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Title: A study of Christian perfection in the context of the Sermon on the Mount
Author: Städeli, Walter
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1964
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The saying Mt v.48 is modelled on Lev xix.2 (cf.xi.44, xx.7). However, the term qadhosh is replaced by tamim. In Lev xix.2 qadhosh is the main characteristic of the people of Israel, similarly as in Ex xix.6: the Chosen People is 'consecrated' to its God. At the time of Jesus the negative aspect of holiness, i.e. separation from the Gentiles and from idolatry, seems to have been emphasized. Hence, if Jesus would have quoted Lev xix.2 as a conclusion of the Antitheses (he quotes Lev xix.18 in Mt v.43), this would have contradicted the antithesis v.44. Furthermore, as Israel as a nation was considered to be holy, Jesus had to use a stronger term to express the main characteristic of the eschatological community The religious term tamim - which stems from sacrificial terminology and is reapplied to the worshipper - is a cultic and relational term that expresses the wholeness of consecration to God (cf. Dt xviii.13). It is most significant that tamim appears as the first 'condition of admission' in Ps xv.2, holek tamim (cf. Pss xxvi.1,11, lxxxiv.ll): 'He whose way of life is wholly consecrated'. Hence the authentic meaning of Mt v.48 may be given as follows: You, therefore, must be wholly consecrated, as your heavenly Father is wholly consecrated. The injunction to be wholly consecrated summarizes the conditions (contained in the Beatitudes) for God's coming, or for the wholeness of His consecration. The formulation 48b is unique in the whole Bible; it is in accordance with the teaching of the historical Jesus. If this interpretation is correct, both the legalistic understanding of the final redaction of Matthew, which regards as a near synonym of ??????, and the idea of 'imitatio Dei' are secondary. This is not to say that the ethical aspect is missing: The ovv in Mt v. 48a refers back to the Antitheses, or more particularly to v.45. Hence we may paraphrase v.48 in this way: You, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven, must be wholly consecrated to Him, as your heavenly Father is wholly consecrated to you. This implies two things: (l) wholeness of consecration is the conditio sine qua non of divine sonship; (2) divine sonship is realised only in filial obedience. What Jesus teaches on the Mount of the Sermon, then, may be described as THE WAY OF THE SON. It is possible that the author to the Hebrews reinterprets Jesus' concept of perfection, and that in the sense that the perfection of the Son is his entire and conclusive consecration as High Priest, which is the realisation of his sonship, whilst the perfection of the sons is their entire and conclusive consecration to a priestly service by the single offering of Christ. The Sermon on the Mount already implies that the members of the eschatological community participate in Jesus' sonship and thus also - to a certain extent - in his priestly service.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available