Which parts of the text
Redaction criticism emerged as part of the quest for the historical Jesus – indeed, it was a critique of this quest because redaction critics pointed out that history and theology are intertwined and inseparable. For example, where Matthew stresses that the scriptures are fulfilled, he takes many examples in his opening chapter of the genealogy of Jesus which stretches back to Adam. The point is not whether Adam existed (as a historical fact) but that the author of Matthew is trying to stress how Scriptural prophecy has been fulfilled in Jesus as a descendant both of David and of Adam. Matthew’s Gospel, we might conclude, is written for a Jewish audience who needed to be convinced that this Messiah (the chosen one of God) is the one foretold by prophets of old, and who stands in the line of the great Jewish kings of old, like David. And Solomon. In contrast with those who ask “what is the historical basis for the Jesus story’, redaction critics ask ‘what is the meaning and purpose of the Jesus story’. History, for many redaction critics, is lost in the mists of theological time.