The Gospel of Matthew

A Contextual Introduction for Group Study

Book - Paperback
The Gospel of Matthew
Paperback ISBN: 9780687022144
$27.99 Show Buy

Published August 2003

It is a common method in introductory biblical studies classes to choose exemplary biblical texts for further in-depth discussion by students in small group settings. Such groups provide a safe context for students to learn by interpreting the biblical texts for themselves. Increasingly, such interaction with one another and with the class instructor is electronic, either on bulletin boards or in chat. This book provides a resource for such group studies.

Two of the primary aims of most Bible teachers, especially those in colleges and seminaries, are very nearly contradictory:
1) the teacher wants the student to gain perspective, to learn the limitations of his or her own understanding of the biblical text by encountering divergent viewpoints and
2) the teacher wants the student to gain confidence in his or her own ability to interpret the biblical text responsibly.
 This introduction to the book of Matthew assists the instructor with these two primary aims by:
1) Introducing the student to the wide variety of claims that are being made about the meaning of the Gospel of Matthew.
2) Introducing the student to ways of assessing these claims.
3) Leading the student to take responsibility within a group context for the choices he or she will make between these competing claims as an interpreter of the biblical text (church leader, preacher, or teacher).

The book introduces the main themes and issues in the interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew in a student- (and Instructor-) friendly format. This introduction also exemplifies a new direction in biblical interpretation being used at seminaries in the U. S. The method is comparative cultural and religious interpretation, using existing scholarly and popular interpretations as exemplars for study and student discussion.

About the Author

Daniel Patte

Daniel Patte, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, received a B.A. from the University of Grenoble, a B.D. from the Protestant Theological Seminary, Montpellier, a Th.M. from the University of Geneva and a Th.D. from Chicago Theological Seminary. After serving two terms as General Editor of Semeia: An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism of the Society of Biblical Literature, he is now on the editorial boards of The Bulletin of Contextual Theology in Southern Africa and Africa and of Chinese Christianity: An Experimental Journal of Bible, Theology and Culture. His twelve books, six edited volumes, and more than 80 articles reflect his overall quest for a "hermeneutics of moral responsibility in biblical interpretation." His interest in hermeneutics (Early Jewish Hermeneutics in Palestine) and in theories of communication, structuralism, and semiotics (three books on "Structural Exegesis") led him to pay special attention to The Religious Dimensions of Biblical Texts and, in particular, of Paul's letters (Paul's Faith and the Power of the Gospel) and Matthew (The Gospel according to Matthew). Daniel Patte's concern for moral responsibility in research and teaching (Ethics of Biblical Interpretation) led him to a practice of "Scriptural Criticism" that accounts for the ways in which Christian believers in diverse social and cultural contexts are affected by New Testament texts and their interpretations (The Challenge of Discipleship: A Critical Study of the Sermon on the Mount as Scripture). In the Society of Biblical Literature, he develops this approach together with an interdisciplinary international group of scholars who study Romans Through History and Cultures (a book series he edits). With Cristina Grenholm, he co-edited the first volume, Reading Israel in Romans, and co-authored the programmatic "Overture: Receptions, Critical Interpretations, and Scriptural Criticism." In his research and teaching, Daniel Patte follows an anthropological approach for which ordinary Christian believers are appropriate informants. Thus, be it at Vanderbilt, in Europe, in the Philippines, or in Africa, where he goes regularly, he begins with the "believers' interpretations" of New Testament texts, "reading with" people from diverse cultures.