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24153more on forgiveness of sins

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  • Jgibson
    Apr 20, 2013
      I'm reproducing here a section on the meaning of the forgiveness of sins
      in the LP/DP from an online dissertation by Richard Wendel entitled
      /The Interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, Q 11:2b-4, in the Formative
      Stratum of Q According to the Literary and Cultural Perspectives
      Afforded by the Affixed Aphorisms, Q 11:9-10, 11-13//.

      /I think it is highly instructive -- and fits well with what I am
      arguing the rest of the LP/DP aims at./

      Jeffrey

      //
      > Q 11:4ab
      > καὶ ἄφες ἡμ ν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμ ν, ὡς καὶ ἡμε ς ἀφήκαμεν το ς
      > ὀφειλέταις ἡμ ν
      >
      > And cancel our debts for us, as we too have cancelled for those in
      > debt to us
      >
      > The key words for understanding Q 11:4ab are ἀφ ημι and ὀφε λημα. Well
      > used words commonly take on several meanings and this is clearly the
      > case with ἀφ ημι, which can be defined as, “to send forth, discharge,
      > let fall, give up, let go, set free, put away, divorce or release.”
      > On the other hand, ὀφε λημα has a narrower range of meaning and is
      > generally associated with indebtedness.
      > As we shall see the call to have debts cancelled is being proposed not
      > only as a call to forgive someone their offenses as the petitioner
      > hopes for forgiveness from God, but also, as Kloppenborg will insist,
      > it seems to call for a release of any debts for the many poor who were
      > held in their misery by the system of indebtedness in the culture. The
      > language of the prayer invites these ideas of fiscal indebtedness, it
      > must be said: Below are examples where ὀφε λημα deals with financial
      > transactions between humans, often in terms in financial indebtedness.
      >
      > Euclides the lapidary owes (ὀφε λει) me three minae. (Diogenes
      > Laertius, Lives 3.42)
      >
      > To Crito of Chalcedon I also remit (ἀφ ημι) the purchase-money for his
      > freedom and bequeath to him four minas. (Diogenes Laertius, Lives 5.72)
      >
      > To Syrus who has been set free I give four minas and Menodora, and I
      > remit to him any debt (ὀφε λει) he owes (ἀφ ημι) me. (Diogenes
      > Laertius, Lives 5.73)
      >
      > Whenyou makeyour neighbor a loan (ὀφε λημα) of any kind,you shall not
      > go into the house to take the pledge. (Deut 24:10)
      >
      > Every debt (ὀφε λημα)you owe to the royal treasury and any such
      > future debts shall be canceled (ἀφι σθω) foryou from henceforth and
      > for all time. (1 Macc 15:8)
      >
      > An example occurs in Matthean Sondergut, where the king describes his
      > magnanimous forgiveness of financial debt to a slave who was ready to
      > imprison his fellow slave for a relatively small sum: “you wicked
      > slave! I forgave (ἀφ κ )you all that debt (ὀφειλὴν) becauseyou pleaded
      > with me” (Matt 18:32).
      >
      > The second meaning is presented by Ben Sira, where this time it
      > refers to a wrong committed by one’s neighbor:
      >
      > Forgive (ἄφες)your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins
      > will be pardoned when you pray. (Sir 28:2)
      >
      > This promise on the part of the petitioner is a mighty one. The
      > honor-shame society of the Greco-Roman world held honor as the supreme
      > goal, as is well known in today’s scholarship. Bruce Malina notes
      > three degrees of social dishonoring. The first and most dishonoring
      > act, for which there was no revocation possible, included:
      >
      > …murder, adultery, kidnapping, bearing false witness, and total social
      > degradation of a person by depriving one of all that is necessary for
      > one’s social status. These in sum, include all the things listed in
      > the second half of the Ten Commandments aside from theft, for this is
      > in fact what is listed there: outrages against one’s fellow Israelite
      > that are simply not revocable but require vengeance.21
      >
      > The second degree is the deprivation of honor, but with a possible
      > revocation, like theft, seduction of an unmarried daughter. Some kind
      > of restitution was possible. The least of the deprivations belong to
      > “the regular and ordinary interactions that require normal social
      > responses, such as repaying a gift with one of equal or better value,
      > allowing others to marry my children if they let my children marry
      > theirs.” 22
      >
      > Malina sums up the social sense of maintaining one’s honor with
      > the statement, “In other words, any implicit or explicit dishonor must
      > allow for satisfaction commensurate with the degree of dishonor
      > present.” 23
      >
      > Malina explains the importance of a person’s respected name in the
      > society, “A good name fundamentally means adequate honor to carry on
      > the social interactions necessary for decent human existence…Physical
      > affronts are always symbolic affronts that require a response. Failure
      > to respond means dishonor, disgrace.” 24
      > In the light of these remarks, the petitioner’s promise to forgive the
      > “debts” of another, calls for a new way to live. There is no demand
      > that the debtor acknowledge the debt, but only that the child of the
      > Father promises forgiveness.
      > Richard L. Rohrbaugh explains the social implications of the
      > maintenance of loss of honor because,
      >
      > …the honor of the whole family was at stake in the honor of one of its
      > members, a whole family’s honor would be damaged by a situation that
      > got out of control. The offended family would feel honor bound to
      > retaliate, which in turn would cause retaliation in response. The
      > resulting feuds could escalate into violence and disrupt the
      > stability of an entire village.25
      >
      > It is significant that the prayer presumes a plurality of persons:
      >
      > And cancel our debts for us, as we too have cancelled for those in
      > debt to us.
      >
      > This promise from the group to forgive and not to exact vengeance, not
      > to demand restitution but to allow the offense, the “debt,” to be
      > cancelled suggests a group life style in contradistinction to the
      > expectations of society, with the readiness to endure disgrace,
      > rather than respond in kind.
      > This promise also amounts to a recognition that the same grounds upon
      > which the petitioners call on God’s forgiveness—weakness, lack of
      > intent to offend, etc. —must be extended as well to those who have
      > offended the members. The magnanimity shown by God should be shown by
      > his children to each other and all others. This recognition of the
      > need to be as generous as the Father has been generous is seen
      > throughout the sayings that belong to the Q¹ speeches.
      > In the first major speech cluster of the formative document Q, such
      > programmatic teachings form the core of the message attributed to Jesus:
      >
      > First there is the magnanimity to be shown to others as one has
      > experienced it from God:
      >
      > To the one who asks of you, give; and from the one who borrows, do not
      > ask back what is yours. And the way you want people to treat you, that
      > is how you treat them. If you love those loving you, what reward do
      > you have? Do not even tax collectors do the same? And if you lend to
      > those from whom you hope to receive, what reward do you have? Do not
      > even the Gentiles do the same? Be full of pity, just as your Father is
      > full of pity. (Q 6:30-34, 36)
      >
      > The general rule, then, for treating others is found in Q 6:31,
      >
      > “And the way you want people to treat you, that is how you treat them.”
      >
      > Note how this is repeated in the teaching about the measure you use
      > for your neighbor will be used for you and is echoed in Q 11:4ab:
      >
      > Do not pass judgment, soyou are not judged. For with what judgment
      > you pass judgment you will be judged. And with the measurement you
      > use to measure out, it will be measured out to you. (Q 6:37-38)
      >
      > In another speech of Q, the bountiful character of forgiveness that is
      > enjoined, is understood to reside in the mercy the forgiver has
      > received from a merciful God:
      >
      > If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents,
      > forgive him. And if seven times a day he sins against you, also seven
      > times shall you forgive him. (Q 17:3-4)
      >
      > 21 . Bruce J. Malina, The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural
      > Anthropology, 3rd, revised and expanded ed. (Louisville: Westminster
      > John Knox Press, 2001), 44.
      > 22. Ibid., 44-45.
      > 23. Ibid., 46.
      > 24. Ibid., 55.
      > 25. Richard L. Rohrbaugh, "Honor: Core Value in the Biblical World,"
      > in Understanding the Social World of the New Testament, ed. Dietmar
      > Neufeld and Richard E. DeMaris (London and Newyork: Routledge, 2010),
      > 109-25, here 14.
      >



      /

      > The key words for understanding Q 11:4ab are ἀφημι and ὀφελημα. Well
      > used words commonly take on several meanings and this is clearly the
      > case with ἀφ ημι, which can be defined as, “to send forth, discharge,
      > let fall, give up, let go, set free, put away, divorce or release.” On
      > the other hand, ὀφελημα has a narrower range of meaning and is
      > generally associated with indebtedness.

      > As we shall see the call to have debts cancelled is being proposed not
      > only as a call to forgive someone their offenses as the petitioner
      > hopes for forgiveness from God, but also, as Kloppenborg will insist,
      > it seems to call for a release of any debts for the many poor who were
      > held in their misery by the system of indebtedness in the culture. The
      > language of the prayer invites these ideas of fiscal indebtedness, it
      > must be said: Below are examples where ὀφελημα deals with financial
      > transactions between humans, often in terms in financial indebtedness.

      > Euclides the lapidary owes (ὀφε λει) me three minae. (Diogenes
      > Laertius, Lives 3.42)

      > To Crito of Chalcedon I also remit (ἀφ ημι) the purchase-money for his
      > freedom and bequeath to him four minas. (Diogenes Laertius, Lives 5.72)
      > To Syrus who has been set free I give four minas and Menodora, and I
      > remit to him any debt (ὀφε λει) he owes (ἀφ ημι) me. (Diogenes
      > Laertius, Lives 5.73)

      > Whenyou makeyour neighbor a loan (ὀφε λημα) of any kind,you shall not
      > go into the house to take the pledge. (Deut 24:10) Every debt (ὀφε
      > λημα)you owe to the royal treasury and any such future debts shall be
      > canceled (ἀφι σθω) foryou from henceforth and for all time. (1 Macc 15:8)

      > An example occurs in Matthean Sondergut, where the king describes his
      > magnanimous forgiveness of financial debt to a slave who was ready to
      > imprison his fellow slave for a relatively small sum: “you wicked
      > slave! I forgave (ἀφ κ )you all that debt (ὀφειλὴν) becauseyou pleaded
      > with me” (Matt 18:32). The second meaning is presented by Ben Sira,
      > where this time it refers to a wrong committed by one’s neighbor:
      > Forgive (ἄφες)your neighbor the wrong he has done, and thenyour sins
      > will be pardoned whenyou pray. (Sir 28:2)

      > This promise on the part of the petitioner is a mighty one. The
      > honor-shame society of the Greco-Roman world held honor as the supreme
      > goal, as is well known in today’s scholarship. Bruce Malina notes
      > three degrees of social dishonoring. The first and most dishonoring
      > act, for which there was no revocation possible, included:
      > …murder, adultery, kidnapping, bearing false witness, and total social
      > degradation of a person by depriving one of all that is necessary for
      > one’s social status. These in sum, include all the things listed in
      > the second half of the Ten Commandments aside from theft, for this is
      > in fact what is listed there: outrages against one’s fellow Israelite
      > that are simply not revocable but require vengeance.21

      > The second degree is the deprivation of honor, but with a possible
      > revocation, like theft, seduction of an unmarried daughter. Some kind
      > of restitution was possible. The least of the deprivations belong to
      > “the regular and ordinary interactions that require normal social
      > responses, such as repaying a gift with one of equal or better value,
      > allowing others

      > 21 Bruce J. Malina, The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural
      > Anthropology, 3rd, revised and expanded ed. (Louisville: Westminster
      > John Knox Press, 2001), 44.
      >
      > to marry my children if they let my children marry theirs.” 22 Malina
      > sums up the social sense of maintaining one’s honor with the
      > statement, “In other words, any implicit or explicit dishonor must
      > allow for satisfaction commensurate with the degree of dishonor
      > present.” 23
      > Malina explains the importance of a person’s respected name in the
      > society, “A good name fundamentally means adequate honor to carry on
      > the social interactions necessary for decent human existence…Physical
      > affronts are always symbolic affronts that require a response. Failure
      > to respond means dishonor, disgrace.” 24
      > In the light of these remarks, the petitioner’s promise to forgive the
      > “debts” of another, calls for a new way to live. There is no demand
      > that the debtor acknowledge the debt, but only that the child of the
      > Father promises forgiveness.
      > Richard L. Rohrbaugh explains the social implications of the
      > maintenance of loss
      > of honor because,
      > …the honor of the whole family was at stake in the honor of one of its
      > members, a whole family’s honor would be damaged by a situation that
      > got out of control. The offended family would feel honor bound to
      > retaliate, which in turn would cause retaliation in response. The
      > resulting feuds could escalate into violence and disrupt the
      > stability of an entire village.25
      > It is significant that the prayer presumes a plurality of persons:
      > And cancel our debts for us, as we too have cancelled for those in
      > debt to us.
      > 22 Ibid., 44-45.
      > 23 Ibid., 46.
      > 24 Ibid., 55.
      > 25 Richard L. Rohrbaugh, "Honor: Core Value in the Biblical World," in
      > Understanding the Social World of the New Testament, ed. Dietmar
      > Neufeld and Richard E. DeMaris (London and Newyork: Routledge, 2010),
      > 109-25, here 14.
      >
      > This promise from the group to forgive and not to exact vengeance, not
      > to demand restitution but to allow the offense, the “debt,” to be
      > cancelled suggests a group life style in contradistinction to the
      > expectations of society, with the readiness to endure disgrace,
      > rather than respond in kind.
      > This promise also amounts to a recognition that the same grounds upon
      > which the petitioners call on God’s forgiveness—weakness, lack of
      > intent to offend, etc. —must be extended as well to those who have
      > offended the members. The magnanimity shown by God should be shown by
      > his children to each other and all others. This recognition of the
      > need to be as generous as the Father has been generous is seen
      > throughout the sayings that belong to the Q¹ speeches.
      > In the first major speech cluster of the formative document Q, such
      > programmatic teachings form the core of the message attributed to Jesus:
      > First there is the magnanimity to be shown to others as one has
      > experienced it from God:
      > To the one who asks ofyou, give; and from the one who borrows, do not
      > ask back what isyours. And the wayyou want people to treatyou, that is
      > howyou treat them. Ifyou love those lovingyou, what reward doyou
      > have? Do not even tax collectors do the same? And ifyou lend to
      > those from whomyou hope to receive, what reward doyou have? Do not
      > even the Gentiles do the same? Be full of pity, just asyour Father is
      > full of pity. (Q 6:30-34, 36)
      > The general rule, then, for treating others is found in Q 6:31, “And
      > the wayyou want people to treatyou, that is howyou treat them.” Note
      > how this is repeated in the teaching about the measureyou use foryour
      > neighbor will be used foryou and is echoed in Q 11:4ab:
      > Do not pass judgment, soyou are not judged. For with what judgmentyou
      > pass judgmentyou will be judged. And with the measurementyou use to
      > measure out, it will be measured out toyou. (Q 6:37-38)
      > In another speech of Q, the bountiful character of forgiveness that is
      > enjoined, is understood to reside in the mercy the forgiver has
      > received from a merciful God:
      > Ifyour brother sins againstyou, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive
      > him. And if seven times a day he sins againstyou, also seven times
      > shallyou forgive him. (Q 17:3-4)

      --
      ---
      Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. Oxon.
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd
      Chicago, IL
      jgibson000@...



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