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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Mind Behind the Gospels: A Commentary to Matthew 1-14
Basser, Herbert

Boston: Academic Studies, 2009 pp. xvii + 377. $69.00

Description: This work offers a new translation of Matthew, graciously offered by Peter Zaas (with some minor revisions by David Malone and Herbert Basser). Basser gives us a verse-by-verse commentary to the first half of the Gospel in his study of Matthew through the lens of Jewish texts. These texts, skillfully interpreted by Basser, illuminate the powerful poetry and mystery behind much of Matthew's genius in reworking evangelist's sources. These Jewish materials provide a creative, cultural way of thinking about what God expects from human beings that is infused with the words and images of Matthew. Basser shows how Jewish idioms and artistry move the speeches, story, and figure of Jesus, through various layers of Church tradition, from a Jewish preacher to a Gentile savior. Each chapter of commentary is preceded by a preliminary discussion and the book is introduced by a scholarly yet accessible preface and introduction discussing the methodological issues of the commentary as a whole. In many ways, this book deepens Basser s initial views of the New Testament in his Studies in Exegesis, Leiden and Boston, E.J. Brill, 2000. The present book will appeal to a broad audience of knowledgeable readers of any or no faith. Basser is presently completing his annotations to the Epistle of James for The Jewish Annotated New Testament to be published by Oxford University Press.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Literature

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Review by Timothy Howell
Published 4/8/2011
Citation: Timothy Howell, review of Herbert Basser, The Mind Behind the Gospels: A Commentary to Matthew 1-14, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2011).

Review by Robert H. Gundry
Published 4/8/2011
Citation: Robert H. Gundry, review of Herbert Basser, The Mind Behind the Gospels: A Commentary to Matthew 1-14, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2011).

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