What, in Matthew’s view, should a human being become and how does one attain that ideal? In
The Sermon on the Mount and Spiritual Exercises: The Making of the Matthean Self, George Branch-Trevathan presents a new account of Matthew’s ethics and argues that the evangelist presents the Sermon on the Mount as functioning like many other ancient sayings collections, that is, as facilitating transformative work on oneself, or “spiritual exercises,” that enable one to realize the evangelist’s ideals. The conclusion suggests some implications for our understanding of ethical formation in antiquity and the study of ethics more generally. This will be an essential volume for scholars studying the Gospel of Matthew, early Christian ethics, the relationships between early Christian and ancient philosophical writings, or ethical formation in antiquity.
George Branch-Trevathan, Ph.D. (2016), Emory University, is Assistant Professor of Religion at Thiel College.
List of Tables Abbreviations and Texts
Introduction 1 The Question and the Starting Point
2 Prior Research
3 The Plan of This Study
Sayings Collections and Spiritual Exercises 1 The Contents of Sayings Collections
2 The Functions of Sayings Collections
3 Sayings Collections and Spiritual Exercises
Matthew’s Moral Ideal, Part I: the Fruits Metaphor 1 The Roots of Right Actions
2 Moral Duplicity
Matthew’s Moral Ideal, Part II: Other Evidence 1 15:1–20
2 Chs. 24–5
The Sermon on the Mount as the Basis of a Spiritual Exercise 1 Internal Evidence That the SM Resembles the Basis of a Spiritual Exercise
2 External Evidence That the SM Resembles the Basis of a Spiritual Exercise
Conclusion 1 Implications of This Study
All interested in the Gospel of Matthew, early Christian ethics, the relationships between early Christian and ancient philosophical writings, or ethical formation in antiquity.