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The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary Hardcover – 20 June 2017

4.7 out of 5 stars 51 ratings

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From the Inside Flap

"You have heard it said that the Sermon on the Mount is an impossible ideal, but Jonathan Pennington says to you that it brings blessing and virtue, wholeness and excellence through the wise words of King Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount has informed theological ethics and Christian discipleship for centuries, but often readers have not known quite what to do with these instructions. Pennington here offers a comparative and literary analysis that brilliantly plots the text's portrayal of the good life of the gospel against other portraits of the virtuous life in Jewish and Greco-Roman literature of the day."
--Michael Allen, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

"Pennington has written an exegetically sane and readable commentary on the Sermon on the Mount that also provides a macroscopic reading strategy focusing on how the Sermon envisions the realization of true human flourishing. Pennington argues what may be surprising to many today: human flourishing does not come by ignoring the law of God but by doing the will of God as whole persons. Pennington recognizes the need for balance between the unique work of Jesus in Matthew--who saves his people from their sins--and the necessity for his disciples to live in accord with the ethics of the kingdom. Pennington's exposition of Jesus's teaching has numerous implications for how we approach life today and deserves careful consideration. For anyone who has ever asked, what is the good life?, here is an answer that interacts robustly with the biblical text in its ancient context. This is a creative, substantive, and worthwhile contribution to the study of the Sermon on the Mount."
--Brandon D. Crowe, Westminster Theological Seminary

"Pennington offers a helpful prolegomenon to the study of the Sermon on the Mount. His fresh proposal of a new paradigm for interpreting the Sermon exhibits an awareness of the major trajectories in the history of interpretation and judiciously engages the most recent scholarly discussions. Not content with mere theory, Pennington applies his paradigm in a brief commentary on the Sermon. Along the way he offers many insights that will enrich one's study of Jesus's ethical teaching. This is essential reading for scholars interested in synoptic studies."
--Charles Quarles, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

From the Back Cover

"Pennington's reading of the Sermon on the Mount is a remarkable piece of work: erudite, careful, balanced, and fresh. Grounded in meticulous historical exegesis but shaped by a distinctive sensitivity to theological hermeneutics, the book succeeds in proclaiming what is often undersold in our evangelicalism--the goodness of the good news by which we come to flourish."
--Grant Macaskill, University of Aberdeen

"When it comes to the Sermon on the Mount, many scholars find it difficult to comprehend the Sermon, let alone to make a contribution to the history of Christian thinking about it. Pennington has accomplished both, baptizing this great collection of Jesus's teachings into the wisdom tradition of human flourishing and virtue ethics. Even where I disagree with Pennington, I have learned from his logical and clear case for the Sermon as a summons to human flourishing. This book will prove to be an exceptional classroom tool as well as a preacher's steady resource."
--Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary

"Is there need for another book on the Sermon on the Mount? Yes, because few others combine the strengths, clarity, pathos, and insight of this one. It is rooted in wide reading across many centuries and traditions. It takes full measure of the range of methods available to shed light on the passage. It is alert to personal transformation as a justified aim in reading. It is balanced, hermeneutically informed, and academically grounded without failing to be pastorally useful as well as theologically responsible. Readers of all stripes will benefit from interaction with Pennington's expositions and sometimes painfully honest wrestlings."
--Robert W. Yarbrough, Covenant Theological Seminary

"In this insightful volume, Pennington brings his expertise in the Gospels (and Matthew in particular) to bear on the theological masterpiece that is the Sermon on the Mount. Pennington finds in the Sermon an 'eschatological, Christ-centered, kingdom-oriented piece of wisdom literature, ' whose unified theme is the goal of human flourishing. I found Pennington's careful exegesis and balanced conclusions thoroughly convincing."
--Mark L. Strauss, Bethel Seminary San Diego

"Pennington invites readers to consider anew the First Gospel's Sermon on the Mount. Situating the Sermon's message in the nexus of Second Temple Jewish wisdom and the Greco-Roman virtue traditions, Pennington unlocks the potential of the Sermon for the church in the twenty-first century. In his reading, the Sermon bids humans into a way-of-being-in-the-world that produces a foretaste in the present of the whole-person, full-human flourishing promised in the eschaton through the practice of Jesus's words."
--Joel Willitts, North Park University

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Baker Academic (20 June 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0801049636
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0801049637
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.51 x 3.18 x 25.4 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 51 ratings

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Steve Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Way of Jesus made clearer
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5.0 out of 5 stars Warning! Not Pharisee-approved
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant fresh look at timeless wisdom
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5.0 out of 5 stars Understandable and insightful
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