Date: Wed Nov 20 1996 - 22:12:05 EST
This verse, Matt. 5.3, in the Gospel of Matthew marking the beginning of
the "teaching" of Jesus, provokes a great deal of trouble in third-world
translations when people can't understand how Christians would want to be
The Jesus Seminar tried its hand and came up with: "Congratulations you
poor! God's empire belongs to you." This abysmal translation avoids
"MAKARIOS" as well as "kingdom of God (heaven)".
One could suggest that the problem with Matt. 5.3 (and Luke 6.20) is
that the words of Jesus have come down to us embedded in a slightly
diffferent literary genre than that of the original delivery. Either Matthew
or the author of Q collected these sayings and produced a serrmon that sounds
lilke a set of teachings designed for Christian (communal) living.
But Jesus spoke most of these sayings in the prophetic mode, that is,
with passion and social fervor. A proper translation in the prophetic mode
would be, "Blessings on you poor; God is on your side."
Likewise, the woes which follow in Luke 6.24-26 were not designed as
prescriptions for how to receive "woe", but meant, "Damnation to you rich;
you already have everything!"
richard arthur Merrimack NH LISATIA@aol.com
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