Mission to the Jews and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew
This thesis investigates the theme of mission to the Gentiles in Matthew’s gospel. Questions arising include: Was Matthew a Jew or a Gentile? What was the nature of the community that he addressed, and how was it related to Judaism? How did he view the Judaism of his time? Should there be a continuing mission to the Jews? Did Matthew believe that the church, including specifically his own community, should be involved in mission to the Gentiles? How could he show this in a Gospel about a Jesus who rarely met Gentiles and even told his disciples not to go to Gentiles during his lifetime? If he did commend mission to the Gentiles, were there any conditions (such as circumcision and other Jewish commandments) that they must fulfil? How did Matthew’s attitude compare with those of the other Synoptic Evangelists and Paul? The thesis arises from the need to respond to such scholars as D. Sim, A. J. Saldarini and J. A. Overman who are sceptical to various degrees that Matthew was an enthusiast for mission to the Gentiles. Although a majority of scholars have held that Matthew was a proponent of the Gentile mission, nobody has as yet responded to the case against this view and treated the evidence supplied by the Gospel in detail. After summarising current scholarly debate (Introduction) the present thesis will go carefully through the Gospel, treating all those passages that are relevant to the problem and interacting particularly with scholars who deny Matthew’s concern that his own church should evangelise the Gentiles.