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

  • MJ Nel
Keywords: Matthew, Matthean Community, Max Weber, Ilana Silber, Religious Virtuosi


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.
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