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The Matthean Beatitudes in Their Jewish Origins

A Literary and Speech Act Analysis


Michelle Howell Hancock

The Matthean Beatitudes in Their Jewish Origins: A Literary and Speech Act Analysis examines how Matthew used Jewish concepts as paradigmatic utterances for the Matthean community. In fact, the Gospel of Matthew was the most Jewish of the Synoptic Gospels, and Matthew’s paradigm was the needed transition for understanding the role of the new community post-70 AD. The importance and role of Jewish concepts is evident in Matthew’s work. More specifically, the literary nature of the Beatitudes demonstrates a composition that evolved from oral origins. Speech act theory is utilized to point out the oral features of the text as well as to reveal what Jesus did in his sayings. Moreover, a speech act model is presented and applied to the Beatitudes’ pericope. Their significance lies in the authoritative utterances of Jesus. By employing speech act theory on the Beatitudes, the sayings of Jesus are investigated to illustrate the force of his eloquence on the Christian community.


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Illustrations xi


Illustrations 2.1 Rival Model 34 2.2 Rebellious Movement 35 2.3 Remnant Movement 36 2.4 Dynamic Model 41 4.1 Christos Rhetoric in Matthew 91 4.2 Imperatival Themes in Matthew 107 4.3 Chiastic Formation of Kingdom in Matthew 108 6.1 The Three Dimensions in Literary Analysis 193 6.2 Ascription in the Beatitudes 197 6.3 Complementary Word Pairs in the Matthean Pericope 212 6.4 Antithetic Word Pairs by Luke 213 6.5 Skeletal Arrangement of the Beatitude Pericope 223 6.6 Chiastic Arrangement of Beatitudes to Present Situation 224 6.7 Arrangement of the Matthean Addition to the Beatitudes 225 6.8 Righteousness as a Literary Motif in the Pericope 226 6.9 Chiastic Climax of Beatitudes Pericope 227 7.1 Examples of Contextual Possibilities 247 7.2 Linear View of Speech Act Communication 252 7.3 Dynamic View of Speech Act Communication 253 7.4 Perlocutionary Transaction 256 7.5 Variables in Interpreting Speech Acts in Display Texts 260 7.6 Engaging With Speech Acts 262 7.7 Bear–hunting Motif as Ritual 264 7.8 Illocutionary Force of Utterances in the Beatitudes 266 7.9 Isaianic Themes Describing the Matthean Community 268 The Matthean Beatitudes in Their Jewish Origins xii 7.10 Variables in the Speech Act of the Beatitudes 269 7.11 Process of Engaging With Speech Acts in the Beatitudes 270 7.12 Paradigm Shift with Beatitudes 272 7.13 Beatitudes as Ritual 274

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