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The Beatitudes through the Ages
Rebekah Eklund
Foreword by Dale C. Allison Jr.

HARDCOVER; Published: 4/27/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7650-8
Price: $ 37.99
368 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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The Beatitudes are among the most influential teachings in human history. For two millennia, they have appeared in poetry and politics, and in the thought of mystics and activists, as Christians and others have reflected on their meaning and shaped their lives according to the Beatitudes’ wisdom. 

But what does it mean to be hungry, or meek, or pure in heart? Is poverty a material condition or a spiritual one? And what does being blessed entail? 

In this book, Rebekah Eklund explores how the Beatitudes have affected readers across differing eras and contexts. From Matthew and Luke in the first century, to Martin Luther King Jr. and Billy Graham in the twentieth, Eklund considers how men and women have understood and applied the Beatitudes to their own lives through the ages. Reading in the company of past readers helps us see how rich and multifaceted the Beatitudes truly are, illuminating what they might mean for us today.

Table of Contents

1. Meet the Beatitudes: Some Basic Questions
2. The Tangled Skein of Our Lives: A Whirlwind Tour through History
3. Drained of All Other Waters: The Poor in Spirit and the Poor
4. By Trials Furrowed: Those Who Mourn and Weep
5. Yield Your Ground: The Meek
6. Our Daily Bread: The Hungry and Thirsty (for Justice)
7. Stretching Out the Hand: The Merciful
8. Such Powerful Light: The Pure in Heart
9. The Heart of God: The Peacemakers
10. Mischief-Makers and Bandits: The Persecuted


The Academy of Parish Clergy Reference Book Top 5 List (2022)

Christianity Today Book Award Finalist in Biblical Studies (2022)

Jesus Creed Books of the Year List (2021)

“It is not an overstatement to describe Rebekah Eklund’s book as stunning. Clearly written. Delightful to read. Erudite while being open-hearted and open-handed. I learned something new (and old) on every page. This will become the new standard work on the Beatitudes.”
— Jonathan T. Pennington
author of The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing
“Like a scribe trained for the kingdom of heaven, Rebekah Eklund brings out of the treasures of the Beatitudes what is new and what is old. Her impressive reception history attunes the heart and mind to interpret these oft-quoted and well-loved Scriptures with the very virtues they seek to inculcate: humility and wisdom, including a discerning appreciation for the theological and ethical concerns these texts raise.”
— Marianne Meye Thompson
Fuller Theological Seminary
“Rebekah Eklund’s heart is large, and her imagination broad; her eye for detail is sharp, and her curiosity winsome; her energy to pursue an unlikely hypothesis is generous, and her patience to unearth an esoteric source unending; her passion for truth is relentless, and her joy in Christ’s upside-down kingdom infectious. Blessed are those who read every word of this book and treasure it: for the glory and playfulness of God’s good future are theirs.”
— Samuel Wells
vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London
“Hardly anyone has done such extensive and thorough research on the Beatitudes as Rebekah Eklund. She has provided insight on the biblical text and a wide purview on the impact of the Beatitudes throughout the centuries. In the process, with each Beatitude she provides a walkthrough of church history, an exercise in devotion, and an invitation to consider the nature of Scripture, the tensions in interpretation, and the significance of the Beatitudes for living. If you are studying the Beatitudes, you will find real and impressive help here.”
— Klyne R. Snodgrass
author of Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus
“The Sermon on the Mount lies at the heart of Christian thinking about how to live, as it has since the days of the early church. Rebekah Eklund tells the story of thoughts and actions inspired by these pages of Scripture down the ages, allowing authors both ancient and modern to become our companions as we seek to enter into these words of Jesus. She has done the church a great service in combining erudition, born of years of study, with such accessibility and clarity of expression.”
— Andrew Davison
University of Cambridge
“This volume has humbled me, leaving me cognizant of how little I really know. . . . Beyond being a boon for exegesis, this book is a treasure of sermonic possibilities. It holds much that is not on the pages of the commentaries that typically line the shelves of pastors’ offices. So if one is looking for fresh thoughts for preaching, they are here in abundance. Furthermore, interpretation and application are, for Eklund, not separate things. Here she stands in line with the misnamed precritical exegetes. The latter were consistently interested in how one might enter into the Beatitudes and bring them to life. Like them, Eklund is not a disinterested observer.”
— Dale C. Allison Jr.
from the foreword
Christian Century
“Rebekah Eklund has favored us with an engaging and profound journey through Jesus’ Beatitudes that gives us a seat at that table. . . . Blessed are those who read this lovely and wise book.”
“A trove of exegetical and sermonic insights. . . . Highly recommended.”
Religious Studies Review
“What, exactly, is the ‘earth’ that the meek will inherit? With what “eyes” will the pure
in heart see God? Why are the peacemakers are rarely discussed in connection with war prior to the Reformation? For those who want a sampling of answers to these and myriad other questions, this book is highly recommended.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
“Any teacher or preacher of the Beatitudes will greatly profit from Eklund’s careful study. It’s a rich and unique feast that should not be overlooked, whatever other resources one might have in commentaries or specialized studies on the Sermon on the Mount.”
“A meticulously researched yet accessibly written reception-historical compendium of theological insights on the canonical Beatitudes of Matthew and Luke, ranging from the early church fathers to the twenty-first century.”
Reviews in Religion & Theology
“This is a rich and rewarding volume, one that warrants frequent revisiting, and it will be a huge asset for anyone working on or preaching on the Beatitudes.”