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Chapter Three

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Chapter Summary

This chapter determines what Matthew sees as the ethnic makeup of his crowds. It takes into account the variety of the Matthean data, and begins by considering Matthew's geographical references, specifically the references to Syria, the Decapolis, and "Beyond the Jordan". The chief locus for determining the crowds' ethnic constitution is Matthew 4:23-25. Syria is the only geographical region mentioned at 4:23-25 that is not explicitly derived from Mark. Matthew only mentions the Decapolis once, at 4:25, and has likely taken his reference from Mark. That the crowds are Jewish can also be adjudged from the frequency with which Matthew associates them with Israel. It is, of course, possible that Matthew envisages Gentiles among the crowds. Matthew's reference to the Decapolis could allow for the possibility. If so, however, this is the only point where the gospel explicitly affords such an impression.

Keywords: Decapolis; Gentiles; Jordan; Mark; Matthew; Syria



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