Original Research

Reading Matthew as a historical narrative

Francois P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 1 | a2390 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i1.2390 | © 2018 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 July 2018 | Published: 15 November 2018

About the author(s)

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


The grammatico-historical method of Bible interpretation is often used in traditional reformed hermeneutics and is usually defined as distinctive from historical and reader-response criticism. However, some aspects of grammatico-historical hermeneutics overlap with the latter two approaches. The argument in this article is that exegesis is a multi-faceted process which requires that various methods can be used to meet the requirements of the texts and the questions to be answered. As the Gospels are historical narratives, narrative criticism can provide a useful tool in interpreting these texts. This should not imply that the historical and theological character of these texts has to be invalidated, but rather that the integrity of these texts is appreciated and that they are read as authoritative for religious communities. The arguments in the article are illustrated with reference to the Matthean Gospel.


narrative criticism; Matthew; grammatico-historical hermeneutics; hermeneutics; reader-response criticism; historical narrative


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Crossref Citations

1. Guidelines towards plausible interpretation of gospel parables
Aniedi M. Akpan, Francois P. Viljoen
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doi: 10.4102/ids.v55i1.2701