Law and ethics notes

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Law and ethics essay structure
Introduction:
contained in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount chapter's 57
John Drane ranks the Sermon on the Mount as an `outstanding literary composition'
list key feature (EPRLRD)
Eschatology:
"the kingdom of god is the foundation and horizon of Jesus' ethics" Wolfang Schrage
"the imminent kingdom of god motivated people to act in a way appropriate to this kingdom"
Albert Schweitzer
parable of sheep and goats makes the link between judgement and moral behaviour clear,
only through good actions will a person avoid judgement
Burton Mack argued that Jesus used the term kingdom lie a cynic sage rather than an
apocalyptic prophet, Mack claimed that Jesus did not expect the world to end soon as the
cultural framework was primarily Hellenistic wisdom not Jewish apocalyptic
the kingdom of god was central to all Jesus' teachings with Ulrich Luz stating that the
kingdom of god is "God's unlimited and boundless love for outcasts and marginal people of
Israel"
look at Robert Funk and John Dominic Crossan
Perfection and Holiness:
"perfect as your heavenly father is perfect"
seen through the six antitheses they key first section of the sermon on the mount a series of
six saying which contrast old laws with Jesus' reinterpretation of them
they are key to Jesus' understanding on the law but also show how it is not just actions that
matter but also thoughts and intentions
Jesus is not being original here as Jewish wisdom literature from the intertestamental period
directly feeds into Jesus' thought
1st
antithesis killing and anger, 2nd
antithesis adultery, 6th love your enemy
Gerd Theissen thinks there is no doubt that Jesus radically calls into questions our normal
behaviour and that this is linked to eschatology not only highlights perfection but also clearest
description of his ethical theory
Imitate God:
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be like your
father"
being used ethically as it is used in Sirach so Jesus is being very Jewish by fulfilling these
extreme ethical commands and by acting like God you become a son of god
parallels with the ancient world where the kings are urged to forgive their enemies and Jesus
extends the imitation of god to all including the poor and powerless
"The imitation of God usually required of kings and the powerful is called for in the form of
generosity on the part of those who are powerless, persecuted and humiliated." Theissen
To be different:
this stresses the Christian's difference to other groups by putting into place the commands in
the antithesis they are different and something special

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CE various Jewish religious groups fighting for prominence suggesting
this is Matthew's agenda not Jesus'
Reciprocity:
notion of the golden rule "and as you would wish that men would do to you, do so to them"
if you treat others well you will be treated well in return
Jesus' purpose is to reshape human intentions and establish a new will that he wants to claim
for god not just the body but the heart, the whole person ­ Schrage
link to eschatology for eschatological reward…read more

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Also, on closer examination, much of the theology of the Beatitudes is paralleled elsewhere ­
the key themes of reward for those who are poor, oppressed or persecuted and mourn are
echoed in Isaiah 61 where God proclaims deliverance. The blessings on the pure in heart are
echoed in Psalm 24 4­5 `Those who have clean hands and pure hearts...will receive blessings
from the Lord.…read more

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