Give an account of the religious and moral teaching of the Beatitudes.

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Give an account of the religious and moral teaching of the Beatitudes. [35]

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key sections of the New Testament, in which Jesus builds upon the Decalogue to form the first blueprint of Christian ethics. Jesus was preaching in direct contrast to the Greek philosophy of stoicism, which sought to separate man from his emotions. Emotions, especially love, feature heavily in the Sermon on the Mount. It remains ethically relevant over 2000 years later for many reasons, the first of which is the underlying principles behind it. Jesus did not come to abolish Old Testament law, but to fulfil it. The Jews were trapped in a system of harsh legalism, where obedience was motivated by fear rather than love. The Pharisees made a grand display of holiness by keeping the law, but the Sermon on the Mount teaches that their hearts were empty. Jesus built on the Ten Commandments to create a system ruled by mercy, love and dedication to God, and this is clearly evidenced through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5 1-13).

In 393, Saint Augustine wrote his Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. In this edifying treatise, he begins with the weighty proclamation that “anyone who piously and earnestly ponders the Sermon on the Mount — as we read in the Gospel according to Mathew — I believe he will find therein… the perfect standard of the Christian Life.”
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The Beatitudes give an account of the perfect standard for a Christian disciple. The name is derived from the Latin `beatitudo' meaning 'blessedness.' This is a code for real happiness. The first Beatitude is, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” The Greek word used here for poor is `ptochos' which means absolute and abject poverty. Such a person realises his utter helplessness and has put his whole trust in God. St Lois wrote on this Beatitude, “blessed, therefore, is poverty which is not possessed with a love of temporal things, and does not seek to be increased with ...

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