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Ignorance Is Bliss: Attitudinal Aspects of the Judgment according to Works in Matthew 25:31-46

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This paper argues that the righteous in Matt 25:31-46 stand out not only by their works of mercy, but also by their attitudes. Comparable descriptions of judgment emphasize the self-confidence of the righteous, based on their own knowledge of their good deeds. In contrast, those acquitted in Matt 25:31-46 are characterized by their ignorance of their own righteousness and their overall inability to help themselves. The passage therefore serves as a fitting conclusion to the teaching on discipleship in the Gospel of Matthew, contrasting the true disciples with the hypocrites (cf. 7:21-23) and bringing together the twin Matthean emphases on the faith of the helpless and the works of the righteous.


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