"In this thought-provoking and well-argued book, Mothy Varkey shows that Matthew’s notion of salvation is far more complex than a narrow focus on the effects of his death on the cross would allow for. Tracing continuity in salvation from Israel’s past and beyond Jesus’ resurrection into the future, as embodied in the ekklēsia, and focusing especially on the salvific efficacy of the Jewish law, Varkey rewards his readers with a nuanced understanding of Matthean soteriology that challenges many long-held assumptions about the First Gospel. While some conclusions will surely trigger debate and further discussions, this is a study that should not be ignored in future Matthean scholarship."
It is clear that according to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus came to “save his people from their sins” (1:21), to "give his life as a ransom for many" (20:28), to have his blood "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (26:28). But if salvation as promised in 1:21 is achieved only through Jesus’ death, asks Mothy Varkey, are the twenty-five preceding chapters merely preamble? Varkey argues, to the contrary, that the key theme of salvation in the Gospel is presented by Matthew as being in continuity with God’s saving acts in the history of the Jewish people. Further, Varkey insists that, as a consequence of this theology of continuity, Jesus' death on the cross represents just one of the many ways in which the Gospel presents God’s salvific deeds. The death of Jesus, while unique due to his ontological status as Son of God, should not be distinguished too sharply from his saving acts during his earthly ministry, which took the form of salvific teaching of the Torah, healings, exorcisms, and forgiving of sins. The result is a narrative emphasizing the continuity of salvation throughout Jesus life, reaching into Israel’s past, and beyond into the work of the disciples.
- Publisher Fortress Press
- ISBN 9781506425061
- Format Hardcover
- Dimensions 6 x 9
- Pages 304
- Publication Date September 1, 2017
A nuanced understanding of Matthean soteriology that challenges many long-held assumptions.
An important contribution to the scholarly conversation about the structures and strategies of this gospel.
"Mothy Varkey's investigation of how Jesus brings salvation in the Gospel of Matthew is characterized by its consistent, detailed analysis of the text, but also by its persistent focus on the larger conceptual world. His argument that 'Matthew holds both the Jewish and the early Christian soteriological traditions together, without apparently identifying any incongruity among them or considering them as options or alternatives' is an important contribution to the scholarly conversation about the structures and strategies of this gospel and to discussions about New Testament theology."
This important contribution opens up new insights into Matthew’s Jewish spirituality.
"This study moves us beyond the impasse of whether Matthew’s churches are inside or outside Judaism as it examines Matthew’s understanding of salvation. The result is a carefully nuanced account which underlines the strong sense of continuity which exists between Matthew’s church and its Jewish heritage. The God who saves informs that continuity and shapes Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ role. This important contribution opens up new insights into Matthew’s Jewish spirituality."
This major and important study of soteriology in the Gospel of Matthew takes Matthean studies into new areas.
"This major and important study of soteriology in the Gospel of Matthew takes Matthean studies into new areas. Varkey offers an original view of Matthew’s soteriology which is fully consistent the current trend in Matthean scholarship to view Matthew as a Jewish as a well as a Christian text. The evangelist’s scheme of salvation involves much more than the death of Jesus on the cross. It highlights the historical continuity between the appearance of Jesus the Messiah and God’s past dealings with the people of Israel, and it incorporates other themes such as the Jewish Scriptures, the Torah and the Temple. Varkey’s original and bold study sheds much needed light on the complex question of Matthew’s soteriology within both his Jewish and Christian milieu, and poses new questions for future research to ponder."
Varkey succeeds in showing how a great story about a saviour becomes great theology about salvation.
"It is a distinction of this book to take up a profoundly theological topic and trace how the Gospel of Matthew develops it in narrative stages that build one on the other. Mothy Varkey succeeds in showing how a great story about a saviour becomes great theology about salvation, a topic so close to Matthew’s heart."