The Sermon on the Mount

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The Sermon on the Mount

Inspiring the Moral Imagination

Too often the Sermon on the Mount has been interpreted as though it were a book itself rather than a portion of a book. Dale Allison insists on the contrary...

...that the full meaning of these chapters in Matthew's Gospel can be seen only in relation to the broader literary context of the Gospel as a whole, with its Jewish Christian orientation.  Indeed, the Sermon and the moral imperatives it contains must be understood:

  1. in relation to the example provided by Jesus' words and deeds elsewhere in the Gospel;
  2. with reference to the community of believers that constitutes the intended audience of Matthew's Gospel; and
  3. in terms of what the Gospel says elsewhere about the end of the age.

The Sermon does not present a simple set of rules, perhaps only intended for a small and select group within the Christian community, but seeks to instill a moral vision and to inspire the moral imagination of all who would follow Jesus.

Reviews and endorsements

Professor Allison has long been intensely immersed in the Greek text of St. Matthew’s gospel and the exegesis of it, both ancient and modern. In this volume, avoiding the minutiae of scholarship, on the basis of his immense learning he gives his own understanding of Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount, one of the most commented-on texts of all time. After a brilliant statement of the way in which he approaches his theme, he takes each item in the Sermon and expounds it and then offers a conclusion typically illuminating. The result is a highly sophisticated and highly sensitive popularization of this most complex text.
W.D. Davies, Duke University

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Written with wonderful lucidity and richly illustrated from later church commenters, Allison’s account of the Sermon on the Mount will provoke and illumine, inform and even, one may hope, transform those who study it.
John K. Riches, University of Glasgow

9780824517915
Paperback / 200 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9
HERDER & HERDER, 1999