The characterisation of Herod and the infant Jesus as masculine authority figures in the gospel according to Matthew 1 and 2

Danjuma, Peter Makoshi (2018-11)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the first chapter, the research background and motivation for the study is explained as well as the focus on power and authority in Matthew 1-2 in regard to Jesus and Herod. Thereafter the research questions and the aim of the research is outlined. The research methodology as well as the two methods, narrative criticism and modern hegemonic masculinity studies, are also briefly explained before the study is outlined. In chapter 2 narrative criticism as methodology is defined before it is applied to Matthew 1-2. The methodology of narrative criticism is introduced and explained in terms of its focus on story and discourse, point of view, narration, symbols and irony and narrative patterns. Key elements of narrative criticism like events, settings, characters, and plot are also explained and applied to Matthew 1-2. The focus of chapter 3 is on the characterisation of Jesus. It analyses how the infant Jesus, as a passive character in Matthew 1-2, does not speak or act. He is instead primarily characterised by his extensive genealogy, the numerous titles used by Matthew to indicate that he is the Messiah sent by God to rule as his king, and the care Jesus received from God through the use of intermediaries. It is argued that the genealogy of Jesus provides an indication of his ascribed honour and that it indicates that he, and not Herod, was the legitimate Davidic king. It, furthermore, indicates through the inclusion of four gentile women, that Jesus would not only be the king of the Jews but also of all gentiles who worship the true God. The analysis of the numerous titles Matthew uses indicates that he is, according to Matthew, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of Man, Emmanuel, the King of the Jews, and a Nazarene. Even as an infant Jesus possessed unique ascribed honour. While Jesus as an infant is passive in Matthew 1-2, his honour is enhanced in how he was cared for by God through his father and angels as messengers. Chapter 4 investigates the characterisation of King Herod as a masculine character in the narrative of Matthew 1-2 by noting how Matthew described his response to the birth of Jesus, used titles for Herod and described the actions and death of Herod. Chapter 5 focuses on the second research question and uses a different reader-response approach than the previous three chapters. The shift in focus is explained first, where after hegemonic masculinity is defined, after which Matthew 1-2 is read from this perspective. The reading undertaken is a radical reader-response analysis of the family of Jesus and of Herod as masculine characters. Thereafter Matthew’s depictions of Herod and Jesus as male characters are compared to each other in terms of hegemonic masculinity. It is argued that the manner in which Herod abused his power as king in Matthew 1-2 to the detriment of women and children in order to safeguard his oppressive power, stands in contrast to the manner in which Jesus is described in Matthew 1-2. It is a text-book example of what contemporary gender studies have characterised as hegemonic masculinity. In chapter 5 it is argued that before reading Matthew 1-2 from a hegemonic masculinity. In chapter 5 it is argued that before reading Matthew 1-2 from a hegemonic masculinity perspective in Nigeria (a radical reader-response reading that elicits an “unexpected” meaning from the text), it is important to first read it from a conservative reader-response perspective that produces a more expected reading from the text. The reason for this two-step approach, which is reflected in the two research questions of the study, is that in order for Biblical studies to meaningfully engage with the Nigerian context, it needs to ensure that it cannot simply be dismissed as imposing a feminist Western perspective on the text and its contemporary readers. The manner in which this can be done in practice is outlined in chapter 6.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING:In die eerste hoofstuk word die navorsingsagtergrond en motivering vir die studie uiteengesit, asook die rede vir die fokus op mag en gesag in Matteus 1-2 met betrekking tot Jesus en Herodes. Daarna word die navorsingsvrae en die doel van die navorsing uiteengesit. Die navorsingsmetodologie, sowel as die twee metodes, narratiewe kritiek en moderne hegemoniese manlikheidstudies, word ook kortliks verduidelik voordat die verloop van die studie uiteengesit word. In hoofstuk 2, word narratiewe kritiek as metodologie omskryf voordat dit op Mattheus 1-2 toegepas word. Die metode van narratiewe kritiek word bekend gestel en verduidelik in terme van die fokus op storie en diskoers, standpunt, vertelling, simbole en ironie, en vertelpatrone. Sleutel-elemente van narratiewe kritiek soos gebeure, instellings, karakters en intrige word ook verduidelik en toegepas op Mattheus 1-2. Die fokus van hoofstuk 3 is op die karakterisering van Jesus. Dit ontleed hoe die kind Jesus, as passiewe karakter in Mattheus 1-2, nie praat of optree nie. Hy word eerder omskryf deur sy uitgebreide genealogie, die talle titels wat deur Matteus gebruik is om aan te dui dat hy die Messias is wat deur God gestuur is om te regeer as koning, en die sorg wat Jesus deur middel van tussengangers van God ontvang het. Daar word aangevoer dat die geslagsregister van Jesus 'n aanduiding gee van sy toegeskryfde eer en dat dit aandui dat hy, en nie Herodes nie, die wettige koning as nasaat van Dawid was. Daarbenewens dui die insluiting van vier heidense vroue daarop dat Jesus nie net die Koning van die Jode sou wees nie, maar ook van alle nieJode wat die ware God aanbid. Die ontleding van die talle titels wat Matteus gebruik, dui daarop dat hy volgens hom die Seun van Abraham, die Seun van Dawid, die Seun van die mens, Emmanuel, die Koning van die Jode en 'n Nasarener was. Selfs as 'n baba het Jesus dus 'n unieke toegeskryfde eer gehad. Terwyl Jesus as 'n baba passief in Matteus 1-2 is, word sy eer versterk in hoe hy deur God deur sy vader en engele versorg is. Hoofstuk 4 ondersoek die karakterisering van koning Herodes as manlike karakter in die verhaal van Mattheus 1-2 deur te let op hoe die Evangelie van Matteus Herodes se reaksie op die geboorte van Jesus beskryf, titels vir Herodes gebruik en die optrede en dood van Herodes beskryf. Hoofstuk 5 fokus op die tweede navorsingsvrae en gebruik 'n ander leser-respons-benadering as die vorige drie hoofstukke. Die verskuiwing in fokus word eers verduidelik, waarna hegemoniese manlikheid gedefinieer word, waarna Mattheus 1-2 vanuit hierdie perspektief gelees word. Die lesing wat onderneem word, is 'n radikale leser-respons-analise van die familie van Jesus en van Herodes as 'n manlike karakter. Daarna word Matteus se uitbeelding van Herodes en Jesus as manlike karakters met mekaar vergelyk in terme van hegemoniese manlikheid. Daar word geargumenteer dat die manier waarop Herodes sy mag as koning in Matteus 1-2 ten koste van vroue en kinders gebruik het ten einde sy mag te beskerm, in teenstelling staan met die manier waarop Jesus in Matteus 1-2 beskryf word. Dit is 'n teksboekvoorbeeld van wat kontemporêre geslagstudies beskryf as hegemoniese manlikheid. In hoofstuk 5 word aangevoer dat voor Matteus 1-2 uit 'n hegemoniese manlikheidsperspektief in Nigerië gelees word ('n radikale leser-respons-lesing wat 'n "onverwagte" betekenis uit die teks ontlok) is dit belangrik dat dit eers uit 'n konserwatiewe leser-respons-perspektief gelees word, wat 'n meer verwagte lees van die teks na vore bring. Die rede vir hierdie twee-stapbenadering, wat in die twee navorsingsvrae van die studie weerspieël word, is dat dit sinvol is vir die studie van die Bybel in die Nigeriese konteks. So word verseker dat dit nie net afgemaak kan word as 'n feministiese, Westerse perspektief op die teks nie. Hoofstuk 6 sit uiteen hoe dit in die praktyk gedoen kan word.

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