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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Mainstream or Marginal?: The Matthean Community in Early Christianity
McIver, Robert K.

Frankfurt: Lang, 2012 pp. 272. $66.95

Series Information
Friedensauer Schriftenreihe Reihe A: Theologie, 12


Description: 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.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches, Sociology

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Review by Susana de Sola Funsten
Published 10/26/2017
Citation: Susana de Sola Funsten, review of Robert K. McIver, Mainstream or Marginal? The Matthean Community in Early Christianity, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2017).


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