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This is a study of eleven character-shaping incidents in Matthew related to the disciples. In introducing the study, Richard Edwards points out that Matthew s story does not focus primarily on the disciples. It is, instead, a story of the life of Jesus that moves from a beginning to its conclusion. While the response or reaction to the person of Jesus by individuals or groups may not always be positive, the narrator never portrays Jesus in a negative way. Not so with the disciples who, though not as prominent as Jesus in the narrative, are nevertheless clearly the second most significant character(s). Their portrayal in the story, however, is distinctly different from that of Jesus. At times they are presented in a positive way and at other times in a definitely negative way. Why such a complex portrayal of the disciples? How can we gain a better understanding of the disciples as characters in Matthew s narrative? Richard Edwards answers these questions by applying a distinctive implied reader (or text-connoted reader ) methodological feature of the narrative approach to Matthew 4:18-22; 8:18-27; 13:51-52; 14:22-33; 16:5-23; 17:1-13; 19:23-20:28; 26:14-25; 26:30-58; 27:3-10; 28:16-20. He concludes that a disciple is not an ideal individual who meets Jesus expectations but someone who recognizes who Jesus is and will follow him, in a limited fashion, under most conditions. Richard A. Edwards is Associate Professor in the Department of Theology at Marquette University and the author of Matthew s Story of Jesus and Discipleship in the New Testament.
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