Original Research

Matthew and the Torah in Jewish society

Francois P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 2 | a1946 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i2.1946 | © 2015 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 March 2015 | Published: 18 June 2015

About the author(s)

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


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Abstract

The role of the Torah is the subject of a full-scale discussion in the first Gospel. This article investigates the socio-historical setting that produced this text with such an emphasis on Torah observance. To address these issues, the Matthean text is read against its socio-historical setting to discover issues that were prevalent in the community where the text was produced and read. The Matthean community is plotted within the Jewish religious society, focussing on therole of the Torah within this society. It is argued that the crisis of 70 CE led to a reconsideration of the correct interpretation of the Torah. The Jewish society was fragmented and this led to an urge to consolidate. During these developments the Torah was used by newly formed communities to define their norms of existence against others. In the first Gospel, the author defines his and his community’s position on the terms of specific Torah observance. The narrator assures his community of the correctness of their conviction to follow the teachings of Jesus.

Matteus en die Torah in die Joodse samelewing. Die betekenis van die Torah is die onderwerp van ’n grootskaalse bespreking in die eerste Evangelie. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die sosio-historiese situasie wat aanleiding gegee het tot die ontstaan van hierdie teks wat soveel klem op die onderhouding van die Torah plaas. Om hierdie vraagstuk te ondersoek, word die Matteusteks in sy sosio-historiese konteks gelees ten einde die heersende vraagstukke in die gemeenskap waarbinne die teks ontstaan het, te identifiseer. Die Matteusgemeenskap word binne die Joodse godsdienstige gemeenskap gesitueer met die fokus op die Torah in daardie gemeenskap. Die artikel voer aan dat die krisis van 70 AE tot die herbesinning vandie korrekte interpretasie van die Torah gelei het. Die Joodse gemeenskap was gefragmenteer en dit tot ’n strewe na konsolidasie gelei. Te midde van hierdie ontwikkelings, is die Torah deur nuut-gevormde gemeenskappe gebruik om hulle eie norme van bestaan teenoor dié vanander te definieer. In die eerste Evangelie definieer die outeur sy en sy gemeenskap se posisie in terme van spesifieke Torah-onderhouding. Die verteller verseker sy gemeenskap van die korrektheid van hulle oortuigings om die leringe van Jesus na te volg.


Keywords

Torah; Matthew; identity; Matthean community; Jewish society

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