The Sermon on the Mount as the Basis of a Spiritual Exercise

In: The Sermon on the Mount and Spiritual Exercises

Abstract

Chapter five then identifies evidence internal and external to the Sermon on the Mount—evidence comparable to that presented for the Kyriai Doxai and the Encheiridion—that Matthew portrays it as the basis for an exercise that enables one to become the self that Matthew idealizes. First, it demonstrates that Matt 5–7 presents in gnomic form the moral norm featured throughout the gospel, the demand for proper interiority. Second, it argues that the SM’s conclusion in 7:24–7 indicates its intended function, namely to prompt exercises of reflection, or meditation, on the contents of chs. 5–7 as well exercises of attention, or, self-scrutiny. Third, it maintains that the notion that Matthew would present the Sermon on the Mount as the basis for transformative work on the self coheres with the evangelist’s depiction of moral progress and of Jesus as Wisdom.