The Blessings of the New Moses

An Examination of the Theological Purpose of the Matthean Beatitudes

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Charles Quarles Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA,

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This article examines and critiques major views regarding the Old Testament background for the Matthean Beatitudes. It first evaluates the traditional view that Isaiah 61 was the primary Old Testament influence. Second, it examines and critiques N.T. Wright’s view that the juxtaposition of Mt. 5.3–11 and 23.13–33 is part of a rough chiasm intended to associate Jesus’ teaching with the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 27–30. Finally, it offers a fresh proposal that borrows the best of Wright’s insights, but hopefully advances the discussion of the theological purpose of the Beatitudes by suggesting that Matthew’s Beatitudes are reminiscent of Moses’ final blessing of Israel in Deut. 33.29.

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