Original Research

Suggestions for future study of rhetoric and Matthew’s Gospel

Craig S. Keener
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 1 | a812 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i1.812 | © 2010 Craig S. Keener | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2010 | Published: 18 August 2010

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Craig S. Keener, Theological Seminary of Eastern University, United States

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Because the Gospel writers addressed audiences in the Graeco-Roman world with various degrees of familiarity with standard rhetoric, rhetoric provides a helpful check on modern speculations about ancient speech and argument. Nevertheless, parallels with such rhetoric in Matthew, helpful as they are, tend to occur at a more general level and rarely on the level of specific wording. A more fruitful endeavour may be a comparison with rhetorical techniques in other ancient biographies. Beyond general urban Mediterranean rhetoric, however, a specific style of rhetoric emerges within Jesus’ teachings. Because Matthew contains so much material about Jesus the Galilean sage, examining Jewish sage rhetoric proves particularly helpful for understanding his work and that of the traditional material on which he draws.


biography; Gospels; Matthew; rabbis; rhetoric


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