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Matthew J Marohl Joseph s Dilemma - frunut.ru
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Matthew J. Marohl Joseph's Dilemma


The story of the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is told in eight verses. Embedded in this short narrative is «Joseph's dilemma.» Listeners are told that, «When Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit» (1:18). What happens next has long been debated. We are made to assume that Joseph discovers that Mary is pregnant, but that he does not know that she is with child from the Holy Spirit. This information is made known to Joseph later by an angel of the Lord who appeared to him in a dream. In the meantime, Joseph must decide what he will do with Mary. We are told, «Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly» (1:19). The discussion of this verse generally focuses on two questions. First, did Joseph suspect Mary of adultery? Second, if he did suspect Mary of adultery, what were his options? While there is some diversity in the way that these questions are answered, the majority of modern interpreters envision only one option–that of divorce. The dilemma, then, is whether Joseph will divorce Mary «publicly» or «privately.» While these questions are important, neither adequately addresses Joseph's dilemma. In this book, Matthew J. Marohl argues that early Christ-followers understood Joseph's dilemma to involve an assumption of adultery and the subsequent possibility of the killing of Mary. Worded differently, Joseph's dilemma involves the possibility of an honor killing. If Joseph reveals that Mary is pregnant she will be killed. If Joseph conceals Mary's pregnancy, he will be opposing the law of the Lord. What is a «righteous» man to do?

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Matthew J. Marohl Unexpected New Life


". . . from expected death comes unexpected new life!"
The Gospel of Matthew does not shy away from the realities of struggle, suffering, doubt, and death. Yet, from the first names in the genealogy to the last words spoken by Jesus, the Gospel testifies to the promise that from expected death comes unexpected new life. Through the actions of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba, we experience the expectation of death and the promise of unexpected new life. In the birth story of Jesus, Joseph suspects Mary of committing adultery. It is this dilemma that is the focus of the narrative. If he reveals her pregnancy, she could be killed. If he conceals her pregnancy, he will be going against the law of the Lord. What is a righteous man to do? In Joseph's dilemma, this experience of expected death, the Gospel of Matthew proclaims the promise of unexpected new life.
The promise of unexpected new life is a theme that continues throughout Matthew's Gospel in the life and ministry of Jesus. The call of his disciples is a call from death to new life. The teaching of Jesus focuses on the experience of death and the promise of new life. In both healing and curing, Jesus brings unexpected new life to those who face death. But it is the death and resurrection of Jesus that is the climax of unexpected new life in the Gospel of Matthew. Even as Jesus experiences a most horrific and humiliating death in the crucifixion, death and the grave do not have the final say. In bearing witness to Jesus' resurrection, the Gospel of Matthew proclaims the magnificent promise of unexpected new life.
Matthew J. Marohl invites you in these pages to read the Gospel of Matthew in a new way, from a fresh perspective. Integrating insights from the study of Mediterranean anthropology, Marohl makes the cultural world of the Gospel come alive, so that as you read Matthew again (or perhaps for the first time) you will certainly experience the powerful promise that from expected death comes unexpected new life!

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