Angelification In The Gospel Of Matthew

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The Angelification in the Gospel of Matthew
1. Introduction
In his well known The Resurrection of the Son of God, N. T. Wright, following the thesis of Oscar Cullmann, suggests that early Christians did not believe in any form of angelic afterlife. As a response to their view, this essay seeks to argue that some early Christians, especially the author of the Gospel of Matthew, probably believed in angelification in line with Late Second Temple Judaism. I will first investigate the notion of angelification in the light of Second Temple Jewish writings. Then I will explore how this notion relates to the Gospel of Matthew.
2. The Angelification in Second Temple Judaism
The notion of angelification is first attested in the Book of Daniel, a 2nd century B.C.E. Jewish text,
‘Many of those who sleep in the land of dust will awake, these to
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Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever’ (Dan 12.2–3).
Wright claims that this text is concerned with bodily resurrection instead of ‘astral immortality’ by arguing that the righteous is said to be like the stars, rather than that they will become the stars. Furthermore, he asserts that the text demonstrates Jewish two-stage resurrection, that is, the righteous are first dead, and then raised up by God, which contradicts Greek one-stage ‘astral immortality’, according to which the righteous immediately become immortal without body after death. Wright’s argument, however, has three weaknesses: (1) Hebrew literature can use ‘like’ (כְּ) not to mean that the reality is not the analog but to describe the fulfillment or the nature of an ideal. For example, that the destruction of the locust plague in Joel 1.15 is said to be like a ‘destruction from the Almighty’ does not mean that the destruction is not in fact from the Almighty. Instead, the ‘like’ emphasizes that the

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