The Gospel of Matthew opens with a patrilineal genealogy of Jesus that intriguingly includes five women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, “she of Uriah”, and Mary. In a gospel that has a strongly Jewish and male-orientated outlook, why are women incorporated? Particularly, why include these four Old Testament women alongside Mary?
Rejecting traditional as well as feminist views, E. Anne Clements undertakes a close literary reading of the narratives to discern how each woman is characterised and presented. All are significant scriptural figures on the margins of Israelite society. From this intertextual world established by Matthew, Clements explores why Matthew may have named these women in the opening genealogy and what implications their inclusion may have for the ongoing gospel narrative.
Mothers on the Margin? argues that Matthew’s Gospel contains a counter narrative focused on women. The presence of the five women in the genealogy indicates that the birth of the Messiah will bring about a crisis in Israel’s identity in terms of ethnicity, marginality, and gender. The women signal that Matthew’s Gospel is concerned with the construal of a new identity for the people of God.
Part One: The Five Mothers of Matthew’s Genealogy
1. Introduction: The Genesis of a Thesis
2. Matthew’s Genealogy
6. “She of Uriah”
Part Two: The Collective Significance of the Women for the Ongoing Gospel Narrative
8. Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth: Aspects of Matthean Discipleship
9. Others on the Margin in Matthew’s Gospel
10. Women in Matthew’s Narrative Life
11. Conclusion: Mothers on the Margin? Matthew’s Call to Conversion
Endorsements and Reviews
E. Anne Clements’ careful and intriguing study of the women in Matthew’s genealogy poses a direct challenge to readings that have demeaned them. It opens up vital questions about Matthew’s purpose, his reading of the Hebrew Scriptures, our view of women in the biblical story, and our understanding of Jesus himself. It deserves a wide readership.
Dr Stephen I. Wright, Spurgeon’s College, London
E. Anne Clements unpacks the immense significance of the inclusion of five women in Matthew’s genealogy, carefully exploring their stories and the particular reasons why these women are named. With careful and thorough scholarship brought to a crucial text, Clements demonstrates the inclusive nature of the gospel. … Clements’ study has wide-ranging application to our understanding of the nature of the gospel and of the church today.
Rose Dowsett, OMF International