The presence of religious virtuosi and non-virtuosi in the Matthean community

MJ Nel


This article analyses the Gospel according to Matthew in the light of
Max Weber’s social-scientific model of virtuoso religion. It attempts to determine if the
Matthean community reflected in the Gospel had a two-tier social structure comprised of
followers who strictly obeyed the demanding commands of Jesus to renounce both their families
and their possessions (virtuosi) and more temperate members who did not (non-virtuosi). The
article firstly attempts to clarify what is understood by the Matthean community, before giving
a brief overview of Weber’s understanding of virtuoso religion that is then utilised to analyse
the Gospel according to Matthew. The article comes to the conclusion that the Matthean community
was comprised of both virtuosi and non-virtuosi followers of Jesus.


Matthew; Matthean Community; Max Weber; Ilana Silber; Religious Virtuosi

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

© 2014 Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, Stellenbosch.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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