Blessed are the cheesemakers…

White Dove Bird
White Dove Bird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry – can never hear the “peacemakers” beatitude quite the same again after Monty Python.

Unless I hear it in a translation from the Aramaic text. Here it is:

Healed are those who bear the fruit of sympathy and safety for all,
they shall hasten the coming of God’s new creation. 

(Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons and daughters of God)

In my public harangues I have often drawn a distinction between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy, it seems to me, while exhibiting compassion for another, has tended to stand back and not get too involved – a bit like Lucy’s “I love mankind” sentiment. “Empathy” is much more focused and particular, revealing some costly identification with another person – hence Lucy’s follow through “It’s people I can’t stand!”

In the context of peacemaking, “bearing the fruit of sympathy” might be the appropriate stance. A peacemaker serves best when, assessing the whole picture, is able to bring all parties to the negotiating table. An effective arbitrator needs to be one step removed in order to create the space where reconciliation can be restored. It would not be possible to exhibit empathy for either or both parties without projection or transference/counter-transference issues muddying the waters.

The translation from Aramaic seems to bring greater clarity to the peacemaker’s role.



Published by wonderingpilgrim

Not really retired but reshaped and reshaping. Now a pilgrim at large ready to engage with what each day brings.

8 thoughts on “Blessed are the cheesemakers…

  1. Thank you Dennis,
    We still miss you at Lyons.
    Peter Harper is doing a good job but I (selfishly) miss the intellectual gifts you shared with us.
    Jesus although the most quoted person in history is also misquoted. Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English certainly leaves plenty of room for deviations in concept.

    Lots of love to you and Jenny
    Pat and Warwick


  2. Hey Warwick – always good to hear from you. Lyons has a special place in our memory and we hope to get back to visit some time. We remember Peter well – great singing voice – please give him our fond regards.


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