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Re: [XTalk] my recent SBL paper on the Lor'd Prayer and the Synagogue

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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