The pivotal values of the ancient world were honor and shame - the worth one had in the eyes of one's neighbor. Here, Jerome Neyrey clarifies what praise and blame meantto Matthew and his audience. He examines the traditional literary forms for bestowing honor and praise and the conventional grounds for awarding them in Matthew's world. Neyrey argues that the evangelist Matthew was trained in conventional ways, and that his writing employs many of the genres taught in the rhetorical handbooks concerning praise. Analysis from this standpoint, supplemented with cross-cultural studies from countries that border the Mediterranean, gives new insight into the Gospel's meaning and purpose.