Original Research - Special Collection: Matthean Perspectives

The Double Love Commandment

Francois P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a1869 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.1869 | © 2015 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 July 2014 | Published: 09 March 2015

About the author(s)

Francois P. Viljoen, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

The Gospel of Matthew was written during a period of dispute between the Matthean community and their fellow Jews, with the Pharisees playing a leading role. The Matthean community was heir to the same scriptures as its opponents. They continued to have a firm commitment to the Torah, but they developed a distinctive understanding of it based on Jesus’ teaching. The formation of this community is investigated in this article, considering the Mediterranean perspectives of group-oriented societies prevalent in the first century. Such a group provided a sense of self and an interactive support system, where love functioned to bind the group together. The subordinates showed their undivided loyalty towards their superiors because of the favours they received from them, whilst they supported and cared for other members within the group as they care for themselves. Reading the double love commandment of Matthew 22:34−40 from this perspective reveals significant aspects of the community’s identity with regard to their commitment to God and their view of their neighbours.

Die Dubbele Liefdesgebod. Die Matteusevangelie is gedurende ’n periode van konfliktussen die Matteusgemeenskap en mede-Jode geskryf met die Fariseërs in ’n leidende rol. Die Matteusgemeenskap het van dieselfde geskrifte as hulle opponente gebruik gemaak. Hulle was steeds aan die Torah lojaal, maar het ’n unieke interpretasie daarvan gehuldig, gebaseer op die onderrig van Jesus. In hierdie artikel word die vorming van die Matteusgemeenskap ondersoek met inagneming van die Mediterreense beskouing van die groepgeoriënteerde gemeenskappe wat tipies van die eerste eeu was. So ’n groep het aan individue ’n bewustheid van eie waarde verskaf te midde van ’n interaktiewe ondersteuningsisteem waarin liefde as samebindende faktor gefunksioneer het. Ondergeskiktes het onverdeelde lojaliteit teenoor hulle meerderes betoon vanweë die gunste wat hulle van die meerderes geniet het, terwyl hulle mekaar onderling ondersteun en versorg het, soos wat hulle na hulleself sou omsien. Deur die dubbele liefdesgebod van Matteus 22:34−40 vanuit hierdie perspektief te lees,kom betekenisvolle aspekte van die gemeenskap se identiteit na vore ten opsigte van hulle toewyding aan God en hulle beskouing van hulle naaste.


Keywords

Torah, Law, Prophets, Matthew, love

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