Thursday, December 19, 2013

Article on "The Blood from Abel to Zechariah"

Earlier this week I received notice of the electronic publication of my article in New Testament Studies about the "blood from Abel to Zechariah" (Matt 23:35; cf. Luke 11:51) in the history of interpretation. This is an issue I started researching a few years ago because of a student's question. Since a popular interpretation of this saying of Jesus is that it refers to the borders of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis and 2Chronicles), it has relevance for many of the issues I discuss on this blog. My article is not so much an examination of the saying itself--in my view, H.G.L. Peels effectively rebutted the common interpretation more than a decade ago--but rather I trace the history of interpretation of the verse, trying to determine when the interpretation arose linking it to the Jewish canon.

You can read it here, and here's the abstract:
The saying in the Gospels about the blood ‘from Abel to Zechariah’ has generated a number of theories regarding the identity of Zechariah and why Jesus specifically mentions these two martyrs. While a prominent interpretation today regards the names as pointing to the bookends of the Hebrew Bible, the Greek and Latin Fathers had their own peculiar ways of solving the exegetical puzzles connected to the saying. It seems that the invention of the printing press, and the stable sequence of books it created, exerted an influence on the development of the popular modern view.

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