Redaction Criticism And The Great Commission: A Case Study Toward A Biblical Understanding Of Inerrancy -- By: Grant R. Osborne
Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 19:2 (Spring 1976)
Article: Redaction Criticism And The Great Commission: A Case Study Toward A Biblical Understanding Of Inerrancy
Author: Grant R. Osborne
JETS 19:2 (Spring 1976) p. 73
Redaction Criticism And The Great Commission:
A Case Study Toward A Biblical Understanding Of Inerrancy
A great deal of misunderstanding about redaction criticism exists among evangelicals. Too often we have accepted the negative criteria of the radical critics as the only mode within which redactional work may be done. But redaction criticism, properly used, is a positive tool for Biblical research, and evangelicals should be in the forefront of research into its constructive possibilities. The purpose of the present study is to apply redactional techniques to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16–20) in order to understand that pericope better. We shall then examine the implications for a Biblical understanding of inerrancy by stressing the attitude of the Biblical writers themselves to the question rather than the twentieth-century philosophical approach we employ all too often.
I. A Redactional Study Of The Great Commission
Matthew 28:16–20 not only concludes the resurrection narrative and the Book of Matthew as a whole but, many believe,1 also summarizes the message of the first gospel itself. Otto Michel et al.2 argue that the heading, “Great Commission,” is inappropriate, since the passage is mainly an epiphany or exaltation story directed to the new status of the Risen One. However, an exegesis of the passage bears out the traditional title. The early Church must have thought that the message of verses 18–20 centered on its universal mission, since the comments before and after verse 19 center on that verse and provide the means (v. 18) and the encouragement (v. 20) for accomplishing the task.
The Traditionsgeschichte of the passage shows some evidence of a traditional origin, but also a great deal of Matthean themes and language throughout. In the introductory section there is some evidence of tradition in the phrase “to which Jesus had appointed them” (v. 16), for tassō is not Matthean3 and the phrase is probably taken from tradition, alluding to an event not recorded in the gospels. Also, hoi de
*Grant Osborne is professor of New Testament exegesis at Winnipeg Bible College.
JETS 19:2 (Spring 1976) p....
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