Thursday, November 03, 2005
From By the Renewing of Your Minds by Ellen T. Charry, an essay entitled "Sermon on the Mount":
Matthew presents the new righteousness as an accessible teaching, although not a facile one. It is propounded with numerous examples and instances so that hearers may begin to apply the new standards of conduct to themselves and extrapolate from those given to others. Although the piety it opposed was based on a system of legal obligations, the righteousness espoused in the Sermon does not assume that legaism per se is problematic. The core of Matthean piety is proactive, not reactive. It entices readers with an understanding of righteousness grounded in other-centeredness--an orientation to the needs of others that sets their welfare above one's own. Matthew's fence around the Law confronts hearers with this stringent standard for self-examination. Other-centeredness is to be cultivated in every aspect of life; it destroys any division between civil and religious obligation. God demands other-centeredness in everything...

Matthew turned attention from correct performance to the agent's self-concept, from behavior to character (80).

posted by Peter at 12:04 AM
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