Rainer Bruno Zimmer
Sermon on the Mount
A Critical Study
INTRODUCTION Critique versus Exegesis
The Sermon on the Mount has been ascribed to Jesus after his death and is apparently composed of materials that have been re-told several times. It is a fundamental lecture about God, the world, and man. It is hardly seen as directly convincing, but rather as radical and requiring interpretation. Its truth and its great importance are usually derived from its ascription to Jesus as Son of God.
This treatise is a critique. A critique is not an exegesis. An exegesis tries to extract some meaning from a not readily accessible text by consulting further materials from the same author or from his/her historical context. A critique requires the prior understanding of the matter. The matter at hand is our "Dasein", our being in the world, our existence, our rootedness in God, a matter about which everybody can, from his/her own existence, find out and know quite a lot. By applying such findings and knowledge, one can see what is meant in the Sermon on the Mount and, for example, recognize that Jesus has been outstandingly competent in this matter.
Knowledge of our existence is available from introspection, religion, literature, and the philosophy of existence. When consolidating their findings into a coherent picture, one can say the following:
The essence of our Dasein is, that "there is something". Phenomena are occurring to us and we understand them. That means: what occurs to us is articulated, and we can structure it. These structures of phenomena constitute our world. We usually differentiate it into an external and an internal world. In the external world, objects and relationships are occurring to us; in the internal world, thoughts, images, imaginations, memories, feelings, motivations. We recognize and understand all of them directly. They proceed like an interactive Dasein film. We are acting in it like a player in a virtual reality, but here actually in the real reality of our world.
The world is everything that we humans can, in principle, understand and live. God is not of this world, but extra-worldly instead. He can therefore, as a matter of principle, not be understood. For example, he cannot be ascribed an inner structure. Like the player in the virtual reality is situated outside of it, we are "playing in" our real reality from outside of it, but we can lose ourselves in it and fall to it. The subject, who is playing there, we denote as our Genuine or Authentic or Absolute Self. It is not of this world either. Since no understanding nor structure can be conceived outside the world, the Authentic Self cannot be conceived as different from God. The extra-worldly God, our extra-worldly Authentic Self, and the extra-worldly Authentic Self of the other humans can at best be different "sights" of one and the same Extra-worldly.
Our understanding of structures of phenomena is constructive. With every experience, we continue to expand our already understood world, extend what we can live. This is the fundamental rule of our Dasein: expand world, enhance life, both, ours and that of the other beings of type Dasein, our fellow humans. Guilt is: not having enhanced life, or even having impaired or prevented life. By taking opportunities to enhance life, we leave other opportunities unused. So, we inevitably become guilty. Our challenge is to learn from our guilt to immediately, and better than before, continue to enhance life.
This has been a sketch of the "prior understanding of the matter", on which the following critique of the Sermon on the Mount is being based. If required, we will add further considerations.
The only claim of this treatise is, that God is absolute. And, therefore this claim is absolute, too. We cannot understand the Extra-worldly, particularly not with the same approach by which we understand the inner-worldly. The Extra-worldly is undefinable, one cannot attach attributes to it, one cannot grasp it in propositions, it does not have a structure, and it is not part of any structure. It is not a concept.
With respect to God, the fundamental hypothesis of this treatise is, that it is possible to get something like a "sight" of God, and that we can therefore try to point to him with approximately pointing tellings, and that such tellings and their focussed understanding constitute a competence of its own. An approximately pointing telling is always to be understood as if preceded by the clause "it is, as if".
As a consequence, it is not required to agree to the preceding presentation of our Dasein and to accept it as "knowledge". The key is just, whether one can see what it tries to point to, whether one can see the "it" from the clause "it is, as if" or if one can even better point to it. After all, the preceding presentation has just along the way implied, that man is made as if an image of God (extra-worldly Authentic Self), that life is as if by God speaking (articulation), that sin is having and remaining fallen to the world, that trinity is plausible when taken as three sights on the extra-worldly (God, my Authentic Self, the Authentic Self of the fellow human).
The critique below is first aimed at extracting, in contemporary language, the existential aspects that the Sermon on the Mount here in the version from the King James Bible, Matthew, Chapters 5 to 7 is pointing to. On the other hand, we will also make clear, what it definitely does not point to. In addition, this approach will show, that the writer of the Sermon on the Mount is playing with the reader, and how competent and why he is doing it.
1. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The Sermon on the Mount starts with its culmination. While elsewhere in the bible, everything is about understanding, obeying, or violating the rules of our Dasein as God's children thrown into the world, the matter of the Beatitudes is the absolutely positive of our Dasein.
Beatitude is genuine bliss, an exceedingly good Dasein situation. In the world, we can pursue happiness and find happiness. We then see that our affairs have gone well or are standing favourably. This is a transient reflection of beatitude. It is not our good times in the world but rather the incessant change of the world, that is permanent. Beatitude is actually regarding the whole Dasein, including the vicissitudes of the world, as a godsend: the world is right, interesting, rich, beautiful, an oversize present. In this, beatitude is not a naοve world-view that would suppress or euphemize all evil and misfortune in the world. Beatitude is a Dasein stance in which I can live at ease with myself and with the world, including all its evil phenomena, live relaxedly, freely and gladly, even when the evil is hitting me.
Accordingly, beatitude is not something reserved to an afterworld, but a well-adjusted attitude towards the world, a consequence of the approximate sight of our Dasein situation rooted in the Absolute. If beatitude were something extra-worldly, say a mode of being there, then we could not make any propositions about it. It would not be a concept, and we could not expect anything from it.
Beatitude is not something that comes to us. The world is attractive, we care to play in its real reality, we get absorbed in it, possibly fall to it completely. In this, we are focussed on our situation in the world, but not aware of our Dasein situation vis-ΰ-vis the world, as players from outside. Totally concentrated on our "avatar" and of his/her benefits in the world, it escapes us, what an absolutely grand "computer game" we have been given in form of the world, and which degrees of freedom are available to us therein.
In order to achieve beatitude, we must free ourselves, or get freed, from this situation of being "fallen". We can seek texts about beatitude and try to understand them. Or part of our world breaks down, and thereby its attractivity, because, more or less, we fail in the game of life. Then we are being thrown back to focus on ourselves, we become aware again of our Dasein situation as players, and may even ask ourselves, whether we should continue the game. If everything goes well, then, on the one hand, we learn from the loss, how much more valuable the world is than we use to think, and on the other hand, we learn from overcoming the crisis, that and how we can bear and master a partial crash of our world, and acquire new possibilities of life. And thus, we experience a smaller or larger piece of beatitude proper.
How do the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount point to these traits of our existence? More compact, more poetical, and error free. Beatitude is being pictures as: possessing heaven, being comforted, inheriting the earth, being saturated with righteousness, having obtained mercy, seeing God, being called children of God. The reference to the "earth", that is: to the world, ensures that beatitude is not wrongly taken as reserved to an afterworld. "Seeing God" stands for the focus on our Dasein situation, with God as the creator of our interactive Dasein film. "Being called children of God" means on the one hand, that our focus is at the same time on our divine component: our Authentic Self, and on the other hand, that we best move in the world like children, who know, that their father is not asking too much of them, but is coaching them to master ever more variations of life. "Having obtained mercy" says that we are delivered from guilt. "Being comforted" and "being saturated with righteousness" means, that misery and evil in the world cannot dominate us.
All this is quite to the point, only a little less complete than our description of beatitude above. Important traits of our Dasein are not being looked at, for example, that beatitude is a Dasein stance perfectly oriented by the focus on the Extra-worldly.
Particularly striking is, how obfuscating, even badly, the beatitudes have been written.
This starts with small deviations from the systematics: The first beatitude ends with a promise for the present time: "theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Why do the promises of all further beatitudes pertain to the future, or what does count: present or future? The last beatitude (verses 11 and 12 ) deviates in its form from all the preceding ones, changes into the second person, additionally brings Jesus into the equation ("for my sake"), and, after the "reward in heaven", supplies the reasoning with the fate of the prophets, as if some evidence were required and could help. The ending of the Beatitudes is thereby made unassertive.
The worst oddity is the language construction: "Blessed are the X, for they shall Y". The first part has two possible meanings: "blessed implies X", or "X implies blessed". The text author leaves this open, although it could easily be made unambiguous. "For" always expresses a causality, so: "because of Y in the future, therefore the relation between blessed and X", or, put as an example: Because they shall be comforted in the future, they that mourn are blessed, or the blessed are mourning. Inconsolable but blessed? The text author refrains from formulating his insights in an unmistakable way. Should that be negligence just, when it is about our existence, of all matters?
Furthermore, it must be noted, that the assignments of the Ys to the Xs is downright arbitrary. Why doesn't it say "Blessed are the pure in heart: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven", or "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be called the children of God"? And why do some get the kingdom of heaven, and others the earth? It could be argued that possessing heaven, being comforted, inheriting the earth, righteousness, mercy etc. are aspects of beatitude throughout, and mutually interchangeable in this enumeration: If one is blessed, then one possesses heaven, has is comforted, etc. But why then are these aspects singled out at all, and, one by one, assigned to one X each?
And if the Ys are aspects of beatitude, then aspects of what are the Xs? From our prior understanding, we can say that the Xs refer to situations, in which access to beatitude is nearby, because the situation of being fallen to the world is somehow neutralized, and we are led to focus on our Dasein situation the world vis-ΰ-vis. This comes in two ways: on the one hand, in the hard way, when a hard fate forces it upon us, and we have to suffer misery and injustice, and, on the other hand, in the soft way, when we take care ourselves to get a sight of the Extra-worldly and, to this end, free ourselves to some extent from inner-worldly, material and intellectual quests, for example, power, prosperity, intellectual strength, and correspondingly decide to be poor in spirit, meek, merciful, peace-oriented.
The structure of the Beatitudes would then be: Access to beatitude can rather be found in situations X and then experienced as Y.
Still, this lags far back behind the utter consequence of our description above, according to which, in the Dasein stance of beatitude, we accept even severe fate as good. This self-restraint of the text author may be understandable. After all, he proceeds as far as to relate beatitude with some severe fate at all, but even this is an association that is likely to provoke almost all readers, and that one should therefore better cover, milden, if not, as a precaution, straighten or hide. For that purpose, the reported "defects" of the text are just right: to hide something in a text requires sufficient length of the text; enumerations of innocuous, low profile contents can serve to inconspicuously embed some more problematic content and let it appear less pointed; the mystification of the logic deprives the hard message of its apparent certainty.
The confusing form of the Beatitudes, therefore, has four possible reasons: Jesus did not understand existential beatitude, the text author did not understand existential beatitude, the text author has written negligently, or the text author had reasons to express himself with great care and has therefore deliberately written in such a way as to appear lacking skill.
The latter is most likely, but we need not come to a final conclusion here as to which alternative does apply, and we also need not answer this question with regard only to the beatitudes. For, in the further course of this critique, the text will again and again confront us with this question.
Salt and Light
13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
As this paragraph is separated from the preceding one, it appears to be unrelated. However, it directly continues the thoughts of verses 11 and 12. Who has a sight on the Extra-worldly, will be compelled to, and unable to act otherwise, pass on this sight this "light" to his fellow humans, and then he will experience the same as the prophets and Jesus himself. After they have been murdered, they are, on grounds of their true or fictitious "good deeds" not their insights set up as shining examples for life in the world.
With the positive words around light and salt, the text author redirects the view away from the brutal fate of the prophets, and, to ensure that this works, he uses two pictures (salt and light) where one would suffice. He thus respects an inner-worldly trait of human nature: to avoid clear questions of existence, even if the message is bright. Still, the end of this paragraph does not bring fears but an appeal. If a person has a sight of God, then he/she is obliged to show his/her fellow humans, where to look in order to see God.
Jesus' Position regarding the Law
17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus' position regarding the law is unambiguous. He understands and adopts the "laws" of our Dasein from the Old Testament without reservation, and further advances the communication of these laws.
We know, and Jesus knew as can be concluded from his use of parables -, that Dasein can only be talked about in approximately pointing mode, and that the word-by-word, even overly precise, understanding, as ascribed to the religious elites, totally misses the Extra-worldly. The precision required is not measured by letter, word, or detail. The "laws" of Dasein are not commandments, that can be obeyed or not, but they are absolute givens that cannot be evaded. If verses 18 and 19 are meant to express this absoluteness of the Dasein laws, then they are insofar pointing correctly. But who would read that out of these verses!
Verse 20 can only come from somebody who does have a sight on Dasein, and does penetrate the predominant manner of construing Dasein laws as inner-worldly doctrines and maxims. This verse, therefore, also proves the existential competence, both of Jesus, and of the text author.
The latter, however, appears like inhibited. He links the last verse, that has righteousness as its theme, to the preceding two inconsistent verses precision to "one jot or one tittle" and precision to the "least commandments" are well different types of precision , and the link must cause irritation, as the scribes and Pharisees are just renowned for being particularly accurate, up to pedantic. Thus, the reader is twice being led to question and rethink the matter, and inevitably gets caught in the kind of dutifully cited last verse, that has been wrongly placed and related by a seemingly overstrained text author. If our assumption is correct, that the author wanted to write in a calculated manner, then we are here led to the further assumption, that he was competent to do so, that is, to credibly feign such overstrain.
Whether the author was really overstrained, or he just feigned it in order to avoid asking too much from the reader: What is really asking too much, is Jesus' declaration that the religious elite "shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven". Even today, rather nobody will accept this.
21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time (Exodus 20,13; 21,12), Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
25. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
26. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
This section follows up the preceding one and clarifies what is meant by "precision" there: to correctly grasp the signification. Superficially, it now looks as if Jesus himself were overshooting the mark. To be angry with somebody is not by far the same as killing, but should here be taken as a little killing and therefore severely punishable? However, the commandment isn't here being taken more accurately word-by-word, but what is being grasped more accurately is its signification, and that is wider (to not at all impair life).
In fact, the second part of the Ten Commandments fails to cover quite many kinds of bad actions or inactions, and cannot, therefore, be meant as complete. As a Dasein law, it can only be meant as covering all aspects of our relations to other humans in Jesus' summary: love your neighbour like yourself, that is, as a being with an Authentic Self that is an image of God, as we all are. The Dasein law says, that we have to advance life, that is, our coping with the world, and not less that of the other humans.
To advance life is not possible on the base of a few or many, however detailed or comprehensive prescripts. Life doesn't lend itself to codification. Like with the Beatitudes, the proposed aim is an optimal Dasein stance: the stance to advance life. In this stance, one will not cause, or let pass, even small impairments to the life of fellow humans.
The consequence of failing this stance, with its systematic violation of the Dasein law, is unresolved guilt. The corresponding repair is the making-just of the stance rather than a "judgement" of the deed and will obviously be beneficial and result in a better life.
In this respect, the extensive threat produced by this section about killing, is most misguiding as if unresolved guilt were not impairing life, and not enough evil. But the text is again calculated with regard to the normal reader. In the best case, the threats will make him try to be more pleasant-natured towards his fellow humans in the said situations. Above all, the excess of the threats will deter him from addressing the so drastically negatively loaded existential question of the right Dasein stance, and that will spare him a possibly greater fear.
of the Dasein law is, of course, above all religious forms. It is, therefore,
remarkable that the text author, and probably already Jesus, have considered
necessary to explicitly highlight this in verses 23-24. There must have been plenty
of insuperable, formal religiousness at that time.
27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
29. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
31. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32. But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
This section, using the example of adultery in the context and society of its time, continues the logic, that it is not sufficient, to formally fulfil individual commandments, but that the benchmark to apply is the Dasein stance of advancing life. The section is even more furious than the previous one. The sporadic violations of the Dasein law in human collectives are bothering Jesus, but even worse to him are the systematic, legalized impairments to the life of women.
But which rationale to offer to the listeners? That they had to advance life in the reach of their behaviour? Strongly emotional comparisons may have the greatest effect: The feeling of guilt vis-ΰ-vis his wife is damaging the life of the husband more than the loss of an eye or of the right hand. This is a well comprehensible, psychological reasoning, and in this way, one need not confront the listeners with the thought that the worldly feeling of guilt is actually based on an existential guilt.
33. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Apart from its juristic form, swearing is an inner-worldly tactic to impress the addressee of an assertion. Whether, when, and how to best swear is, in both cases, not an existential question, and rather doesn't fit into the Sermon on the Mount.
Of course, to swear, directly or indirectly, by the Extra-worldly is nonsense, but is also a symptom, that cannot be cured as such. The person swearing wrongly in this way would have to be led to the insight, that the Extra-worldly isn't a concept and, therefore, cannot reasonably be related to anything inner-worldly, including any inner-worldly truth. A couple of forbidding rules would not, by any stretch of imagination, be suitable for such relation.
Also it is not less nonsensical to swear by something inner-worldly. Our Dasein situation is such that the stream of phenomena that occurs to us, isn't our creation, and that we, therefore, cannot guarantee it.
With our previous knowledge as initially sketched, it is easy to see, that the second half-sentence of verse 36 does mean that. With the same previous knowledge it is not to be expected, that it were possible to get a sight of the Extra-worldly and its "role" in our Dasein, by trying to fully think through, what man is able and unable to do. The text author could not re-think Jesus' sights. He must have had the sight of Dasein himself for being able to ascribe it to Jesus.
38. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
The signification of the words about eye for eye and tooth for tooth is, that we have to fully restore the life that we have impaired. If we have deprived a person of an eye, we have to really make good for this to such extent, that the person can thereafter thrive as if she still had this eye. Of course, this is difficult enough and all too often impossible.
The setup of our Dasein is not at all being fulfilled by not impairing life; rather we know, that we have to advance, that is, to improve and enrich life. Jesus consequently stands for this, and clearly contrasts it with the prevalent view. The latter considers as quite naοve, to receive a personal aggression without resisting. But. in line with the fundamental disposition of Dasein, we just don't have a right to impair life of any person, even not if the same person has culpably impaired our life before. Instead we have to advance life in every situation.
So, Jesus isn't radical here, nor naοve, nor inscrutable. For somebody who understands Dasein, his words are nothing particular. Strange they are only to people who are missing out on this understanding, because they never openly face their own existence.
About Loving Your Enemy
43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour (Exodus 19,18), and hate thine enemy.
44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
We have to advance life, ours and that of our fellow humans as best we can, but without restraint. We all all humans are basically in the same situation as players in our real realities, in which we may be doing well or badly, in which others may have easier or harder, more comfortable or less comfortable times than we are having, and in which everybody may, as a just or an unjust, in a right or false Dasein stance, succeed or be overstrained. This is sufficient to show, that the life to be advanced includes the life of enemies.
But, the key word is "love". Therefore, we are going to supply here the existential definition of love. In inner-worldly terms, love is a bond with a specific quality, and the acting out of this bond. Existential love is then a bond to the Extra-worldly, and the life shaped by it. An existential bond of ours can only be an approximate sight: of God, on the own Authentic Self, and the Authentic Self of the fellow humans.
The Authentic Self of each and every fellow human is, so to speak, equally extra-worldly, absolute. This quite easily explains what appears so apodictic in this section of the Sermon on the Mount: that we are existentially linked with all fellow humans in the same way, and that we have to undiscriminatingly, including our enemies, take them as God's children, and that we have to live our bond to God in the same way.
All this is being described spot on by this passage, and using suitable images. The phrase "be perfect", as God is perfect, may not be obvious. It does not only say "love everybody like God is doing". How can we be existentially perfect? In a Dasein stance that is perfectly oriented by a sight of the Extra-worldly.
Again, this section on loving our enemies, sort of redecorates the existential content. It does not openly expose it, and thereby just does not help to get a sight of what is basically meant, but rather covers it with a fig leaf of inner-worldly rationales: what publicans are doing, is not sufficient; for a reward, we have to do more than others. That means, that, even though the existential content can hardly be extracted from the relatively short text, the text author wants to protect the reader against this content. Whether already Jesus has tried to spread his existential knowledge with that much caution, that we will discuss further below.
What can we, at the end of the first section of the Sermon on the Mount note as an intermediate result?
The presentation is existentially competent and consistent, its images are clear. Still it is too compact and thus fails to render the existential sights easily accessible to the listeners and readers. On top of that, it systematically diverts the focus from these sights.
About Giving Alms
1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
This section, as well as the beginning of the subsequent section, are saying that, by giving alms in the public, possibly even as a show of religious practice, nothing can be gained beyond public attention. But if somebody is giving alms, or is praying, in secret, then it will be God to reward her.
The text does not carry any insight about which reward will be given in which way. The text author may want to suggest, that this would turn out in time. Still, in secrecy, the external reward would drop out, and therefore a good internal motivation must be found for giving alms and praying. One could easily set such motivation as a personal intention, for example, to experience the feeling of being pious. But, disappointments could not be excluded here, and then there would be nothing like a reward from God.
If, on the other hand, somebody is anyway praying and giving alms in the right way, that is, with a sight of the Extra-worldly within herself and within the others, then the motivation is a given beforehand, namely the well-oriented Dasein stance: I can always advance life, and the need of the poor is a win-win-situation to this end.
The question remains how to get into this Dasein stance. The sight of the Extra-worldly produces the right Dasein stance, and in this Dasein stance the sight is on the Extra-worldly. This is a cyclic relationship, and the question is actually, how to get into this "angels circle".
Not only is the answer missing, the question is not even being asked. Yet, the question is highly significant because it is equivalent to the question: how to effectively enable people to get an approximate sight of God. Jesus has obviously been driven by this question, otherwise he would not have invented so many parables, and would not have preached a Sermon on the Mount. The text author, however, was no longer aware of this question, or it appeared too difficult for himself or the readers. He is writing as if a few inner-worldly instructions were sufficient.
About Praying. The Our Father
5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11. Give us this day our daily bread.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The Our Father is an existentially profound summary of our Dasein situation. In order to show this, we reformulate the verses here:
Extra-worldly is for us like a father. We cannot conceive it.
10. It is, as if this father were guiding our life in the world by letting us face and understand an immeasurably rich world, and then again by enabling our Authentic Self to deliberately act therein.
11. Our Dasein is set up in such a way, that we can master it. It is, as if the father were managing it in such a way, that we find in the world all that constitutes our life.
12. By impairing life we become guilty. Guilt can dominate us. We can get rid of it by learning from it and, as a consequence, proceed to again, and better, advance life thereafter. This we must equally concede to our fellow humans, who may eventually impair our life. We have to forgive them, otherwise their guilt will dominate us.
13. We can fall for the attractivity of the world. What can always save and deliver us from this falling, is the connection back to the Extra-worldly. It is absolute in every Dasein aspect.
This adds much and weighty new substance to the preceding texts of the Sermon on the Mount:
- the basic trust, that our Dasein is as if set up and managed by a caring and considerate father,
- the insight that the Extra-worldly is absolute and not conceivable in worldly terms,
- the extra-worldly root of our (free) will,
- that our guilt is forgiven,
- the diverse "sights" of the Extra-worldly, its dimensions: kingdom, power, glory, eternity.
As Dasein laws, all of these are givens. To pray for them is meaningless, they are as they are from the outset. What one could, at the most, pray for, is this clarity, that is, to get a sight of what the Our Father is existentially pointing to.
Indeed, we are living on basic trust. We trust on the regularity of the phenomena occurring to us, as we understand them, for example, that our floor will not disappear in the next moment, and the chair, on which we are sitting, will not hang freely in empty space, and all lights of the world will not be gone in 5 minutes.
Humans do understand that God is not a concept, and they are exploiting this insofar as, in the world of concepts, they will not meet him.
We know that, in the world the laws of the world apply, and that, for optimally living in the world, we must well understand these laws and conform to them but then everything is going to develop in the direction of increasing entropy, and that means decreasing life. In the world, there is no room for free will. As a subject with free will, only the extra-worldly player in our real reality comes into consideration: our genuine, Authentic Self.
Because the Extra-worldly is not a concept, no guilt or absolution thinking can be attributed to it. Our Dasein is, by itself, such, that guilt and the being forgiven of guilt are inescapable givens. If we do not advance life, then our absolute conscience will give notice, and it does not allow any discussion. It remains our duty to advance life. We cannot fulfil it by either ignoring it, or by staying fixated upon one's own, or extrinsic, guilt. We have to come to terms with it, that is to understand its cause and its trigger, in order to instantly be able to advance life better, not least the life of the others that we have culpably impaired. Existentially, nothing more remains to be done with respect to guilt, it will then have been converted into an advancement of the own life. And, existentially, nothing remains left: guilt is forgiven. Of course, we always have to live with the inner-worldly consequences of guilt.
We all consider as natural that we are falling to the world. We have, so to speak, been born into this process and do not know anything apart from the world which is engaging us with its attractions, and in which we unavoidably, sometimes intentionally, impair life. Evil is every attitude which does not advance life. We have to learn and, for a start, have to be shown that our Dasein is as if everything depended on an extra-worldly component that, with some special effort, one can even get a sight of. And that, in such a manner, we can get a sight of our Authentic Self as positioned outside and vis-ΰ-vis the world and in no way fallen to the world. The remedy for the falling, including falling to the evil, is the sight of the Extra-worldly. This is the structure of salvation. The Extra-worldly is absolute, literally dissolved from the world and its preoccupations.
"Kingdom", "power", "glory", "for ever" are linked to the text of the Our Father with the word "for", saying: we pray to the father, "for" he always has all lordship attributes required to fulfil the prayers. All this is void. God is not a concept, we cannot expect or hope anything from him, we cannot place him in a petition, nor in a rationale for expectations and hopes. We have already corrected this above with our interpretation as sights of our Dasein. A few short explanations: "Kingdom" means that God is ruling, and existentially, this rule means that we do not have any control, and the Extra-worldly is having total control, over what is going to occur to us. "Power", as an additional and different aspect, rather refers to the power of our Authentic Self to enhance life against the increasing entropy in the world. "Glory" is closely related to "kingdom", that is to the phenomena, and only a little meditation is needed to see that the totality of all phenomena occurring to us, the world that we understand, is rich beyond imagination. "For ever" does not mean "for infinite time", but "outside inner-worldly time".
These explanations are just to show that is not implausible, that Jesus, with his sight of the Extra-worldly, is likely to have spoken of kingdom, power, glory, and eternity ("for ever") himself. But the composition of the Our Father as a sequence of petitions rather doesn't originate from Jesus himself. He knew, what the author of Psalm 23 knew, that God is anyway giving what, according to the text of the Our Father, we should first ask for. And he has, in the subsequent verses about earthly and heavenly treasures and about the thoughts for the morrow, expressed this again more than clearly.
With the wording in form of petitions, and with the "for"-conjunction to a worldly argument, the author again hides the complete existential content to all but insiders. This now appears to be intentional, including exactly this fine-tuning. Because he again presents it in such a way that the reader must stumble across it: In verse 8, directly preceding the Our Father, he qualifies petitioning as futile, because God does beforehand know what we need. And then the author writes petitions in spite.
Obviously, at the times and in the milieu of the text author, it was inopportune, to communicate the teachings of Jesus openly.
At the end, he adds the not-understood verses 14 and 15, saying that God forgives us exactly if we forgive all our fellow humans. Such a God calculus is void. Our Dasein is such that we already are forgiven, I and my fellow humans. But, in the world, guilt is obsessing me, mine, and the guilt of others towards me, as long as I cannot find access to this existential absolution. Then I cannot forgive myself, because I cannot forgive at all. The best training of the ability to forgive is, to forgive the fellow humans because they are in the same Dasein situation as myself, and because, therein, they are already forgiven.
16. Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
These verses appear
like an intermezzo inserted here. They actually continue verses
1-6, and offer nothing but another example of public exercise and exhibition of religious practice. So there is nothing new to add here to the discussion above. In the end, it is all about getting into an angels circle, that brings us into the right Dasein stance.
On Collecting Treasures and on Anxieties
19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
This part is about what we need for mastering our Dasein situation, and how we are equipped for it. According to verse 33, we need the kingdom of God and a Dasein stance aligned to it, and then everything will be given to us. "Kingdom of God" means, that it is our Extra-worldly component that reigns: our Authentic Self, that is, we are perceiving and acting authentically, free of inner-worldly influences and valuations. This stance we can reach through the sight of the Extra-worldly, which will relativize and properly righteously rank everything in our world. A mechanism to move the Extra-worldly to give us all we need, if only we fulfil the conditions of these verses, is impossible. We just see then with a pure "single" eye, what we did not see before: that everything is given to us.
How then can we attain the "Kingdom of God", "righteousness", the right Dasein stance, the sight of the Extra-worldly? We have to strive for it "lay up" , to set our heart on the Extra-worldly, as suggested by verse 21.
Conversely, we will not find anything of this, if we keep concerning ourselves with the treasures inside the world. By the way, it does not matter in this, whether we lose ourselves to material or to immaterial goods, to "mammon", intellectual gains, or even to minor advantages. We will then all the time be governed by the needs in the world, and will have no time, no awareness and no eye for the Extra-worldly.
In addition to the finding of the pure eye, that everything that constitutes our life, is given to us, two more qualities are mentioned. On the one hand: beauty. The most primitive grass is beautiful. One has just to look at it calmly and carefully and perhaps imagine that one had to replicate it, not as a model, but precise down to the cells, living, and above all: not from available material but from nothing. The other quality mentioned is contingency: all our pursuits in the world cannot add the least span to our lifetime. When it ends, it ends. But, as long as we live, we can live throughout, we can master our Dasein, take the next step, enhance life, even starting at a very low basis, and even if it may be very strenuous.
All that produces a clear picture of the rules of our Dasein game. They are correctly addressed in this section of the Sermon on the Mount. The text author even allows the rigour in verses 24 and 27, and only entertains to outshine them by some figurative and poetic language and to wad them with plenty of inner-worldly rationales as if this were not about Dasein givens: collecting inner-worldly treasures does not pay off, because they are going to expire anyway; if the eye is evil then the whole life is evil; the birds and the lilies are living without any concerns so humans can do the same; we should not trouble ourselves, because that would mean to follow the pagans; we should not worry about the future, because the worries of today are already enough. These arguments could confidently be omitted, and the text would not lose the least of its existential substance.
If it had not been fully clear before, whether the text author could not, or did not want to, write more explicitly, it becomes obvious now that he was able indeed to write everything: write the truth, obscure or twist the content, deflect attention, let show his manipulation. He commands a high existential competence. And as he ascribes it to Jesus in a synopsis like this Sermon on the Mount, we must conclude that Jesus himself had it, and attempted to spread it, not without success.
On the Habit of Judging
1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
This now is about inner-worldly judgment and not about the adjustment of our Dasein stance. That everybody uses to virtually favour her-/himself over the fellow humans, is well-known if normally suppressed. We know that we tend to sugar-coat our own image, project our own faults onto the others, condemn others for that which we do not dare to live.
Still, what is the existential aspect of judging? It proceeds along inner-worldly criteria, more specifically, along the criteria of the judging person. It can be said, that judging is subject to these criteria, that is, to the "laws" of the world. But then also the judging person is. If somebody relies, in his standards, only on the laws governing the world, then they govern him, too. Therefore, our system of judging falls back on us, as verse 2 is saying. By the way, this is true also for our judgement about the world as a whole.
Some further important aspect comes along here: the inherent defectiveness of judging by inner-worldly criteria. The prerequisites for judgements are propositions about facts, more precisely: objective, theoretical, relational propositions, for example, person A has, at point of time T, in location L, spoken sentence S to person B. In this, everything is problematic:
- objectivity, because one and the same situation will be perceived and understood differently by several persons involved;
- the theoretical character, because A's motivation, what A may have meant by S, and how B may have understood S, do not occur to an observer as phenomena, but must be inferred from experience-based concepts theories while our experiences may possibly not even cover the situation in question;
- relationality, because it cannot in principle cover everything that may belong to a situation; which phenomena and connections of phenomena we perceive in a situation, will always be refinable; 10 years later we see more in the same situation.
Even if we may think, that we are taking these limitations well into account, and are judging fairly, these limitations will not disappear. And beyond that, the absolute error remains that, in the context of our inner-worldly substantiated judgment and of the consequences that we derive, we do not proceed with a sight of the Extra-worldly, neither of the Authentic Self of the others, nor of our own Dasein situation with the live-author of our Dasein film.
How does the text author of the Sermon on the Mount cope with these interrelationships? He just offers the result that we shall not judge others, and the hint that our way of judging falls back on ourselves, the latter without argument, but he illustrates it with the picture of the mote and the beam. This is appropriate in comparison with the other texts around which, all in all, are rather terse and economical of arguments. In this critique, we had to omit arguments, too, in order not to extend the text too much. The text author, therefore, did not have to bother about attenuating or hiding anything. To fully present the existential kernel is so laborious that, in the short text at hand, nobody will hit upon it.
Finally, there is the last verse of this section, apparently quite unrelated, a warning against the danger of life, if one might give the holy unto the dogs, and the pearls before swine. This is written to stumble over and compels the reader to analyze why. No section without perplexing tripping points! This verse precisely explains, what the author wants to achieve with his permanent twisting of the semantics, while always angling for the attention of the insider: he wants to protect himself. He does not want to be hurt or killed for his holy insights.
The Sermon on the Mount is a summary of Jesus' teachings about existence. He had professed them openly and, for that, the religious leaders of his time had put him to death. He had seen the danger and warned against it. No text author can be asked to expose himself to the same danger. This text author is very skilled: He dresses the same existential teachings up as teachings of inner-worldly rules, and sort of apologizes to the reader who still understands the kernel message, and gives him a possibly life-saving warning.
About God's Answers to Our Prayers
7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
A section without the least roughness, downright smooth. Once more, it is about praying. To this section still applies like to the prayers of the Our Father the qualification from Matthew 6,8: "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him". Accordingly, this section says: without asking we will be, or are already given, namely, what is good for us.
This is very much in line with the previous section on judging. What God is giving us and what constitutes our life, the real reality, which the extra-worldly creator has occur to us, is good. Our inner-worldly judgement of the world as bad, evil and unjust is wrong. This is, what it says, dressed up as a parable, but absolutely confrontational in its existential kernel message: we all are misjudging the world.
Can we really relate to this? Yes, but again we can give only short hints here, in order not to not to extend the text too much. In the context of Matthew 6,30 we already had the little mental exercise, to rebuild a grass plant from nothing. We can extend it to the whole world. The are people who design and implement virtual realities, for example computer games, that are attractive to an extent, that millions of them are being sold and played. Just imagine a virtual reality that represents the whole world, and then consider that all humans are actually playing it in the real reality of their Dasein, that they are continuously losing themselves therein and do not want to stop playing, that is, to die. So, it cannot be that bad a "game". Another approach is to recognize that all and everything available to us in the world are gifts for free: We have contributed nothing to the availability of fonts, language and media, by which we can read this text, or to the fact that there exists a chair or other seat on which we are sitting meanwhile. And of course, we have not done anything to the facts that there are wood, steel, textile, and transport, etc. industries, without which the chair would not exist, etc. All this need not exist in our world, but it does exist and is available, and we do not have contributed anything to it, it is given to us for free. What we have described here, is a Dasein stance, into which we may be aligned through the sight of the Extra-worldly. Note: The text author does have this sight. How else could he write in his roundabout way, that the world that God makes occur to us, is good.
About Doing the Will of God
12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Apparently, the law then is, that we do to other people what we want them do to us. This "leads unto life" but is inconvenient, because the way is narrow and found by only few people. These formulations may barely pass for telling that it is the Dasein law to enhance life, that the great majority of humans prefer to proceed in proven tracks rather than taking the trouble and risk to open up new possibilities of life, and that only few people do actually get a sight of the Extra-worldly. However, without prior knowledge, nobody would ever understand the formulations in this sense.
And then false prophets are accused for their more comfortable way of life. Instead of bringing good fruit, namely enhancing life, they claim a special authority by maintaining that, in the name of God, they would prophesy, cast out devils and perform miracles. Actually, this has absolutely nothing to do with God.
Jesus has later furiously taken on the pharisees and scribes. The text author is less courageous. He barks up the wrong tree. To publicly preach down a few false prophets, exorcists, and miracle healers, should not have been particularly dangerous but rather conformant to the system.
offers hardly anything new, and is as harmless as it appears. Primarily,
because, in the end, nobody can write into being the reader's sight of the
24. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
The first four verses qualify the preceding existential discourse as safely dependable, and any other dealings with Dasein and the Extra-worldly as untenable. This could be explained in more detail, but the text author doesn't.
And then the penultimate verse tears down the whole elatedness that can be expected from a valuable, eye-opening, insights-creating sermon: the crowd is astonished ["shocked" in Luther's version]. That is dangerous for Jesus, he has given the holy to the dogs. And for the text author, this is the reason to present the Sermon on the Mount in such a way as to avoid the astonishment of the crowd, and also keep the existential content detectable. This he accomplishes with great competence. The biblical text of the Sermon on the Mount has never shocked anybody.
There also is no exegesis available that could explain, why the crowd should have been shocked by a sermon that does not ostensibly offer anything shocking. Our prior existential knowledge explains it without difficulty: Humans fully engage in the world and do not want to be pulled out of this, even not discuss their being in the world. It is a fundamental trait of humans that one should better not test -, that they dread, and avoid dealing with, questions of existence. Adam and Eve hide, in order not to get confronted with their naked existence before God.
The last verse just means that Jesus has spoken competently, and the scribes incompetently, about the Dasein and the Extra-worldly we have already shown that any propositions on the Dasein and the Extra-worldly are categorically void and one might like to add: the more academic and sophisticated, the more void.
Christological exegesis arrives at a different result here. The mentioned authority is interpreted as a personal authorization by God for his one and only son Jesus Christ. This is already not in line with the preceding text which 10 times says "your father", 5 times "thy father", once "our father", and once "my father". Jesus wants to make his audience understand that, for each of them, God is their father in the same way, as he is for Jesus himself and for all other humans. As we have, in this sermon, found so much evidence of Jesus' and the text author's existential competence, it would anyway be quite surprising if the text author would, in the last verse, disprove this. It cannot be (said) that God has one single son and gives him an authority, effective in the world, because these are conceptual propositions about the Extra-worldly, and therefore void and incompetent. Just by focussing on the Dasein, it becomes obvious, that our Dasein is as if permanently fostered by good parents.
The Sermon on the Mount is a very comprehensive lesson about our Dasein. It is ascribed to the highly competent Dasein teacher Jesus by an equally competent author. This author has consequently and successfully fitted the text in such a way that, over the centuries, exegesis did not come across its radical contents. With prior existential knowledge, these appear openly visible, the more as the text author does not withhold conspicuous hints.
In the end, this exposes a deeply sad perspective. The Beatitudes are telling that, just by dealing with our Dasein and the Extra-worldly, we achieve beatitude. It is absurd and perverse, that, of all things, the fear of this dealing should be stronger, and that therefore the Beatitudes and all other knowledge of the Dasein and the Extra-worldly need to be hidden. Still, this is reality, back then and today.