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Beatitudes(bē-ăt`ĭto͞odz') [Lat.,=blessing], in the Gospel of St. Matthew, eight blessings uttered by Jesus at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount. Some, counting verses differently, say there are nine. In a parallel passage in the Gospel of St. Luke, only four of the blessings appear, with four corresponding woes.
New Testament precepts of moral and social character ascribed to Jesus Christ by Christian tradition and invested with divine authority (The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, ch. 5, and Luke, ch. 6). They define which people may hope for beatification because of their social and moral condition (“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”). They also call on those in want to be humble and submissive (“Do not resist one who is evil”). Societies with antagonistic class conditions use the Beatitudes to strengthen the system based on exploitation.