Of all the gospels, the Sermon on the Mount was the portion that impressed me most, and I studied it more often than any other part. Nowhere else does Christ speak with such solemnity; nowhere else does He give us so many clear and intelligible moral precepts, which commend themselves to everyone. If there are any clear and definite precepts of Christianity, they must have been expressed in this sermon; and, therefore, in those three chapters of St. Matthew’s gospel I sought the solution of my doubts.
–Leo Tolstoy, What I Believe
“It has always been assumed that the most important thing in the Gospels are the ethical maxims and commandments,” observes Nikolai Nikolaevich. “But for me the important thing is that Christ speaks in parables taken from life, that He explains truth in terms of everyday reality.”
–Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago