F Antitheses

We need not enter into the debate as to the sources of Matthew's sequence of six antitheses (Matt. 5.21-48). It is quite likely that the introductory formula ('You have heard that it was said . . .') is the mark of the teacher who made this collection of Jesus' teaching (Matthew himself?), since it appears nowhere else within the Jesus tradition. It is equally likely that Jesus was remembered as setting his own teaching on various subjects in some measure over against previous rulings or as giving radical interpretations of particular Scriptures, even if not in such a formulaic manner. The point is that the antitheses are best understood as pressing home or pressing behind some specific law to the more fundamental issue within or behind the law. Over all, they call for a more fundamental reorientation of human and social relationships than can be achieved or maintained by legislation. Not just murder is condemned, but unjustified anger, insult, or

154. On the meaning of porneia here see discussion in Davies and Allison, Matthew 1.529-31.

155. Since the paucity of Q sayings that have to do with the Torah is often commented on (e.g., Kloppenborg, 'Sayings Gospel Q' 332-34), we should note that all three of the following examples include Q material: Matt. 5.32/Luke 16.18; Matt. 5.39-41/Luke 6.29-30; Matt. 5.44-47/Luke 6.27, 32-34; Matt. 23.23/Luke 11.42; Matt. 8.21-22/Luke 9.59-60; as well as Matt. 23.25/Luke 11.39, cited above (n. 143).

156. Bultmann's argument that 5.21-22, 27-28, 33-37 have been drawn from pre-Matthean tradition and 'have given rise to analogous formulations, in which unattached dominical sayings have found a home' (History 134-36) has proved influential. See, e.g., Guelich's brief survey of opinion (Sermon on the Mount 178; also 265-71); Schräge, Ethics 5960; Merklein, Jesu Botschaft 105-10; Luz, Matthäus 1.245-46; Stuhlmacher, Biblische Theologie 1.103; Becker, Jesus 288-91; Allison, Jesus 185-86.

157. 'Jesus radicalized rather than abrogated the law ... it is not against the law to be stricter than the law requires' (Sanders, Jesus 260). In contrast, is it really justified by the text to conclude that 'Jesus combats legalistic behavior patterns' (Gnilka, Jesus 213)? Vermes cites other overstatements (Religion 30-32).

158. See further Guelich, Sermon on the Mount 237-55. On the divorce antithesis (Matt. 5.31-32/Luke 16.18) see above (§14.4e); and on the love of enemy antithesis (Matt. 5.43-48/ Luke 6.27-28, 32-36) see below, §14.5.

sneering dismissal of another (Matt. 5.21-22); not just adultery, but lust (5.2728); not just false oaths, but casual oath-taking and calculating equivocation (5.33-37).159 Doing what is right cannot be reduced to outward acts and set formulae. The one antithesis which seems to 'abolish' a law,160 the one on retaliation (5.38-42),161 is again better heard as pressing behind a law specifically intended to limit retaliation and prevent blood-feuds to a more fundamental sense of right and responsibility as expressed in a practice of non-retaliation and positive response when personally threatened.162

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