Jesus' relation to the Torah forms a significant motif in Matthew's Gospel. This relation is taken up as an important theme in the Sermon on the Mount with its strong Sinai typology, and disputes about the Torah are repeated throughout the Gospel. Jesus is depicted as the last and greatest expositor of the Torah. When reading this Gospel, the central role of the Torah must be seriously considered. This present study is furthermore relevant in the light of new insights that have developed in recent years on the diversity and dynamics within the Judaism that confronted Matthew. This diversity within Judaism is usually related to Judaist attitudes towards the Torah. To complicate this, oral traditions were strong and lively. Questions arose about the status of the written Scriptures and oral traditions and the authority ascribed to these. The Matthean community developed within this turmoil of developing Judaism.
Francois P Viljoen is Professor in New Testament at the North-West University in the Republic of South Africa. He specializes in Matthean studies.