In the Mail: Dennert's John the Baptist and the Jewish Setting of Matthew

I received a copy of Brian C. Dennert's John the Baptist and the Jewish Setting of Matthew (WUNT II/403; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015) to review for The Review of Biblical Literature. (Special thanks to Shawn Wilhite for informing me of its availability.) If you haven't heard of this book, here's the blurb:

Although recent discussions on Matthew have emphasized the document's setting within Judaism, these studies have not analyzed how the Jewish figure of John the Baptist functions within this setting. Brian Dennert steps into this gap, arguing that Matthew presents Jesus to be the continuation and culmination of John's ministry in order to strengthen the claims of Matthew's group and to vilify the opponents of his group. By doing this he encourages Jews yet to align with Matthew's group (particularly those who esteem the Baptist) and to gravitate away from its opponents. The author examines texts roughly contemporaneous with Matthew which reveal respect given to John the Baptist at the time of Matthew's composition. The examination of Matthew shows that the first Evangelist more closely connects the Baptist to Jesus while highlighting his rejection by Jewish authorities.