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my recent SBL paper on the Lor'd Prayer and the Synagogue

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    I ve just uploaded the paper I presented at SBL on whether the Synagogue and its liturgy is the matrix of the Lord s Prayer. It s available for viewing at my
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 27, 2008
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      I've just uploaded the paper I presented at SBL on whether the Synagogue
      and its liturgy is the matrix of the Lord's Prayer.

      It's available for viewing at my J.B. Gibson Writings page at

      http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/QPwuSZaXCTmp2Xp9Tmu0Jvv0kpC9adnIFTL2vlrgGKKxr4RF0eWsgoElR17ClZYOM9F7QQ_kPk083K_w1RmLrA/LP%20and%20Jewsih%20Liturgy12a.pdf

      or:

      http://tinyurl.com/5qxpb4

      (You have to be a member of the group to access it).

      I'd be grateful for comments and criticisms.

      Yours,

      Jeffrey**

      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      Chicago, Illinois
      e-mail jgibson000@...



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • E Bruce Brooks
      Jeffrey, I would much like to see your LP paper (having missed it at SBL due to a schedule conflict), but by an ill coincidence I recently unsubscribed myself
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 28, 2008
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        Jeffrey,

        I would much like to see your LP paper (having missed it at SBL due to a
        schedule conflict), but by an ill coincidence I recently unsubscribed myself
        from J B Gibson Writings, and cannot now find my way back to the sign-in page.
        Could you provide that URL, for myself and any others so situated?

        Thanks,

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... For shame!!! :-) ... Here it is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JBGibsonWritings/ Yours, Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon) 1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 28, 2008
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          E Bruce Brooks wrote:
          > Jeffrey,
          >
          > I would much like to see your LP paper (having missed it at SBL due to a
          > schedule conflict), but by an ill coincidence I recently unsubscribed myself
          > from J B Gibson Writings,

          For shame!!! :-)
          > and cannot now find my way back to the sign-in page.
          > Could you provide that URL, for myself and any others so situated?
          >
          >
          Here it is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JBGibsonWritings/

          Yours,

          Jeffrey

          --
          Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
          1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
          Chicago, Illinois
          e-mail jgibson000@...
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Xtalk Cc: GPG In Response To: Jeffrey G On LP From: Bruce On further searching, it seems that despite my remembered (and thus perhaps after all
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 28, 2008
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            To: Xtalk
            Cc: GPG
            In Response To: Jeffrey G
            On LP
            From: Bruce

            On further searching, it seems that despite my remembered (and thus perhaps
            after all misremembered) perfidy, the JBGibsonWritings trove still acknowledges
            me as a member of that community, which is surely the next best thing to being
            a member of the Markan community. I hope others may nevertheless benefit from
            the join-in URL which Jeffrey has kindly contributed.

            On a quick scan of the paper in question, I can only agree with Jeffrey's
            impression that the so-called LP is not, or not directly, derived from prayers
            at Synagogue services, and I feel that his impression is strengthened by his
            further argument. I have no objections to offer, and consider the point made.

            What next? I also agree with Jeffrey's passing remark, in the first sentence of
            the paper, that the "Lord's Prayer" is incorrectly designated, and add that
            better terminology might aid further study. There is no use trying to shift or
            confine the meaning of an established term, but I offer these alternate and
            more specific names for prayers encountered here and there in the NT writings:

            1. The Gethsemane Prayer (GP). Several instances of Jesus praying are mentioned
            in the Gospels, but the only one of which we seem to have an early purported
            transcript is the Gethsemane Prayer in Mk 14:36. See also next.

            2. The Disciples' Prayer (DP). The earliest readily recognizable form is the
            one at Lk 11:2-4, of which Mt 6:6-15 seems to be an annotated expansion. I see
            precedents here and there in Mk (including, among other places, the preceding
            item), and suspect that this prayer evolved within what I might call the Gospel
            Community, as a sort of short summary of certain supposed Jesus teachings.
            Paul, as far as I remember offhand (correction of course invited), does not
            seem to notice it.

            3. The Community Prayer (CP): "Come, Lord Jesus," which unlike the two
            preceding items was known in the communities with which Paul had contact, and
            is used by him on one occasion, probably for special effect (solidarity with
            the community of the moment). In length, language, and import it looks to be
            early, and it was probably widespread. Impatience at the delay of the Coming is
            manifest in both the Pauline and Gospel zones.

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: XTalk In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson On: LP From: Bruce Given that Jeffrey s arguments have pretty well removed synagogue liturgy (as such) from the
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 30, 2008
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              To: XTalk
              In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
              On: LP
              From: Bruce

              Given that Jeffrey's arguments have pretty well removed synagogue liturgy (as
              such) from the possible origins of the LP, we might then see what other sources
              offer themselves. I earlier mentioned one possibility, and will here add a
              couple more, plus a suggestion on date.

              POSSIBLE SOURCES

              1. The earlier mentioned possibility is that the DP (I follow Jeffrey in
              recommending this more distinctive label) is derived in substantial part from
              the GP, the Gethsemane Prayer. I note the initial address "Father," which
              begins the GP (Mk 14:36); also "Thy will be done," which is the conclusion of
              the GP (also Mk 14:36), and the request "lead us not into temptation," which in
              a way is implicit in the GP itself, especially if we allow that the threefold
              repetition of the GP was meant to mirror the threefold Temptations which are
              described in Mt/Lk, though not in Mk, but which in any case is found in the
              GP's Markan context (Mk 14:38, "and pray that you may not enter into
              temptation").

              If we combine these echoes with what might be thought to be the result to which
              Jesus's teachings were directed, namely the forgiveness of sins, and the event
              for which Jesus's whole life (according to Mark) was a prayer, namely the
              coming of the Kingdom, we have accounted for nearly all the content of the
              Lukan LP.

              The part remaining is the "daily bread" clause, and here I should think that we
              need to look to the poverty of the early Movement members, and not merely that
              of the Apostles, who were enjoined (again in Mark) to depend for their food and
              other maintenance, from day to day, on the charity of those to whom they
              preached. This becomes a big issue in Paul, who insists on maintaining himself
              (as he says at one point, "not sponging on you"), but Paul typically opposes
              the ways and even the beliefs of the Other Christians. For the Gospel
              tradition, insofar as it is distinct from the Pauline tradition, I think my
              suggestion may be useful. As with so many other Gospel details, Paul seems not
              to be aware of the LP.

              2. John the Baptist. It is obvious that the Jesus movement, when Jesus was
              leading it, diverged at many points from that of his mentor John. It had no
              baptism, it featured no cures (at least as presented in the Gospel tradition),
              it observed no fixed fasts, and it had no set prayers. It is equally obvious
              that after the death of Jesus, most of these differences were lost, and the
              Jesus movement became as it were partly reassimilated to the still active John
              movement. The later adoption of Johannine fast days, or something analogous to
              them, is actually foretold, in direct terms, in Mk 2:18f. (For baptism, cf the
              again specific statement in gJn).

              Given all this, the Lukan immediate context of the LP is surely of
              interest: "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples" (Lk 11:1). So
              how did John teach his disciples to pray? I for one don't know. Someone who
              does may wish to provide information. Failing which, it might be that a survey
              of known Essene forms of prayer, and of prayers in other contemporary Jewish
              splinter movements, the part of the spectrum where, as I understand it, John
              himself was located, would be of service to the question.

              3. As for the fixed Jewish prayers which Jeffrey cites in his paper, I note
              this from the Shema (Jeffrey p15):

              (a) Bring us then in peace from the four corners of the earth
              and lead us upright to our land [future]

              (b) You have chosen us from all peoples . . .

              This pattern of future request followed by assertion of a similar present or
              past blessing is very common in the Psalms, perhaps especially in those praying
              for military victory. The thing asked is also the thing which, or an analogue
              of which, has already been received. I seem to see this logic in

              (a) Thy will be done on earth
              (b) as it is in Heaven

              where the present power of God is invoked as an encouragement to the future
              action of God, and also in

              (a) forgive us our sins
              (b) as we forgive those who are indebted to us

              where the virtue of Man is held up as an example, indeed an inducement, to God,
              who should be neither tardy in performance nor behindhand in virtue. I take
              this as the sort of rhetoric appropriate (in the minds of those accustomed to
              the Psalms from their youth up) to the presence of a dilatory God.

              RED HERRING

              I doubt that the LP in its Lukan or any later form can be realistically
              assigned to the Historical Jesus. Like the other details of Johannine re-
              assimilation mentioned above, it is too obviously a prediction of later
              practice. Further, though some of its possible elements are present in Mark,
              even those elements are late within Mark (see the stratification of Mark
              introduced in general terms at the Accretional Mark session at the recent SBL),
              and the recognizable LP itself turns up only in the Second Tier Gospels, Mt/Lk,
              and is thus late within the Gospel sequence. Further, the poverty of the Church
              which is probably the background of the "daily bread" clause seems itself to be
              late within Mark, and thus probably a phase of early Christianity which did not
              develop immediately after the Crucifixion, but took a certain amount of time.
              The typical high-minded egalitarian community does not immediately go bankrupt,
              and it seems that the early Christian movement, or at least one part of it, was
              not exceptional in this way.

              If so, then it merely confuses things to frame the question of the LP as though
              the LP were something actually formulated by Jesus, and will be more helpful to
              look for an evolution out of elements, and circumstances, present somewhat
              later.

              These are just suggestions, and for all I know old ones. If such be the case, I
              would appreciate a reference to their earlier appearance in the literature.

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • Loren Rosson
              ... Agreed. ... The only one to my knowledge who has suggested the prayer originated with the Baptist is Joan Taylor (see The Immerser: John the Baptist Within
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 30, 2008
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                E Bruce Brooks wrote:

                > Given that Jeffrey's arguments have pretty well removed
                > synagogue liturgy (as
                > such) from the possible origins of the LP, we might then
                > see what other sources offer themselves.

                Agreed.

                > POSSIBLE SOURCES
                >
                > 1. [The Gethsemane Prayer.] I note the initial address
                > "Father," which begins the GP (Mk 14:36); also
                > "Thy will be done," which is the conclusion of
                > the GP (also Mk 14:36), and the request "lead us not
                > into temptation," which in
                > a way is implicit in the GP itself, especially if we allow
                > that the threefold
                > repetition of the GP was meant to mirror the threefold
                > Temptations which are described in Mt/Lk, though not
                > in Mk, but which in any case
                > is found in the GP's Markan context (Mk 14:38, "and
                > pray that you may not enter into temptation").

                > 2. [John the Baptist.]... The Lukan immediate
                > context of the LP is surely of
                > interest: "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his
                > disciples" (Lk 11:1). So
                > how did John teach his disciples to pray?...

                > These are just suggestions, and for all I know old ones.
                > If such be the case, I would appreciate a reference
                > to their earlier appearance in the literature.

                The only one to my knowledge who has suggested the prayer originated with the Baptist is Joan Taylor (see The Immerser: John the Baptist Within Second-Temple Judaism, pp 151-153). Because the LP fits John's overall teaching, with close connections between apocalypticism and practical considerations; forgiveness of sins; etc: "It seems likely that much more of John's message has remained than has hitherto been recognized and that it is embedded in the heart of the Christian ethos." (153)

                Of your alternative suggestions (the Gethsemane prayer, the Baptist, the fixed Jewish prayers), it's this one I've been most drawn to. Has anyone besides Taylor argued that the LP originated with John? (Jeffrey?)

                Loren Rosson III
                Nashua NH
                http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com
              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: XTalk In Response To: Loren Rosson On: Origins of LP From: Bruce Thanks for the reference to Joan Taylor s book; I will follow it up as soon as I get
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 30, 2008
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                  To: XTalk
                  In Response To: Loren Rosson
                  On: Origins of LP
                  From: Bruce

                  Thanks for the reference to Joan Taylor's book; I will follow it up as soon as
                  I get within reach of a library. Meanwhile, I have the feeling that the phrase
                  quoted from it, namely "originated with," might be a little strong. As an
                  initial expectation, I would expect to find, not so much a previous "source"
                  for the exact wording of the LP ("sources", to my mind, are the bane of NT
                  thinking) but one or more conditions or literary sensibilities or rhetorical
                  postures which made it easier for the LP to crystallize out within the early
                  Jesus Movement in the way that it did, and not in some other way.

                  So also with the question of whether the John heritage, which I feel is much
                  more important than is usually considered, is "embedded in the heart of the
                  Christian ethos." Before we can locate its heart, I should think, we first have
                  to identify its body, and it seems to me that this process is still going on.
                  In particular, there may be more than one body. Looking at the whole thing from
                  the outside, and taking in at least the canonical documents, I find it hard to
                  avoid the conclusion that Paul and the early Gospel tradition represent two
                  paths that the Jesus movement was simultaneously taking, both of which later
                  became canonical, but only one of which eventually became orthodox.

                  Don't we see the Gospel trajectory itself becoming increasingly more orthodox,
                  with the Word of Paul being annexed to that strand in gLk, and with a
                  consistentizing rewrite of earlier tradition in gJn, where not only Jesus, but
                  the Baptist, consistently preach nothing but Christ Crucified? If we confine
                  ourselves to the earlier Gospel layers, and take note of the ways in which they
                  agree in content with the ideas attributable to some of Paul's opponents, I
                  think we get something substantially different, and something which preserves
                  more of a look into the world as JohnB saw it.

                  Anyway, I am grateful for the suggestion, and would be glad of any others.

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts
                • Loren Rosson
                  Bruce, Good points about Taylor, and I should also stress that her assumption that the LP is eschatological is precisely what Jeffrey has been calling into
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 30, 2008
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                    Bruce,

                    Good points about Taylor, and I should also stress that her assumption that the LP is eschatological is precisely what Jeffrey has been calling into question. Though I understand the HJ to have been apocalyptic, I'm open to Jeffrey's idea. A here-and-now plea for protection against the evils of "this generaton", and for loyal discipleship, can cohere readily enough with apocalyptic thought even if the plea itself isn't apocalyptic.

                    Loren Rosson III
                    Nashua NH
                    http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com
                  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                    ... JK Elliott, Did the Lord s Prayer Originate with John the Baptist? TZ 29 ( 1973) 215. Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon) 1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 30, 2008
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                      Loren Rosson wrote:
                      > E Bruce Brooks wro
                      >
                      > Of your alternative suggestions (the Gethsemane prayer, the Baptist, the fixed Jewish prayers), it's this one I've been most drawn to. Has anyone besides Taylor argued that the LP originated with John? (Jeffrey?)
                      >

                      JK Elliott, "Did the Lord's Prayer Originate with John the Baptist?" TZ
                      29 ( 1973) 215.

                      Jeffrey

                      --
                      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
                      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                      Chicago, Illinois
                      e-mail jgibson000@...
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