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Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Paperback – 1 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1069 pages
  • Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co (1 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802864988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802864987
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.1 x 4.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 706,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Cf. Lk 3:23-38. Although their works were not always strictly chronological, ancient biographers often "began with matters such as birth, parents, ancestors, and prenatal prophecies" (Aune 1987: 32). Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S W. vanOs on 4 Aug 2004
Format: Hardcover
I originally purchased this book on a purely speculative basis. Someone had kindly given me a generous booktoken and, because I was preaching a long term series on the whole of Matthew's Gospel in my congregation I thought it would be interesting to try it out. I have most of the standard commentaries on Matthew including D.A. Carson and Leon Morris. However, this one soon muscled its way into my affections and I found myself returning to it again and again, not only for basic exegetical information but for inspiration as well. In addition to the exegesis, the footnotes are excellent and there is a massive bibliography plus a first class index. Really and truly there should be more commentaries like this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Excellent. 17 Mar 2000
By Paul Whiting - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This work must stand alongside that of the three volume work of W. D. Davies and Dale Allison in the International Critical Commentary as one of the best works on the first Gospel around. Keener's work is similiar in size and scope to that of another Evangelical scholar Robert Gundry, who published a commentary on Matthew a number of years back. However, Keener is more conservative than Gundry in many respects, especially on the historicity of Matthew. And, unlike Gundry, he brings an amazing amount of knowledge about the milieu and literature of the first century to bear upon this work in helping his readers to understand and appreciate this gospel - especially its literary and theological dimensions, and the social worlds that are presupposed and reflected in its story. Added to this are numerous excursions and notes on many themes interspersed throughout, providing more detail of a point made or defense of a position adopted. At times Keener has a penchant for being idiosyncratic and unusual in his views (although he argues them all very well). Holding views, in other words, that are neither characteristic of liberal or conservative commentators (of course, without people challenging the commonly held views on either side of the divide, scholarship would never progress!) So, if you want a detailed commentary that does not merely repeat what others have said, but makes an original and (often) compelling contribution to Matthean studies, this commentary is definitely a work that you will want to consult in my view. In terms of its relation to other works: it is not a popular level exposition (like his small volume in the IVP New Testament Commentary series), nor is it a work leaving no stone unturned, of use only to the trained student or scholar (like the ICC volumes mentioned above ), but it is a work that will serve the needs of readers and students alike, looking for detail but not looking to be overwhelmed by it. In this respect alone, it makes up for a glaring need on Matthew in a flooded commeantary market. As a primary commentary, it constitutes an ideal investment for the person looking for balanced, detailed, thought-provoking exegesis.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
One of the best written NT commentaries, erudite & engaging 11 Nov 2002
By Cato Sapiens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Having been a very active user of the nearly encyclopedic 3 volume Davies and Allison work on Matthew, I wasn't sure how much more Keener could offer. I found myself immediately engaged by Keener's stylistic clarity, his directness, and his astonishing ability to both summarize current scholarship and argue for his own insightful and often original views with a conciseness and precision that should be a model for commentary authors. Unlike Davies and Allison, this is a not a commentary on the Greek text and Keener leaves discussion of text critical issues to others (which to many students, pastors, and lay readers may be a blessing.) The gracefulness with which he pulls in both Greco-Roman parallels and--very impressively--Jewish extraconical, Qumran, and rabbinic parallels, is equally impressive. But none of this gets in the way of Keener's determination to illuminate the theological, rhetorical, and historical thrusts within Matthew. Just turn to Keener's vivid discussion of the "yoke" saying in Matt 11:28-30 (pp. 348-349) for an example of an instant picture of the what it meant to carry a yoke, the useful citation of parallels in apocraphyl literature, a quick reference to Diogenes Laertes, and a clear explanation of the theological innovations of Jesus' own teachings in both theological and historical terms. Keener's is one of the very few commentaries written in the past half century that makes enjoyable reading both for students and pastors and for at least some interested lay readers. Though his stance is in some sense evangelical, his enlightening engagement with Jewish sources and thinking is more compelling and convincing than any other current commentary. Rarely has such erudition been worn so comfortably and unabtrusively. Very highly recommended!
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Great scholarly work accessible to the mainstream reader! 5 Sep 2006
By Anne Rice - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a huge, rich and very readable commentary, bringing to bear on every line of Matthew a knowledge of pagan and Hebrew literature that is simply breathtaking. Keener knows the ancient world. He gives you context as well as brilliant insight. --- Reviews and supporting quotes on this book point out its immense value for teachers and pastors. But this book is a great gift for the mainstream reader for two reasons 1)the clean and compelling writing, and 2)the fact that all quoted materials from sources ancient and modern are presented in English. (Usually in scholarly books of this sophistication, a reader like me is locked out by blocks of material in German, Latin and Greek. Not so here!) --- Do not be put off by the size of this work. Use it like an encyclopedia. Look up the passages that most trouble you or intrigue you. Move on, back and forth from there, and you'll gradually cover the whole book. --Let me also say that the book is infused with a genuine Christian generosity, a deep Christian faith. The opinions of other scholars are dealt with fairly and patiently, and Keener's convincing conclusions presented with eloquence and simplicity. --- Truly a magnificent and magisterial work. I keep this book at my side; I rank it with the scholarship of N.T. Wright -- the finest. (anneobrienrice@mac.com.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Historical and Social Commentary on Matthew 8 Nov 2006
By Dr. Marc Axelrod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You learn a lot about the social and cultural world behind the text of Matthew in this commentary by Craig Keener. He does a good job of showing how the text would be heard in the first century world. He also makes some helpful comments for preachers. For example, his point on Matthew 5:14-16 is that disciples of Christ are not in the secret service, they are to be as obvious as a city on a hill. A disciple who doesn't salt the earth or shine the light is useless.

His commentary is well written and not cluttered with a lot of technical jargon.

On the minus side, he does not always move word by word or verse by verse through the text. Working through the beatitudes was difficult because he mixed them all up out of order and didn't return to the second half of certian verses until near the end of the section. Very confusing. This is an issue all through the book.

Also, I would have liked a bit more exegesis and a little more of a picture of Matthew's theology. I would have been willing to live with a little less cultural information in order to make room for these other things.

But I still consult this immense work whenever I preach in Matthew. I guess my favorite commentaries on Matthew are the ones by Davies and Allison (expensive, though), and Leon Morris (much more affordable and practical).

Rev. Marc Axelrod
58 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating but Limited 4 Jan 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a fine scholarly commentary from a socio-cultural standpoint. In fact, it sets the standard in that genre. However, as an overall commentary on the text of Matthew, it is just too narrow to be helpful at many points. Why so? First, Keener does not interact with the Greek text at all. Thus, it totally lacks text-critical comments, and lacks insights that may have come from the Greek text which are not apparent in the English versions. Secondly, Keener tells us an awful lot about cultural matters in Matthew's day, but very little about Matthew's literary art and intentions. As such, the commentary loses all the vast insights available via literary criticism. Lastly, Keener's own theological reflections in the commentary itself (not counting the introduction) are rather obvious and simplistic (i.e., the only point he derives from Jesus' telling his disciples to get the donkey for him to ride into Jerusalem at the "Triumphal Entry" is that believers' possessions belong to Jesus. True, but that is hardly profound or Matthew's point in the text). I checked this work against his smaller IVP commentary, and found that they are almost identical in their conclusions. This tells us that Keener apparently learned nothing in the years between writing the shorter commentary and the longer one. In fact, if you read the shorter commentary, all you will really miss is the ubiquitous and obtrusive in-text notes and the extensive bibliography. If you are a scholar or seminary student, you will appreciate Keener's insights in cultural history. If you are a pastor preaching through Matthew, you will also gain some insights from Keener, but not enough to justify the hefty price of this commentary. If you are looking for commentaries that do it all for the same or less money, see especially Hagner (WBC), Carson (EBC)and Morris (PNTC).
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