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Salvation in continuity: A reconsideration of Matthew's soteriology

Varkey, Mothy (2014) Salvation in continuity: A reconsideration of Matthew's soteriology. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This reconsideration of Matthew’s soteriology argues that Matthew understands salvation in continuity. It employs a sequential treatment of the Gospel, which enables it to avoid the danger which characterises many previous studies of limiting the discussion of salvation in Matthew to certain texts, where the theme of salvation is more direct and explicit.

To this end, the study is divided into seven chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the need for a reconsideration of Matthew’s soteriology, and Chapters 2 and 3 furnish, respectively, a brief literature survey and the method of approach. Chapters 4–6 examine Matthew’s depiction of Jesus’ saving roles as teacher and judge, healer and helper, and the significance for Matthew of Jesus’ death and resurrection––especially in Matthew 1–7, 8–25 and 26–28 respectively, but also within the Gospel as a whole. On the basis of the findings from Chapters 4–6, Chapter 7 shows that Matthew understands salvation in continuity.

The study argues that Matthew does not understand salvation as something achieved only by Jesus’ death, and nor does he limit salvation to Jesus, because Jesus’ saving does not replace or abrogate the repertoire of salvation in the past such as the Torah and the temple. Instead, for Matthew, Jesus’ saving is the fulfilment of God’s saving plans and promises for his people and the continuation of God’s saving in the past. For Matthew, Jesus’ vicarious death is soteriologically comparable with the vicarious suffering of the righteous in the past, though much wider in its reach, and like theirs does not call the temple and the Torah into question. Matthew’s understanding of salvation in continuity is also to be seen as his response to the historical and theological questions of post-70 C.E. Judaism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Loader, William
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