Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance
A. Comparison of English or other published translations
In v.1 Magi [capital M] (NIV) vs. magi [little m] (NASB) vs. wise men (RSV, NRSV)
Magi - noun or proper name?
In v. 2 come to "worship" (NIV) vs. "pay him homage" (NRSV)
Again in v. 8
In v. 10 "overwhelmed with joy" (NRSV) vs. "overjoyed" (NIV) vs. "rejoiced with exceedingly great joy" (RSV)
Is the RSV statement more powerful?
B. Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism
Magoi? plural of magus as in Acts 13:6 - magician or sorcerer
C. One's Own Rough Translation
Step II - Disposition
A. Genre - How the text says what it says
continuation of birth narrative
B. Personal Interaction - Questions and observations
are the wise men different after this experience?
"joy" language seems to suggest so
epiphany that which brings joy?
Are we too quick to ascribe to the wise men elements of faithfulness, goodness, warm fuzzy feelings when the text might not support it?
"We Three Kings"
is their real motivation a combination of not only faith (possibly), but also scientific/professional curiosity
hedging their bets - being keen observers, they saw the signs, the writing on the wall and they simply chose to get on board, like an astute Wall Street investor?
What are they confident in?
Powers of observation?
What is Herod confident in?
What confidence does epiphany bring, if any?
C. Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located
Step III - Composition
A. Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope
before - genealogy and birth narrative
after - escape to Egypt (sort of a reverse-Exodus) and later return
B. Organization of the Compositional Whole
Pattern reversal from Galilee to Judea in ch. 3-18, now Judea to Galilee in birth story
Chiasm of ministry locations
A. Issues of Authorship
Step IV - Context
A. Primitive Christianity
seems quite distinctive from Luke's birth story
Matthew's story set among royalty, priests, wealthy foreigners
Luke's story seems more "humble"? manger, shepherds
Can these stories be harmonized? Should we even try?
B. Old Testament and Judaism
Later application of Psalm 72 and Isaiah 60 to Christmas story
That application is probably how we make the jump from magi to "kings"
Matthew's continuing sensitivity to Jewish audience/community, who were expecting a Messiah
What about that community's confidence?
A. Hellenistic World
Step V - Distillation
A. Summary of Salient Features
somehow, this epiphany is relief
awareness of Christ's identity may mean that we no longer have to do some things for ourselves
save ourselves through supreme confidence in ourselves
B. Smooth Translation
A. Hermeneutical Bridge
Collision of confidences
Wise men's confidence in their powers of observation
Herod's confidence in his brutal ability to effect change
Replaced by epiphany, new confidence in Christ
This new confidence produces joy
Those who can make the confidence shift experience the joy
Those who cannot make the confidence shift come to an end
Step VI - Contemporary Address
A. Description of Audience
B. Intended Goals for the Address
Contrast confidence in self, intellect, money, power, ability to conjure up (magician connection) joy [like at Christmas] with confidence in/of Christ
"Confidence of the Children of God" often used liturgically
dominant culture invites us to be confident in self
epiphany makes a different invitation?