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Re: Blessed are the poor in spirit

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  • Dan Eumurian
    Songwriter-singer-pianist Ken Medema ( ), in his album People of the Son, puts it, Blessed are those who know that they are poor. Ken is
    Message 1 of 14 , May 13 3:31 AM
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      Songwriter-singer-pianist Ken Medema (<www.kenmedema.com>), in his album
      "People of the Son," puts it, "Blessed are those who know that they are
      poor." Ken is a music therapist, but I understand that his wife earned a
      master's degree in theology to enrich the content of his music, so there
      may be depth beneath the simplicity.

      Someone has said, "Humility is a right opinion of oneself." Sounds like
      a good alternative to HUBRIS.

      In the context of GMatthew's Beatitudes, it seems to be a significant
      paradox, perhaps intended by Jesus himself or the gospel writer to call
      attention to the Person and ministry of Jesus, and thus to the Father.

      I believe the late Robert Guelich would have deferred to GLuke's
      version. Matthew, and perhaps by implication Luke, seems to go deeper
      than a mere sympathy for the poor.

      Dan Eumurian, B. Mus. in Mus. Ed., M.A. in Theological Studies
      1634 Barlow St.
      La Crosse, WI 54601
      (608) 788-8637
      hope4you@...

      Mark Goodacre wrote:
      >
      > What do you think Jesus in Matthew means by "Blessed are the poor in spirit"?
      >
      > Mark
      > --------------------------------------
      > Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
      > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
      > Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
      >
      > http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
      > Aseneth Home Page
      > Recommended New Testament Web Resources
      > Mark Without Q
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... There is, I think, in all of this a hidden assumption operating regarding who it is whom Jesus, according to Matthew, addresses when he utters the
      Message 2 of 14 , May 13 8:29 AM
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        Mark Goodacre wrote:

        > On 13 May 99 at 11:02, Jim West wrote:
        >
        > > In other words, the first beatitude sets the stage for the rest- and having
        > > climbed one rung one moves to the next- towards spiritual maturity.
        > >
        > > Is this what you wanted our opinion about?
        >
        > Yes -- this is just the kind of thing I was looking for. I don't think that
        > I have heard the idea of progressing stage by stage through the beatitudes
        > before. Do you know of any literature expounding that view? An interesting
        > and plausible thought especially that "the highest pinnacle (for the Matthean
        > community) [is] martyrdom for the faith". It is, after all, a theme that
        > recurs in the Sermon (especially in the "Love your enemies" section) and then
        > again regularly in the rest of the Gospel.
        >
        > The interpretation suggested for "poor in spirit" reminds me of the NEB's "How
        > blest are those who know their need of God", one of that translation's better
        > moments. So is the "spirit" in "poor in spirit" God's spirit?
        >

        There is, I think, in all of this a hidden assumption operating regarding who it
        is whom Jesus, according to Matthew, addresses when he utters the beatitude,
        namely, that it is individuals. But it seems to me that we would have a whole new
        take on what is being said if we took seriously the cues in the Sermon that all
        that is said within it is proclaimed to a corporate body, to (the new?) Israel,
        and has to do with how Israel and not individuals are to be the people of God..

        Jeffrey Gibson
        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson
        7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
        Chicago, Illinois 60626
        e-mail jgibson000@...
      • Jim West
        ... I have not seen anyone who shares this view with me. It is another example of my rather idiosyncratic brain at work (ar at rest- depending on ones point
        Message 3 of 14 , May 13 8:34 AM
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          At 04:25 PM 5/13/99 +0000, you wrote:

          >Yes -- this is just the kind of thing I was looking for. I don't think that
          >I have heard the idea of progressing stage by stage through the beatitudes
          >before. Do you know of any literature expounding that view?

          I have not seen anyone who shares this view with me. It is another example
          of my rather idiosyncratic brain at work (ar at rest- depending on ones
          point of view.. :-) )

          >An interesting
          >and plausible thought especially that "the highest pinnacle (for the Matthean
          >community) [is] martyrdom for the faith". It is, after all, a theme that
          >recurs in the Sermon (especially in the "Love your enemies" section) and then
          >again regularly in the rest of the Gospel.

          I agree. For the Matthean community martyrdom seems to be the highest
          evidence of spiritual love. "No greater love... etc."

          >
          >The interpretation suggested for "poor in spirit" reminds me of the NEB's "How
          >blest are those who know their need of God", one of that translation's better
          >moments. So is the "spirit" in "poor in spirit" God's spirit?

          I think they are poor in participation with God's Spirit. They are poverty
          stricken where it counts most- in their relationship to God.

          best,

          Jim

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Jim West, ThD
          email- jwest@...
          web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
        • Mark Goodacre
          What do you think Jesus in Matthew means by Blessed are the poor in spirit ? Mark ... Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@bham.ac.uk Dept of
          Message 4 of 14 , May 13 8:45 AM
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            What do you think Jesus in Matthew means by "Blessed are the poor in spirit"?

            Mark
            --------------------------------------
            Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
            Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
            University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
            Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

            http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
            Aseneth Home Page
            Recommended New Testament Web Resources
            Mark Without Q
          • Mark Goodacre
            ... Yes -- this is just the kind of thing I was looking for. I don t think that I have heard the idea of progressing stage by stage through the beatitudes
            Message 5 of 14 , May 13 9:25 AM
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              On 13 May 99 at 11:02, Jim West wrote:

              > In other words, the first beatitude sets the stage for the rest- and having
              > climbed one rung one moves to the next- towards spiritual maturity.
              >
              > Is this what you wanted our opinion about?

              Yes -- this is just the kind of thing I was looking for. I don't think that
              I have heard the idea of progressing stage by stage through the beatitudes
              before. Do you know of any literature expounding that view? An interesting
              and plausible thought especially that "the highest pinnacle (for the Matthean
              community) [is] martyrdom for the faith". It is, after all, a theme that
              recurs in the Sermon (especially in the "Love your enemies" section) and then
              again regularly in the rest of the Gospel.

              The interpretation suggested for "poor in spirit" reminds me of the NEB's "How
              blest are those who know their need of God", one of that translation's better
              moments. So is the "spirit" in "poor in spirit" God's spirit?

              Mark
              --------------------------------------
              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
              Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
              University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
              Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
              Aseneth Home Page
              Recommended New Testament Web Resources
              Mark Without Q
            • Mark Goodacre
              ... Would you like to say a bit more about this? I do like exegesis of the Sermon that stresses its being preached to a corporte body / new Israel, etc. After
              Message 6 of 14 , May 13 10:03 AM
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                On 13 May 99 at 10:29, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

                > There is, I think, in all of this a hidden assumption operating regarding who
                > it is whom Jesus, according to Matthew, addresses when he utters the
                > beatitude, namely, that it is individuals. But it seems to me that we would
                > have a whole new take on what is being said if we took seriously the cues in
                > the Sermon that all that is said within it is proclaimed to a corporate body,
                > to (the new?) Israel, and has to do with how Israel and not individuals are to
                > be the people of God.

                Would you like to say a bit more about this? I do like exegesis of the Sermon
                that stresses its being preached to a corporte body / new Israel, etc.
                After all, as so many have pointed out, the Sermon follows on from such
                clear Israel / Moses parallels and perhaps Matthew is here setting
                up Nevertheless, I would be interested to hear how you see the relationship
                between the preaching to a "corporate body" and the exhortations to and
                illustrations concerning individual behaviour ("anyone who is angry with his
                brother . . . settle matters quickly with your adversaries . . . etc. etc.).

                In other words, does one not have both: corporate identity and individual
                behaviour within it? One of my favourite recent quotations comes from John
                Riches, and it is one I have set for exams: the Sermon is 'Not just a set of
                rules but the foundation document of a new religious community which sees
                itself as children of a heavenly father who will forgive and reward the
                "righteous"' (John Riches).

                Mark

                --------------------------------------
                Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                Aseneth Home Page
                Recommended New Testament Web Resources
                Mark Without Q
              • Jim Deardorff
                ... Hello Mark, You must have known I couldn t stay silent on such a question. Suppose AMt s source document had contained teachings on spirituality (i.e. the
                Message 7 of 14 , May 13 12:12 PM
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                  At 03:45 PM 5/13/99 GMT, Mark Goodacre wrote:
                  >What do you think Jesus in Matthew means by "Blessed are the poor in spirit"?

                  Hello Mark,

                  You must have known I couldn't stay silent on such a question.

                  Suppose AMt's source document had contained teachings on spirituality (i.e.
                  the human spirit), which of course could not have been carried over into his
                  Gospel due to early Christianity's emphasis upon the external Holy Spirit,
                  due in turn largely to the earlier espousal of Holy Spirit by Paul. AMt
                  nevertheless may have altered some of those teachings rather than omit them
                  entirely from his gospel, in cases that seemed editorially feasible to him.
                  If the original teaching had read "Blessed are the rich in spirit...", then
                  the editorial alteration of "rich" to "poor" would render the verse
                  compatible with AMt's own theology. I.e., "poor in spirit" held the meaning,
                  I believe, of the opposite of "hard-hearted." In that case, the "poor in
                  spirit" would include those who were receptive to the teachings of the clergy.

                  Jim Deardorff
                  Corvallis, Oregon
                  E-mail: deardorj@...
                  Home page: http://www.proaxis.com/~deardorj/index.htm
                • Jack Kilmon
                  I guess it has a lot to do with how we retrovert MAKARIOI OI PTWXOI TW PNEUMATI to an Aramaic vorlage that may have been originally Yeshuine. tubayHON
                  Message 8 of 14 , May 13 12:17 PM
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                    I guess it has a lot to do with how we retrovert MAKARIOI
                    OI PTWXOI TW PNEUMATI to an Aramaic vorlage that may have
                    been originally Yeshuine. tubayHON l'MISKeNAH would be
                    "Fortunate/Blessed are the poor/humble/unassuming b'RUH
                    (in spirit)" This term is echoed throughout the DSS
                    and their are those that believe Jesus was making a
                    direct comment about the Essenes. I don't think he
                    was referring to just anyone who was poor but to anyone
                    who was humble since humility designates a poorness of
                    "spirit" and is consistent with the same Aramaic word
                    as "poor" idiomatically.

                    Jack

                    Mark Goodacre wrote:
                    >
                    > What do you think Jesus in Matthew means by "Blessed are the poor in spirit"?
                    >
                    > Mark
                    > --------------------------------------
                    > Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                    > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                    > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                    > Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
                    >
                    > http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                    > Aseneth Home Page
                    > Recommended New Testament Web Resources
                    > Mark Without Q

                    --
                    ______________________________________________

                    taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

                    Jack Kilmon
                    jkilmon@...

                    http://www.historian.net
                  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                    Jim Deardorff wrote: [snip] ... Is there one single bit of actual evidence --- I don t care whether it s from the century in which GMatt is traditionally dated
                    Message 9 of 14 , May 13 12:21 PM
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                      Jim Deardorff wrote:

                      [snip]

                      > ... "poor in spirit" held the meaning,
                      > I believe, of the opposite of "hard-hearted." In that case, the "poor in
                      > spirit" would include those who were receptive to the teachings of the clergy.
                      >

                      Is there one single bit of actual evidence --- I don't care whether it's from the
                      century in which GMatt is traditionally dated (1st CE) *or* from the century in
                      which you think it's from (2nd CE) -- that the expression "poor in Spirit" was
                      ever interpreted in this way? Is there a single Church father who ever read it
                      this way? One would think that if indeed AMatt meant what you say he meant, that
                      *some* exegete, especially of the second or third centuries CE, would have picked
                      up on it, as it would have been congenial to the concern to buttress orthodoxy.

                      Absent this, your claim is a non sequitur.

                      Jeffrey Gibson
                      --
                      Jeffrey B. Gibson
                      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
                      Chicago, Illinois 60626
                      e-mail jgibson000@...
                    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                      ... Thought I haven t given this much thought, I think poor in Spirit is just a Matthean way of saying the powerless And those who have committed
                      Message 10 of 14 , May 13 12:25 PM
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                        Jeff Peterson wrote:

                        > At 10:29 AM -0500 5/13/99, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
                        > we would have a whole new
                        > >take on what is being said if we took seriously the cues in the Sermon
                        > >that all
                        > >that is said within it is proclaimed to a corporate body, to (the new?)
                        > >Israel,
                        > >and has to do with how Israel and not individuals are to be the people of
                        > >God..
                        >
                        > Could you unpack this a little? E.g., would a blessing on the new Israel
                        > for its poverty in Spirit be in comparison with the adequacy that the
                        > nations assume in their commerce with the divine, intimated perhaps by
                        > their confidence that their prattling at prayer will be heard (6:7)? Not
                        > meaning to bind you to this off the cuff example,, but is this the sort of
                        > interpretation you have in mind?
                        >

                        Thought I haven't given this much thought, I think "poor in Spirit" is just a
                        Matthean way of saying "the powerless" And those who have committed themselves
                        to the lifestyle that in the eyes of the world makes them that way.

                        Yours,

                        Jeffrey
                        .
                        --
                        Jeffrey B. Gibson
                        7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
                        Chicago, Illinois 60626
                        e-mail jgibson000@...
                      • Jeff Peterson
                        At 10:29 AM -0500 5/13/99, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote: we would have a whole new ... Could you unpack this a little? E.g., would a blessing on the new Israel for
                        Message 11 of 14 , May 13 1:30 PM
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                          At 10:29 AM -0500 5/13/99, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
                          we would have a whole new
                          >take on what is being said if we took seriously the cues in the Sermon
                          >that all
                          >that is said within it is proclaimed to a corporate body, to (the new?)
                          >Israel,
                          >and has to do with how Israel and not individuals are to be the people of
                          >God..


                          Could you unpack this a little? E.g., would a blessing on the new Israel
                          for its poverty in Spirit be in comparison with the adequacy that the
                          nations assume in their commerce with the divine, intimated perhaps by
                          their confidence that their prattling at prayer will be heard (6:7)? Not
                          meaning to bind you to this off the cuff example,, but is this the sort of
                          interpretation you have in mind?

                          Jeff

                          ------------------------------------
                          Jeffrey Peterson
                          Institute for Christian Studies
                          Austin, Texas, USA
                          ------------------------------------
                        • Dennis Sullivan
                          ... From: Mark Goodacre To: Synoptic-L@bham.ac.uk Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 10:53 AM Subject: Blessed are
                          Message 12 of 14 , May 13 5:30 PM
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                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: Mark Goodacre <M.S.GOODACRE@...>
                            To: Synoptic-L@... <Synoptic-L@...>
                            Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 10:53 AM
                            Subject: Blessed are the poor in spirit


                            What do you think Jesus in Matthew means by "Blessed are the poor in
                            spirit"?

                            Mark


                            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                            The following are some notes I made based on lectures and writings of David
                            Bivin and Robert L. Lindsey back in the early eighties. I've expanded them
                            somewhat for this discussion. So, FWIW...

                            Matthew appears to have the most authentic account of the teaching of Jesus
                            "on the mount", where Luke has "on the plain" and writes abbreviated
                            versions of the phrases used in Matthew for whatever reason: Lukan edits,
                            difference in sources maybe, who knows?

                            Matthew's version reflects a more recognizable C1 Jewish perspective, and,
                            in my opinion, is more typical of what we might expect of a Jewish teacher
                            of that period. The Rabbis had developed certain rules for the
                            interpretation of Scripture, and used commonly understood teaching devices.
                            One of these techniques that we find in Jesus' discourses is "remez", a
                            method of "hinting" at a Scripture by quoting a portion of a passage and by
                            doing this, referring to that and sometimes adjacent passages, leaving it to
                            the hearers to recall the context to which he alluded. Occasionally he even
                            misquoted a Scripture in order to make a point. He also occasionally mixed
                            Scriptures together to make a statement as we notice in the Isaiah reading
                            in Luke 4. All very "Jewish" teaching styles. The "remez" technique seems
                            to be a component of Jesus' teaching in the "Beatitudes".

                            3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
                            heaven.

                            Poor in spirit was a phrase used by the Qumran people, and comes from:

                            Isaiah 66:2 "But to this one will I look, even to him who is poor and
                            contrite in spirit, and who trembles at my word."

                            ...for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven would be better translated of
                            such is the Kingdom of Heaven as in Matt. 19:14 (KJV). Rather than becoming
                            owners of the Kingdom, we become partakers in it.

                            Other similar passages:

                            Isa. 57:15 For this is what the high and lofty One says-- he who lives
                            forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with
                            him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly
                            and to revive the heart of the contrite”.

                            Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and
                            contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

                            Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are
                            crushed in spirit.


                            Kingdom of Heaven (Hebrew, Malchut Shamayim), was a well-known phrase
                            used by the Pharisees. The concept was inferred first from Exodus 15:18,
                            after the parting of the Red Sea.

                            “ The LORD will reign for ever and ever."

                            Reign refers to a King, who reigns over a kingdom. In Hebrew, the words
                            "reign", "king", and "kingdom" are based on the same root: mem-lamed-caph.

                            An oft-spoken Jewish prayer goes "we first saw Your Kingdom when You parted
                            the Red Sea"...so, when you experience the miraculous, the Kingdom of Heaven
                            has come to you. Remember, too, "Kingdom of Heaven" is the Jewish way of
                            saying "Kingdom of God", and is the name Yeshua used to refer to His
                            movement. The Kingdom is made up of those who accept God's rulership over
                            them, and isn't necessarily a reference to some future time.

                            Dennis Sullivan Dayton Ohio
                            www.jerusalemperspective.com
                          • Brian E. Wilson
                            Jack Kilmon wrote - ... Jack, Do you mean that the whole phrase is echoed in Aramaic in the Dead Sea Scrolls, please? Or part of it? If so, which part? Would
                            Message 13 of 14 , May 14 3:38 AM
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                              Jack Kilmon wrote -
                              >
                              >I guess it has a lot to do with how we retrovert MAKARIOI
                              >OI PTWXOI TW PNEUMATI to an Aramaic vorlage that may have
                              >been originally Yeshuine. tubayHON l'MISKeNAH would be
                              >"Fortunate/Blessed are the poor/humble/unassuming b'RUH
                              >(in spirit)" This term is echoed throughout the DSS ...
                              >
                              Jack,
                              Do you mean that the whole phrase is echoed in Aramaic in the Dead
                              Sea Scrolls, please? Or part of it? If so, which part?

                              Would you like to give some indications or examples? I find this
                              fascinating.

                              Best wishes,
                              BRIAN WILSON

                              E-MAIL: brian@... HOMEPAGE
                              SNAILMAIL: Rev B. E. Wilson,
                              10 York Close, Godmanchester, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
                              Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK
                            • Jack Kilmon
                              ... You may want to look at 4Q525 traanslated in Wise, Abegg and Cook. Also check out Emile Puech Un Hymne Essenien en Parte Retrouve et les Beatitudes in
                              Message 14 of 14 , May 14 1:53 PM
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                                "Brian E. Wilson" wrote:
                                >
                                > Jack Kilmon wrote -
                                > >
                                > >I guess it has a lot to do with how we retrovert MAKARIOI
                                > >OI PTWXOI TW PNEUMATI to an Aramaic vorlage that may have
                                > >been originally Yeshuine. tubayHON l'MISKeNAH would be
                                > >"Fortunate/Blessed are the poor/humble/unassuming b'RUH
                                > >(in spirit)" This term is echoed throughout the DSS ...
                                > >
                                > Jack,
                                > Do you mean that the whole phrase is echoed in Aramaic in the Dead
                                > Sea Scrolls, please? Or part of it? If so, which part?
                                >
                                > Would you like to give some indications or examples? I find this
                                > fascinating.

                                You may want to look at 4Q525 traanslated in Wise, Abegg and Cook.
                                Also check out Emile Puech "Un Hymne Essenien en Parte Retrouve et
                                les Beatitudes in Revue du Qumran 13, 1988 pp 59-88 and
                                4Q525 et les Pericopes des Beatitudes en Ben Sira et Matthieu in
                                Revue Biblique 98, 1991 pp 80-106.

                                Been a while since I read them but I will just bet Jim West has them.

                                Jack
                                --
                                ______________________________________________

                                taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

                                Jack Kilmon
                                jkilmon@...

                                http://www.historian.net
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