Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 22:1 (Spring 2018) p. 127
The Body of Jesus: A Spatial Analysis of the Kingdom in Matthew. By Patrick Schreiner. New York: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2016, 188 pp, $85.40. hard cover
What is the nature of the kingdom of God? This is a question that has bared the brunt of theological contemplation for thousands of years. While there has been much debate in this regard, a common consensus seems to be that the kingdom represents the concept of God’s sovereign rule, and only secondarily, if at all, has any spatial considerations. Even those who do affirm that the kingdom has a spatial aspect, rarely do they specify how or in what way. Patrick Schreiner’s, The Body of Jesus: A Spatial Analysis of the Kingdom in Matthew, helpfully pushes back against this common understanding and also provides a way in which to understand the kingdom’s spatial aspect as set forth in Matthew’s gospel.
Schreiner divided his work into three parts:
Part I: Space: The Final Frontier
Part 2: Jesus vs. Beelzebul
Part 3: Word-building with Words
Part 4: People, Presence, and Place
Schreiner’s argument has a clear progression. In part one, he presents an apology for the work, particularly the benefit to be had in a spatial analysis of Matthew. Part one concludes with an explanation of critical spatial theory. Schreiner then proceeds in the remainder of his work to apply critical spatial theory to the gospel of Matthew, focusing on both the deeds of Jesus (the Beelzebul Controversy and the Spirit in Matthew), and the words of Jesus (the five major discourses). Finally, in Part 4 Schreiner brings two major themes of Matthew together (the kingdom and the presence of Jesus) in light of critical spatial theory. In this review, I will give a brief summary and evaluation of each chapter. I will then conclude with some general observations of the work as a whole.
In Chapter 1, Schreiner discusses the “Eclipse of Space” in biblical studies, or more specifically, the general lack of consideration given to the spatial
SBJT 22:1 (Spring 2018) p. 128
aspect of the kingdom in Matthew’s gospel. For several reasons, including the tendency to emphasize on the kingdom as God’s rule, the dominance of time, a dualistic tension within Christianity, and a constricted view of space, the realm aspect of the kingdom has been largely ignored, or pushed into the future eschaton (10). However, according to Schreiner, critical spatial theory provides a way to grasp the kingdom as realm and so bring balance to the study of this important theological concept. Schreiner thus states his thesis in two ways. First, “Theologically, Jesus...
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