Matthew wrote his Gospel from his perspective as a Jew. It is with sensitivity to this perspective that Harrington undertakes this commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.
After an introduction, he provides a literal translation of each section in Matthew’s Gospel and explains the textual problems, philological difficulties, and other matters in the notes. He then presents a literary analysis of each text (content, form, use of sources, structure). Bibliographies direct the reader to other important modern studies.
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“the four women set up the reader to expect the unexpected.” (Page 32)
“The most striking deviation of the nt Beatitudes from the pattern of the wisdom books comes in the timing of the reward. The assumption of the wisdom books is that virtue or good actions are rewarded in the present. The nt Beatitudes promise fullness of life in God’s kingdom. They are primarily eschatological, though there may be some anticipation of the reward in the present. When God’s kingdom comes, the kind of people who possess the virtues listed in the Beatitudes or do what they entail will be rewarded.” (Pages 82–83)
“The testing narrative allows Matthew to connect Jesus’ divine sonship with the experience of Israel. Israel in the wilderness failed the testing; Jesus passes it.” (Page 69)
“Furthermore, there is no firm evidence in the Greek text that it was translated from a Semitic original. At any rate, the canonical text of Matthew is and always has been the Greek version. Our commentary proceeds on the assumption that the Gospel was composed in Greek.” (Page 4)
“For Matthew, Jesus’ fulfillment of the Scriptures did not mean that those Scriptures had lost their significance and therefore could be disregarded. Rather, for Matthew the Hebrew Scriptures gained significance through Jesus and continue to be part of the ‘treasure’ of the scribe trained for the kingdom of heaven (see Matt 13:52).” (Page 22)
Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, PhD, is professor of New Testament at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and general editor of New Testament Abstracts. He wrote The Gospel of Matthew and is the series editor of the Sacra Pagina series.