Thursday, February 20, 2014

Scholars At Baylor University Views On The Rising of the Saints

David Garland, dean at Truett Seminary at Baylor University, [1] seems to confirm that the darkening of the sky, tearing of the veil, earthquake with the tombs opening, and the risen saints going into Jerusalem are literal historical events. 

He writes, “The phenomenal events that take place after Jesus’ death, however, convey that what has happened is of far greater significance.” [2] Nevertheless, he suggests that Matthew’s intent is beyond just a historical account but also, “Matthew projects this imagery of these end-time events onto the death of Jesus to signify that it is the salvific moment that marks the turning of the ages, the decisive ‘from now on’ that is peculiar to Matthew’s eschatology.”[3]

Garland’s colleague, NT scholar Charles H. Talbert, [4] takes an even more liberal position. He conveys that, “It is difficult to find a modern scholar who does not regard 27:52–53 as something other than history. Either Matthew took over from tradition or he created the theological statement presented as narrative.”[5] He explains the passage probable origins writing:

Jews sometimes interpreted their foundation documents by telling a story that explained the relevance of their sources of identity. As already seen throughout the passion narrative, Matthew often does not specify the scriptural text. It is assumed and functions as an allusion. The author(s) of Matthew may very well have used this haggadic (narrative) type of exposition to explain the significance of Jesus’s resurrection in the messianists’ foundation document. [6]

Baylor is a Baptist university with informal ties to the SBC at the state level.[7] Baylor’s view of the Bible is, “We believe that the sixty-six books of Holy Scripture are inspired by God's Spirit and are the sole supreme authority under God for Christian believing and living; Jesus Christ is the norm by which we interpret Scripture.”[8]

[2]David E. Garland, Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the First Gospel, Reading the New Testament Series (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2001), 264.
[3]Ibid, p. 265
[5]Charles H. Talbert, Matthew, Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 307.
[7] (accessed 12/13/2013) No cooperative funding goes to Baylor from the SBC.
[8] (accessed 1

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