December 9, 2016 Leave a comment
A vitally important thing about all the Gospels, including Matthew, is their very essential orality. Meaning that, at least in part, they arise out of a naturally fluid oral tradition. Christians were rather late in taking up the pen. It’s useful in dealing with these texts to remember that they developed out of preaching. For example, Herod. A Herod appears at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, and there is a Herod at the end of the Gospel. It seems hard to believe that people who heard the Christian preachers understood that they were two different people. The Herodian family is complicated, mostly because of all the wives. Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, Herod Archelaus, Herod Agrippa, people would not have understood the distinctions, and I suspect that most people still don’t who hear or read the accounts. Matthew and Luke have this theme of a Herod as antagonist either to Jesus himself or to Christians. Matthew has this at the birth of Jesus (Herod the Great), Luke has another Herod at the trial of Jesus, Herod is trying to kill Jesus, and in Acts, another Herod kills James the apostle, the brother of John, and yet another Herod shows up in Paul’s trial.
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