Date of Award

Summer 1993

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Theology

First Advisor

Edwards, Richard A.

Second Advisor

Hinze, Christine F.

Third Advisor

Schmitt, John S.

Abstract

The discovery of new data or the emergence of a new methodology are the prime factors for progress in the scientific study of any area of human concern, according to John R. Donahue. I cannot claim either, the fact being that I am working with centuries-old data and a conglomerate of established methods. What I do claim is a gnawing hunger for a valid, non-patronizing hypothesis concerning the role of the story of the Canaanite Woman in the Gospel of Matthew. There are four stories plus a genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew in which women play a major role. The small number of female-cast gospel narratives has occasioned no surprise among scholars because of what has been traditionally considered to be the socio-cultural norm of the times. However, traditional thought on women's status and role in the first century CE does not necessarily reflect the actual situation. Modern social scientists, anthropologists and social historians have delineated descriptive versus prescriptive categories for studying comparative social organization of ancient Mediterranean culture. This delineation demands a further look at biblical-texts which have appeared to portray women in certain traditional and immovable categories. It is now widely recognized that each of the female-cast gospel stories has a life setting, one that does not necessarily fit the widespread scholarly consensus. The purpose of this thesis is to reconstruct the communal setting for Matt 15:21-28, the story of Jesus' encounter with a Canaanite woman. All NT translations are based on the LXX unless otherwise noted. NT texts are most frequently taken from the RSV; my own translations are indicated. Quotations from Diogenes Laertius, Jerome, Josephus, and Philo are from the translations in the Loeb Classical Library; quotations from Origen can be found in the Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Other sources are acknowledged at the appropriate places within the text.

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