Original Research

The characterisation of the Matthean Jesus by the angel of the Lord

Francois P. Viljoen
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2043 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2043 | © 2020 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 August 2019 | Published: 19 March 2020

About the author(s)

Francois P. Viljoen, Department of Church Ministry and Leadership, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

This article uses a narrative analysis to contribute to the discourse on the characterisation of Jesus in the Matthean Gospel. Much is revealed about characters through their actions and words and how other role players in the text respond to them. Sometimes, the narrator directly tells the reader about a character. The kind of character depends on the traits or personal qualities of that character and how that character behaves during specific incidents. Along with God himself, Jesus forms the principal character in the First Gospel. His teachings and actions are central to the text and the actions of other characters are directed towards him. This article focusses on what the angel of the Lord says in support of Jesus. The presence of the angel of the Lord represents the presence of God, and his message is received as coming from the mouth of God himself. The evangelist utilises the speaking of the angel of the Lord as a narrative strategy to assure Jesus’ prominence and authority. This angel shows Jesus to be the main character.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article uses a narrative analysis to contribute to the discourse on the characterisation of Jesus in the Matthean Gospel. It engages with the field of narrative criticism focussing on characterisation in biblical texts. This has implications for Hermeneutics. It can also be useful for dogmatic research in Angelology and Christology.


Keywords

characterisation; Matthean Jesus; angel of the Lord; narrative criticism

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