New Book: We Saw His Sermon on the Mount

This book is available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions via this link. It tells the story of the Sermon on the Mount from the perspective of six witnesses who saw Jesus speak that day. Based upon the linguistic research on this sites, it uses a variety of techniques to capture all the information in the Greek that is usually lost in translation. It is told in a series of letters written by one of those witnesses.

He begins by saying: “You have all heard or read the words that the Nazarene spoke at what has come to be called the Sermon on the Mount. It is the most widely circulated part of his teaching for a good reason, one that I will explain here. You may have also heard rumors and gossip about what happened there. Not all of these stories are completely true.

“Over the years, we have heard some fantastic tales about the event: that the Master controlled the sun, that he conjured snakes and birds, that he raised up a storm to beat back his opponents, and so on. While these rumors all have their basis in fact, they are very different from what occurred. And while some aspects of the story are easily exaggerated as it moves from person to person, much of what is important is too easily lost because it is harder to describe. One thing that is lost is how entertaining the Sermon was and how often the Master made us laugh. This is why I have been urged to write this series of letters. “For over a decade, I toured with five others who also witnessed the Sermon. Our group traveled through much of the known world, giving our testimony to the growing number of assemblies of Followers.

“I assure you that what you read here will surprise you. The words of the Master in these letters are the words you have heard, though they may seem very different at times. Though we all speak the common tongue, in our travels we have discovered that the same words are used differently in different regions. When necessary, I will explain the meaning of these words among the Galileans and Judeans.”

This work is  based on fifteen years of research into the ancient Greek of the Gospels. That research focused directly on how Jesus spoke. The Jesus that emerges from this analysis is surprising, unexpected, and sometimes even shocking. He used humor, a quick wit, wordplay, catchphrases, and even rhymes to entertain his listeners. If you have ever wondered why Jesus drew such huge crowds, with people traveling hours and even days with their families to hear him speak, this story will answer those questions.

Though much more entertaining and amusing than other translations of the Sermon, Jesus’s words here follow the ancient Greek much more closely that any regular biblical version. This is possible because this story presents his words as spoken in a larger context. The original forms of Jesus’s words tell us that Jesus was answering people’s questions as he spoke, not just making a speech. Because history has preserved only his part of this dialogue, we must imagine his interactions with others.

The events, questions, and audience reactions here are fictional and designed to be dramatic and entertaining, but the imagined events arise naturally from his words. This context allows us to hear Jesus’s words much more accurately, without rewriting them so that they look like English sentences in a long monologue. This larger context reveals many interesting shades of his meaning that are usually lost in translation.  To capture the feeling of being there, this translation uses terms much closer to what listeners of Jesus’s era would have heard, rather than the common words. This allows you to enjoy his message in an exciting, new way.