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Matthew (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) Hardcover – January 1, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This book is the third in a planned 40-volume commentary series by Brazos Press, which is attempting to revive the early church's tradition of having theologians, rather than professional biblical scholars, interpret scripture. What's nice to see is that the individual commentators have been allowed to retain their own voices in this series; Hauerwas is as delightfully irascible and hard-hitting as ever, suggesting, for example, that the parable of the sower "helps us to read the situation of the church in America as Jesus' judgment on that church." Believing that "Matthew's gospel is…an ongoing exercise to help us see the world through Christ," Hauerwas attends to the Gospel chapter by chapter, teasing out theological themes while resisting the temptation to create a systematic Christology. He draws on theologians like Barth, Augustine, Origen and especially Bonhoeffer, whom he quotes and paraphrases often, as well as New Testament scholars and eclectic writers like Wendell Berry. Insightful and provocative, Hauerwas adds a valuable theological perspective to the Gospel of Matthew. (Jan.)
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Review

'There will be those who find this commentary a breath of fresh air. There is certainly much to challenge and inspire Christian readers.' Biblical Literature, November 2007 --This text refers to the Print on Demand edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587430959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587430954
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Stanley Hauerwas' theological commentary on Matthew approaches this Gospel from a thematic standpoint, largely centered on the implications of following Christ. It also addresses relevant topics such as abortion, homosexuality and marriage in a timely, penetrating way. Throughout this volume, Hauerwas interacts with the writings of theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth and John Howard Yoder. As expected, Christian ethics and pacifism are well explicated at key points throughout this book. He gently challenges the Reformational understanding that views the Sermon on the Mount as Law rather than Gospel, and argues that it reflects the obligations now placed upon all who call themselves Christians. His explanation of the relationship between Israel and the Church is seemingly vague, which undoubtedly will frustrate both Dispensationalists and Covenantalists alike. At one point, he seems to question the eternal nature of the human soul by implication without explicitly denying it. Interestingly, he interprets Jesus' reference in Matthew 24:15 to 'the abomination that causes desolation' from Daniel 9:27 as a prediction of Christ's own crucifixion, which brought about the subsequent end of the Jewish Temple system. The section on Matthew 24 and 25 contains a healthy discussion about the nature of apocalyptic literature and its relationship to our anticipation of the Second Coming. It is a welcome corrective to the paranoia peddled by the authors of the Left Behind series. Hauerwas' interpretative decisions clearly demonstrate his familiarity with current Matthean scholarship. My only minor quibble is that he doesn't articulate why he chose one particular interpretation over another. This is especially important when dealing with passages like Matthew 24:15.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
As I write there are now four volumes published in Brazos's projected forty-volume series of theological commentaries on the Bible. Jaroslav Pelikan led the series with a masterful study of the book of Acts (2005), Peter Leithart studied 1-2 Kings (2006), Matthew Levering wrote on Ezra and Nehemiah (2007), and in the present volume Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University tackles the gospel of Matthew. My own experience of reading Bible commentaries has often been frustrating; their linguistic dissection of verb tenses and technical comparisons of what other scholars have written has generally left me spiritually hungry. The Brazos series moves to theological reflection, and I have been very grateful for the volumes by Pelikan and Hauerwas that I've read.

Matthew's gospel, Hauerwas reminds us, is not intended to provide mere theological information (although it does do that). Rather, it's a manual to train and transform us into disciples of Jesus, for "Jesus the Son of God is what Matthew is all about." In contrast to the many ways that we sentimentalize the gospel, the kingdom that Jesus announced is nothing less than a radically subversive and alternative way of life. The Jesus way unmasks our own deep anxieties, our denials of our dependency, the "legitimating stories" of our modern world, and our doomed attempts to secure our own (illusory) salvation on our own terms by work, politics, money, sex, power, reputation, etc. "There is a kind of madness," says Hauerwas, "with being a disciple of Jesus."

Hauerwas takes a simple approach to organization, devoting one chapter to each chapter of Matthew. Readers who are familiar with his many other works will not be surprised to find heavy doses of Augustine, Barth, Bonhoeffer, and Yoder.
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Format: Hardcover
Stanley Hauerwas is a brilliant theologian. And the Gospel of Matthew is a complex and engaging text that tells us the story of Jesus. Putting the two together was a fantastic idea.

Hauerwas's telling of Matthew is replete with wisdom, though the delivery of such wisdom is done in a different manner than that of most standard commentaries. Hauerwas believes that Matthew has supplied us with exactly what we need to know if we are to be disciples of Jesus. Therefore, he sticks to Matthew's telling, adding insight here and there from his wider reading of the biblical narrative, the lives of Christians throughout time who exemplify Matthew's portrayal of Jesus, and the thoughts of theologians such as Bonhoeffer, Barth, and Aquinas, among others. The commentary is divided by the chapter layout of the Gospel, with most chapters being treated singularly, though a few are treated in tandem. As noted by other reviewers, throughout this commentary Hauerwas follows Matthew in centering his story on the cross and what the cross means for Christian discipleship to Jesus.

This commentary was given to me as a Christmas gift, and what a great gift it is. I've underlined and blocked off a number of key quotations, have been given great insight into the Gospel of Matthew that beforehand I did not possessed, and, perhaps most importantly, in reading this commentary I have gained a greater understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. If you're looking for a linguistic, grammatical, or technical commentary, this resource won't be the best toward those ends, but if you're looking for a work of theological substance that can help you or those you teach come to a greater understanding of what it means to live as the People of God in the world today, this commentary will more than suffice.
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