How can I get a copy of your Matthew article affordably?

Q. I just started reading your blog and your books. I would like to get an article you wrote for New Testament Studies, “Literary Evidences of a Fivefold Structure in the Gospel of Matthew.” At their web site they wanted $30.00 to buy your article. That seems a bit steep for a single article. Is there any way I can get it for a more reasonable price?

Thank you very much for your interest.  Cambridge University Press, the publisher of New Testament Studies, holds the copyright to the article, so unfortunately I can’t post its content online myself.  I do need to honor their rights and help make sure they get their royalties so they can continue publishing the journal.  But even so, I think you could get the article more cheaply than by buying a single copy online.

For one thing, if you live near a university or especially a seminary, they might have an institutional subscription to the journal that would allow their patrons to read the article.  Many such schools offer courtesy borrowing privileges to those living in their area.  So this is one avenue you could pursue.

Another possibility would be to ask your local library to try to get you a copy by Inter-Library Loan.  Consortia of libraries pay fees to consortia of journals to make this kind of thing possible.  I’ve often gotten journal articles this way myself, usually free, although occasionally for a slight fee, which has always been significantly less than $30.

Finally, since ideas are not copyrighted, only specific expressions of them, let me summarize here the main ideas in the article:

The first page of Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels.

• The first literary evidence of a five-fold structure in the gospel of Matthew is the way the author has marked off five discourses with the formula “after Jesus had finished saying these things” at the end, and with references to Jesus gathering his disciples together for teaching at the beginning.  These discourses are the Sermon on the Mount, the commissioning of the disciples, the collection of parables, the teaching about community life, and the Olivet Discourse (about the “sign of his coming and the end of the age”).

• The next evidence is that each of these discourses expounds on a theme that the episodes in the preceding narrative have introduced. These themes are, sequentially, the foundations, mission, mystery, family, and destiny of the kingdom of God. So the gospel as a whole consists of five thematically coordinated narrative-discourse pairs. (These are preceded by the genealogy of Jesus and followed by the narrative of his death and resurrection.)

• The final evidence is the way transitional episodes between these five major sections reprise the theme of the preceding section and introduce the theme of the new one.  The account of the healing of the leper at the start of the second section, for example, reprises the theme of the first section that has just ended–that the foundations of the kingdom are in an inward “righteousness” that fulfill the deepest intentions of the law (Jesus tells the leper to show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded).  But this episode also introduces the “mission” theme of the second section, since at the start of the discourse in this section, Jesus sends the disciples out to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons”–Jesus himself has just done most of these things in the narrative portion of the section.

I hope this information is helpful, and that you are able to find an affordable copy of the article.  Thanks again for your interest!