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The (Im)Polite Jesus

An Analysis of Jesus’ Verbal Rudeness in Matthew’s Gospel


Carlos Olivares

This book is an informed, focused, deep, and creative analysis of the topic of (im)politeness applied to Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, with in-depth conclusions and analysis about the Matthean Jesus’ (im)politeness. This study utilizes innovative methodological approaches regarding the analysis and interpretation of the subject in Matthew’s Gospel, finding similarities with the language and (im)polite engagements of other first-century Greco-Roman characters and the Matthean Jesus in similar contexts.

The (Im)Polite Jesus would make an excellent addition for studies on Matthew’s Gospel or courses focused on biblical studies, biblical literature, biblical hermeneutics, methodologies, and in discussions about exposing interpreters’ cultural biases when addressing the topic of (im)politeness.

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Chapter Five: Wicked, Lazy and Worthless Slave: Being (Im)Polite Using Parables


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Wicked, Lazy and Worthless Slave: Being (Im)Polite Using Parables


Parables, in my view, can be considered stories within stories.1 They not only depict an imaginary world but also function as “forms of argument”2 and pedagogical tools,3 seeking, I think, to generate a response from the audience/reader.4 In what follows, I analyse the narrative purpose of the parable of the talents in Matthew’s Gospel (25:14–30), paying attention to the literary context in which it is located. Then, I focus on four (im)polite terms, establishing their (im)polite role within the story and in other Hellenistic texts by using a pragmaphilological approach. My intention in doing so is to unlock the socio-rhetorical world encoded in Matthew’s story regarding literary purposes and (im)polite language in stories.

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