The lead up to the famous Golden Rule in the Sermon on the Mount seems not to connect to it at all. Verses 7-11 of chapter 7 of Matthew's gospel seem to have no bearing on verse 12, that is, unless we get the anthropology of Jesus here. As a human, he's talking to other human beings and is using images like specks and logs and dogs and pigs before Matthew has him explicitly referencing people. Matthew has him saying the rhetorical phrases ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος and ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι.
There it gets even more personal, when Jesus refers to them (and to himself perhaps?) as ὑμεῖς πονηροὶ. They are put, by Jesus, in the category of evil, of evil humans able to give children good things. And so Jesus next is able to establish both a contrast and a connection to another giver of good things, and to put them in another human category, with another one: ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. The theology, the notion of a god, the One God, is put here in human terms. A poppa, a father of humans, of these humans listening to that human on the mountain there, teaching them. He's referring to somebody above them, a daddy, their Dad. At the very least, as a paternal figure, this one is the one responsible for their existence. But Jesus is making this God like them; he's a responder to his children, a giver of goodness upon request.
And then comes the great Golden Rule, the sum of The Torah, the law, and of The Nevi'im, the prophets. The Golden Rule repeats the notion of "wishes," of things that would be requested and petitioned for. We might translate in English.
"In conclusion, if there's any little thing you might wish for yourself to be done for you by another human being, any other human being down here with you as another child of a good giving father, then that's what you need to do for that other human being and exactly how you ought to do it for them. Now, that's the conclusion of the Law and of the Prophets of our scriptures."
Because Matthew is in Greek, then we immediately think of the Pentateuch of the LXX and of the Greek translation of the Nevi'im. The writer of the gospel has been quoting from these. But I also think of Plato, putting Greek words in the mouth of his teacher, Socrates. In the Cratylus, he has him exploring the etymologies of the Greek terms for human beings and for gods. The latter, he says, run. The divine ones run on courses. They are not only movers, but in contrast to what Aristotle later would claim, the Supreme God is actually a "moved" mover, a good responder. And Plato's Socrates opines about where the word ἄνθρωπος comes from. It's old and ancient Greek, he says, that means "beings who look up, who gaze up above themselves." Matthew's Jesus puts himself and those he's teaching in that position. They're looking up to the moved mover. And they're desiring things, with permission. Then they're to give what they desire too, as fellow humans to fellow humans.
7 αἰτεῖτε καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν, ζητεῖτε καὶ εὑρήσετε, κρούετε καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν· 8 πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται. 9 ἢ τίς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος, ὃν αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἄρτον, μὴ λίθον ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ; 10 ἢ καὶ ἰχθὺν αἰτήσει, μὴ ὄφιν ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ; 11 εἰ οὖν ὑμεῖς πονηροὶ ὄντες οἴδατε δόματα ἀγαθὰ διδόναι τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς δώσει ἀγαθὰ τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν αὐτόν.
12 πάντα οὖν ὅσα ἐὰν θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς· οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται.
PS - Since I'm posting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA, here's a pertinent quotation:
"the authority of the Golden Rule is not that Jesus proclaimed it. On the contrary, its authority lies in the fact that it has received raison d'être in the experiences of life. Of course, that Jesus uttered it, and more because he lived it, enhances our moral estimate of him."
Edited by jkgayle, 15 January 2018 - 08:34 AM.