Need help with my writing homework on REL201 New Testament. Write a 500 word paper answering; Topic: REL201 New Testament A. Literary Criticism Context: What follows and precedes your passage? Are your pages affected by this context? One of the Eight Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount is the passage in Mathew 5:5 where Jesus states, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.” (NIV, 2011) The interpretation of this phrase must be searched for in the context of the other Beatitudes, which speak of the humble and holy life required of followers of Jesus who would seek to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The passage takes place as part of the very first prayer that Jesus gives when all of his students gather together to listen to the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon can be considered Jesus’ most important teaching and the most expansive account of his philosophy that is preserved in the New Testament. In considering the setting, all of Jesus’ disciples were gathered around him and Jesus recites the Beatitudes to draw them together, to emphasize with their suffering, and to show the path that he is teaching in words wrapped in enigma. The wisdom of the Sermon of the Mount is considered to be the heart of Christianity and from the first prayer Jesus is exalting the virtues of the poor, the humble, and the righteous who suffer through worldly problems, attacks, and discrimination to follow him and hear his message. If his followers feel poor or excluded from the society of the Jews or the Imperialist of Rome, he fills them with hope and takes their worries from them as an initial gift. This is just one example of the way that Jesus filled his followers and disciples with hope and gave them strength to endure their trials. Looking deeper into the passage, Jesus states that the meek are blessed, and this is a consistent theme of his ministry, the respect and love for the poor. It is perhaps easy for those with many advantages to discount the sufferings of the poor, but Jesus on many occasions counsels against the pursuit of riches over the pursuit of truth in his ministry. Following monks, yogis, and ascetics of many religious traditions, Jesus taught and encouraged his disciples to practice a form of renunciation of worldly goods and identities that included the pursuit of wealth as a primary goal. The poor depend on God for their every meal, and this type of reverence and devotion was seen as important to becoming suitable vessels for receiving divine teachings. If the disciple were to remain attached to worldly goods or selfish goals, then the ability to serve the needs of God or society perfectly would be compromised. Thus, rather than viewing the poor as morally compromised and lacking many possessions or symbols of status in society, Jesus in fact exalted the state of the poor to that of the preferred way of seeking God. That this type of renunciation is consistent with other types of religious asceticism only furthers the basis of this recognition. 2) Form Criticism: What is the literary form of your passage? Are there other places in the Bible (or related text) where this form is used and which help to interpret this passage? The literary form of this passage is considered to be one of the Beatitudes, or “Blessings,” that were invoked at the beginning of the Sermon of the Mount, and thus are subject to particular reverence. The Beatitudes are given in both Matthew and Luke, though in different forms. 3) Structure: Do you detect any particular structural pattern? (e.g., parallelism within your assigned book of the Bible). Describe the parts of your passage. The Beatitudes should be viewed together, as a particular type of prayer that depicts and defines the Christian path, much like the Nicene Creed was used in later forms of Christianity. Yet, where the Nicene Creed is a more formalistic expression of belief, the Beatitudes go to the heart and essence of the meaning of what Jesus was teaching. If one never forgets to value the poor and the humble, as well as to serve the sick and suffering, the compassionate mind that experiences God as Love will be cultivated. 4) Redaction Criticism: Has your passage come through an editorial process? What changes have been made? Explain why certain changes have been made? The translation of this passage in English may invoke different reactions through the use of the words “meek” and “humble,” but the larger danger is that the importance of renunciation and religious poverty to the early Christianity will be lost or forgotten by misinterpreting the Beatitudes. 5) Key Words: What are the theologically important words in the passage? Do these words evoke any other parts of the Bible? Are these words used in a new way by the author of this passage? What do these words mean? Jesus says that the meek will actually inherit the Earth. This is to say that the old guard will pass away and the faithful, who attend to the wisdom of the divine and live in renunciation, practicing asceticism, will preserve culture and blossom when the hatred and division of the wealth-seeking, hierarchical society has been abandoned. In inheriting the Earth, the humble will protect and guard the natural environment, practicing a service to God that leads progressively or even immediately to the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. This is a consistent theme in the ministry of Jesus. B. Theological Analysis: 1) What does this passage say about the relationship with God? Theologically, these passages build the moral foundation of Christianity, both in its goal and practice. In summary, the relation with God expressed by this passage emphasizes the need to renounce worldly goods and possessions in the manner of religious asceticism in order to follow the path to truth without attachments. These words are a constant source of strength and personal identity for Christians. 2) What questions might this passage have addressed in the community for which it was originally written? The opening prayer of the Beatitudes in the context of the Sermon of the Mount contain an essential and symbolic version of the Christian path and moral sentiment that explain the nature of human suffering and give the strength to overcome it, with the ultimate goal of the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Sources Cited: NIV (2011), Mathew 5:5, The New International Version of the New Testament, 2011.
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