Homicidal Anger. An Intertextual Reading of Mt 5:21-22


Abstract

The article opens with a discussion of the originality of the adverb εἰκῇ (“without cause”) in Mt 5:22a, and the question of whether Jesus prohibits all anger or only unjustified anger. The main body of the article, however, examines to what degree Jesus’ teaching on homicidal anger should be viewed as innovative or even radical. This analysis is accomplished by looking at a wide range of intertextual connections between the Matthean idea of homicidal anger, as expressed in Mt 5:21-22, and various Old Testament and extra-biblical ancient Jewish texts. Jesus’ teaching does not in fact differ appreciably from biblical teaching on the issue, especially that found in wisdom literature. Peri-testamental and rabbinic literature likewise contain a number of more or less exact parallels to Mt 5:21-22. Taken together, these all help us establish the correct meaning of Mt 5:21-22. Nevertheless, there is an undeniable originality in the sharp and legalistic overtone of the Matthean formulation, specifically the idea of anger as a cause of murder. Moreover, the targumic reading of Gen 9:6 helps clarify the semantic field of κρίσις in Mt 5:22, which should be understood as divine punishment of any anger.


Keywords

Mt 5; anger; murder; Cain; Abel; rabbinic literature

Aberbach M. – Grossfeld B., Targum Onkelos to Genesis. A Critical Analysis Together with an English Translation of the Text (Based on A. Sperber’s Edition) (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav – Denver, CO: Center for Judaic Studies. University of Denver 1982).
Allison D.C., Studies in Matthew. Interpretation Past and Present (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group 2005).
Andersen F.I,, “2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch”, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (red. J.H. Charlesworth) (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library; New Haven: Yale University Press 1983) I, 91-221.
Augustinus, De sermone Domini in monte libros duos (red. A. Mutzenbecher) (CCSL 35; Turnholt: Brepols 1967).
Banks R., Jesus and the Law in the Synoptic Tradition (SNTSMS 28; Cambridge: Cambridge Umversity Press 1975).
Betz H.D., The Sermon on the Mount. A Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, including the Sermon on the Plain (Matthew 5:3–7:27 and 6:20-49) (Hermeneia; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress 1995).
Black D.A., “Jesus on Anger. The Text of Matthew 5:22a Revisited”, Novum Testamentum 30 (1988) 1-8.
Brown J.K., “Genesis in Matthew’s Gospel”, Genesis in the New Testament (red. M.J.J. Menken – S. Moyise) (Library of New Testament Studies ; London: Bloomsbury 2012) 42-59.
Clarke, E.G. – Aufrecht W.E. – Hurd J.C. – Spitzer F. (red.), Targum Pseudo-Jonathan of the Pentateuch. Text and Concordance (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav 1984).
Davies W.D., The Sermon on the Mount (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1966).
Demitrów A., „Gniew człowieka w Księdze Przysłów”, Verbum Vitae 34 (2018) 56-79.
Epstein J.N. – Melamed E.Z. (red.), Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimeon ben Yohai (Jerusalem: Meqize Nirdamim 1955).
Flusser D., “«It Is Said to the Elders» On the Interpretation of the So-Called Antitheses in the Sermon on the Mount”, Mishkan. A Forum on the Gospel and the Jewish People 17-18 (1992-1993) 115-119 = “Die Tora in der Bergpredigt”, Jesusworte und ihre Überlieferung (Entdeckungen im Neuen Testament 1; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener 1987) 21-31.
Flusser D., Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: The Magness Press 1988).
Freedman H. (tłum.), Midrash Rabbah Translated into English with Notes, Glossary and Indices (red. H. Freedman – M. Simon). I. Genesis in Two Volumes (London: The Soncino Press 1939).
Friedlander G., The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount (The Library of Biblical Studies; New York: KTAV 1969).
Guelich R.A., “Mt 5:22: Its Meaning and Integrity”, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 64 (1973) 39-52.
Horovitz H.S. (red.), Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael (Jerusalem: Sifre Wahermann 1970).
Jellinek A. (red.), Bet ha-Midrasch. Sammlung kleiner Midraschim und vermischter Abhandlungen aus der ältern jüdischen Literatur (Wien: Filiale der Brüder Winter 1877).
Kampen J., “A Reexamination of the Relationship between Matthew 5:21-48 and the Dead Sea Scrolls”, Society of Biblical Literature 1990 Seminar Papers (red. D.J. Lull) (SBL Seminar Papers Series 29; Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press 1990) 34-59.
Keener C.S., “Matthew 5:22 and the Heavenly Court”, The Expositor Times 99/2 (1987) 46.
Keener C.S., The Gospel of Matthew. A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI – Cambridge, U.K.: Eerdmans 2009).
Królikowski J., “Czy gniew zawsze jest grzechem?”, Verbum Vitae 33 (2018) 445-461.
Lauterbach J.C., Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishamael. A Critical Edition, Based on the Manuscripts and Early Editions, with an English Translation, Introduction, and Notes (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society 2004).
Luz U., Matthew 1–7. A Commentary on Matthew 1–7 (Hermeneia; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press 2007).
Macaskill G., The Slavonic Texts of 2 Enoch (Studia Judaeoslavica 6; Leiden: Brill 2013).
Maher M., Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. Genesis (The Aramaic Bible 1B; Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press 1992).
Mattison W.C., “Jesus’ Prohibition of Anger (Mt 5:22): The Person/Sin Distinction from Augustine to Aquinas”, Theological Studies 68 (2007) 839-864.
McNamara M., The New Testament and the Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch (Analecta Biblica 27; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute 1966) 126-130.
Meier J.P., Law and History in Matthew’s Gospel. A Redactional Study of Mt. 5:17-48 (Analecta Biblica 71; Rome: Biblical Institute Press 1976).
Metzger B.M., Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Second Edition (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 2002).
Montefiore C.G., Rabbinic Literature and Gospel Teachings (The Library of Biblical Studies; New York, NY: KTAV 1930, reprint 1970).
Nolland J., The Gospel of Matthew (The New International Geek Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans – Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster 2005).
Piwowar A., “Gniew człowieka w Księdze Mądrości Syracha”, Verbum Vitae 33 (2018) 93-127.
Rubinkiewicz R., “Księga Henocha Słowiańska”, Apokryfy Starego Testamentu (red. R. Rubinkiewicz) (Prymasowska Seria Biblijna; Warszawa: Vocatio 1999) 199-214.
Ruzer S., “Antitheses in Matthew 5: Midrashic Aspects of Exegetical Techniques”, The Sermon on the Mount and Its Jewish Setting (red. H.-J. Becker – S. Ruzer) (Cahiers de la Revue Biblique 60; Paris: Gabalda 2005) 89-116.
Ruzer S., “The Technique of Composite Citation on the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:21-22, 33-37)”, Revue biblique 103 (1996) 65-75.
Sperber A. (red.), The Bible in Aramaic. I. The Pentateuch (Leiden: Brill 1959).
Stählin G., “ὀργή κτλ.”, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (red. G. Kittel – G. Friedrich) (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 1967) V, 382-447.
Strecker G., The Sermon on the Mount (Nashville: Abingdon 1988).
Wernberg-Møller P., „A Semitic Idiom in Matt. V. 22”, New Testament Studies 3 (1956-1957) 71-73.

Published : 2018-12-28


Kubiś, A. (2018). Homicidal Anger. An Intertextual Reading of Mt 5:21-22. Verbum Vitae, 34, 249-287. https://doi.org/10.31743/vv.2018.34.10

Adam Kubiś  adamkubis@kul.pl
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II  Poland
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4961-2254

Ks. Adam Kubiś, prezbiter diecezji rzeszowskiej, doktor nauk biblijnych École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem (2012), adiunkt w Katedrze Egzegezy Ewangelii i Pism Apostolskich Instytutu Nauk Biblijnych KUL.






Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

(1) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC license Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. 

(2) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

(3) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).