Category Archives: the gospel according to st matthew

the gospel according to st matthew chapter 1

there were fourteen sets of fathers and sons

TV gets stranger and stranger.  donald trump is interviewing larry king on larry king’s own show.  trump plays a clip from james cameron asking king for his fantasy interview: “if you could interview anyone, i mean anyone in history . . . say jesus christ or someone . . . who would it be and what would you ask?”

then,

trump: “so larry, what would you ask jesus?”

king: “what do you think of the world today?  do you really believe in your own virgin birth?”

i turned off TV and opened up my bible.  in this case, my bible is good news for modern man: the new testament in today’s english version published in 1966 by the american bible society. it suffers from forgetting the old testament and choosing some curious (re)phrasing, but it’s not without it’s charms . . . like these excellent stick figure representations of certain passages (that i’ll try to post, god-willing, in the future).

it begins,

this is the birth record of Jesus Christ, who was a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Abraham.

. . . then comes this long list of who was father to who(m), linking jesus to not only abraham, but to god’s promise to abraham and his children.

this gospel is written (and re-written) some time after not only the virgin birth (in question above), but also some time after the death of jesus.  this beginning may be an attempt to try to retro-actively actualize a past, a specific line of inter-locking events from god’s promise to abraham to the virgin birth, life, death and resurrection of jesus.  this list of generations (not to mention the numerous references, direct or otherwise, to the old testament throughout the new) tries to locate the space for  the good news in a specific reading of the existing text; building a constellation of textual names, dates and prophecies from where the new testament emerges.  but it’s only after the christ-event that st matthew—all of the writers of matthew, because they are legions—is able to reconstruct the past that points towards this event.  so a question of origins . . . of how something radically new can emerge out of and re-align an existing structure.

in beginning of the gospel according to st matthew, only one angel appears.  to joseph.  in a dream.  joseph learns that it was the holy ghost who got mary pregnant in order

to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet: “the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and he will be called Emmanuel” (which means, “God is with us”).

i always love parentheses in the bible.  it’s like the words have been smuggled in.