Original Research - Special Collection: Perspectives on Peace in the Bible

Vredemakers as kinders van God (Matt 5:9): ’n Pragmaties-linguïstiese lesing

Andries G. Van Aarde
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 1 | a2935 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2935 | © 2015 Andries G. Van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 March 2015 | Published: 24 July 2015

About the author(s)

Andries G. Van Aarde, Professor Emeritus, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, and Senior Research Fellow of the Unit for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Peacemakers as children of God (Mt 5:9): A pragmatic-linguistic reading. The article investigates different options of the pragmatic meaning (implicature) of the beatitude in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God’ (Mt 5:9). It also explores this Jesus logion’s seemingly contradiction with Jesus’ remark in die Matthean mission discourse, ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword’ (Mt 10:34). The pragmatic use of the concept ‘peace’ in Matthew is probed against the background of scribal activity in the context of the restoration of villages in north-Galilee and south-Syria after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. The pax Romana and Josephus’ appeal to the inhabitants of these villages to collaborate with the Romans is described as the context of these Matthean Jesus-logia. It argues that Matthew interprets Jesus as a ‘Mosaic Joshua’ in continuum with the Judaic tradition of Solomon as the ‘king of peace’, especially 1 Chronicles 22:5-11. The macarism about the ‘peacemakers as children of God’ is interpreted in correlation with the macarism ‘blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Mt 5:4). The article concludes with the finding that the sword-motif in Matthew 10:4 does not contradict the beatitude on peace in Matthew 5:9.


Gospel of Matthew; peacemaker; sword-motif; pragmatic linguistics; Solomon tradition; pax Romana


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