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Book: Social and Cognitive Perspectives on the Sermon on the Mount

Chapter: 11. Macarisms and Identity Formation: Insights from the Comparison of 4QBeatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.32054


Elisa Uusimäki builds on the social identity approach as she compares the macarisms of the Sermon (5:1-12) with those in 4QBeatitude (4Q525). Both sets of macarisms declare and urge prototypical attitudes for their recipient communities. Social identities are cognitive categories with borders and prototypical ideals, shared among community members, that facilitate differentiation from outgroups. The macarisms of the 4QBeatitude are characterized by contrastive language, those of the Sermon less so, but both formulate an identity prototype with character traits that sets the audience communities apart from other groups. An interesting feature shared by the two texts is the formulation of their identity in royal terms: as participants in their respective communities they inherit royal status.

Chapter Contributors

  • Elisa Uusimaki ( - euusimaki) 'University of Helsinki'