The Matthean Community in Early Christianity
Chapter 9. The Matthean Community and the End of the Age
Chapter9.TheMattheanCommunityandtheEndoftheAge Two themes in particular emerge from the apocalyptic materials in the Matthean Sondergut which are relevant to an investigation of the Matthean Community: the portrayal of the community as under threat of impending judgment, and the possible delay of the parousia. The first reinforces the observation that has been made in several contexts that the Matthean Community had clearly-defined boundaries, and the second is of potential help in establishing the time period in which the community should be placed. 9.1.ACommunityundertheThreatofImpendingJudgment Judgment is of particular interest to Matthew,1 who uses it to portray the world and his Community as under the threat of a none-too-distant apocalyptic judgment, when God will intervene in the world to destroy sin and sinners, some of whom are to be found within the Matthean Community itself. Indeed, the threat of judgment in Matthew is not something directed exclusively to those “outside” the community. Take, for example, the parables of the tares and the net in Matt 13 :24–30, 36–43, 47–50. It has been argued in an earlier chapter that these parables should be understood as addressing the issue of the mixed nature of the 1 The following table shows that judgment is of particular interest to the evangelist, at least when compared to the other Synoptic Gospels: _______________________________________________________________________ Word or Phrase: Number of Occurrences in Matt Mark Luke krivsi" [judgment] 12 – 4 hJmevra krivsew" [day of judgment] 4 – – eij" toV skovto" toV ejxwvteron [into outer darkness] 3 – – hJ sunteleiva tou' aijw'no" [the...
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