Studies in Christian Ethics 22 (3):261-274 (2009)

In his study on the Sermon on the Mount, Hans Dieter Betz remarks that the expression `the poor in spirit' (οί πτωχοί τω πνεύματι) (Mt. 5:3) is unique in the entire New Testament and does not appear at all in the early Christian literature or elsewhere in the Greek language. Considering the profound and veiled meaning of the first Matthean beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount, this article asks whether a patient analysis of the Christian virtue of humility may reveal a way of life worthy of the blessings enjoyed by the `poor in spirit' in the Kingdom of Heaven. As such, it is argued throughout that the virtue of humility is the foundation of Christian discipleship, adducing arguments from the patristic exegesis of the first beatitude, the humility of the incarnate Son, and the Eastern Orthodox practice of spiritual direction
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DOI 10.1177/0953946809106232
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