Mothers on the Margin: The Significance of the Women in Matthew's Genealogy

Mothers on the Margin: The Significance of the Women in Matthew's Genealogy

by E Anne Clements


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The Gospel of Matthew opens with a patrilineal genealogy of Jesus that intriguingly includes five women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, 'she of Uriah', and Mary. In a gospel that has a strongly Jewish and male-orientated outlook, why are women incorporated? Particularly, why include these four Old Testament women alongside Mary? Rejecting traditional as well as feminist views, E. Anne Clements undertakes a close literary reading of the narratives to discern how each woman is characterised and presented. All are significant scriptural figures on the margins of Israelite society. From this intertextual world established by Matthew, Clements explores why Matthew may have named these women in the opening genealogy and what implications their inclusion may have for the ongoing gospel narrative. Mothers on the Margin? argues that Matthew's Gospel contains a counter narrative focused on women. The presence of the five women in the genealogy indicates that the birth of the Messiah will bring about a crisis in Israel's identity in terms of ethnicity, marginality, and gender. The women signal that Matthew's Gospel is concerned with the construal of a new identity for the people of God.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780227174746
Publisher: The Lutterworth Press
Publication date: 08/28/2014
Pages: 308
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

E. Anne Clements is an Associate Tutor at Spurgeon's College, London, and Minister of West Kingsdown Baptist Church in Kent, UK. She is the author of Wrestling with the Word (2011).

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgment xiii

Part 1 The Five Mothers of Matthew's Genealogy

1 Introduction: The Genesis of a Thesis 3

Why Women?

Hermeneutical Stance and Reading Strategy


2 Matthew's Genealogy 21

The Genealogy

The Women of the Genealogy

3 Tamar 40

Preliminary Remarks

A Narrative Reading of Tamar's Story

Androcentric and Feminist Perspectives

Tamar's Inclusion in Matthew's Genealogy

4 Rahab 68

Preliminary Remarks

A Narrative Reading of Rahabs Story-Joshua 2:1-24

A Narrative Reading of Rahabs Story-Joshua 6:15-25

The Contrast with Achan

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Feminist Perspectives

Rahab's Inclusion in Matthew's Genealogy

5 Ruth 96

Ruth, Rahab, and Tamar

A Narrative Reading of Ruth's Story

feminist Perspectives

Ruth's Inclusion in Matthew's Genealogy

Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth

6 "She of Uriah" 121

Bathsheba in the Old Testament

Reading the Gaps in the Text: Differing Perspectives

A Narrative Reading of Bathsbeba's Story

The Inclusion of "She of Uriah" in Matthew's Genealogy

7 Mary 145

Mary's Relationship to the Four Foremothers

A Narrative Reading of Mary's Story

Feminist Perspectives

Mary in Matthews Gospel

Mary's Relationship with "She of Uriah"

The Five Women of the Genealogy: Their Relationship to One Another and Matthew's Gospel Narrative

Part 2 The Collective Significance of the Women for the Ongoing Gospel Narrative

8 Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth: Aspects of Matthean Discipleship 179

Righteousness in Matthew

Faith in Matthew

Mercy in Matthew


9 Others on the Margin in Matthew's Gospel 194

Marginality in Matthew

The Women as Representative of the Marginalized in Matthew's Gospel

Outsiders in Matthew's Story

Marginalized Jews

The Gentile Outsiders


10 Women in Matthews Narrative Life 231

A Gendered Reading

Characters in Matthews Story

Matthew 3-25: Women in the Main Narrative Section

Matthew 26-28: Women in the Passion and Resurrection Narrative

A Positive Gynocentric Counternarrative

11 Conclusion: Mothers on the Margin? Matthew's Call to Conversion 271

Bibliography 279

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