Saturday, September 29, 2012

Matthew: Symmetrical Sermons

In Matthew: His Mind and His Message, Peter F. Ellis provides a helpful symmetrical (chiastic) outline of Matthew's gospel:

Sermon                                           (f) ch. 13

Narratives                              (e) ch 11-12     (e') ch 14-17

Sermons                            (d) ch 10                  (d') ch 18

Narratives                      (c) ch 8-9                         (c') ch 19-21

Sermons                    (b) ch 5-7                                 (b') ch 23-25

Narratives           (a) ch 1-4                                            (a') ch 26-28

Ellis then rightly observes that the sermons are:
...artfully balanced both in length and subject matter, with the first (5-7) and the last (ch 23-25) concerned principally with the theme of "discipleship"; the second (ch 10) and the fourth (ch 18) with the mission of the Apostles and the use of apostolic authority in the community, and the central discourse (ch 13) with the Church as Kingdom of heaven on earth. Such an arrangement and symmetry can hardly be a matter of chance.1

1.  Peter. F. Ellis, Matthew: His Mind and His Message (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1985) p. 14 

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