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Original Research

Jesusí halakhic argumentation on the true intention of the law in Matthew 5:21−48

Francois P. Viljoen

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 34, No 1 (2013), 12 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v34i1.682

Submitted: 20 September 2011
Published:  30 April 2013


In the time when Matthew wrote his gospel, the interpretation of the Torah became a feature of division. Matthew frequently presented Jesus as being in debate with the Pharisees and scribes on the true intention of the Law. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus was presented as using the halakhic form of argumentation to counter false assumptions about the meaning of the Torah. Six theses about the Torah were set, followed by Jesusí antitheses. Jesusí alternative interpretations were presented as an authoritative explanation of the true, intended meaning of the Law. Matthew argued that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but bring them to fulfilment. In this argument Jesus formulated the higher level of righteousness that is required of his followers.

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Author affiliations

Francois P. Viljoen, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


Law; Torah; Halakha; Sermon on the Mount; Righteousness


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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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