Original Research

The Holy Spirit’s characterisation of the Matthean Jesus

Francois P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2528 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2528 | © 2020 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2019 | Published: 30 January 2020

About the author(s)

Francois P. Viljoen, School for Church Ministry and Leadership, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


This article contributes to the discourse on the characterisation of Jesus in the Matthean Gospel. Characterisation can happen in several ways, for example by letting the characters themselves act and speak, or by letting other characters talk about them or react towards them. It can also be done by a narrator who tells the reader about a character. The kind of character depends on the traits or personal qualities of that character and how that character performs in specific circumstances. Along with God himself, Jesus forms the principal character in the first gospel. His teachings and actions form the focus of attention, and the actions of other characters are directed at him. This article focusses on one aspect of characterisation, namely on how the Holy Spirit acts in support of Jesus. The evangelist utilises the actions of the Holy Spirit as a narrative strategy to gradually express the significant status of Jesus as main character.


narrative criticism; historical narrative; characterisation; Jesus; Matthew; narrative; Holy Spirit.


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