Matthew’s Moral Ideal, Part I: The Fruits Metaphor

In: The Sermon on the Mount and Spiritual Exercises

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Abstract

Chapters three, four, and five argue that evidence comparable to that for the Kyriai Doxai and the Encheiridion exists for Matt 5–7 and that therefore it is reasonable to conclude that Matthew portrays the Sermon on the Mount as the basis for spiritual exercises intended to transform practitioners into the moral ideal articulated in Matthew’s gospel. Chapters three and four describe Matthew’s character ethic, or ideal self, chapter three by tracing this gospel’s use of the metaphor of trees and their fruits for the source of conduct and conduct itself and showing that particular inward traits and states make right actions possible and that right intentions must accompany those actions.