It is commonplace in New Testament studies to point out that ancient writings need to be understood within their contemporary context if a historical reading is what we aim for. Most often, however, the framework within which to understand a text’s thought patterns is sought in the world of ideas that can be found in other literary texts roughly contemporaneous with the text under investigation. It is far less common for scholars to provide a detailed analysis of the institutions of ancient societies in which the transmission of oral traditions and the production of texts were embedded, and allow this socio-institutional setting to interpret the thought patterns of a text. In this study, key ritual-theological themes in Matthew’s narrative world are linked to, and understood from within, first-century synagogue institutions. As a result, Matthew’s theology of purity, forgiveness, and atonement emerge as thoroughly intertwined with a first-century Jewish worldview rather foreign to later forms of mainstream Christianity.
“Saving the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel: Purity, Forgiveness, and Synagogues in the Gospel of Matthew” by Anders Runesson – Read full article here.
Dr. Anders Runesson is an Associate Professor at McMaster University in Canada. Please visit his website www.andersrunesson.com