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Additional resources for A Structural Analysis of the Sermon on the Mount
The normal hierarchy of human values is inverted straightforwardly without any apology. Those qualities generally considered failures or shortcomings are treated as blessings, and those who possess them are proclaimed blessed. When told that those who are "poor in spirit" (5: 3), that is, those who do not acquire riches or who readily dispose of them, are blessed, unprepared readers may experience a certain ideological and cultural shock, for all their lives they have witnessed and have probably displayed the opposite attitude.
Under the same pressure of assumed future inconvenience the seventh interpretation, interim ethics, seems to arise. lt claims that only in light of acute apocalyptic expectations can the message of the Sermon on the Mount be seriously considered and implemented. Ironically, in our age of nuclear armaments with its rather obvious apocalyptic perspective, the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount are not practiced to the degree that could be Author's Point of View and Method 31 expected according to this interpretation.
Should this analysis suggest that the text represents an authentic, although abridged, pronouneerneut of Christ, the intellectual intimidating effects of major authoritative interpretations of the sermon could perhaps be reduced, and those inclined on the basis of their spiritual experience to accept the authenticity of the sermon could find an alternative to the prevailing skepticism about the authenticity and the message of the sermon. Such an option could perhaps assist some in finding guidance and support in the Sermon on the Mount, for it would permit at least listening to this communication without the threat of being labeled ignorant, backward, or fanatic.