Sermon on the Mount

From Anthroposophy

The Sermon on the Mount is given in the Gospel of Matthew 5:1-12 and contains nine beatitudes or blessings.

The nine proclamied blessings build up, mapping to Man's ninefold structure and bodily principles. The first three can be taken as individual, through longing and suffering to come to peace (physical, etheric, astral bodies), the next three refer to our fellow-men (righteousness, mercy, good-will), and the last three refer to the higher self and lead up to higher beings.

See also a similar structural mapping with the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer.

  1. Blessed are the beggars for the spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
  6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  9. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


  • the "deep truth that Christ-Jesus taught his closest disciples in the initiatory Sermon on the Mount" is explained as that everything that lives in our soul has its mirror image in the other world, attracts the opposite pole in the spiritual world. When Man has a longing for the truth in his 'lower Self', this mirrors as fulfillment on the other side in the 'higher Self'. (1905-06-19-GA090B)
  • Number of statements or blessings
    • Some sources may state the Sermon consists of a different number of separate statements or blessings. However the word 'blessed' appears nine times. The last two verses 10 and 11 are sometimes taken as one, because the words 'persecuted' and 'heaven' appear in both, and the ninth is interpreted as an expansion of the eight. However every word should be taken to have meaning as "God does not waste his words or promises things twice". The eight is focused on righteousness, whereas the ninth is about persecution because of Christ.
  • Comparison with Gospel of Luke 6:20-26 which also mentions beatitudes - see Note [2] in the Discussion area below


Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

Study can start with the five base lectures to be found in GA090B, GA097, and GA118, then three more in other volumes.

The lecture 1905-06-19-GA090B is fully dedicated to extensive coverage of the Sermon on the Mount. It is explained that the master who takes disciples to the mountain refers to the higher worlds, and that particular phrasings are related to the differences in the astral world (eg the full meaning of 'blessed' is explained with Wilhelm Meister by Goethe), after which all petitions are elaborated.

See also 1905-12-02-GA090B and 1907-01-19-GA097 with the same title.

Other lectures are 1910-02-08-GA116 and 1910-02-20-GA118 followed by 1910-03-15-GA118. Furthermore also see 1910-09-09-GA123.

Source extracts


Rudolf Steiner explains how the astral-spiritual world is formwise the mirror-image of our physical world .. the higher relates to the lower that Man lives in the physical sense-world as positif and negatif, warm and cold. When Man knows the two worlds from own experience, he knows that any member of his being in one world attracts its opposite pole in the other world. Longing and fulfillment are two such poles. [also other examples] So all that lives in our soul has its mirror image in the other world.

When Man has a longing for the truth in his 'lower Self', and this mirrors to fulfillment on the other side in the 'higher Self'. It attracts the opposite pole in the spiritual world. Whether it will finds fulfillment in this or another earthly life is another question. And what comes up here as fulfillment for the lower Self, that becomes longing for the higher Self. That this is so, that was the deep truth that Christ-Jesus taught his closest disciples in this initiatory Sermon on the Mount.


.. links to the sixteen petalled lotus flower or throat chakra, interestingly eight are mentioned here instead of nine. A similar link of this throat chakra is made in 1905-03-16-GA053 with the Eightfold pad of Buddha.

In earlier times, eight of the sixteen petals were visible, the others undeveloped. In future ages they will all be visible, for the first eight are the result of the action of unconscious initiation, the other eight of the conscious initiation attained by dint of personal effort. The eight new petals correspond to the Beatitudes of Christ.



Note [1]

Comparing the above lectures and mapping the coverage of the proclaimed blessings, there appears a slight inconsistency in the explanations of the last three in 1910-02-20-GA118 versus the others (the english translation has not been checked against the original typoscripts). However it can be quite logically adjusted for overall consistency.

Note [2] - Comparison with Gospel of Luke 6:20-26

See also Luke 6:20-26 where beatitudes and woes are also mentioned.

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed [are] ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed [are] ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed [are] ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [from their company], and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake.

23 Rejoice in that day, and leap [for joy]: for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

25 Woe unto you, ye that are full now! for ye shall hunger. Woe [unto you], ye that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe [unto you], when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets.

One can see the correlation as:

  • Line 20 maps to Sermon No 1
  • Line 22 to Sermon No 9
  • Line 25 is like a reversal of Sermon No 2.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • James Morgan Pryce (1859-1942): 'The Sermon on the Mount' (1899)
  • Adolf Arenson:
    • 'Die Bergpredigt' - Vortrag am 20. Januar 1914 in Berlin gehalten
    • 'Gedanken und Betrachtungen zur Bergpredigt' in: Ergebnisse aus dem Studien der Geisteswissenschaft Rudolf Steiners: Heft 1 (1980)
  • Johannes Lenz: 'Ihr seid das Salz der Erde: Die Bergpredigt heute' (1996)