Does Matthew make enemies friends? Pharisees and Sadducees together in Matthew
2019-05-07 - 17.00
Almost all the available sources that provide information about the Pharisees and Sadducees present them as groups that disagree with each other on various matters. Some scholars even describe them as politically, socially and theologically opposing factions in first century Judaism. Except for the Sanhedrin, which seemed to have representatives from both groups, there is no record of any kind of direct collaboration or association between them. Although each of the Synoptic gospels and the Acts of the Apostles refer both to the Pharisees and Sadducees as Jewish groups who were active during the life and ministry of Jesus and the Apostles, only Matthew brings these two groups together. Why does Matthew alone pair them up? Was he not aware of their mutual dislike or religious and political discord? Or did he conveniently ignore their differences to achieve his narrative purpose?
Employing a redaction and narrative-critical analysis, this study examines the portrayal of the Pharisees and Sadducees together in Matthew (3,7-10; 16,1-4; 16,5-12), and it concludes that Matthew is not particularly interested in pointing out the differences between them. He seems to overlook their ideological and theological differences in his narrative endeavour to portray them as two prominent Jewish groups who opposed John and Jesus, their identity and mission. Thus, he makes them united, if not friends, to serve his narrative purpose.