to the message of Christ. The message is directed primarily to Jews. Gentiles, however, are not excluded from it. But there is no requirement to actively invite Gentiles into it. This is what we see in the Coming of the Magi, the Mission discourse in chapter 10 (do not go out of your way to invite Gentiles), the Canaanite Woman in chap 15, and Matt 28:19. Note the interesting case of the Canaanite woman where Mt changes Mk 7:24 "He went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house..." to "He withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried..." (Mt 15:21-22). Mt would not let Jesus go into Gentile territory. The Gentile woman needed to come out to Jesus. I think Steve is right in his observation that what we have in Mt is openness to Gentiles (access) but not mission to Gentiles. I!
              f !
              > this is correct, then it resolves a major part of the tensions and conflicts we see in Mt.

              Ernest,

              Thanks very much for the clarification. I think you and I are going in
              the same direction. Where I would differ from the position you outline
              here is that there are within Matthew's gospel other statements that do
              indicate a proactive approach to the Gentiles. 4:13-16 seems to me to
              be active; as does the promised extension of justice in 12:18ff; one
              also thinks of the parable in 21:41, 22:1-14; 25:31-46 (Significanlty
              the last words of teaching given by Jesus as we enter the Passion
              account). I want to seperate the ideas here of requirement and being
              active or proactive. I would agree that this is not a command to go out
              and convert Gentiles; but it does seem to me to be more active than
              merely waiting for the Gentiles to come to the church and if they accept
              the faith, well and good.

              I see Mt 28:18ff IN PART in this way (it is a very rich text and full of
              polysemy it seems to me). The gospel begins by telling us that this is
              the book of the genesis, a phrase echoed only at Gen 5:1 and Gen 2:4, of
              Jesus, so from the very first words we're invited to consider a wider
              scope. Next we're told that Jesus is the "son of David" and all that
              loading. Finally, the son of Abraham....Abram is presented in Genesis
              as God's answer to the judgement at the Tower of Babel, with the
              "diaspora" of the church to all nations, Jesus has fulfilled the reason
              Abram was called. Thus, the words at the end of the gospel form a
              chiasm and "book end" with the opening of the gospel that just like the
              Hebrew Bible, focuses on the relationship between God and His chosen
              people, without ever loosing sight of a larger scope that affects all
              nations.

              Larry Swain
            • Munachi E. Ezeogu
              Robert Brenchley wrote: If Gentiles are to have a status comparable to that of resident aliens in the Torah - accepted but not invited, as it were - then that
              Message 6 of 21 , Oct 20, 2002
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                Robert Brenchley wrote:

                If Gentiles are to have a status comparable to that of resident aliens in
                the Torah - accepted but not invited, as it were - then that might explain
                much of the text, but it still leaves 28:19 as a problem. It's tempting to
                regard it as an interpolation, but there seems to be a good deal of Matthean
                language there, and it seems like an easy way out.

                I respond:

                1. It should not surprise anyone that Mt accords Gentiles the same status as in
                the Torah. Mt is, after all, a very Jewish book and no other evangelist takes is
                so close to the Torah as Mt is. This reading leaves 28:19 as a problematic text
                only when one insists on reading 28:19 as a missionary text. But there are no
                grounds for that. For one thing, there is no command to "go." Poreuthentes is a
                participle and not an imperative. As a Hebraism, it could be explained as having
                a pleonastic sense, simply serving to reinforce the main verb Matheteusate. For
                more on this see Malina, Bruce "The Literary Structure and Form of Matt. XXVIII.
                16-20" New Testament Studies 17 (1970-71): 87-103.

                2. As I said in my first response to Steve, every word and phrase in this verse
                is a semantic and literary challenge. We usually assume that panta ta ethne "all
                nations" is geographic. It doesn't have to be. There is a view, among others,
                that "all nations" refers to Gentiles living within the Jewish milieu. In many
                ways this view seems more appropriate for the Matthean context. Even though he
                comes to the text with a decidedly missionary interest, James LaGrand [The
                Earliest Christian Mission to 'All Nations' in the Light of Matthew's Gospel
                (University of South Florida International Studies in Formative Christianity and
                Judaism, 1995) 239] points out that the initial reference of "all the nations"
                was probably to "kinsmen and resident aliens, with jews and foreigners who make
                their home in Galilee of the Goyim." In a monograph devoted to reconciling the
                apparent contradiction between the mission discourse (Matt 10:5, 35) and the
                Great Commission (Matt 28:19), T.W. Manson makes the illuminating observation
                that "It was the incorporation of Gentiles into the Christian body, not the
                inculcation of Christian ideas into Gentile minds, that was the living issue in
                the middle of the first century." [T.W. Manson, Only to the House of Israel?
                Facet Books Biblical Series (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964), 5-6.] In other
                words, the issue was how and to what extent Gentile proselytes within the
                Matthean church are to be admitted to membership, not proactive mission to
                persuade Gentiles to accept the Christian faith. My opinion builds on that
                observation: the issue in the Great Commission pericope was the admission of
                Gentiles into the ministerial circle of disciples and not to ordinary membership
                which many of them had already attained by the 80s when Mt wrote.

                3. We have come a long way from the early days of form criticism when 28:19 was
                regarded as an interpolation. In the good old days of the Textus Receptus, maybe
                there was ground for that. But given the fact that the NT texts we use today are
                critical editions that have gone throught the sieve of textual criticism, we
                should be very slow in attributing any passage to interpolation simply because
                it does not fit neatly into our intrepretive model.

                Ernest Munachi Ezeogu
                Toronto School of Theology
              • Steve Black
                Thanks Ernest for including references - very helpful!! ... Forgive me is I am being obtuse. Could you expand on what you ve said here - I am not sure that I
                Message 7 of 21 , Oct 21, 2002
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                  Thanks Ernest for including references - very helpful!!

                  >Ernest Munachi Ezeogu wrote:
                  >
                  > [snip]My opinion builds on that
                  >observation: the issue in the Great Commission pericope was the admission of
                  >Gentiles into the ministerial circle of disciples and not to
                  >ordinary membership
                  >which many of them had already attained by the 80s when Mt wrote.

                  Forgive me is I am being obtuse. Could you expand on what you've said
                  here - I am not sure that I am "getting it".

                  >
                  >3. We have come a long way from the early days of form criticism
                  >when 28:19 was
                  >regarded as an interpolation. In the good old days of the Textus
                  >Receptus, maybe
                  >there was ground for that. But given the fact that the NT texts we
                  >use today are
                  >critical editions that have gone throught the sieve of textual criticism, we
                  >should be very slow in attributing any passage to interpolation simply because
                  >it does not fit neatly into our intrepretive model.

                  I agree that interpolations can provide an easy way out. BUT i also
                  see no reason to suggest that they still don't exist in the NT. I
                  mentioned this earlier - but in NT studies you have to pull teeth to
                  get something admitted as an interpolation - whereas in the hebrew
                  scriptures its as easy as a walk in the park. Why have these two
                  interrelated disciplines have diverged so significantly here? There
                  is plenty of time and room as far as I understand the textual witness
                  to believe that there are [plenty of?] interpolations in the NT.
                  --
                  Steve Black
                  Vancouver School of Theology
                  Vancouver, BC
                  ---

                  Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...

                  -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
                • L. J. Swain
                  ... To a degree, politics. X-Mozilla-Status: 0009 for Christian interpreters in the NT than there is in the OT , so a greater degree of precision is
                  Message 8 of 21 , Oct 21, 2002
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                    Steve Black wrote:
                    >
                    > >Robert Brenchley wrote...

                    >
                    > As an aside - why is it, do you think, that in NT studies the
                    > presence of interpolations are only granted with extreme reluctance
                    > whereas in OT studies the are commonly seen everywhere and at all
                    > times?? Its not like we have enough textual witnesses to eliminate
                    > the possibilities. Scribal activity is just as volatile. Just
                    > wondering...


                    To a degree, politics. X-Mozilla-Status: 0009 for Christian
                    interpreters in the NT than there is in the "OT", so a greater degree of
                    precision is necessary to prove something in the received text is an
                    interpolation or not. Most Christians could jettison the Hebrew Bible
                    and still maintain the tenets of their faith.

                    Larry Swain
                  • L. J. Swain
                    ... To a degree, politics. There is more at stake for Christian interpreters in the NT than there is in the OT , so a greater degree of precision is
                    Message 9 of 21 , Oct 21, 2002
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                      Steve Black wrote:
                      >
                      > >Robert Brenchley wrote...

                      >
                      > As an aside - why is it, do you think, that in NT studies the
                      > presence of interpolations are only granted with extreme reluctance
                      > whereas in OT studies the are commonly seen everywhere and at all
                      > times?? Its not like we have enough textual witnesses to eliminate
                      > the possibilities. Scribal activity is just as volatile. Just
                      > wondering...


                      To a degree, politics. There is more at stake for Christian
                      interpreters in the NT than there is in the "OT", so a greater degree of
                      precision is necessary to prove something in the received text is an
                      interpolation or not. Most Christians could jettison the Hebrew Bible
                      and still maintain the tenets of their faith.

                      Larry Swain
                    • Steve Black
                      Mt conflates the sent with the not sent in the missionary passage. The motif of family turning against family does not make much sense for itinerants who
                      Message 10 of 21 , Oct 21, 2002
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                        Mt conflates the sent with the not sent in the "missionary" passage.
                        The motif of family turning against family does not make much sense
                        for itinerants who presumably aren't at home and thus cannot really
                        be betrayed by other family members. Thus it seems that the
                        "missionary" passage isn't entirely a missionary passage at all.
                        --
                        Steve Black
                        Vancouver School of Theology
                        Vancouver, BC
                        ---

                        Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...

                        -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
                      • L. J. Swain
                        ... Ernest, I will say that you give one plenty to think about in your posts. I have several issues here. a) what do you mean by a missionary text . If you
                        Message 11 of 21 , Oct 21, 2002
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                          "Munachi E. Ezeogu" wrote:
                          >
                          > Robert Brenchley wrote:
                          >
                          > If Gentiles are to have a status comparable to that of resident aliens in
                          > the Torah - accepted but not invited, as it were - then that might explain
                          > much of the text, but it still leaves 28:19 as a problem. It's tempting to
                          > regard it as an interpolation, but there seems to be a good deal of Matthean
                          > language there, and it seems like an easy way out.
                          >
                          > I respond:
                          >
                          > 1. It should not surprise anyone that Mt accords Gentiles the same status as in
                          > the Torah. Mt is, after all, a very Jewish book and no other evangelist takes is
                          > so close to the Torah as Mt is. This reading leaves 28:19 as a problematic text
                          > only when one insists on reading 28:19 as a missionary text. But there are no
                          > grounds for that. For one thing, there is no command to "go." Poreuthentes is a
                          > participle and not an imperative. As a Hebraism, it could be explained as having
                          > a pleonastic sense, simply serving to reinforce the main verb Matheteusate. For
                          > more on this see Malina, Bruce "The Literary Structure and Form of Matt. XXVIII.
                          > 16-20" New Testament Studies 17 (1970-71): 87-103.


                          Ernest,
                          I will say that you give one plenty to think about in your posts. I
                          have several issues here.

                          a) what do you mean by a "missionary text". If you mean that Matt. 28
                          should not be read as a general summons on Christians to go and make
                          converts to a new religion I would agree. If you however mean that Matt
                          28 is not a missionary text in the sense that the "disciples" here are
                          not being sent out, I would have to disagree.

                          b) I would like to see a defence of your position here on
                          "poreuthentes". Yes, it is a participle, but how is that participle
                          used? Attendant circumstance in which it is best translated as a
                          parallel to the main verb (the typical understanding). Circumstantial,
                          explaining the the circumstances of the verb--such as temporal (as you
                          go, while you go, etc)? I might accept this, but would like to see an
                          argument for it. Supplementary, filling the action of the verb? I
                          don't see how this makes sense in the context--Make disciples of all
                          nations going, ....baptizing.....teaching. The "going" hardly fits this
                          description, though certainly the baptizing and teaching do.

                          c) How is "poreuthentes" a pleonasm--if it were "Calling, make
                          disciples..." or "teaching, make disciples..."I could see it, but don't
                          see how poreuthentes is pleonistic, and I would like you to explain this
                          to me, I don't have Malina's article and it will take me a few days to
                          find a library that does, get to it, and read it.


                          > 2. As I said in my first response to Steve, every word and phrase in this verse
                          > is a semantic and literary challenge. We usually assume that panta ta ethne "all
                          > nations" is geographic. It doesn't have to be. There is a view, among others,
                          > that "all nations" refers to Gentiles living within the Jewish milieu.

                          What exactly does this mean? a) I would like to see a systematic study
                          of Matthew's use of "ethne", Saldarini did in his _Matthews
                          Christian-Jewish Community_, but I see nothing in there that would
                          indicate that Mt. 28.19 is a special and unique use of "ethne" to mean
                          "those nations liviing only within a "Jewish milieu"?
                          b) What do you mean by a Jewish milieu? "Nations" living within Jewish
                          hegemony? There wasn't any. Nations having Jewish communities within
                          them? Hardly counts as a Jewish milieu then. Or do you mean specific
                          "gentiles" who have become "god-fearers" are eligible to become
                          Christians? I'm not sure "ethne" can bear that but would entertain an
                          argument. c) what do you mean by "geographic" meaning or intent to
                          ethne? I'm not sure territory is a necessary component to the notion of
                          "ethne".

                          > ways this view seems more appropriate for the Matthean context. Even though he
                          > comes to the text with a decidedly missionary interest, James LaGrand [The
                          > Earliest Christian Mission to 'All Nations' in the Light of Matthew's Gospel
                          > (University of South Florida International Studies in Formative Christianity and
                          > Judaism, 1995) 239] points out that the initial reference of "all the nations"
                          > was probably to "kinsmen and resident aliens, with jews and foreigners who make
                          > their home in Galilee of the Goyim."

                          Then why not say so in the text? Where else in Jewish or Christian
                          literature does PANTA TA EQNH refer to only those non-Jews living in a
                          particular region? Doesn't this understanding exclude "Jews", and
                          suggests that Matthew's view is Galilee and Galilee alone, nowhere else
                          on the planet quite fits the description there. This assumes a great
                          deal about Matthew's community, its relationship to other Christian
                          communities, and its mileau that I would like to see spelled out
                          better. I'll have to get LaGrand's book.

                          In a monograph devoted to reconciling the
                          > apparent contradiction between the mission discourse (Matt 10:5, 35) and the
                          > Great Commission (Matt 28:19), T.W. Manson makes the illuminating observation
                          > that "It was the incorporation of Gentiles into the Christian body, not the
                          > inculcation of Christian ideas into Gentile minds, that was the living issue in
                          > the middle of the first century." [T.W. Manson, Only to the House of Israel?
                          > Facet Books Biblical Series (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964), 5-6.] In other
                          > words, the issue was how and to what extent Gentile proselytes within the
                          > Matthean church are to be admitted to membership, not proactive mission to
                          > persuade Gentiles to accept the Christian faith.


                          Agreed, but this doesn't change the tension any. One says, Only
                          Israel. The other says, All Nations. We can tone down the import of
                          that tension by not reading the latter as "missionary" text (though one
                          can not help but think of it in those terms since chap 10 is clearly a
                          "missionary" text), but the it does not do away with the tension.


                          My opinion builds on that
                          > observation: the issue in the Great Commission pericope was the admission of
                          > Gentiles into the ministerial circle of disciples and not to ordinary membership
                          > which many of them had already attained by the 80s when Mt wrote.

                          Ok, I would like to see an explication of this. But I do have
                          questions: a) if Mt. 28:19ff relates to the making of leaders in the
                          community and not to the rank and file, 1) how do interpret the
                          participle "going"? 2) the mountain top experience? 3) how do you
                          grammatically make sense of PANTA TA EQNH--it clearly isn't a genitive,
                          so it can't be partitive or source. It says, "Disciplize all nations",
                          not "make disciples FROM all nations" even if we restrict "ethnh" to
                          Galilee. b) how do you picture the baptism? Were not all members of
                          the community baptized? And if so, were those not in leadership only
                          baptized into the F ather, not the Son or Spirit? Or some other
                          formula? If on the other hand you take the baptism here as the same for
                          all members of the community, how do you claim that "making
                          disciples...baptizing them; is any different on a leadership level and
                          indicates that this pertains only to leadership? c) similarly how do
                          you take the "teaching them" to be different on this level....aren't all
                          Christians, even the rank and file, to be taught all that Jesus
                          instructed and observe it? Or do we have a division, and the gospel
                          rather than written for the community, is really written only for the
                          leadership since it contains all the things that Jesus instructed, to be
                          observed by the leadership but not the rank and file?


                          I look forward to you comments, Ernest. Thanks very m uch.

                          Larry Swain
                        • Munachi E. Ezeogu
                          Steve Black Wrote: Mt conflates the sent with the not sent in the missionary passage. The motif of family turning against family does not make much sense for
                          Message 12 of 21 , Oct 21, 2002
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                            Steve Black Wrote:
                            Mt conflates the sent with the not sent in the "missionary" passage.
                            The motif of family turning against family does not make much sense
                            for itinerants who presumably aren't at home and thus cannot really
                            be betrayed by other family members. Thus it seems that the
                            "missionary" passage isn't entirely a missionary passage at all.
                            ~~~~~

                            In addition, it is to be noted that whereas Mk (6:12) and Lk (9:6) indicate that
                            the disciples actually "go" after receiveing the "missionary" instructions, Mt
                            fails to indicate that the disciples actually "go" anywhere after the
                            "missionary" instructions in chap 10. Is this perhaps a pointer to Mt's interest
                            or lack thereof in outside mission?

                            Ernest Munachi Ezeogu
                            Toronto School of Theology
                          • L. J. Swain
                            ... Interesting observations, from both of you. I m not sure I would read too much into Matthew s silence. a) What do you, Ernest, mean by outside mission ?
                            Message 13 of 21 , Oct 23, 2002
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                              "Munachi E. Ezeogu" wrote:
                              >
                              > Steve Black Wrote:
                              > Mt conflates the sent with the not sent in the "missionary" passage.
                              > The motif of family turning against family does not make much sense
                              > for itinerants who presumably aren't at home and thus cannot really
                              > be betrayed by other family members. Thus it seems that the
                              > "missionary" passage isn't entirely a missionary passage at all.
                              > ~~~~~
                              >
                              > In addition, it is to be noted that whereas Mk (6:12) and Lk (9:6) indicate that
                              > the disciples actually "go" after receiveing the "missionary" instructions, Mt
                              > fails to indicate that the disciples actually "go" anywhere after the
                              > "missionary" instructions in chap 10. Is this perhaps a pointer to Mt's interest
                              > or lack thereof in outside mission?
                              >
                              > Ernest Munachi Ezeogu
                              > Toronto School of Theology


                              Interesting observations, from both of you. I'm not sure I would read
                              too much into Matthew's silence.

                              a) What do you, Ernest, mean by "outside mission"? If you mean a
                              mission among the Gentiles, in Matthew 10 where you observe Matthew not
                              mentioning the disciples'departure (or their return later), since this
                              "mission" is aimed at Israel. b) since it is interested in Israel,
                              would you say that Matthew's community is disinterested in "mission" or
                              "making disciples" even within Israel? and if so c) how do we explain
                              things like Matt 4 in which Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom to all and
                              sundry, or the analogy at the end of chapter 9, and the explict
                              statement that Jesus sent them out.

                              This is one of those places I think we're invited by the author to
                              assume that what he described in 10:5 (These 12 Jesus sent out after
                              instructing them....) is what happened. In any case, the focus of the
                              section is on Jesus and Jesus instruction, par for the course in
                              Matthew, and not the disciples.

                              Ernest, I'd still really like to see your ideas on Matt 28:19ff fleshed
                              out, and we can do it either as an "article" in prep, or via email
                              messages. But you have an intriguing idea.

                              Larry Swain
                            • Edgar M. Krentz
                              ... Larry Swain I have followed this long string with interest. I venture an opinion here with some hesitancy, but, as ancient Euripides sometimes concluded a
                              Message 14 of 21 , Oct 23, 2002
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                                >Interesting observations, from both of you. I'm not sure I would read
                                >too much into Matthew's silence.
                                >
                                >a) What do you, Ernest, mean by "outside mission"? If you mean a
                                >mission among the Gentiles, in Matthew 10 where you observe Matthew not
                                >mentioning the disciples'departure (or their return later), since this
                                >"mission" is aimed at Israel. b) since it is interested in Israel,
                                >would you say that Matthew's community is disinterested in "mission" or
                                >"making disciples" even within Israel? and if so c) how do we explain
                                >things like Matt 4 in which Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom to all and
                                >sundry, or the analogy at the end of chapter 9, and the explict
                                >statement that Jesus sent them out.
                                >
                                >This is one of those places I think we're invited by the author to
                                >assume that what he described in 10:5 (These 12 Jesus sent out after
                                >instructing them....) is what happened. In any case, the focus of the
                                >section is on Jesus and Jesus instruction, par for the course in
                                >Matthew, and not the disciples.
                                >
                                Larry Swain

                                I have followed this long string with interest. I venture an opinion
                                here with some hesitancy, but, as ancient Euripides sometimes
                                concluded a line in his tragedies, ALL' hOMOS.

                                I have noticed a tendency to concentrate on a very few Matthean
                                passages, without looking at the entire plan of the book. Chapters
                                11-12, which come after chapter 10, describe how many in Galilee
                                rejected Jesus' message. In chapter 12 comes that Isaiah citation
                                which end "and on his name Gentiles hope."

                                Jesus enters Jerusalem in Matthew 21. Matthew cites an OT passge at
                                that point, but omits from the LXX the words DIKAIOS KAI SOZON, "just
                                and bringing salvation." Jesus enters Jerusalem as its judge. He
                                curses the fig tree, an enacted parable of judgment in 21:18-22.

                                After the question on authority there follow three parables from
                                Jesus. The first is the parable of the two sons. Note its conclusion:
                                "John the Baptist came to you on the path of righteousness, and you
                                did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes believed
                                him. And when you saw that, you did not later repent and believe
                                him." Matt 21:28-32)

                                Then look at the next parable: it ends"On account of this I tell you
                                that the royal rule of God will be taken away from you and given to a
                                gentile nation that produces its fruits." (Matt 221:43)

                                I will omit discussing the significance of the notes in the passion narrative.

                                Written after the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew's
                                Jewish-Christian church is beginning to doubt the correctness of its
                                belief in Jesus--after all, most Jews don't. And they are excluding
                                the Jewish Christians from Judaism. (Matt 5:10-12) Matthew is
                                concerned to show them that they have everything that proper Jews
                                have: Torah and prophets, correct actions, etc. And the gospel ends
                                by calling them to convert TA ETHNE, the [gentile] nations. That may
                                also include un-believing Jews!

                                Thus Matthew 10 and Matthew 18 belong to two quite different times in
                                salvation history. Matthew is neither inconsistent or
                                self-contradictory. Rather he is involved in strengthening a
                                community unsure of itself by giving it an identity in spite of the
                                general Jewish exclusion of it.

                                Peace,

                                Edgar Krentz
                                --
                                + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
                                Edgar Krentz
                                Professor Emeritus of New Testament
                                Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
                                1100 East 55th Street
                                Chicago, IL 60615
                                Telephone: (773) 256-0773 Home Tel: 773-947-8105
                                Office e-mail: ekrentz@... Home e-mail: ekrentz@...
                                GERASKO D' AEI POLLA DIDASKOMENOS.
                                "I grow older, learning many things all the time." [Solon of Athens]
                                + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++
                              • Munachi E. Ezeogu
                                Please, Larry and everybody, bear with me for the silence. Hopefully I will be able to answer the charges by the weekend. Time is in short supply. What else
                                Message 15 of 21 , Oct 24, 2002
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                                  Please, Larry and everybody, bear with me for the silence. Hopefully I will be able to "answer the charges" by the weekend. Time is in short supply. What else can you expect from a Ph.D. student in the thesis writing stage? Thank you Steve for tabling this discussion.

                                  Ernest Munachi Ezeogu (Ph.D. Cand)
                                  Toronto School of Theology

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