Matthew and the Roman Military

How the Gospel Portrays and Negotiates Imperial Power
by John E. Christianson (Author)
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This book addresses the ways in which the Gospel of Matthew portrays and negotiates Roman military power. John E. Christianson argues that Matthew, writing in the years following the Jewish War, offers strategies such as avoidance, accommodation, non-violent resistance, mimicry, and dreams of divine retribution and eschatological fulfillment to help his audience cope with life in Roman Syria. With an eye toward the ways that military structures and networks of social power functioned to increase imperial control over people and territory, Christianson shows how Matthew's strategies include ways to help his audience negotiate potentially dangerous encounters with Roman military personnel. This includes texts that address the possibility of state sanctioned violence by Roman aligned rulers Herod and Antipas; the abuse of requisitioned labor in Roman angaria; Jesus' response to the direct request of a centurion with opaque motivations; a vision of retribution on Roman eagles by the eschatological Son of Man, and soldiers' response to Jesus' death and resurrection as a prelude to divine overthrow of Roman military power. In all cases, this book demonstrates how interpretation of Matthew's narrative must account for the pervasive presence of the Roman military in the ancient world.

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Publication date
May 05, 2022
Page count
Paper ISBN
File size
2 MB

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