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Matthew 23: 29-39

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Chapter Summary

As was the case in some of the other woes, the meaning of the seventh woe in Matthew is cIouded by what seems to be tortuous logic. The parallel woe in Matthew and Luke 11:47 contains a reproach for the building of the tombs of the prophets. There was indeed a "tomb renaissance" which was apparently a phenomenon imported from Hellenistic culture and perhaps initiated by the great builder, Herod, himself. It is unlikely that the scribes or the Pharisees would have endorsed superstitions about the expiatory significance of tombs. This chapter attempts to understand the intention of Matthew in the concIuding verses of chap. 23. Many studies have been done on the traditionsgeschichtliche problems in these last verses; however, the chapter focuses upon the text as it stands, which reflects a number of redactional changes by Matthew that offer cIues for interpreting Matthew's objectives.

Keywords: Hellenistic culture; Luke; Matthew; Pharisees; tombs of prophets; woes

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