Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew


A much-overlooked aspect of the Gospel of Matthew is the theme of heaven and earth. Rather than being a reverential circumlocution for God, ‘heaven’ in Matthew is part of a highly developed discourse of heaven and earth language. Matthew’s idiolectic way of using heaven language consists of four aspects: 1) a distinction in meaning between singular and plural forms of ouranos; 2) frequent use of the heaven and earth word pair; 3) regular reference to the Father in heaven; and 4) the recurrent use of the Matthean expression, kingdom of heaven. This book examines the historical precedents for each of these aspects and shows in Matthew how they serve one overriding theological purpose: to highlight the tension that currently exists between heaven and earth or God and humanity, while looking forward to its eschatological resolution.

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Jonathan T. Pennington, Ph.D. (2005) in New Testament Studies, University of St Andrews (Scotland), is Assistant Professor of NT Interpretation at Southern Seminary. He has published a number of academic articles and reviews as well as assorted textbook resources for Greek and Hebrew.
"Pennington's study underlines the importance of the heaven-and-earth theme and offers a helpful way of considering its significance. This study makes a worthy contribution..."
"...this book makes an important contribution to Matthean studies. Even if one does not entirely agree with Pennington’s fresh proposal about Matthew’s use of “heaven,” he has convincingly argued that the old Dalman paradigm should be firmly rejected." – Osvaldo Padilla, Bulletin for Biblical Research 19.4
All those interested in the Gospel of Matthew, early Christianity, Second Temple and Septuagintal studies, as well the topics of ancient cosmology and Koine Greek.