Monday, August 14, 2006

Quote of the Day - Honor/Shame and the Beatitudes

Well, I pledged to produce the next in my series on The New Perspective on Paul, but unfortunately had some computer problems that I've just rectified, leaving me with no time to continue. In the meantime, here's an interesting take on the creation of the beatitudes:

To really be “righteous” in an honor/shame society requires public recognition. Matthew’s community had to compensate for the surrounding society’s negative judgment. They needed a public forum in which their righteousness could be affirmed. When we examine the beatitudes, we will see how an alternative quasi-public forum was created, an extraordinary tribunal, in which God provided their vindication.

Leland J. White, Grid and Group in Matthew’s Community: The Righteousness/Honor Code in the Sermon on the Mount in Semeia 35 ed John H. Elliott, 80.

If this reading--efforts to restore honor--can be found throughout Matthew--particularly (as is the case here) in "Q" passages, does this count as a point against Q? Or just convenience for Matthew? The latter seems suspiciously ad hoc to me.

Though, I suppose the flipside (as White implies in his paper) is that any Christian group would struggle with honor, having a leader who died so shamefully.

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