|dc.description.abstract||The concept of telling the truth has, to date, received surprisingly scarce treatment within the area of biblical studies. This thesis makes a move towards filling that scholarly gap by addressing just one aspect of the broader issue. With the chosen context of the Gospel of Matthew, limited to the world of the text, and using a combination of literary and historical critical methods, this study draws back to primarily investigate the inner condition(s) required for successful truth-speaking in Matthew. It asks, “How are people able to tell the truth, as opposed to lie, according to Matthew's text?”
To begin this process, “Righteousness: Outflow of Actions in the Context of the Kingdom” offers an introductory treatment of dikaiosunh and righteousness concepts in Matthew. A behavioural focus and Kingdom context are noted, and the Matthean approach of presenting actions (including speech) via the imagery of fruit and natural overflow of the heart is offered as vital to comprehending Matthean righteousness. Matthew 5:33-37 is discussed as a depiction of outflowing righteousness in the particular area of truth-speaking. On this groundwork, “Believing eis eme: Faith as the Right Response to Authority” then leads towards the 'how' by considering the oft-neglected notion of faith in Matthew. Jesus' God-sourced and inherent authority is discussed, as the one teaching and representing the Kingdom; the Greek amhn legw umin formula is analysed, too, as an illustration of Jesus' portrayal as one whose words are trustworthy and correct. Faith is confirmed as the right correlative not only to the authority of God the Father, which is assumed, but also to the authority of Jesus, the one who comes from God to fully live and speak in accordance with the righteousness of the Kingdom.
A further, vital element of the truth-telling process appears in “Faith and Understanding: The Imagery of Vision and Hearing.” Via his favoured imagery of vision and hearing, Matthew ties together the two hugely important concepts of (1) faith, the role of which has been affirmed, and (2) understanding. Matthean examples of sensory imagery that relate to this pairing are highlighted for analysis, including that in the parables discourse of chapter 13. It is clearly demonstrated here that this Gospel text sees understanding as coming through faith commitment. Subsequently, faith and understanding are seen in practice in the text through “Following the Disciples: Tracking Our Theme in the Disciples' Journey.” The disciples are presented as the most beneficial focal point for the progressing argument; their story is explored and analysed as it pertains to the faith-understanding link, especially in their portrayal as oligopistoi, and concrete demonstration is given of their development and mixed success in this area – even in their final appearance in Matt 28.
Having prepared the way by becoming familiar with and evaluating the disciples in general, the actions of Peter specifically are analysed in “Narrowing Down to Our Most Apt Example: Peter's Ability to Speak the Truth in 26:69-75.” Peter is argued to be a well-grounded Matthean representative of the disciples. Next, a positive example of truth-telling is provided in Jesus' approach to his trial (26:57-68), followed by a distinctly less favourable discussion of Peter's failure in the same (26:69-75). Analysis of Peter's “trial” draws together the argument to this point, and uncovers the entire faith-understanding-truth-telling activity at play: Peter's lack of faith and hence lack of understanding lead to a lack of ability to speak the truth. This study finally revisits the uncertain portrayal of the disciples in Matt 28, and briefly addresses what hope there is for them (and for Peter) as potential truth-speakers at the close of the text.||