This work offers a new translation of "Matthew", graciously offered by Peter Zaas (with some minor revisions by David Malone and Herbert Basser). Basser gives us a verse-by-verse commentary to the first half of the Gospel in his study of "Matthew" through the lens of Jewish texts. These texts, skilfully interpreted by Basser, illuminate the powerful poetry and mystery behind much of "Matthew"'s genius in reworking evangelist's sources. These Jewish materials provide a creative, cultural way of thinking about what God expects from human beings that is infused with the words and images of "Matthew". Basser shows how Jewish idioms and artistry move the speeches, story, and figure of Jesus, through various layers of Church tradition, from a Jewish preacher to a Gentile saviour. Each chapter of commentary is preceded by a preliminary discussion and the book is introduced by a scholarly yet accessible preface and introduction discussing the methodological issues of the commentary as a whole. In many ways, this book deepens Gasser's initial views of the "New Testament" in his "Studies in Exegesis, 2000".
The present book will appeal to a broad audience of knowledgeable readers of any or no faith. Basser is presently completing his annotations to the "Epistle of James" for "The Jewish Annotated New Testament" to be published by Oxford University Press.
Herbert Basser (Ph.D. University of Toronto) is Professor of Religious Studies at Queens University, Canada. He is an author of Pseudo-Rabad, 1998, and Studies in Exegesis: Christian Critiques of Jewish Law and Rabbinic Responses 70-300 CE., 2000.