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Israel's Last Prophet: Jesus and the Jewish Leaders in Matthew 23

Author: 
David L. Turner (Author) Rabbi Michael J. Cook (Author of the Foreword)
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Description

Jesus’ words of indictment and judgment in the Gospel according to Matthew have fueled centuries of Christian anti-Judaism and the horrors of the twentieth-century Holocaust. The solemn parables and pronouncements of judgment in chapters 22–23 come to a climax in Jesus’ ironic command that the scribes and Pharisees “fill up the measure” of their ancestors, bringing upon their generation the judgment of God (Matt. 23:32–36). But what did those words originally mean within Matthew’s narrative?

Carefully distinguishing what can be known from what may only be conjectured, David L. Turner examines how Matthew has taken up Deuteronomic themes of prophetic rejection and judgment and woven them throughout the Gospel, particularly in Matthew 23. Turner argues that the Gospel author was engaged in a heated intramural dispute with other Jewish groups and that the terrible legacy of Christian anti-Jewish violence results, in part, from a gross misunderstanding of Matthew’s original context and purpose—on the part of generations who failed to recognize the author’s worldview and allusions.

ISBN: 
9781451470055
Price: 
$49.00
Release date: 
August 1, 2015
Pages: 
518
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Endorsements

“David Turner’s Israel’s Last Prophet is a careful study of Matthew 23 in the context of Jewish internal debate. Working from Deuteronomy into Second Temple texts, Turner shows this rhetoric is not supercessionist but a sincere appeal for Israel’s leaders to return to covenantal faithfulness. In it Jews and Christians both have much to learn as they consider the moral call of God. This is a richly rewarding study of a controversial and often misused text, full of solid insight about how this text should be read.” 
—Darrell Bock
Dallas Theological Seminary

"At the heart of the Gospel of Matthew is a polemic, not a polemic of Christians against Jews but a polemic between those who framed historic Israel and its covenant with God in tensive ways. At the heart of Jewish-Christian relations is the same polemic, but far too often (as David Turner ably shows) framed in destructive and deathly ways. This book calls the Christian community to reexamine its character as it has been formed in its historic but profoundly misreading of the First Gospel. To resolve Jewish-Christian relations will take far more than exegesis, but one must now admit that this book is a good place to begin."
—Scot McKnight
Northern Seminary

"Turner’s work is helpful not only for understanding the rejected prophet motif or related issues of conflict in this Gospel, but also for understanding the setting and purpose of this Gospel itself. Surveying the range of evidence, Turner helps us to hear Matthew’s Gospel in its original Jewish context. By so doing, Turner helps Matthew’s readers today understand the text the way its first audience would have, before a history of anti-Jewish readings had corrupted Matthew’s message. He also points a valuable way forward in dialogue between two sister-faiths for whom first-century Judea offered an important formative context."
—Craig S. Keener
Asbury Theological Seminary

“David Turner's Israel's Last Prophet makes a very important contribution to an aspect of Matthew's interpretation of Jesus that has been largely overlooked. Recent studies on Matthew have focused on Jesus as a shepherd or king or on one of the prophets (such as Jeremiah or Zechariah), but Turner's study of Matthew 23 has rightly underscored the evangelist's presentation of Jesus as Israel's last prophet, whose rejection has profound implications for God's historic people. This stimulating work, which also addresses the sensitive question of antisemitism, is must reading.”
—Craig A. Evans
Acadia Divinity College

 

Reviews

Review in Bible Today