Much of literary criticism involves a study of the content of the narratives and of the rhetorical techniques by means of which they are told. Some chapter discussions are; the method itself, tracing the storylines of Jesus, Jesus' designation of himself as the Son of man, the disposition and character of the great speeches Jesus delivers, and the social and religious circumstances in which the Christian community apparently lived. The author views Matthew as a unified narrative, organized with a coherent plot, the story of which is governed by a single, overarching, "evaluative point of view."
This work uses literary (narrative) criticism to explore the world of the evangelist Matthew. The focus is on the plot of the gospel story, with discussions of the storylines, Jesus' speeches and journey, the disciples' experiences, and the contemporary community. The book is a completely revised and enlarged version of the first edition. Two chapters have been added: one discussing the speeches of Jesus and one tracing the storline of the religious leaders. Also, chapter 5 on Jesus' use of "the Son of man" has been substantially rewritten to explain more fully and more clearly the meaning and function of this self-designation. Throughout the book, new topics and insights have been added and developed, and the citations and bibliography have been updated.