The Evolution of the Gospel

A New Translation of the First Gospel with Commentary and Introductory Essay

J. Enoch Powell

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November 30, 2011
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300184143
Paper

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Cloth

Many biblical scholars believe that the Gospel of Matthew was written after those of Mark and Luke. In this controversial book, an eminent politician who is also a distinguished classical scholar refutes this idea, using textual and literary criticism to assert that the Gospel of Matthew preceded the other gospels. Translating and analyzing the original Greek source, Powell proceeds to concentrate upon the text of Matthew, as being the earliest form of the gospel that we possess, and to demonstrate how its peculiar characteristics can best be accounted for as being the result of insertions and manipulations, often theologically motivated.

Powell argues that the Gospel of Matthew represents an attempted compromise between a pro-gentile book and a critical revision of that book produced for the judaizing wing of the early Church, and that material intended to appeal to the followers of John the Baptist was also introduced. The Gospel of Matthew, though given the form of consecutive narrative, is, says Powell, essentially a theological debate carried on by means of allegory: was Jesus the Son of God or a Davidic king?
This provocative and highly stimulating book offers a searching scrutiny of textual and literary questions and their historical implications, and is an original and valuable contribution to the study of the sources and chronology of the synoptic gospels.

Enoch Powell was a Craven Scholar and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was appointed professor of Greek in the University of Sydney, New South Wales, in 1937 at the age of twenty-five, becoming the youngest professor in the British Commonwealth. He was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1950 and was a member of Harold Macmillan's cabinet. He was re-elected as an Ulster Unionist in 1974, and continued in the House of Commons until 1987. His books on Herodotus, published in the 1930s and 1940s, are still regarded as leading works on the subject.

"A very curious but strangely fascinating book. . . . Those who are intrigued by what has been appropriately called the riddle of the New Testament, will probably find much of it ingenious and fascinating. . . . In an age of declining standards and increasing mediocrity, it is a timely reminder of the importance and relevance of linguistic knowledge and classical education."—Arthur Long, Faith & Freedom

"The translation has many virtues. There are brilliant emendations and exhilarating textual criticism. . . . In turning to biblical scholarship on his retirement, Mr. Powell has amazed us again. It is sincerely to be hoped that this will not be his last foray into the territory. He has left academic scholarship panting in the rear: it will not quickly catch up with him."—John Tasker, Faith and Worship