Bonus Bible video!

What's really in the Good Book.
March 8 2007 12:11 PM

Bonus Bible Video!

In which I re-enact the Sermon on the Mount.

Browse the complete Blogging the Bible series. To learn more about the Blogging the Bible project, click here.

As I mentioned here today, Jesus Christ borrowed his Sermon-on-the-Mount praise of the meek from Psalm 37, which says, "The meek shall inherit the land." (Jesus, of course, said, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth"—Matthew 5:5.)

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This is why now is as good a time as any to air this embarrassing video of me. A brief explanation: In January, I spent a week in Israel on a media junket sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. * Our group of 11 journalists met with politicians, thinkers, and military leaders; toured the country's borders; and visited historical and cultural sites. One stop was the Mount of Beatitudes, the spot on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus is said to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Josh Block, the trip organizer and AIPAC's director of media affairs, decided to test my biblical enthusiasm. He asked me to read the sermon to the group, in the garden next to the chapel. Josh filmed me with his camera phone.

It was an uneven performance. As a Jew, I was self-conscious about playing the role of Jesus. (The fact that Jesus was himself a Jew did not comfort me.) You can see that I began the speech in a jokey, nervous way. (That goofiness is why I mumbled through the "meek" verse, which comes right at the start.) But I sobered up midway through, as I began to listen to what I was reading and take it seriously. Anyway, enough excuse-making: Here's the video. If nothing else, it has the virtue of being extremely short.

Correction, March 8, 2007: The article originally misstated the name of the AIPAC as the American Israel Political Affairs Committee. (Return to the corrected sentence.) 

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

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