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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Matthew within Sectarian Judaism
Kampen, John

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019 pp. xvii + 320. $65.00

Series Information
Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library

Description: In this masterful study of what has long been considered the “most Jewish” gospel, John Kampen deftly argues that the gospel of Matthew advocates for a distinctive Jewish sectarianism, rooted in the Jesus movement. He maintains that the writer of Matthew produced the work within an early Jewish sect, and its narrative contains a biography of Jesus which can be used as a model for the development of a sectarian Judaism in Lower Syria, perhaps Galilee, toward the conclusion of the first century CE. Rather than viewing the gospel of Matthew as a Jewish-Christian hybrid, Kampen considers it a Jewish composition that originated among the later followers of Jesus a generation or so after the disciples. This method of viewing the work allows readers to understand what it might have meant for members of a Jesus movement to promote their understanding of Jewish history and law that would sustain Jewish life at the end of the first century.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Greco-Roman Period, Social-Scientific Approaches

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Review by Laura Robinson
Published 5/7/2020
Citation: Laura Robinson, review of John Kampen, Matthew within Sectarian Judaism, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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