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The Breaking of Bread and the Breaking of Boundaries

A Study of the Metaphor of Bread in the Gospel of Matthew


Minkyu Lee

This book investigates the Matthean use of bread and the breaking of bread in light of cognitive conceptual metaphor, which are not only intertwined within Matthew’s narrative plots but also function to represent Matthew’s communal identity and ideological vision. The metaphor of bread and its cognitive concept implicitly connect to Israel’s indigenous sense of identity and religious imagination, while integrating the socio-religious context and the identity of Matthean community through the metaphoric action: breaking of bread. While using this metaphor as a narrative strategy, Matthew not only keeps the Jewish indigenous socio-religious heritage but also breaks down multiple boundaries of religion, ethnicity, gender, class, and the false prejudice in order to establish an alternative identity and ideological vision. From this perspective, this book presents how the Matthean bread functions to reveal the identity of Matthew’s community in-between formative Judaism and the Roman Empire. In particular, the book investigates the metaphor of bread as a source of Matthew’s rhetorical claim that represents its ideological vision for an alternative community beyond the socio-religious boundaries. The book also reviews Matthean contexts by postcolonial theories – hybridity and third space – subverting and deconstructing the hegemony of the dominant groups of formative Judaism and the imperial ideology of Rome.
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4. The Metaphor of Bread toward All Nations: New Covenant and Ideology in Hybridity




The Metaphor of Bread toward All Nations

New Covenant and Ideology in Hybridity

The narrative of the Canaanite woman functions literarily to exhibit the radical transition from Jesus’ narrow mission strategy (10:5–6, especially: “Go nowhere among Gentile”) to the Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations (28:19). The metaphor of bread (a;rtoj) that Jesus allows the woman to eat connects the first feeding narrative and the second feeding scene, which initiates the first step of the second phase of Matthew’s mission program beyond Jew. Ultimately the narrative plot leads up to Jesus’ Great Commission at the end of the Gospel (28:16–20). Furthermore, Matthew officially legitimizes and corroborates Matthew’s communal identity and ideological vision through presenting the metaphor of bread again at Jesus’ Last Supper. Through the Passover context, Matthew keeps evoking Israel’s wilderness experience in the exodus and shaping the frame of the hermeneutical lens to retrospect Jesus’ ministry and teachings. The identification of Jesus with the bread and the cup makes the reader review what has already been presented in the bread metaphor and its relevant meanings. At the same time the identification and the bread metaphor explicitly legitimize Matthew’s communal identity and ideological vision and promulgate an alternative vision of the kingdom of God.

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