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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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Editor’s Preface


More than ever the horizons in biblical literature are being expanded beyond that which is immediately imagined; important new methodological, theological, and hermeneutical directions are being explored, often resulting in significant contributions to the world of biblical scholarship. It is an exciting time for the academy as engagement in biblical studies continues to be heightened.

This series seeks to make available to scholars and institutions, scholarship of a high order, and which will make a significant contribution to the ongoing biblical discourse. This series includes established and innovative directions, covering general and particular areas in biblical study. For every volume considered for this series, we explore the question as to whether the study will push the horizons of biblical scholarship. The answer must be yes for inclusion.

In this volume, Minkyu Lee examines the use of bread and the act of breaking bread as metaphors in Matthew’s Gospel. Lee argues that this use of bread in Matthew shapes and represents Matthew’s “communal identity and ideological vision.” The author contends that while much of the scholarly focus with regard to Matthew’s use of bread has been Christological in orientation and in light of the Eucharist, the use of bread is instrumental in understand the identity of the Matthean community. Lee notes, “the Gospel of Matthew re-defines and represents its own identity and the boundary of community, especially when Jesus ← ix | x → breaks bread to share with others including Gentiles and the marginalized.” Employing metaphor theory...

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