Original Research - Special Collection: Matthean Perspectives

The history of the interpretation of Matthew: Lessons learned

Dale C. Allison
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a1879 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.1879 | © 2015 Dale C. Allison | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 September 2014 | Published: 28 May 2015

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Dale C. Allison, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa

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Scholars pay attention to the history of interpretation of biblical texts and of their reception for multiple good reasons. This essay urges that, in addition to the reasons typically offered, careful Wirkungsgeschichte can sometimes bring to light credible exegetical and historical proposals that were once in the commentary tradition but dropped out for no apparent or good reason. Such proposals need to be restored to the tradition. I shall offer several illustrations, including the old association of Matthew 5:21–26 with the sacrifice of Cain and Abel and the ancient linking of Matthew 9:20–21 and 14:36 with the prophecy of Malachi 4:2 (‘The Son of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings’). The article also, however, draws attention to some of the limitations of Wirkungsgeschichte for historical exegesis.


Die interpretasiegeskiedenis van Matteus: Lesse geleer. Navorsers skenk aan die interpretasiegeskiedenis van bybelse tekste en die ontvangs van die verskillende tekste omverskeie redes aandag. Hierdie artikel toon aan dat, behalwe vir redes wat normaalweg aangebied word, ’n noukeurige ‘Wirkungsgeschichte’ soms geloofwaardige eksegetiese en historiese voorstelle na vore kan bring wat tevore wel tot die kommentaretradisie behoort het, maar gaandeweg in onbruik verval het. Sodanige voorstelle behoort weer tot die tradisie toegevoeg te word. Ter stawing hiervan kan verskeie voorbeelde genoem word soos die bekende assosiasie van Matteus 5:21–26 met die offer van Kain en Abel en die oeroue koppeling van Matteus 9:20–21 en 14:36 met die profesie van Maleagi 4:2 (‘Die son van geregtigheid salverrys met genesing in sy vleuels’). Hierdie artikel vestig egter ook die aandag op sekere beperkings van die ‘Wirkungsgeschichte’ vir die historiese eksegese.


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