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Posts Tagged "Jonathan Pennington"

The Pinnacle of Hope: Ascending the Mountain (Mt 5:1-2)

The Pinnacle of Hope: Ascending the Mountain (Mt 5:1-2)

“So therefore let us too run up to the upward path, so that we may come with Isaiah to the pinnacle of hope, and see from a vantage-point those good things which the Word shews to those who accompany him to the height.”–Gregory of Nyssa[1] When Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) described the first two verses of Matt 5 as a “brief…

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Beyond the Binaries: A Return To Wisdom And Virtue

Beyond the Binaries: A Return To Wisdom And Virtue

“The Sermon must once again become a basic text and primary source of moral theology, ahead of the Decalogue, natural law, or an assemblage of norms or rights established by pure reason. In the face of the rationalism of our times, this demands of us an audacious faith in the solidarity of the Gospel, both at the intellectual and at…

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Protest And Dissent: Reformers Read the Sermon on the Mount

Protest And Dissent: Reformers Read the Sermon on the Mount

What have we learned so far? The earliest Christians read the Sermon on the Mount as “literal when possible.” “Literal” implies a preference for seeing the sermon as injunctions to be obeyed; “when possible” shows a recognition that the sermon does contain some portions which are not to be taken in a literal way. This reading took place within a larger…

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The Middle Ages: Virtue, Vice, Mendicants, & Moral Manuals

The Middle Ages: Virtue, Vice, Mendicants, & Moral Manuals

The church of the first three centuries offers up a reading of the Sermon on the Mount that is “literal when possible.” Jesus offers—to all who hear–commands to be obeyed, but joyfully with anticipation, as part of a larger vision of transformation (through virtue) into a greater and greater likeness of God. Near the end of the fourth century, a…

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Not Problematic…Paradigmatic: Later Patristic Readings

Not Problematic…Paradigmatic: Later Patristic Readings

“Broadly speaking, in the patristic period, both in the East and West, the Sermon was not perceived as problematic. Quite the contrary, the Sermon was seen as paradigmatic and foundational to understanding Christianity itself.”—Jonathan Pennington[1] Daniel Harrington and James Keenan render a service to us all by helping bridge the gap between moral theology and New Testament studies. In their…

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New Things To Love

New Things To Love

“What do you want?” These are the first words of Jesus in the Gospel of John (John 1:38). What a challenging question! And to you and me, the reader, he asks it again and again–in a number of ways. To a man in need of sight (Mk 10:51; Lk 18:41), and to disciples who struggled with spiritual vision (Mt 20:32;…

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The Complete Art Of Happiness

The Complete Art Of Happiness

[Today I begin a series of blog posts reflecting on the Sermon on the Mount. I am spending the summer reading this fascinating and challenging text for three reasons: 1) to prepare for my Christian Ethics course this fall, 2) to prepare for a Sunday night sermon series at Cloverdale, and 3)…to be fully transparent…to resist the forces of culture…

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