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Murder, Anger, and Altars

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The First Matthean Antithesis in Light of Exodus 21:14 and its Early Rabbinic Interpretation

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A question often left unaddressed by scholars is why the Gospel of Matthew employs the specific example of leaving an altar to reconcile with a brother or sister (Matt 5:23-24) in connection with Jesus’ comments on murder, anger and liability for judgement (Matt 5:21-22). In this article the author argues that Exod 21:14 and the earliest rabbinic glosses on this verse offer us insight into the nature of this connection. Both Matt 5:21-24 and the rabbinic understanding of Exod 21:14 include the elements of murder, an underlying emotional drive, interrupting a sacrificial offering, and the Jewish Sanhedrin. The author suggests that these affinities encourage us to include Exod 21:14 and its interpretation in early rabbinic commentaries in future analyses of the first Matthean antithesis.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York UniversityUSA magoldstone@gmail.com

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/content/journals/10.1163/15685365-12341576
2017-09-20
2017-10-17

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