Rest and Sabbath in Matthew’s Gospel: An Investigation of Matthew 11:25-12:14 in the Context of the Gospel’s Theology and Setting

Talbot, Elizabeth V (2013) Rest and Sabbath in Matthew’s Gospel: An Investigation of Matthew 11:25-12:14 in the Context of the Gospel’s Theology and Setting. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Jesus' invitation to rest in Matthew 11:28-30 is part of the evangelist's special material, inserted between the pronouncement that only the Son fully knows the Father and possesses the unique prerogative to reveal him (11:25-27) and the only two sabbath stories in this Gospel (12:1-14). This dissertation explores the significance of such a juxtaposition. Since the use of the Jewish Scriptures is pervasive in Matthew’s Gospel, the dissertation studies the use of the evangelist’s term for rest (a0na/pausiv) throughout the LXX. As a result of this analysis, it proposes that there are three main potential backgrounds for the concept of rest in this two-fold pericope and these can be summarized under the categories of "sabbath rest", "peaceful inheritance" and "wisdom's repose." These categories then provide the resources for a fresh evaluation of the significance of Jesus' offer of rest in its Matthean narrative context. In addition, the examination of Matthew’s theology of rest and Sabbath in 11:25-12:14 in light of the major themes of law, eschatology and Christology in this Gospel suggests that Matthew’s approach to interpreting Sabbath law and his eschatological perspective are primarily based on his beliefs about Jesus. Jesus is the Mosaic-Davidic eschatological agent prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures and through him has been inaugurated a new era of Christ-centered law interpretation along with a present realization of the eschatological expectations of the sabbath rest of the messianic age that is to be consummated at his parousia. This Christological conviction has placed the Matthean community at odds with the leaders of its own religious society, who have rejected its belief about the identity and mission of Jesus, including its proposal that the sabbath commandment’s rest from now on points to the eschatological reality of rest that is centered in Jesus.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bible: Gospel of Matthew, Sabbath
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2015 15:45
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:56

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