So I was driving around the other day, just letting the old noggin wander, and I had the thought, “The Sermon on the Mount was good though.”
Then, from a different corner, a voice called out, “How do you know?”
And I thought, “Oh yeah, that’s right. I’ve never read it.”
I tried to read the bible once or twice, but it never stuck. You know how some books are like that? You pick ’em up, put ’em down, then just don’t pick it up again? That’s been my experience with the bible. However, in college, for no reason at all, I mastered in classical Greek. It’s not the same language as the original New Testament, but it’s pretty close. So, I figured, I’d translate the Sermon on the Mount, and if it was good as Kurt Vonnegut (and probably some other people) say it is, I’ll try the rest of the book out again.
The fact is, my Greek is bad. It’s been a while since college, and a couple years at it really doesn’t amount to much. Armed with my grammar books and dictionaries, it’s my best effort, but there are definitely mistakes. I’ve only just begun, but here’s what I got so far:
And behold, before the crown he climbed onto the mount. The sojourners of him, his students, were sitting there. He opened his mouth and they were taught by his words.
Happy are the poor, it is of them that is the kingdom of the sky. Happy are the mourning, for they will be encouraged. Happy are the considerate, for they are the heirs of the world. Happy are those cut in two by thirst and hunger for they will be satisfied. Happy are the sympathetic, for they are the free. Happy are the pure of heart, for they are the ones seeing God. The peacemakers are happy, as they will be summoned by the son of God. The justifiably angry, the ones who have been prosecuted, it is of them that is the kingdom of God. Happy are those who are insulted and persecuted and ordered around by the evil liars, because of me. Rejoice and be overjoyed, for the reward for having been persecuted in this way is in the sky, as it was for the prophets before you.
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt is proven stupid, who will be called? You are never strong unless you throw out the ones trampling upon the people. You are the light of the universe. A city is not strong lying hidden on top of a mountain and neither are they who release the light of a lamp little by little, instead of putting it on top of a lamp stand to shine everywhere in the house. Whoever of the people who have received our light and see our good works will believe our father is in the sky.
You may believe that my coming will destroy the rule, or the prophets, but my coming will not destroy, but complete.
For truly I tell you, if you are the receive the sky and the earth be a serif of an iota. You will certainly not receive it through legal means, unless you become in every way like this. Thus, when you have loosed the smallest of your chains by these commands, and instructed others to do the same, in this way the smallest will be called into the sky. It is the ones who make this happen and teach this greatness that will be called into the kingdom of the sky.
I say to you, the best of you, the just ice of the registers are full of Pharisees* and they will certainly not be carried into the kingdom of the sky.
You all heard that I said to the old ones, Do Not Murder.
Cliffhanger! Some very interesting things going on here. That is a solid list of people going into the kingdom of the sky, which I take to be a good thing. I like that he doesn’t phrase everything in that regard however, instead mentioning that the mourning are happy because they will feel better, and that the hungry will be happy because they will eat. I believe it was meant literally, but it could be understood as a comment on the fact that without pain and toil, happiness and satisfaction would be less significant. That “You are the light of the universe” line is pretty amazing, seems like it should be right after the first bit though.
It isn’t enough to be strong, you need to be apparent about it. As a general rule that seems false, but if the intent here is to spread a particular message it makes sense. It isn’t enough to believe in a message strongly, you have to act on that message. Then those who see those actions will come to the same beliefs regarding that message.
The serif of the iotas receiving the earth seems like mixed messaging though. I guess it could refer to the idea that the powerful folks at the top are not the ones who will be changing the world, but the laborers and workers, and in those times slaves and serfs, who will hold the power. If they use that power, in addition to making the world a better place, they get into the kingdom in the sky.
Pharisees, (and I wouldn’t bet a paycheck on this definition or anything), were Jewish folk who believed themselves to be the holiest. Seems pretty specific, it isn’t those who are most concerned with faith that get into the kingdom in the sky, but those who act to bring about positive change. Faith isn’t irrelevant, but Jesus hasn’t said anything about needing it to get into heaven, instead he seems to be arguing that by bringing about good in the world people, in addition to being admitted into the kingdom, will come to believe in God.
“You all heard that I said to the old ones, Do Not Murder” definitely seems like it has a ‘but’ coming! We’ll have to see…
Oh, donuts. We’ll talk about that soon, I promise.