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Re: Blessed are the poor in spirit

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  • 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 1 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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@...
    • 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 2 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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 3 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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 4 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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 5 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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 6 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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 7 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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 8 of 14 , May 13, 1999
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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 9 of 14 , May 14, 1999
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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 10 of 14 , May 14, 1999
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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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