An eye-opening 36 hours

It’s not exactly a blazing tempo, but it was still significant for me.

Earlier this week, within 36 hours, I immersed myself in Matthew’s gospel, reading it all the way through—mostly aloud, to myself.  (This was one step among many taken to prepare for a presentation early next month.)  I took a couple chapters at a time, eating leftover thin-crust pizza and accomplishing other miscellany in between.  I noted so many textual connections that it made my befuddlable brain dizzy!

I’m struck by at least two levels of literary connectivity:

  1. A possible, quasi-chiastic, document-level structure that has outer sections, inward sections, and a center.  Several ties may be seen, for example, between teaching sections in chapters 5-7 and chapters 23-25 (apparently the next-to-outermost sections).  I also noticed connections between the birth and crucifixion narratives.  This feature of Matthew has been noticed, discussed, and sometimes disagreed with by scholars, and I was aware of that going in.
  2. A repetitive structure that has seemingly less significant items showing up more than once, possibly for emphasis.  Example:  the mentions of children in 18:1-4, 19:13-15, and 21:16.  These features will surely have been noticed by others, but I had no preparation or predisposition to notice the repetitions.  They just kept popping up!

Overall, GMatthew’s portrait of the Messiah has been 3rd on my list in terms of familiarity.  It has now risen to 2nd, and I think I might even love it more than either Mark or John now.

The gospels are historical, to be sure, but a close and honest look at them shows them to be less concerned with an exact historical chronology of events than with the faith-significance of the events.  – Gary D. Collier, The Forgotten Treasure, 44.

4 thoughts on “An eye-opening 36 hours

  1. Steve 06/28/2016 / 11:40 am

    “I took a couple chapters at a time, eating leftover thin-crust pizza and accomplishing other miscellany in between. I noted so many textual connections that it made my befuddlable brain dizzy!”

    This is the type of insightful commentary providing a nuanced context for your observations that I can appreciate. Had it been thick crust or stuffed crust, you may very well have not been stricken with the dreaded Brain Befuddlement blight all too commonly associated with thin crust consumers. But because of your thin crust enlightenment experience, I–and all your readers–have now been the receptors of keen literary connections otherwise unnoticed. Just keep in mind this little ditty: “People disappoint, but pizza is forever.” Cao! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian Casey 06/28/2016 / 3:56 pm

      I only wish I’d been unbefuddled enough to compare the thin crust to the thicker crust of my brain or soul. Next: glutens and the yeast of the Pharisees? Just kidding. You’ve encouraged me today, and I desperately needed it.


  2. protrainer4u 07/05/2016 / 8:26 pm

    Brian, this is a good, insightful post. Thank you for blessing us with it.



    • Brian Casey 07/06/2016 / 7:22 am

      Thanks, Portia. I’m grateful that you had a few mins. to look at it. See you at the conference.


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