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Re: [XTalk] IOU: Heinemann on Matt. 6:10//Lk. 11:2

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  • Jack Kilmon
    ... From: Jeffrey B. Gibson To: Synoptic@yahoo Cc: Crosstalk2 ;
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2008
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
      To: "Synoptic@yahoo" <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com>
      Cc: "Crosstalk2" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>; "biblical-studies"
      <biblical-studies@yahoogroups.com>; "christian_origins"
      Sent: Friday, January 04, 2008 6:14 PM
      Subject: [XTalk] IOU: Heinemann on Matt. 6:10//Lk. 11:2

      > Apologies for cross posting, but I'd like to take advantage of the
      > widest possible audience:
      > I've just finished reading Joseph Heinemann's "The Background of Jesus'
      > Prayer in the Jewish Liturgical Tradition" (pp. 81-89 in _The Lord's
      > Prayer and Jewish Liturgy_, J. Petuchowski and M. Brocke, eds.) and I
      > came across this statement on p. 86:
      > Similarly, K. G. Kuhn (_Achtzehngebet und Vaterunser und dem
      > Reim_ [Tubingen, 1950, pp. 21-22] emphasizes the contrast
      > between the NT passages quoted [i.e., Matt. 26:39, 42; Mark
      > 14:36 and Matt. 6:9 ff] and the Jewish conception, in which
      > men "perform Thy will". This conception is found, for example,
      > in the Palestinian version of the Eighteen Benedictions. In
      > Rabbinic Judaism, the role of mankind in general, and of the
      > Jewish people in particular, is to perform the will of God,
      > whereas in the passive form used by Jesus ("May Thy will be
      > done"), no room is left for man as an active agent performing
      > God's will (p. 87).
      > This is preceded by:
      > There is reason to inquire whether the formula, "May it be Thy
      > will" [of 1st century Jewish private prayers], expressed the
      > same kind of abject deference and surrender to the will of God
      > which is found in the prayer of Jesus: "Not as I will, but as
      > Thou wilt" (Matt. 26:39, 42; Mark 14:36), as well as in the
      > verse: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt.
      > 6:9 ff.). Heiler considers those verses to be "the highest
      > moment in the history of prayer", and regards the passing over
      > of the petitioner's prayer "into the complete surrender in
      > which the wish is suppressed" as the great innovation of
      > Jesus.'
      > Strack and Billerbeck also hold that there is no Jewish
      > prototype for such utter surrender by the worshipper (except
      > the words of Judah, in I Maccabees 3:60, "As may be the will
      > in heaven, so shall He do"-but this is not a prayer). They
      > regard the short prayer of Rabbi Eliezer, "May Thy will be
      > done in heaven above, and grant relief to those who revere
      > Thee; and do that which is good in Thy sight" (Tosephta
      > Berakhoth 111, 7), as merely a faint echo of Jesus' prayer;
      > while the other parallels from talmudic literature which are
      > usually cited are not at all relevant according to their view.
      > They do not mention the formula, "May it be Thy will", in this
      > context.
      > It would appear that Strack and Billerbeck are right and that,
      > notwithstanding the affinity of Rabbi Eliezer's prayer to that
      > of Jesus, there is a fundamental novelty in the conception of
      > the latter. When the Jewish petitioner surrenders his wish to
      > the will of God, he nevertheless does not abandon it
      > altogether. His request still stands, and, if it remains
      > conditional upon God's will, this is only because he trusts
      > that it shall, indeed, be God's will to grant the request. We
      > do not have here the same categorical surrender in which the
      > petitioner's request is completely given up. If Jesus'
      > conception represents the "highest moment in the history of
      > prayers", then it also seriously undermines the value of
      > prayer. For if, from the very outset, the petitioner has
      > already abandoned all hope of his request's being granted if
      > it does not conform to the will of God, why is he praying at
      > all? For Rabbinic Judaism, prayer only exists to be heard and
      > answered. There is simply no point to a prayer which is not
      > nourished by a sense of assurance that it is not being offered
      > in vain. There is unquestionably an element of paradox in all
      > prayer, and this element is certainly not lacking in the
      > Jewish view of prayer. But the outlook which is expressed in
      > the prayers of Jesus reduces the very possibility of prayer to
      > absurdity, and it is not shared by Rabbinic Judaism (pp.
      > 86-87).
      > The statement that "in the passive form used by Jesus ("May Thy will be
      > done"), no room is left for man as an active agent performing God's
      > will" strikes me as very strange, especially in the light of Matthew's
      > "on earth as it is in heaven" which seems to have in view someone other
      > than God doing God's will as faithfully as it is done "in heaven".
      > But is it true the passive form of the expression "May it be your will"
      > obliterates any idea of human beings having a part in fulfilling the
      > petition at Matt. 6:10//Lk 2? Can anyone point me to a discussion of
      > the passive voice that would validate Heinemann's claim?
      > Jeffrey
      > --
      > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
      > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      > Chicago, Illinois
      > e-mail jgibson000@...

      Hello, my friend. I have ended my sabbatical (health reasons) and am glad to
      see..er..read you again. I see you are continuing your extensive study of
      theLord's Prayer. This is going to make a great book or paper. As is my
      habit, I can only weigh in with the Aramaic vox Iesu where this part of the
      petition is yhw) cbynk...yihwe tsebyanak...'Let happen.... your
      wish/desire." There are usages of these words in the Targum of Isaiah
      65:12; 66:4; Job 21:14and Proverbs 8:24. As is often the case the Aramaic
      idiom may differ somewhat from the Greek and subsequent translations.

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