Ideal Disciples: A Commentary on Matthew's Beatitudes
Ideal Disciples: A Commentary on Matthew's Beatitudes

Ideal Disciples: A Commentary on Matthew's Beatitudes

by Daniel Daley

Pages 203
Publisher Baylor University Press
Published 5/1/2024
ISBN-13 9781481319386
Happiness and human flourishing were common topics among philosophers in the ancient world, from Aristotle to Seneca and beyond. Although Bible readers often think about Jesus' primary role as the savior of his people, he also taught a unique vision for a thriving and fulfilled life, a vision that continues to guide and challenge followers of Jesus as they navigate a complex, morally fraught world.

In Ideal Disciples, Daniel Daley argues that Matthew's Sermon on the Mount serves as an ideal starting point for understanding Jesus' vision for discipleship. Matthew's beatitudes might be the topic of more reflection, discussion, teaching, and writing than any other passage in the Bible. Often seen as a summation of the heart of Jesus, the beatitudes are a richly textured, layered, and penetrating passport into Christ-oriented dispositions, requiring consideration by readers of the Gospel and constant reappraisal by careful interpreters. Ideal Disciples argues that Jesus' beatitudes demonstrate a faithful but innovative engagement with antecedent traditions and a stirring, universal call to discipleship for those willing to commit to Jesus' unique vision. Matthew's writer takes linguistic cues from both Judaism and the Greco-Roman world, and the message of the beatitudes can be situated squarely within Jewish wisdom and apocalyptic traditions.

By serving as instruction for Jesus' ideal disciples, the beatitudes speak not only to Matthew's goals for the first Gospel's first readers, but also into the lives of readers throughout the centuries and into the present day. The beatitudes are a counterintuitive and countercultural introduction to Christlikeness, and readers of the beatitudes are asked to consider what they reveal about Jesus' vision of a fully flourishing life for his followers.


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