Christian Humanist Profiles 116: The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing

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Augustine called the Sermon on the Mount “a perfect standard of the Christian life.” John Calvin said it “collect[ed] into one place the leading points of the doctrine of Christ, which related to a devout and holy life.” Yet, for many Christians, the Sermon on the Mount is as perplexing as it is inspiring, giving us at once impossible commands and heart-warming quotations, containing the verses we love most alongside those we fear most. So, what is the Sermon on the Mount really for? According to Jonathan Pennington, the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 5, 6, and 7—is for flourishing: a call to the happy life of virtue, at peace with our Father in heaven and our brothers and sisters on earth. In making his case, Pennington draws on resources both Hebrew and Greek, placing the virtue ethics of Jesus in fruitful conversation with both Moses and Aristotle. In this episode of Christian Humanist Profiles, David Grubbs interviews Dr. Jonathan Pennington, Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and author of The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (Baker, 2017).

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