The Comings and Goings of the Son of Man: Is Matthew’s Risen Jesus ‘Present’ or ‘Absent’? A Narrative-Critical Response


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Abstract

Matthew’s eschatological schema presents difficult narrative puzzles, not least of which is the paradox between a ‘coming Son of Man’ who is assumed to be absent from earth in the present, and a risen Jesus who promises perpetual presence ‘until the end of the age’ (28.20). A suggestion of G.B. Caird will be explored using a narrative-critical approach that focuses especially on Matthew’s interests in divine presence, mountains and the significance of the Jerusalem Temple. It will be argued that the Matthean παρουσία may be read not so much as a ‘second coming’ but as a more continuous statement of presence from the cross and resurrection onwards. This places the ‘Son of Man’ as a narrative symbol of mediation between heaven and earth, in the clouds, on the final mountain-top, ‘until the end of the age’. It is suggested that this can be seen as part of Matthew’s theodicy for the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-70
Number of pages20
JournalBiblical Interpretation
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Christology
  • Matthew
  • narrative criticism
  • Son of Man
  • eschatology

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