Re: [Synoptic-L] first modern scholar to note the shorter and longer forms of the LP
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
On: The Lukan Lord's Prayer
I'm afraid I can't help with Jeffrey's question as he puts it. I notice that
Fitzmyer ad loc gives some possibly helpful citations (eg, Jeremias), but
these Jeffrey undoubtedly already knows. Perhaps somebody else can and will
THE ORIGINAL LP
As to the LP itself, Fitzmyer after long discussion reconstructs an Aramaic
original, in which (to my eye) what is basically the Lukan form is somewhat
contaminated with Matthean parallelisms. Fitzmyer's Lukan Prayer reads as
May your name be sanctified!
May your kingdom come!
Give us each day our bread for subsistence
Forgive us our sins,
for we too forgive everyone who does wrong to us.
And bring us not into temptation
And his Aramaic version (in English translation, 2/901), with differences
May your name be sanctified!
May your kingdom come!
Give us [this] day our bread for subsistence.
Forgive us our [debts],
[as we have forgiven our debtors].
And bring us not into temptation.
As we say in Chinese, chabudwo (much of a muchness). But I can't think that
any sonorousness which the Lukan version gains by these Matthean changes of
Fitzmyer's is in the direction of historical accuracy. In particular
(turning now unambiguously to Matthew), Matthew more completely equates the
sins of man toward God with the peccadilloes of man toward man, by calling
them both "debts," which is literarily neat (so much I would concede to
Fitzmyer 2/897), but perhaps theologically doubtful. The scale may be
different, or at least God might be thought by some to regard it as
Fitzmyer finds the Matthean form of the LP more Jewish, and thus more
plausibly original; he considers that Luke has revised it in a direction
more suitable to his Gentile audience. I do not doubt that Matthew may
represent something of a reversion in the traditional Jewish direction from
the sometimes radical position taken by Jesus and his earliest converts (if
Brother Jacob had written any of the Gospels, it would surely have been
Matthew). All the same, I find it hard to ignore the verbal signs that the
Lukan version is earlier, and the Matthean one derivative. This does not
mean that Luke in general precedes Matthew; there are too many signs the
other way. Luke on the whole follows Matthew in time, and he sometimes
corrects Matthew's elaborations or redirections. But as I have earlier
suggested, I do not think that the Lukan LP is a simplification made by Luke
while looking with disapproval at his only source, the Matthean LP. I think
that the Lukan LP was derived from Luke's memory of his community practice,
which in turn antedates Matthew and supplied Matthew with the material for
his more sonorous and fully glossed version.
What interests me most about the LP (and I take the Lukan version as nearer,
not to the wording of some prior "document," for Goodness' sake, but to the
usage of believers in Luke's own community) is what we Chinese call the
resonance theory of dealing with God. You can pray, meaning you can ask
favors, but how do you give that prayer extra weight and efficacy? One is by
killing an animal and letting God eat its flesh, which is a widespread
notion but not one that the early Christians (following the later ethicizing
Jewish prophets) seem to have adopted. Another way is by your own suffering,
never mind by whom inflicted, so as to arouse the pity of God. There is a
lot of that too, comparativistically speaking, and some of it turns up in
later Christianity, though not as far as I know in the earlier versions.
(Though if we rank poverty as a theologically potent form of suffering, then
indeed it is present from the beginning, and was made much of in some
branches of early Christianity, eg the Nazoreans/Ebionites; perhaps the
mainstream of early Christianity).
A third way is to arouse the ethical instincts of God by yourself behaving
ethically, to sound the note C (so to speak; this is one example the Chinese
use) on your little lute, thus evoking a mammoth diapason C from the
heavens. That is, there is a resonance continuum existing between God and
man, and it can in principle be evoked from either end: God can inspire
ethical conduct in us, and we by our ethical conduct can also move God. The
idea of giving God an ethical example of forgiveness by the petitioner, in
the Lukan LP, relies (as I would think) on this principle. This seems quite
different from the reliance on the power of faith as such, which is also
much attested in the Gospels, including the later layers of Mark. (Not, I
think, the earlier layers).
Not that origins necessarily matter much, but for what it may be worth as a
point of casual interest, I doubt that the possibility of alien influence,
perhaps in the form of alien reinforcement, can be entirely ruled out.
Lateral ethics (as I have called the human version of these two-ended
relationships) seems to be considerably older in the East than in the
Mediterranean West, and some details common to Mt/Lk read to my eye like
translations from certain high-profile sayings or pronouncements in Chinese
texts of from three to five centuries earlier.
In the sense that, if the Mt/Lk versions were handed in to me as
translations of those Chinese texts, I would give them an A.
At the same time, it strikes me that analysts of the Mt/Lk LP spend too
little time on what I might call the Markan proto-LP. Many of the elements
of the later formulation can be seen, busily at work, here and there in
Mark. May we not have here a collective witness to (1) the establishment of
certain reciprocity concepts and Kingdom desiderata, as of Mark; (2) the
reduction of a core group of those desiderata to a set form of prayer,
reflected best in Luke; and (3) the literary elaboration of that prayer into
a more sonorous and expanded form, in Matthew and perhaps even *by* Matthew?
And having reached the end of my excursus, I note, somewhat along the lines
of Jeffrey's request, that I will be doing an article on the classical
Chinese counterparts of some of these early Christian ideas, for publication
a year or so hence, and would welcome any criticisms or simply interested
questions which would help to clarify the issues, or challenge my solutions
Off-list suggestions will be fine; I don't mean to take up bandwidth with
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- Wettstein (page 726) on Luke 11.2 cites Vulg Armen Marcion Origen
Schol 36 & 38 then adds (in Greek) that Luke is silent on the ?in
then on the clauses about the kingdom W again cites versions,
Augustine Enchirid. 116 Origen in Orat. D, gives the longer text in
Greek and adds again (in Greek) that Luke falls silent. After the
further discussion of the bread petition he adds probante H. Grotio,
J. Clerico, J. Millio prol. 420 J.A.Bengelio
I am not familier with all of W?s conventions but as expected it is
clear that he knows the mss, versions, and Patristic discussions as
well as the opinions of the ?moderns? from 1583 to the 18th C.:
Grotius, Leclerc, Mill and Bengel.
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
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