The Irony of Power: The Politics of God within Matthew's Narrative
Weaver, Dorothy Jean
Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2017 pp. xxviii + 332. $42.00
Studies in Peace and Scripture
Description: This volume engages the Gospel of Matthew in full awareness of its inherently political character. Weaver situates Matthew's version of the "good news of the kingdom" squarely within the "real world" of first-century Palestine and its occupying power, the Roman Empire. The essays here focus prominently and collectively on the issues of power and violence that not only pervade the historically occupied Jewish community of first-century Palestine, but also are clearly visible throughout Matthew's narrative account. A "lower-level" reading of the Matthean text offers a bleak portrait of the overwhelming power and violence exerted by the Roman occupying authorities and their upper-echelon Jewish collaborators against the wider Jewish community of first-century Palestine. But an "upper-level"/"God's-eye" reading of Matthew's narrative consistently reveals the fundamental irony at the heart of the New Testament as a whole, of the Jesus story broadly conceived, and of Matthew's narrative account in specific. This irony overturns all humanly recognized definitions of "power" and demonstrates the astonishing "politics of God," which defeats evident power through apparent powerlessness and overcomes violence through nonviolent initiatives.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches, Sociology
Review by Glenna S. Jackson
Citation: Glenna S. Jackson, review of Dorothy Jean Weaver, The Irony of Power: The Politics of God within Matthew's Narrative, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).
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