The mount,  location of Jesus' Sermon

The location of the Sermon on the Mount is often referred to as the Mount of the Beatitudes.

Matthew places Jesus in Galilee when he delivered the Sermon (Matt 4:23-25). However, from attempting a harmony of the Synoptic Gospels, one may suggest that Jesus was in Capernaum immediately prior to delivering the Sermon and returned their directly afterwards. This is consistent with a location amongst the hills along the NW shore of Galilee. The precise location in which the Sermon was given cannot be established with certainty. However, their are two reasonably strong candidates. 

A tradition suggestion, traceable at least back to the fourth century C.E., suggests that the Mount was in the area now marked by the Church of the Beatitudes. This broad hillside lies amongst the hills to the north west of the Sea of Galilee, a little over 1 Km west of Capernaum. 

A second suggestion, traceable back to the thirteenth century C.E., proposes the twin peaked Karn Hattin (Horns of Hattin) as an alternative (Fenlon 2009, n.p.). This lay further inland to the west and forms a slightly more substantial peak than the hills adjacent to the shore of Galilee, but it again had a level area below a hilltop. However, with the Horns of Hattin lying some 20 Km SW of Capernaum, and, with Jesus only intending to teach his disciples, it is questionable why that site might be chosen in preference to a site on Mt. Hermon, which lay a similar distance to the NW. 

Given that the Sermon on the Mount appears to be Jesus’ clarification of the Ten Commandments, also that Matthew develops the theme of Jesus being a prophet like Moses (France 1995, 85), it seems quite reasonable to assume that Matthew described a hill as a mountain for the theological effect, thereby identifying the event with the law giving at Sinai. However, not all scholars would agree with this conclusion (e.g. see France 1995, 107).

Scholars who wish to identify the Sermon on the Mount with the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49) must reconcile Jesus’ ascent of a hill to give the Sermon on the Mount with his descent before giving the Sermon on the Plain. Thus they tend to favour sites with a wide level area just below a hilltop, such as those mentioned above.