Original Research

The controversy dialogue leading towards Jesus’ severe response in Matthew 23

Francois P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 1 | a2349 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i1.2349 | © 2018 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 January 2018 | Published: 28 November 2018

About the author(s)

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


Scholars have described Matthew 23 as the ‘unloveliest’ chapter and ‘bleakest spot’ in the Gospel. It might seem that this chapter does not fit into the overall structure and plot of the Gospel, and that it is a clumsy redactional addition being untypical of the Matthean Jesus. This article recognises the severe nature of this chapter but argues that it does fit into the developing tension between the Jewish leaders and Jesus within the Gospel. It is demonstrated how it forms part of a narrative where Jesus is involved in constant and intensifying controversy dialogue with these leaders. The leaders constantly challenge Jesus with increasing intensity which eventually led towards Jesus’s climactic response in this chapter.


Matthew; Jesus; Teachers of the Law; Pharisees; Challenge; Reposte; Woes


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Crossref Citations

1. A call for peacemaking: A perspective from the Sermon on the Mount
Francois P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi  vol: 55  issue: 2  year: 2021  
doi: 10.4102/ids.v55i2.2708