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Mainstream or Marginal?

The Matthean Community in Early Christianity

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Friedbert Ninow

This book constructs a profile of the Matthean Community by using insights from sociology and studies of oral and chirographic cultures, together with a careful investigation of the material unique to the Gospel of Matthew. A picture emerges of a self-regulating, independent community with the kind of strong self-definition and tension with its surrounding society characteristic of a sect. It had a high regard for law and practiced Sabbath-observance, as well as observing the distinction between clean and unclean foods. The community viewed its members as saved sinners who should conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to those who await the soon return of their Lord. Somewhat provocatively, this book argues that the Matthean Community was likely to be mainstream in early Christianity, not marginal.

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WorksCited Aalen, Sverre. “‘Reign’ and ‘House’ in the Kingdom of God in the Gospels.” New Testament Studies 8 (1962): 215–40. Agbanou, Victor Kossi. Le discours eschatologique de Matthieu 24–25: tradition et rédaction. Paris: Librairie Lecoffre, 1983. Achtemeier, Paul J. “Omne Verbum Sonat: The New Testament and the Oral Environment of Late Western Antiquity.” Journal of Biblical Literature 109/1 (1990): 3–27. Alexander, Loveday. “Ancient Book Production and the Circulation of the Gospels.” In The Gospels for All Christians: Rethinking Gospel Audiences. Edited by Richard Bauckham. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998, pp. 71–111. Alexander, Philip. “Orality in Pharisaic-Rabbinic Judaism at the Turn of the Eras.” In Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition. Edited by Henry Wansbrough. JSNTSup 64. Sheffield: Academic Press, 1991, 181–82. Allen, Willoughby C. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Matthew. ICC. Edinburgh: Clark, 1907. – “Recent Criticism of the Synoptic Gospels.” Expository Times 20 (1908–9): 445–49. Ascough, Richard S. “Matthew and Community formation.” In The Gospel of Matthew in Current Study. Edited by David E. Aune. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001, pp. 96–126. Aulén, Gustav. Christus Victor: An Historic Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of the Atonement. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1931. Aune, David Edward. Prophecy on Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983. Bacchiocchi, Samuele. From Sabbath to Sunday: A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity. Rome: Pontifical...

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