Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Theology

Abstract

Although recent discussions on the Gospel of Matthew have emphasized the document's setting within first-century Judaism, these studies have not analyzed how the figure of John the Baptist functions within this setting. The failure to address the significance of the Baptist for the Gospel's Jewish setting is striking because recent study on the historical Baptist has emphasized his ministry and place within first-century Judaism. Therefore, this dissertation places a perennial topic within a new framework, believing that attention to the Jewish setting of the Gospel may prompt fresh observations and explanations of the role of John the Baptist within the Gospel of Matthew.

The overarching argument of this work is that Matthew presents Jesus to be the continuation and culmination of John's ministry in order to strengthen the claims of Matthew's group within its Jewish setting and to vilify the opponents of his group. This argument is developed upon both external (texts roughly contemporaneous with Matthew showing respect given to John the Baptist at the time of Matthew's composition) and internal grounds (the distinctive portrait of John offered by Matthew in which the Baptist is more closely connected to Jesus and rejected by Jewish authorities). The connections made between John and Jesus would encourage Jews yet to align with Matthew's group, particularly those who see the Baptist to be a figure who spoke the will of God, to gravitate towards Matthew's group and away from the opponents of Matthew's group.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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