The Prophetic Vocation of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: A Narrative and Socio-Historical Study

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Matthew’s Gospel makes mention of prophets and prophecy more than any other canonical Gospel, and yet its perspective on the subject has generally been neglected within biblical scholarship. In Matthew’s story, the prophetic vocation of Jesus is a central Christological theme. The following study seeks to draw attention to it, and to contribute to the understanding of Matthew’s distinctive perspective on the subject.

This study begins with a survey of the social world of Matthew’s Gospel and of prophecy in Palestine in the first century CE. From there, using narrative criticism and socio-historical criticism, it moves to investigate Matthew’s understanding of Jesus’ prophetic vocation as found in four select passages: Matt 5:3–12; 9:9–13; 21:10–17; 23:1–39. The central argument of this thesis is that Matthew presents Jesus’ prophetic vocation as multi-faceted, embodying a number of prophetic traditions, including those of various OT prophets (especially Moses, Isaiah and Jeremiah) and first century Jewish popular prophecy. Like the OT prophets, Jesus, in both prophetic word and deed, calls Israel back to faithfulness to its covenant with God, as expressed in Torah. In doing so Jesus, like the prophets, often interprets Torah in such a way as to subvert popular understandings of Israel’s covenantal obligations. In calling people to such covenant faithfulness, Jesus often announces both liberation and judgement. This portrayal of Jesus as prophet provides a model for Matthew’s distressed communities that embodies answers to crucial questions of identity, theology and community, a model that reveals the true nature of God’s Law, the way God’s people ought to live.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Neville, David, Principal Supervisor
  • Aernie, Jeffrey, Co-Supervisor
  • Squires, John, Principal Supervisor
  • Jenks, Gregory, Principal Supervisor
Award date28 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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