You Have Heard . . . But I Say to You . . .

Anna Wierzbicka

in What Did Jesus Mean?

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137330
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867905 | DOI:
You Have Heard . . . But I Say to You . . .

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This chapter is devoted to the great antitheses of the “Sermon on the Mount” and tries to identify, in simple words, the meaning of some of Jesus’ key sayings, including “whoever is angry with his brother. . . ,” “whoever divorces his wife. . .,” “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her,” “let your yes be yes, and your no, no,” “turn the other cheek,” and “love your enemies.” By relying exclusively on simple and universal human concepts, it manages to identify Jesus’ teaching in all these areas more clearly and unambiguously than do commentaries relying on complex and culturally shaped concepts like “coveting,” “lust,” “aggression,” “violence,” “nonviolence,” “resistance,” “retaliation” or “submission.” For example, the chapter shows how Jesus’ injunction to “turn the other cheek” is compatible with self‐defense or defense of other people. It also shows how Jesus’ injunctions differed from that of the stoics and the cynics, with which it has often been confused in recent scholarly literature, and it brings into sharper focus the originality of Jesus’ ethical teaching.

Keywords: lust; nonviolence; originality of Jesus’ ethical teaching; resistance; self‐defense

Chapter.  34784 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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