The Righteousness of Joseph: Interpreting Matt. 1.18-25 in Light of Judean Legal Papyri

Philip Esler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article seeks to explain Matthew’s description of Joseph as righteous (δίκαιος) by investigating Matt 1.18-25 within its ancient context, especially Judean practices of marriage and divorce as illuminated by Judean legal papyri from the Dead Sea region in the first and second centuries CE and from the Judean politeuma of Herakleopolis in the mid second century BCE. This examination will demonstrate the importance of these papyri for understanding the narrative in Matt 1.18-25 in its original social setting where honour was a dominant value, especially the extent to which it reveals Joseph to be an exemplar of Matthean righteousness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-343
JournalNew Testament Studies
Volume68
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2022

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