Matthew's vision: The unity of the formula citations in Matt 1:1--4:16

Jeremy R Holmes, Marquette University


With few exceptions, past research on Matthew's use of Scripture has portrayed his citations of and allusions to Scripture as ad hoc and insensitive to context. In part, this is because traditional historical-critical methods tend of themselves to emphasize the disunity in a text. The present work builds on the discoveries of historical criticism, but also incorporates a narrative-critical approach to Matthew's textual "network," i.e., the way one citation of or allusion to Scripture connects with others through key-words and shared themes to form a united body of mutually interpreting texts. An examination of texts cited in Matthew's formula citations in 1:1-4:16 reveals that they are all taken from contexts that describe the future restoration of Israel in imagery borrowed from the exodus out of Egypt. Given the scarcity of biblical texts that fit this description, one must conclude that Matthew has a strong interest in the new exodus theme. Besides this common theme, Matthew's citations are also connected by contextual proximity, key-words, and more particular shared themes. The new exodus theme of the formula citations fits into Matthew's sustained use of exodus typology in his infancy narrative. As Jesus typologically relives the bondage of Israel in Egypt and the subsequent exodus, he simultaneously relives the exile of Israel and foreshadows the restoration in himself. This reliving of Israel's history functions within Matthew's Gospel as a prologue that interprets Jesus' subsequent ministry, passion, and resurrection in light of Israel's Scriptures.

Recommended Citation

Holmes, Jeremy R, "Matthew's vision: The unity of the formula citations in Matt 1:1--4:16" (2007). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3298495.