The mother-ass and her colt (Zech 9:9 and Matth 21): the principles of inner-biblical exegesis and the intertextual approach to the interpretation of biblical texts
Nesterova Olga (2022)
"The mother-ass and her colt (Zech 9:9 and Matth 21): the principles of inner-biblical exegesis and the intertextual approach to the interpretation of biblical texts ",
Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta.
Seriia III : Filologiia
pp. 63-82 (in Russian).
DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII202272.63-82
The paper deals with a notion and techniques of so-called inner-biblical exegesis, as applied to varying accounts of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in the four canonical Gospels, and examines particular modes of establishment and employment of intertextual links, which provided assimilation of veterotestamental prophesies in the neotestamental messianic context. In Matthew 21:1-11, as well as in John 12:12-16, this account contain a direct reference to the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9 (on the forthcoming King, sitting upon an ass, upon a colt the foal of an ass), which is absent in Marc and Luke. The customary messianic interpretation of this prophesy was corroborated by an implicit association with the Jacob’s blessing professed upon Judah, where it was used a similar image of a colt, the donkey’s foal (Gen. 49:11). Though neither Marc, nor Luke cite Zechariah’s text, it seems that both of them had in mind Zech. 9:9 and probably also Gen. 49:11. But Matthew is the only one of four Evangelists, who discerns in the prophesy of Zechariah a dual image of a mother-ass and its foal. To explain, for which reason Matthew, whose knowledge of Hebrew is acknowledged by consensus of modern scholars, refuses to identify a banal figure of synonymic parallelism and insists, against common sense, on the fact that Jesus was riding two mounts at once, it can be presumed, that such a forced interpretation of the Biblical passage was implied by a particular manner of treating the prophetic proof-texts, which probative value could be reinforced by such a kind of hyperliteralist reading, providing its unequivocal application to the person of Jesus Christ.
Bible, Old Testament, New Testament, inner-biblical exegesis, intertextuality, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, proof-texts
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Information about the author
Nesterova Olga Academic Degree:
Candidate of Sciences*
in Philology; Academic Rank:
Senior Research Fellow; Place of work:
Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences; 25A Povarskaya Str., Moscow, 121069, Russian Federation; Post:
senior researcher; ORCID: 0000-0001-8049-8141
*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.