The social location of the Matthean community

20 Jan 2012

Individuals or societies are always pursuing their own interests. Interests are identified in terms of domination and the retention of the status quo against subordination and the pursuit of change. The conflict between the first-century (after AD 70) Pharisees and the Matthean community is identified as a conflict of interests. The Pharisees functioned as to retain the Roman rulers and maintain the status quo, and attempted to reconcile the Jewish community. The Matthean community predominantly comprised the urban non-elites and rural peasants, thus the marginalized in agrarian society. They pursued a new identity and challenged the values of the Jewish leaders. The mere fact of its existence as a community in the process of departing from the Jewish mainstream was a threat to the authority of the Pharisees. The fact that the community was still very close to Judaism was cause for intense conflict.