This challenging and original book questions the accepted conclusions of synoptic research. It argues, first, that Matthew is an adaptation and expansion of Mark by midrash - that is, by standar Jewish expository techniques - depending on no written source other than Mark, and only to a very small extent on oral tradition; and, secondly, that Matthew was written to be read in Christian worship round the year, as a cycle of lessons following the Jewish festal lectionary.
Michael Goulder believes that lectionary schemes also underlie Mark and Luke, and that at least one major part of the Old Testament, the work of the Chronicler, has a similar character. A Gospel, in fact, is not a literary genre at all, but a liturgical one. Matthew himself comes into focus as a converted Jewish scribe who possessed the substance of the Pauline teaching, and who has been the dominat influence in forming the Church's image of Jesus in his adaptation of Mark by midrash and through lection.