Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Liveblogging the Gospel of Matthew I

Last year for a Greek project I tackled the Gospel of Mark.  I picked Mark because it was short and because (so I ws told) the Greek was easy,  I suppose it must have been easy because I got through it without discomfort.  I came away with a sense mainly of the strangeness of it all: I guess you'd have to say it is not quite the Gospel I remember from my Sunday School days--Jesus in something close to his riddling, trickster mode.  I moved on from Mark to Revelation.  The Greek was not difficult but the whole text was just so terminally weird I lost patience with it and left off.

This year I'm back with the Gospel of Matthew and I must say so far, this is sounding much more like the stuff I remember.  This is the "Jewish" gospel, the one that identifies Jesus in the first line as :son of David, son Abraham," and with all those begats (Greek egennēsen, and "begat" sounds about right.)  What strikes me is how fast we get down to business after that.  You've got your star in the east and your Magi, and Herod slaughtering the innocents, and the flight into Egypt.  (where are fleas mentioned in the Bible?  Only once, God told Joseph to trake his wife and baby and flea into Egypt, oh yuk yuk). Bang on you have John the Baptist and before you can catch your breath, the Beatitudes.  It does intrigue me that Jesus apparently does the Sermon on the Mount before he recruits the disciples--I wonder if there is any theological significance imputed to that?

Again I'm Using Richard J. Goodrich and Albsert L. Lukaszzewski, A Reader's Greek New Testament, with an almost absurd plenitude of vocabulary help (all of which I need, thankyouverymuch),  One thing I like is that they have passages quoted from the Old Testament set off in bold type (though without citations).  At this point I'm through Chapter 7.  There are only 28 Chapters so at this right you might think I'd be through in a week or so but I have other stuff on my plate so I'll  probably let it linger a little longer.  

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