Chad Venters argues that Psalm 80 (Psalm 79 LXX) is an important source for the composition of Matthew 25:31–46. Psalm 80 provides a religio-political background for understanding the devastation facing Israel at the hands of the Romans. Viewing Psalm 80 as a source for Matthew 25:31–46 accounts for the diversity of images found in the Sheep and the Goats and provides further insight into the meaning of the passage. Venters’s reading of the Sheep and the Goats contends that the story is not focused on world-ending judgment but a cataclysmic shift in which Yahweh’s vineyard has been taken from Israel and given to the church and the nations.
This book augments the larger corpus of Matthean studies, contributing to the less prominent research of Psalm 80 as an influential text for multiple passages in the New Testament and other first-century literature. Various studies have proposed the prevalence of Psalm 80 through scriptural “echoes” and “allusions” in the New Testament. Venters seeks to solidify these hypotheses in favor of Psalm 80 as an important background text for the New Testament Gospels.
Chad Venters (PhD, Middlesex University) is the institutional chaplain at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada. He is also a lecturer of humanities and world religions at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.
Chapter One: The Sheep and the Goats
Chapter Two: The Fall of Jerusalem
Chapter Three: Eschatology and Apocalypticism
Chapter Four: The Son of Man
Chapter Five: Psalm 80
Chapter Six: The Messianic and Eschatological Development of Psalm 80
Chapter Seven: Psalm 80 in the New Testament
Chapter Eight: The Textual Relationship of Psalm 80 and Matthew 25:31—46
Chapter Nine: The Sheep and the Goats as Response to Tragedy
Chapter Ten: The Road to Judgment
Chapter Eleven: The Problem of the Parousia
Chapter Twelve: The Roman—Jewish War as the Day of Yahweh
Chapter Thirteen: The Historical Jesus and Christian Response
Chad Venters has done a service in delving into one of the most difficult discourses that Jesus delivered. This work not only provides another dimension through which to see this passage, but it presents to us a careful and well-documented assessment of most of the critical questions that arise in any study of Matthew. This book is clearly written and is worth reading for any serious student of the first Gospel.
Venter’s reading will be welcomed as an important contribution by those who interpret the coming of the ‘Son of Man’ in light of events around 70 CE. Those who disagree with this view will still consider this work an important source because of its detailed and well-documented discussion of the critical questions related to the Eschatological Discourse. [The] book is written in a clear, accessible language, and it is to be considered by all scholars dealing with the First Gospel.