The Sermon on the Mount

Hans Dieter Betz

The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount

Book Details

Series: Hermeneia
Categories: Sermon on the Mount
Tags: Technical


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This massive commentary opens with an introduction which surveys the history of the interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount (SM) and the Sermon on the Plain (SP) and discusses their compositional history, genre, and literary function. A very detailed commentary on the SM and a separate, less detailed commentary on the SP follow. Although Betz investigates the tradition-histories of the various units, focus is on the final form of the texts. The book ends with a useful bibliography and extensive indices. The chief value of Betz's work lies in its exegetical richness, in the way in which traditional exegetical questions as well as Jewish and Greco-Roman parallels are thoroughly explored down to the minutiae. No exegete can fail to learn much from it, and the commentary will remain an exceedingly valuable reference tool indefinitely. There is nothing else like it. Betz's work, however, is as controversial as it is helpful, for it forwards several uncertain theses. Among the more intriguing is his source theory, which seemingly envisages the following sequence: (1) Q originally contained a discourse consisting of, among other things, beatitudes, the love of enemy complex, the sayings on judging, the sayings on two trees, the parable of the builders (p. 43). (2) This discourse was removed from Q and developed in two different directions. The SM was formulated for Jewish Christians as an epitome of the teaching of Jesus, the SP for Gentile Christians (pp. 44, 70-80). (3) The mt lkSM and SP were reintroduced into Q and Q , whence Matthew and Luke adopted them (pp. 43-44). [Full Review]

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