In this new critical commentary for the New Testament Library series, R. Alan Culpepper sets the Gospel of Matthew in the context of the competing Jewish and early Christian voices of the first century, bringing greater clarity to Matthew’s own proclamation of the gospel and inviting readers to give up perhaps long-held assumptions about the book.
In Culpepper’s treatment, Matthew emerges as a Gospel for a Jewish community, distinguishing itself from the Pharisees on one side and other early Christian traditions and leaders, especially Paul and his followers, on the other side. In this framework, Matthew calls his community to faithful observance of the law, a law-observant mission to both Jews and Gentiles, and repentance and the practice of forgiving in preparation for the coming judgment. Accordingly, Matthew takes readers back to an early period, before the separation of Jewish Christians from the synagogues. By taking seriously Matthew’s Jewishness, this volume also enables readers to hear the historical Jesus more clearly. Excursuses on Matthew’s social setting include Jesus as healer, Sabbath observance, Roman taxation, the Pharisees, the tithes, ancient weddings, and the Sanhedrin, as well as many shorter units on Second Temple Judaism, synagogues, and first-century Galilean society.
The New Testament Library series offers authoritative commentary on every book and major aspect of the New Testament, providing fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, careful attention to their literary design, and a theologically perceptive exposition of the biblical text. The contributors are scholars of international standing. The editorial board consists of C. Clifton Black, Princeton Theological Seminary; John T. Carroll, Union Presbyterian Seminary; and Susan E. Hylen, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.