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Title: "I will give you rest" : the background and significance of the rest motif in the New Testament with special reference to Mt 11 and Heb 3-4
Author: Laansma, Jon
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1995
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The predominant interpretation of Mt 11,28-30 views this logion as an allusion to a saying of personified Wisdom; Matthew has joined this logion to one of the several Q passages (11,19; 11,25-27; 23,34-36; 23,37-39) which he is editing in order to further a "Wisdom Christology." Through exegesis of these passages I argue that Matthew's editorial activity does not betray an interest in furthering this Christology, and that it is unlikely that 11,28-30 was employed in this connection. The logion is ineffective as an allusion to specific Wisdom sayings, and Matthew's redaction points directly to his theme of the meek king, the Son of David. This corresponds to the OT pattern wherein "rest" is associated with the Davidic house; the context of Mt 11-12 shows that this is how Matthew understood the saying. The placement of the saying prior to the Sabbath debates (12,1-14) evidences Matthew's further interest in an eschatological Sabbath. This union of the OT themes of "rest in the land" and the Sabbath forms a parallel with Heb 3-4 which combines Gen 2,2 and Ps 95,11. Although Heb 3-4 has been a bone of contention for competing views of the religious historical background of Hebrews, we are helped to understand the passage only marginally by Alexandrian and apocalyptic parallels; the writer's pastoral concerns are represented by the OT passages themselves as he exegetes them within the framework of his Christological interpretation of history. The final chapter of the thesis shows that, in addition to a common use of OT rest-traditions, both NT writers associate the promise of rest with similar Christological thinking. Yet in spite of the parallels, Mt 11,28-30 and Heb 3-4 are best viewed as independent developments of similar OT ideas within broad Christian traditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available