Monday, December 13, 2010

Daniel June: Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount

Jesus from the Deesis MosaicImage by jakebouma via Flickr
Here is a paraphrased adaptation of the first chapter of the sermon on the mount from the gospel of Matthew. I tried to round it about and play with the style. There has been thousands of English translations of this book and no new one is needed at all, but I am doing it as a stylistic exercise and to gain intimacy with the text. You can tell me what you think.

Daniel Christopher June

Sermon on the Mount

            Jesus taught many people throughout Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, and beyond. Seeing the multitude he would go into a mountain, sit down, gather his disciples at his feet, and open his mouth, saying,
Happy the poor, for they own the kingdom.
Happy the depressed, for they find comfort.
Happy the subtle, for they gain the world.
Happy the empty of righteousness, for they will be filled.
Happy the merciful, for their mercy will return to them.
Happy the pure in heart, for their heart sees God.
Happy the peacemakers, for they are God’s children.
Happy the persecuted for righteousness sake, for they own the kingdom.
Happy the reviled, persecuted, insulted, and gossiped for truth’s sake
            Rejoice and be glad, for great your treasure, just as the prophets were persecuted.
You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt grows saltless, what results? It’s useless: cast it out, stamp it down.
You are the light of the world: a city upon a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and smother it under a bowl, but put it upon a candlestick, and it gives life to the whole house. Let your light shine before men, to see your goodness, and glorify your divine source.
Think not that I come to destroy the laws and prophets – I come not to destroy, but fulfill. Till heaven and earth pass away, neither a jot nor hyphen will by any means be destroyed, till all is fulfilled. Whoever breaks the least of the commands, and teaches others to do so, will be least in the kingdom, but whosoever practices and teaches them will be great in the kingdom. For unless your righteousness outshines the pastors and preachers, you shall not even enter the kingdom.
You have heard the ancients said Thou Shalt Not Kill, and he who does, let him be condemned; but I say if you are even angry with your brother you will be condemned, and if you say to him “you are ignorant,” a flogging is fit, but if you say “you fool!” hell is better. Therefore, if you are about to give to charity or tithe to your church, and remember your brother has a grudge against you, drop your gift and leave: first be reconciled, and then you’ll be fit to give. Settle disputes speedily, rather then letting them escalating into legal disputes, and you will be judged and you will be condemned, till you pay your debt.
You have heard the ancients said Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, but I say to you that whosever looks with lust upon a woman has committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye offends you, castrate it; better to lose only that then your whole body in hell. And if your right hand offends you, cut it off, better to lose only that then your whole body in hell.
You have heard the ancients said Whosever Would Divorce, Do It Legally, but I say to you that you commit adultery to leave your spouse, and whoever marries her also commits adultery.
Again you have heard the ancients said You Shall Perform What you Promised, but I say, swear not at all, neither by heaven nor earth, since you don’t own them, nor even by your life, since you can hardly control that. Simply make your yes, yes, and no no – anything else is presumptuous.
You have heard that the ancients said An Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for Tooth, but I say to you, Resist Not Evil, but if a man would strike your cheek, turn to him the other, and if a man would sue you, give him the money, and if a man makes you walk a mile, walk an extra mile. Give to whomsoever asks, and if another would borrow from you, do not withhold.
You have heard that it was said, Love your Brother and hate your Enemy, but I say to you Benefit your enemies, compliment those who insult you, wish well for those who hurt you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he warms the good and bad with the same sun, and cools the just and unjust with the same rain. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Everybody does that. If you salute your brothers only, what more is this than anybody? Therefore, be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.


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