In Masculinities in the Gospel of Matthew: Joseph, John, Peter, and Judas, Kendra A. Mohn examines the masculinity of four figures in Matthew’s Gospel in light of ancient understandings of masculinity exemplified by Roman emperors and emulated by figures such as Herod the Great and Herod Antipas. Utilizing three criteria common to elite Roman hegemonic expressions of masculinity—wealth, divine service, and dominating control over self and others—Mohn argues that the nonelites represented by the New Testament texts negotiated ancient expectations of masculinity in a variety of ways that both subverted and upheld Roman imperial ideals. This response to dominant masculinity marked by hegemony has important implications for the understanding of critical concepts such as discipleship and leadership, as well as the expectations for masculinity expressed in contemporary religious contexts.
Kendra A. Mohn (PhD, Brite Divinity School) is Lead Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, TX.
Chapter 1: Introduction and Methodology
Chapter 2: Joseph and King Herod
Chapter 3: John the Baptist and Herod Antipas
Chapter 4: Peter
Chapter 5: Judas
This important volume is an exciting entry into Matthean Studies. Dr. Kendra A. Mohn examines the complex Matthean world of gender, power, and divinity by discussing the gendered characterization of Joseph and Herod, John the Baptist and Herod Antipas, Peter, and Judas. Considering factors of service for the divine, self-control, and (lack of) wealth, she argues that the Gospel ambivalently inscribes imperial constructions of dominating masculinity, yet also creates distance from these constructions, even challenging them. The challenge, though, is not sufficient to dislodge divine sanction for the relationship of imperial power and masculinity.
In this welcome contribution to studies of gender in the New Testament, Mohn’s pivotal work moves beyond teasing out simple constructions of masculinity. It names and identifies ways in which Matthew’s gospel negotiates, resists, reinterprets, and mimics imperial hegemonic masculinity. Especially important is Mohn’s attention to how the Gospel reinscribes masculine dominance through its embrace of divine hegemonic masculinity. Mohn’s remarkable clarity and methodological presentation combine to make this a must read for scholars, pastors, seminarians, and college students alike.
In Masculinities in the Gospel of Matthew, Kendra A. Mohn attends to how male characters in the First Gospel both reinscribe and resist dominant discourses of masculinity in the Greco-Roman world. When viewed in light of these wider norms, Matthew’s male characters—including Joseph, John the Baptist, Peter, and Judas—emerge as remarkably ambivalent figures who are entangled with the “manly” markers of divine service, control, and wealth in complicated ways. Mohn’s balanced account not only contributes to the burgeoning scholarship on masculinity in the New Testament, but to wider discussions of gender, characterization, and the relationship between New Testament texts and imperial ideologies.