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Guarding Entry to the Kingdom: The Place of Eunuchs in Mt. 19.12

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The article argues that, contrary to the majority view, the metaphor of the eunuch in Mt. 19.12 should be understood against the backdrop of the royal eunuch, as encountered in story, if not in experience. As such the saying must be situated with other sayings that speak of entry to the Kingdom. The change of the metaphor’s focus from that of guardian/gatekeeper to that of sexualized trope, as it is now met in Matthew, was facilitated by the saying’s performance to a new audience, i.e. to a Greek-speaking rather than Semitic-speaking audience. At the same time the saying was repunctuated to idealize the last class of eunuch who now became the model of chastity within the ekklesia.

Affiliations: 1: Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia,


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