Sunday, Nov 27, 2005: “The Infancy Narratives: Session 1”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
The Infancy Narratives
Discussion Led By Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, November 27, 2005


Matthew 1-2

Matthew: probably written in the 80s by a Jewish Christian in Syria
ca. 18,300 words in Greek, ½ larger than Mark (infancy narrative and “Q”)

1:1-25, “The Who and How of Jesus’ Identity”

> Abraham and David motifs

> 3 sets of 14 (patriarchs, kings, unknowns)

> Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Uriah’s wife: first 3 are non-Jews; 4th not married to a Jew; all have “irregular” relationships (Genesis 38, Joshua 2, Ruth 3, 2 Sam. 11)

> 1:16 — break in formula: not “Joseph begot Jesus” but “of Mary was Jesus begotten” prepares the way for the story of a conception by the Holy Spirit

> Joseph acknowledges Jesus as his child by marrying Mary and naming Jesus; house of David

2:1-23, “The Where and Whence of Jesus’ Birth and Destiny”

> star: a revelation in nature for those who do not have the Scriptures (magi);

> Herod, “all Jerusalem,” priests and scribes in 2:3 fear Jesus, as do the chief prelists and elders of the passion narrative

> Gentiles recognize “king of the Jews” in 2:2 and “God’s Son” in 27:54

> Joseph, like the patriarch Joseph, interprets dreams and saves his family by going to Egypt

> During Pharaoh’s killing of the baby boys, Moses alone escapes (Ex. 1-2); duringHerod’s killing of the baby boys, Jesus alone escapes (Mt. 2)

> According to legends of Jesus’ time, Pharaoh had received information from wise men about a coming leader of the Israelites: parallel with the magi; when Moses was
leading Israel through the Transjordan, King Balak summoned Balaam to curse Israel (Philo calls Balaam a “magos”), but Balaam saw the star of the Davidic kng arise (Num. 22-24)

> Matthew uses citations from the prophets to speak of a virginal conception, a birth at Bethlehem, the suffering of other children near Rachel’s tomb, the return from Egypt and the settling in Nazareth; (now, both the Law and the Prophets have born witness to Jesus