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Olson Re: [XTalk] LP and Kaddish

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Las time I checked, the main problem was the lack of good early sources about what the Kaddish actually included at the time of Jesus. What sources do we
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 2, 2006
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      At 10:59 AM 6/2/2006, Ken Olson wrote:
      >On Friday, June 2, John Staton wrote:
      >
      > >>I believe the majority think the
      >kaddish predates Jesus and that the LP is a variation on the Jewish
      >prayer. I would see this link as one of the most powerful arguments
      >for its early provenance.<<
      >
      >John,
      >
      >How so? Couldn't the resemblence be explained just as well on the theory
      >that Matthew, or conceivably someone else, composed the Lord's prayer at a
      >time when Jewish Xians (my definition of the notoriously ambiguous term is
      >available on request) were seperating from synagogues and wanted their own
      >liturgy? Why does the resemblance suggest an early provenance to you?


      Las time I checked, the main problem was the lack of good early sources
      about what the Kaddish actually included at the time of Jesus. What sources
      do we actually have for the First Century Kaddish?

      Some people have argued, I think, that the Kaddish was influenced by the
      LP, rather than the other way around. This is conceivable if the LP and
      Kaddish both evolved in the generations between the Crucifixion and the
      split between Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, when those who were using
      the LP still considered themselves to be Jews and were so regarded by others.

      Bob Schacht
      University of Hawaii
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Here s what I wrote on the question of the relationship of the LP to the Kaddish (and some other Jewish prayers) in my article on the LP (and whether it
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 2, 2006
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        Bob Schacht wrote:

        > At 10:59 AM 6/2/2006, Ken Olson wrote:
        > >On Friday, June 2, John Staton wrote:
        > >
        > > >>I believe the majority think the
        > >kaddish predates Jesus and that the LP is a variation on the Jewish
        > >prayer. I would see this link as one of the most powerful arguments
        > >for its early provenance.<<
        > >
        > >John,
        > >
        > >How so? Couldn't the resemblence be explained just as well on the theory
        > >that Matthew, or conceivably someone else, composed the Lord's prayer at a
        > >time when Jewish Xians (my definition of the notoriously ambiguous term is
        > >available on request) were seperating from synagogues and wanted their own
        > >liturgy? Why does the resemblance suggest an early provenance to you?
        >
        > Las time I checked, the main problem was the lack of good early sources
        > about what the Kaddish actually included at the time of Jesus. What sources
        > do we actually have for the First Century Kaddish?
        >
        > Some people have argued, I think, that the Kaddish was influenced by the
        > LP, rather than the other way around. This is conceivable if the LP and
        > Kaddish both evolved in the generations between the Crucifixion and the
        > split between Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, when those who were using
        > the LP still considered themselves to be Jews and were so regarded by others.

        Here's what I wrote on the question of the relationship of the LP to the Kaddish
        (and some other Jewish prayers) in my article on the LP (and whether it really is
        an "eschatological" prayer) that was published in Biblical Theology Bulletin 33
        (Fall, 2001) 96-105.

        If you need the full bibliographic details of my citations, let me know.

        Jeffrey

        ******


        4. The Jewish Matrix of the LP
        My fourth reason for holding my view on the focus and concern of the LP is
        grounded in the fact that the focus and concern of allegedly ancient Jewish
        prayers that (it is claimed) form the thematic and theological matrix for the LP
        is "God's protection of the believing community from apostatizing."

        Many scholars (e.g. Torrey: 309; Burney: 161-62; Kuhn: 30-40; Schweizer: 151;
        Perrin: 28-29; and especially those urging the "eschatological" orientation of the
        LP (Jeremias 1967: 104-05; Bultmann: 181; Lohmeyer: 27-29; Brown: 281-12 n. 20;
        Meier 2: 297, 299) have drawn attention to the fact that at various points within
        its text the LP bears both a formal and a material resemblance to certain
        allegedly ancient Jewish liturgical prayers (but see also Abrahams: 93-108; J. J.
        Petrowski; and M. Brocke). They point out, for instance, that the two opening
        petitions of the LP, hAGIASQHNTW TO ONOMA SOU; (Father, may your name be made
        holy); and ELQETW hH BASILEIA SOU (let your reign come) (Matt 6:9//Luke 11:2), are
        strikingly echoed both in the Kaddish:

        Magnified and hallowed be his great name in the world [or:
        age] that he has created for his good pleasure;
        May he cause his kingdom to reign [or: may his kingdom
        reign] in your lives and in your days and in the lives of the
        whole house of Israel very soon and in a near time.

        and in the 11th petition of the Palestinian rescension of the Amidah:

        Restore our judges as at first and our counsellors as in the
        beginning,
        and you yourself reign over us.
        Blessed are you LORD, who love justice

        In addition, they also draw attention to the fact that Matt 6:13a//Luke 11:4b, KAI
        MH EISENEGKHS hHMAS EIS PEIRASMON (and lead us not into testing), finds a parallel
        in that portion of the mandatory Evening Prayer (preserved in b. Ber. 60b) that
        reads as follows:

        and lead me not into sin,
        or into iniquity
        or into testing,
        or into contempt.

        and whose reference to "testing" is thought to be a reference to an anticipated
        final great Testing, an end time persecution of God's saints by pseudo-prophets
        and false saviors (Jeremias 1967: 105-06).

        From this, and from the co-ordinate assumption that the Amidah, the Kaddish and
        the Evening Prayer predate the LP, it is often argued that our interpretation of
        the focus and concern of the LP should be based upon or derived from that which
        these Jewish prayers evince, since these prayers obviously represent the model
        which the LP follows and give shape to the sentiment which it expresses (see
        Perrin: 28-29; Kuhn: 30-33, 40-46; Jeremias 1967: 98, 104-105; Schweizer: 151;
        Brown: 281-82 n. 20).

        There are, of course, formidable difficulties to this approach, the most important
        of them being not only our lack of knowledge of the earliest form and wording of
        the Amidah, the Kaddish, and the Evening Prayer, but also the question, raised by
        Billerbeck (1: 406-07) and others, and noted by Heineman (72-78) and Meier (2:297,
        299, 361-62 n. 36, 363 n. 44), of whether these prayers, whatever they originally
        said, are actually in any way contemporaneous with the LP.

        But for the sake of argument, let us assume four things. Let us assume not only
        (a) that their earliest form and wording can be and has been recovered; (b) that
        in this wording there are parallels to that of the LP, and (c) that the prayers
        are to be dated to early in the first century, but also (d) that the focus and
        concern of these prayers is reflected in the LP. The question then is: What is the
        focus and concern of these prayers? If we take our cue only from the petitions of
        the Amidah, the Kaddish, and the Evening Prayer noted above, as the eschatologists
        seem to do, then the answer would appear to be: the wholly future Kingdom or Reign
        of God and the ardent hope that it may be brought ahead of its time into the
        present. (I say "appear" because there is some reason to believe, especially in
        the interpretation of the "testing" referred to in the Evening prayer as meaning
        "the final, end time testing," the eschatologists have seen within these texts
        what they wanted to see).

        However, once we take into account (a) the theological thrust of the liturgical
        setting in which the Kaddish was typically said as well as (b) what the 11th
        petition in the Amidah and the "lead me not" petitions in the Evening Prayer
        follow on from, and (c) the frame of reference that these "contextualizations"
        give to them (the petitions), it becomes clear that the answer to the question of
        what these prayers have as their focus and concern is actually "securing divine
        aid to remain obedient in difficult times and to be protected against becoming
        like the Wilderness generation."

        Consider, first, our passage from the Evening Prayer (b. Ber. 60b). The "lead us
        not" petition which parallels Matthew 6:13//Luke 11:4 is introduced by the call of
        the pious one for God to

        grant that my portion be your torah
        And accustom me [lit., make my custom] to
        the performance of [lit. to the hands of
        [your] commandment.
        And prevent me from making my custom transgression,

        which is itself grounded in a recitation of the Shema (Billerbeck II: 151, 697;
        VI, 220-21; Jeremias 1967: 72), the confession of faith derived from Deuteronomy
        6:4 and other passages, which both calls those of Israel to love God with the
        whole of heart, soul, and mind, and warns them sternly against repeating the sins
        of the "Wilderness generation" of "forgetting" their covenant obligations to him,
        refusing to trust in him and his ways, and putting him to the test (cf. Deut 6:12,
        16).

        The parallel to Matthew 6:9//Luke 11:2 in the Amidah is preceded and
        contextualized not only by a benediction, which, according to Finklestein, read as
        follows:

        1. Blessed are you LORD God of our Fathers: God of
        Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob; a God great,
        mighty and revered; the God Most High, Master of
        heaven & earth.

        --Blessed are you LORD the Shield of Abraham.

        2. Mighty are you who sustain the living and revive the
        dead.

        --Blessed are you LORD, who revive the dead.

        3. Holy are you and revered is your Name and there is
        no God beside you.

        --Blessed are you LORD, Holy God.

        but also by the specific petitions:

        4. Our Father (Abinu), grant us knowledge and
        understanding and awareness of you.

        --Blessed are you LORD, who grant knowledge.

        5. Our Father, bring us back to your Torah and return us
        in perfect repentance to you Presence.

        --Blessed are you LORD, who delight in repentance.

        And the Kaddish, when recited liturgically, was apparently done so only after, and
        therefore within the context of thought provided by, the recitation of not only
        the Amidah, but, more importantly, also, and like the Evening prayer, of the
        Shema.

        So it would seem that if the LP is indeed somehow grounded in these prayers and
        derives its focus and concern from that which they possess, then the focus and
        concern of the LP is not the future coming of God's Kingdom, but preservation in
        faithfulness and avoidance of apostasy, especially as this was exemplified by the
        Wilderness generation.




        >
        >
        > Bob Schacht
        > University of Hawaii
        >
        >
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        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Chicago, Illinois
        e-mail jgibson000@...
      • Bob Schacht
        ... This appears to remain true. And, BTW, some search of the XTalk archives ... For an interesting twist on this, see below. ... There has been a great deal
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 2, 2006
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          At 11:58 AM 6/2/2006, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

          >Bob Schacht wrote:
          >
          > >
          > > Las time I checked, the main problem was the lack of good early sources
          > > about what the Kaddish actually included at the time of Jesus. What sources
          > > do we actually have for the First Century Kaddish? . . .

          This appears to remain true. And, BTW, some search of the XTalk archives
          will reveal more on the Kaddish and Amidah. Jeffrey responded:

          >Here's what I wrote on the question of the relationship of the LP to the
          >Kaddish
          >(and some other Jewish prayers) in my article on the LP (and whether it
          >really is
          >an "eschatological" prayer) that was published in Biblical Theology
          >Bulletin 33
          >(Fall, 2001) 96-105. . . .

          I'd like to focus on one aspect of your essay:


          >******
          >
          >
          >4. The Jewish Matrix of the LP
          >My fourth reason for holding my view on the focus and concern of the LP is
          >grounded in the fact that the focus and concern of allegedly ancient Jewish
          >prayers that (it is claimed) form the thematic and theological matrix for
          >the LP
          >is "God's protection of the believing community from apostatizing."

          For an interesting twist on this, see below.


          >. . . There are, of course, formidable difficulties to this approach, the
          >most important
          >of them being not only our lack of knowledge of the earliest form and
          >wording of
          >the Amidah, the Kaddish, and the Evening Prayer, but also the question,
          >raised by
          >Billerbeck (1: 406-07) and others, and noted by Heineman (72-78) and Meier
          >(2:297,
          >299, 361-62 n. 36, 363 n. 44), of whether these prayers, whatever they
          >originally
          >said, are actually in any way contemporaneous with the LP.
          >
          >. . . The question then is: What is the focus and concern of these prayers?
          >
          >. . . once we take into account (a) the theological thrust of the liturgical
          >setting in which the Kaddish was typically said . . .

          There has been a great deal of speculation about this, often vulnerable to
          anachronism, IIRC.


          >. . . And the Kaddish, when recited liturgically, was apparently done so
          >only after, and
          >therefore within the context of thought provided by, the recitation of not
          >only
          >the Amidah, but, more importantly, also, and like the Evening prayer, of
          >the Shema.

          How certain is this?

          >So it would seem that if the LP is indeed somehow grounded in these
          >prayers and
          >derives its focus and concern from that which they possess, then the focus and
          >concern of the LP is not the future coming of God's Kingdom, but
          >preservation in
          >faithfulness and avoidance of apostasy, especially as this was exemplified
          >by the
          >Wilderness generation.

          I think it is important to remember that Jewish piety was undergoing
          significant evolutionary changes from the destruction of the Temple ca. 70
          C.E. to the establishment of Rabbinic Judaism and the synagogue as the
          primary center of Jewish religious life in Galilee up to and following the
          Bar Kokhba revolt (130 C.E.?) So it seems to me that the sitz im leben of
          the Kaddish is very much in question.

          For example, Anita Diamant in her book "Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the
          Dying, Bury the Dead, & Mourn as a Jew"
          (<http://www.myjewishlearning.com/redirect/redir.php?U=http://www.randomhouse.com/schocken/home.html>Schocken
          Books) wrote that
          (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/lifecycle/Death/Burial_Mourning/Kaddish/HistoryKaddish.htm)

          >Kaddish originated not in the synagogue but in the house of study (beit
          >midrash). After a scholar delivered a learned discourse, students and
          >teachers would rise to praise God's name. During the mourning period for a
          >rabbi or teacher, students would gather to study in his honor, and his son
          >was given the honor of leading the prayer. Over time, reciting Kaddish
          >replaced studying as the tribute given to a scholar. Eventually the custom
          >extended to all mourners--not only the survivors of rabbis and leaders. By
          >the sixth century, Kaddish was part of synagogue prayers, and during the
          >13th century, when the Crusades threatened the Jewish communities of
          >Europe, it became inextri­cably linked to loss and mourning.

          This sitz casts a rather interesting spin on the LP in context. Imagine the
          LP as a kind of "Amen" to Jesus' teaching? and then developing a special
          sense after his crucifixion, and then again after the ascension? (See the
          concluding verses of the long version of the LP). [Of course, for present
          purposes I'm using "the ascension" here as short hand for whatever may have
          formed the motivating event that came to be called the ascension.]

          Diamant is not writing about post-Rabbinic times here. In terms of dating,
          she wrote,

          >Beloved from its earliest days, parts of the Kaddish date from the first
          >century B.C.E. Written mostly in Aramaic--the spoken language of most Jews
          >from the fifth century B.C.E. until the fifth century C.E.--it was recited
          >not only by priests, but by common folk as well.
          >
          >The Lord's Prayer, or Pater Noster, is the Christian analog to the
          >Kaddish. Based on verses from the Gospel of Matthew (6:9-13), it was
          >written around the same time. Both prayers extol God's strength and ask
          >for the establishment of God's sovereignty on earth. The Kaddish and the
          >Lord's Prayer are also used in much the same ways: recited at most
          >services and at virtually all funerals, they bind their respective faith
          >communities with universally familiar words and rhythms.


          Bob Schacht
          University of Hawaii





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