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Matthew's Infancy Narrative and the Nativity of an Emerging Community

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

That Matthew's infancy narrative (1:1-2:23) was composed with OT materials in view is widely accepted. The evangelist's compositional use of formula quotations (1:22; 2:15, 17, 23) and his drawing upon OT stories about the birth and infancy of Moses, while telling of the birth and infancy of Jesus, stand out in particular.1 But beyond parallels to - or backgrounds in - texts and the person of Moses, there is a fascinating parallel between Matthew's infancy narrative and major narratives stretching from Genesis into Exodus (and to some extent even into Numbers)- narratives which set forth Israel's "national epic." When attention is given to those scriptural narratives as background, Matthew's infancy narrative can be understood as providing a script for the self-understanding of the origins of the Matthean community in the post-Easter setting - indeed, the nativity of an emerging community.

Affiliations: 1: St. Paul, Minnesota


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