Live Blogging #SBLAAR – Scripture in Matthew

My second session of the day…

This is going to deal with the use of Matthew in Scripture… One of my professors will be presenting, but beyond that, I find it important because the use of Scripture in Matthew is the best way to approach using Scripture in Christian interpretation.

The first presenter, Brandon Crowe, is speaking about Matthew’s use of Hosea. Missing this, one comes at the understanding that Prophecy is nothing but inspired predications meant for far off people. Watch what Matthew does with Hosea. It’s not about prophecies in the far off future being fulfilled, but about Christ embodying Hosea and the grand narrative of Scripture. The life of Jesus, and those events in them including Israel’s national problems, are measured and interpreted by the Prophets.

Crowe is putting a different, for me, spin, on Matthew’s use of Isaiah 7.14. And, indeed, I like his use of Isaiah altogether!

But, over all, what about this paper is new? This some of the same stuff found in Dunn and Wright. Don’t get me wrong… The paper was good and presented well…

Of course, I got here late. I think his paper was about Christ reversing some of the problems with Israel. He obviously spoke about the genealogy…

I missed the point where he said that the obedience of Jesus reversing the disobedience of Israel.

By the way, had a great lunch with Jim and Chris Tilling.

And had a great breakfast with me Mark Cortez this morning.

Obviously, Matthew was Jewish… An audience member notes that Matthew’s exposition of Scripture was the standard for Rabbis back in the day.

Next up is Robert Foster speaking about identity formation in Matthew. Personally, I think this will mesh will with a mimetic notion. We will see. Yup, I was right. I don’t want to give away too much here, but very interesting in discussing socialization through government education. Plus, narrative judgments. Reader, audience, narrator. This stuff shapes us.

Interpretive judgments…
Moral judgments…
Aesthetic judgments…

Who enables people to know God? Jesus or the Pharisees?

Context is important, it seems… And it is not just what a passage says, but what goes on before and after. Context.

The Pharisees could nothing more than they did because they refused to learn from Jesus…


Also, someone has a high Christology… I think. Something he said which I’ll have to follow up with is Jacob wrestling with God as a metaphor for wrestling with himself or humanity.

Okay, next up…

Catherine Sider Hamilton is speaking on the birth narratives.

Purpose of thought = fundamentally theologically

She is connecting Matthew to Jeremiah in a pretty in depth way.

I love hand outs… Makes studying these papers easier.


I love the way she is digging at proof-texters. You know, those who believe that certain verses in the OT are predictions about distant events. For Matthew, context is important because it is not just about one line or two, but about the event then and now. These things, rather than a singular match up, affirmed Jesus as the Messiah for Matthew.

The blood of Jesus takes in the blood of the slaughtered children… Because he is Israel. Meaning that the cry of “let his blood be upon our children” is rather ironic because they are calling for their own salvation.


Stout is presenting the next paper. He is going to talk about… Gentiles in the view of Jesus in Matthew.

He doesn’t give hand outs.

Maybe Jesus didn’t like Gentiles. He was pretty dismissive to Gentiles… I mean, that woman was a dog…

He’s going to talk about the centurion on Matthew. Let’s see… Will he go there? Doesn’t look like it, but then again, maybe it didn’t matter to the paper. But there is a difference… Stout says that Jesus healed the Centurion maybe for power or maybe because Jesus was coming to understand his own mission more clearly. It was a pretty clean and fast healing. Would Jesus know his mission from the start? Maybe not…

I like watching the faces of the the panel… Noting when they disagree with the speaker…. Pretty funny.

Maybe the narrator was more inclusive and more focused on the divine plan. Does the narrator know more than Jesus? Would the narrator take the place of God?

Matthew is a little tense.

Stout is using the Fathers to speak about Matthew. Awesome.

He said “little baby Jesus.” Dang Ricky Bobby.

Some good stuff here, but… I’m tired… Still haven’t beat jet lag.

Okay, wrap it up… I’m tired and I have the most important section ever coming up…

Stout is about the honest reading of Scripture. Jesus was operating under human limitations. Further, the Resurrection made a substantial change in Christ which “invites a rereading of the Gospel.” Wow.

For later… “experimental intertextuality”

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

2 thoughts on “Live Blogging #SBLAAR – Scripture in Matthew

  1. Sounds cool! The last time I attended SBL-AAR was in 1999. There were some sessions I really enjoyed (such as one in which a speaker said that the Suffering Servant was Jeremiah), and some that I didn’t enjoy as much. But the papers you listed sound consistently awesome.

    On Matthew’s use of Isaiah, I somewhat liked how William Albright and C.S. Mann addressed that issue: they argued that Matthew was familiar with the context of Isaiah 7:14, and that plays a role in the story that Matthew tells. I know Albright’s field wasn’t NT studies, and also I’m not sure how easy it is to verify that Matthew used the context of the passage. But I’d like to think that there’s more going on than Matthew quoting passages out of context.

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