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Re: [Synoptic-L] Did Mark reject the Lord's Prayer ?

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  • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
    At 08:56 PM 6/15/2002 +0100, Ron Price wrote (in part): Because this discussion will soon become tedious to other subscribers on the list I think that this
    Message 1 of 21 , Jun 15, 2002
      At 08:56 PM 6/15/2002 +0100, Ron Price wrote (in part):

      Because this discussion will soon become tedious to other subscribers on
      the list I think that this will be my last comment on the matter. I will
      try to restrain myself. As I said in a previous message, Ron makes some
      very good points and his theory has some real strengths. On the other hand,
      he seems unwilling to entertain the idea that any other point of view could
      have merit or that his view could, in any regard, be challenged. He does
      not respond to those points where his views are most vulnerable - to choose
      one example he does not respond at all (nor even acknowledge), that at one
      point he rested his argument on an inaccurate and biased translation of
      Matthew, expressing the very bias that he was attempting to defend by using
      that translation. Furthermore, he makes assertions without taking any
      account of the extensive discussion in which alternate points of view have
      been carefully developed. With respect to the question of paying taxes to
      Caesar, whether one accepts the point of view or not, one should at least
      consider that this might represent a statement of zealot idealism.
      Similarly with respect to the persecution of Nero. Is there good evidence
      to suggest that this was a continuing persecution rather than short-lived
      one or that it extended significantly beyond Rome and its environs? I don't
      think so. Now let me address myself to Ron.

      > > ..... You ... say
      > >that I didn't suggest a reason why Mark declined to incorporate the Lord's
      > >Prayer in particular. But in a sense I did. I suggested that if Mark were
      > >late and believed that the earlier gospels would continue to exist and to
      > >be available in the churches, then he was under no compulsion to include
      > >everything .....
      >
      > That's not a reason relating to the LP *in particular*.

      Not is the reason *in particular* that you demand required unless one is
      willing grant that the alternatives I have suggested are all impossible or
      improbable ones which should be summarily dismissed.

      > > ..... - and need not have included the Lord's Prayer since it was
      > >already available in the other gospels
      >
      > Ditto.

      This is a good example of what I mean when I suggest that you are unwilling
      even to consider the merits of any view other than your own.

      > > A
      > >more reasonable, and accurate, translation of Matthew's Greek here [Mt
      > 19:17]
      > >would be the straightforward "The good is one," ..... I suggest that
      > >Matthew's answer does help the questioner. The dialogue reflects a
      > >discussion of Torah observance .....
      >
      > But does it help to answer the question? If so, I don't see how.

      If you ask the same question, you should anticipate the same answer.

      As I said above, yes it does help to answer the question. Further, I
      suggested that the dialogue in Matthew reflects a discussion of Torah
      observance. Your simple statement that you don't see how is not a very
      strong argument to the contrary nor does it serve to support your view that
      Jesus' response is irrelevant or pedantic.

      > > I do not see Jesus' answer (in
      > >Matthew) as either irrelevant or pedantic.
      >
      > Then perhaps you would explain the relevance of "The good is one"
      >(accepting your translation for the sake of argument) to the question
      >about eternal life.

      Yes, I'll try, but first, please don't accept my translation "for the sake
      of argument." I have suggested that the translation that you used in your
      argument was, in fact, a mistranslation revealing a bias in favor of the
      very view that you were defending by using it. At best your comments were
      circular. If you think that the translation that you offered is not
      affected by a presumption of Markan priority and that it better represents
      Matthew's EIS ESTIN O AGATHOS, then make your case for that translation.
      Show me what, in the Greek, supports the inclusion of "only," and what
      justifies the translation of O AGATHOS as an adjective used in the
      attributive sense and not in the absolute sense. Don't accept my
      translation "for the sake of argument." Support the argument that you have
      made for the conclusion that in Matthew Jesus' response is irrelevant or
      pedantic. I will, in fact, try to make my case that it is not. I hope that
      you will do the same for your view.

      So, turning to your question about the relevance of the answer "The good is
      one" to the question about eternal life, I hope that we can agree that
      Matthew makes frequent references or allusions to the Hebrew Bible (Old
      Testament). May I assume that you are familiar with Proverbs 4 and the idea
      in Proverbs 4:4 that those who keep the commandments will live (one might
      say have eternal life)? Indeed, Jesus' answer to the question about eternal
      life is the same answer that we find in Proverbs 4. Keep the commandments.
      (As an aside, note that the context in Proverbs sets this in the context of
      teaching and Jesus is addressed by the questioner as "Teacher" - not as
      "Good Teacher."). It has been argued that the structure of Matthew 19:16
      ff. is influenced by the structure of Proverbs 4 and I think that the case
      for this is very strong. You might disagree but you should, at least,
      consider the arguments to the contrary.

      Another relevant text here is Pirke Aboth 6:3 (are you familiar with Pirke
      Aboth?). In Pirke Aboth 6:3, there are significant references to Proverbs.
      Here we find that one who learns even a single chapter, or a single
      Halakah, or a single verse, or a single expression or even a single letter
      gains honor. And what is honor? It is Torah, for it is written that the
      wise shall inherit honor and the perfect shall inherit good. Simple
      syllogisms show that honor equals good and good equals Torah (and the Pirke
      Aboth in fact explicitly concludes that "the good is naught else than the
      Law," referring to Proverbs 4:2). Therefore honor equals Torah and the
      Torah can be (and is) referred to as "the good" [Note Danby's comments
      about these syllogisms in his translation of the Mishnah].

      So, if the Torah can be referred to as "the good" then the questioner in
      Matthew comes with a question about Torah. "What good (what Torah, what
      commandment) must I do to have eternal life?" The question is not unlike
      one that we find in rabbinic dialogues and elsewhere in the gospels. What
      is the greatest commandment? By keeping which commandment do I become Torah
      observant and, therefore, have eternal life? The questioner asks about
      Torah, "What good must I do....?" Jesus responds with a statement about
      Torah, stressing its unity (and, perhaps, the centrality of the decalogue),
      "The good is one." The questioner asks about the Torah. Jesus responds by
      talking about the Torah. Both question and response use "good" in the same
      way, to refer to Torah. In my view the answer is neither irrelevant nor
      pedantic. Indeed the question and answer open a dialogue about Torah
      observance which concludes with a Christian statement about what more is
      required for faithful discipleship. As I have said, it seems to me that
      Matthew's narrative is both unified and coherent.

      The questioner asks about the good (Torah). Jesus responds by talking about
      the good (Torah). I am not sure how that answer is irrelevant or pedantic
      and the ball is now in your court to support your conclusion that it is.

      If you would bear with me for a moment and consider that it might be
      possible that Matthew is the earliest gospel (and I know that your synoptic
      theory rejects this point of view; I have visited your web site), then a
      unified dialogue about the Torah and eternal life in Matthew is broken up
      in Mark and Luke. It may be that the later authors (on this scenario) did
      not understand, as many have not, that the Torah could be referred to as
      the "Good" nor the nuances of Jewish dialogues about Torah observance and
      the way Matthew's account reflects the structure of Proverbs 4. And so a
      new theme is introduced (I will avoid talking about this as something
      added, i.e., a supplement). The referent of the term "good" is different.
      Jesus is called "Good Teacher" and the Christological motif (important to
      Mark and perhaps well understood in the Gentile communities for which Mark
      and Luke wrote) is combined with a question about Torah observance and the
      close structural connection to Proverbs is lost. In these gospels we have
      two issues, albeit combined, rather than one, despite your assertion that
      Mark immediately turns from the "open and honest question" about eternal
      life to comments about Torah (another critique of the way you argue your
      case to which you do not respond).

      On the Two Document (or Three Document) Hypothesis you must admit that it
      is a happy coincidence that Matthew found in Mark just the right term,
      "good," to refer to Torah and just the right words (with few changes) to
      compose a dialogue intimately related in its structure to Proverbs 4 and to
      other rabbinic discussions about Torah observance as we find them in Pirke
      Aboth and elsewhere. Do I think it impossible that Matthew did this? No. As
      I have said before, I think that there are strengths, and weaknesses, in
      each of the proposed solutions to the synoptic problem. In this case I
      think that the evidence weighs more heavily in favor of Matthean priority.
      I think that you have made some good points about the Lord's Prayer. Do I
      think that your analysis constitutes convincing evidence that his gospel
      was written first? I confess that I do not nor do I think that you have
      made that case very well.

      Tom Longstaff



      Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff
      Crawford Family Professor of Religious Studies
      Director, Jewish Studies
      Colby College
      4643 Mayflower Hill
      Waterville, ME 04901
      Telephone: (207) 872-3150
      FAX: (207) 872-3802
      Email: tlongst@...


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 6/15/2002 5:13:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Tom, for obvious reasons I would like to accept the validity of your interpretation here,
      Message 2 of 21 , Jun 16, 2002
        In a message dated 6/15/2002 5:13:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time, tlongst@... writes:


        The questioner asks about
        Torah, "What good must I do....?" Jesus responds with a statement about
        Torah, stressing its unity (and, perhaps, the centrality of the decalogue),
        "The good is one." The questioner asks about the Torah. Jesus responds by
        talking about the Torah. Both question and response use "good" in the same
        way, to refer to Torah.


        Tom, for obvious reasons I would like to accept the validity of your interpretation here, but I have a few problems with it which perhaps I could get you to expand on for the list. My main problem is with the gender of ho agathos in Matt 19:17b. Why is it masculine and not neuter if it is a reference to the Law? If "the good"in this phrase were a reference to the Law, I would expect to read "hen estin to agathon". I agree with you (or at least with what I think you said in a previous post) that ho agathos should be read as subject and heis as predicate of the phrase, but the gender of both does not seem to me to support your reading. You also do not seem to incorporate 19:17a very well into your overall interpretation of the text: "why do you ask ME...?". And in this phrase, the gender of "the good" is ambiguous, because it is in the genitive case and could be either neuter or masculine (whatever one might make of this). It does seem to me that even reading Matthew as not dependent here on Mark, Matthew intends to have Jesus change the topic somewhat in his initial response to the questioner, raising it to another level perhaps, as he very often does in Matthew. But perhaps there is something I am not getting here. Also, even in the initial question, it seems to me exaggerated to take "to agathon" as simply a reference to the Law. It might be language deliberately used because of its connection to traditional Jewish discussions regarding the Law as the good, but an initial simple reading of the text must understand agathon here not as a substantive (and therefore a simple reference to the Law) but rather as an adjective modifying the interrogative particle ti, meaning "what thing". So as I read the text neither the questioner nor Jesus in his response really use the term "good" as a direct reference to the Law. Am I wrong here?

        Leonard Maluf
      • Ron Price
        ... Tom, I was trying to find out why you are so keen on your translation of hEIS ESTIN hO AGAQOS (Mt 19:17) before deciding whether to challenge it. All I had
        Message 3 of 21 , Jun 16, 2002
          Thomas Longstaff wrote:

          > ..... he does not respond at all (nor even acknowledge), that at one
          >point he rested his argument on an inaccurate and biased translation of
          >Matthew, expressing the very bias that he was attempting to defend by using
          >that translation.

          Tom,

          I was trying to find out why you are so keen on your translation of
          hEIS ESTIN hO AGAQOS (Mt 19:17) before deciding whether to challenge it.
          All I had done was to go to the nearest translation at hand at the time,
          which happened to be the NRSV. I've since checked all the other English
          translations on my bookshelf, including the RC "Jerusalem Bible", and
          they all say something similar to the NRSV. You would appear to be way
          out on a limb here, though I accept that doesn't *in itself* prove
          you're wrong.

          > ..... With respect to the question of paying taxes to
          >Caesar, whether one accepts the point of view or not, one should at least
          >consider that this might represent a statement of zealot idealism.

          Far from not considering it, I actually agree here, though only in
          regard to the core saying in Mk 12:17 when it was (supposing it once
          was) an isolated saying. I've already explained why I think the Markan
          setting of the saying transforms it into advice that the taxes should be
          paid.

          >>> I suggested that if Mark were
          >>> late and believed that the earlier gospels would continue to exist and to
          >>> be available in the churches, then he was under no compulsion to include
          >>> everything .....

          >> That's not a reason relating to the LP *in particular*.

          >>> ..... - and need not have included the Lord's Prayer since it was
          >> >already available in the other gospels

          >> Ditto.

          >This is a good example of what I mean when I suggest that you are unwilling
          >even to consider the merits of any view other than your own.

          I don't consider a general reason, which works for any pericope, to be
          as good an explanation as a reason directed at the particular pericope
          in question, i.e. the LP.

          > ..... [ much snipped ] .....
          >So, if the Torah can be referred to as "the good" then the questioner in
          >Matthew comes with a question about Torah. "What good (what Torah, what
          >commandment) must I do to have eternal life?"
          > ..... Jesus responds with a statement about
          >Torah, stressing its unity (and, perhaps, the centrality of the decalogue),
          >"The good is one." The questioner asks about the Torah. Jesus responds by
          >talking about the Torah. Both question and response use "good" in the same
          >way, to refer to Torah. In my view the answer is neither irrelevant nor
          >pedantic.

          Thanks for explaining your viewpoint in such detail.
          Firstly, I admit that I'm not familiar with Pirke Aboth, nor any
          Rabbinic writings (assuming that's what it is). Looking at the crucial
          text hEIS ESTIN hO AGAQOS, I see that its normal translation involves a
          subtlety which my level of Greek is not up to assessing directly.
          However this does not disqualify me from making the following
          observations.
          (a) I'm wary of a position which apparently accuses the translators of
          both the standard English English NTs (NEB, REB) and the standard
          American English NTs (RSV, NRSV) of bias.
          (b) The idea that Mt 19:16 ff. is influenced by the structure of Prov 4
          seems inherently unlikely, if only because (according to the UBS3 index)
          Proverbs is never quoted in the gospels.
          (c) I still don't see why stressing the unity of the Torah has any
          relevance to the question.
          (d) The whole point of the pericope in all the synoptics is Jesus'
          follow-up, which indicates that keeping the Torah is not enough. So why
          on earth would the Torah be described as "good" in this context? All
          three synoptics are running it down by saying, in effect, that it is not
          good enough.

          > ..... In these gospels we have
          >two issues, albeit combined, rather than one,

          It is true that Mark and Luke include an extra issue, namely whether
          Jesus should be called "good". But as their conclusion is that he
          shouldn't, it's more likely the issue was removed by Matthew in order to
          enhance the image of Jesus. For if it had been added by Mark or Luke it
          would have tended to tarnish the image of Jesus. The general trend over
          time was to enhance his image.

          > despite your assertion that
          >Mark immediately turns from the "open and honest question" about eternal
          >life to comments about Torah (another critique of the way you argue your
          >case to which you do not respond).

          O.K., so I should have written "almost immediately" for v.18
          intervenes between vv. Mk 10:17 and Mk 10:19.

          >On the Two Document (or Three Document) Hypothesis you must admit that it
          >is a happy coincidence that Matthew found in Mark just the right term,
          >"good," to refer to Torah

          If "good" in Matthew *did* refer to the Torah, then yes.
          But there's yet another problem here. For if many of today's the best
          educated scholars don't see this reference, I doubt whether Matthew
          could have expected his audience to understand it.

          > and just the right words (with few changes)

          But here you let your enthusiasm run away with itself. They clearly
          weren't "just the right words" if any changes were needed.

          > ..... In this case I
          >think that the evidence weighs more heavily in favor of Matthean priority.

          Our assessment of the evidence is radically different.

          >I think that you have made some good points about the Lord's Prayer.

          Thanks.

          > Do I think that your analysis constitutes convincing evidence
          > that his gospel was written first? I confess that I do not ...

          Ah well, it was worth a try. ;-)


          Ron Price

          Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

          e-mail: ron.price@...

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... The Greek of Matthew 19:17 hEIS ESTIN hO AGAQOS is notoriously obscure. Literally, it means the good is one or possibly there is one who/that is good,
          Message 4 of 21 , Jun 16, 2002
            At 06:02 PM 6/16/02 +0100, Ron Price wrote:
            > Thanks for explaining your viewpoint in such detail.
            > Firstly, I admit that I'm not familiar with Pirke Aboth, nor any
            >Rabbinic writings (assuming that's what it is). Looking at the crucial
            >text hEIS ESTIN hO AGAQOS, I see that its normal translation involves a
            >subtlety which my level of Greek is not up to assessing directly.
            > However this does not disqualify me from making the following
            >observations.
            >(a) I'm wary of a position which apparently accuses the translators of
            >both the standard English English NTs (NEB, REB) and the standard
            >American English NTs (RSV, NRSV) of bias.

            The Greek of Matthew 19:17 hEIS ESTIN hO AGAQOS is notoriously
            obscure. Literally, it means "the good is one" or possibly
            "there is one who/that is good," but what that means in its
            context is not clear at all. Rather than presenting the
            readers with an obscure text, translators have had to impose
            some kind of interpretation, generally by referring to the
            clearer parallels in Mark and Luke. In fact, this behavior
            is not limited to English-language translators, for the Byzantine
            scribes have replaced hEIS ESTIN hO AGAQOS with OUDEIS AGAQOS
            EI ME hEIS, ho QEOS ("No one is good but one, God.").

            The interpretive nature of the rendering is openly acknowledged
            in the NASB ("New American Standard Bible") text, which employs
            italics around the word "only": "There is /only/ One who is good."
            Translations such as the NRSV do not employ italics and do not
            generally footnote their interpretive decisions. (The AV does
            not use italics here because it follows the Byzantine text.)

            O. Lamar Cope and TRWL here have proposed a plausible meaning
            of the Greek and Matthew's pericope as a whole, but you can
            never see it in the usual translations. You have to go to Greek.

            Personally, I've been disappointed with the standard source
            critical treatments of this passage. They exaggerate the
            Christological problems in Mark's text, while ignoring the
            lack of clarity in Matthew's text. Peter Head's discussion
            on this passage in his book is a welcome but rare, balanced
            treatment.

            Stephen Carlson
            --
            Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
            Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
            "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
            List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... Two problems here, I think. One, on your thesis it would be difficult to explain then why Mark has Jesus not only use **any** BASILEIA TOU QEOU language,
            Message 5 of 21 , Jun 18, 2002
              Ron Price wrote:

              > Thomas Longstaff wrote:
              >
              > > ..... I am not sure why you suggest
              > >only this reason, shortage of space, as a possible explanation for Mark's
              > >omission. Do you have some reason for highlighting that possible reason
              > >among the many that might be suggested?
              >
              > Thomas,
              >
              > On my synoptic theory (the 3ST), Mark decided not to include the
              > complete Lord's Prayer from the early sayings source ('sQ') because he
              > realized the clause "May your kingdom come" had political overtones, and
              > he was anxious to present a gospel which would not unduly offend the
              > Roman authorities.

              Two problems here, I think.

              One, on your thesis it would be difficult to explain then why Mark has Jesus not
              only use **any** BASILEIA TOU QEOU language, but begin his ministry with the
              programmatic announcement HGGIKEN hH BASILEIA TOU QEOU.

              Two, it would also be difficult to explain why Mark chooses to summarize what
              Jesus preaches as the EUAGGELION TOU QEOU since EUAGGELION is a term with roots
              in the propaganda of the Imperial Cult, and the addition of the phrase TOU QEOU
              makes Jesus' message a **direct competitor** to the EUAGGELION of Caesar. (on
              this, see Craig A. Evans "MARK’S INCIPIT AND THE PRIENE CALENDAR INSCRIPTION:
              FROM JEWISH GOSPEL TO GRECO-ROMAN GOSPEL" at http://www.jgrchj.com/page67)

              Then there is the problem that you have assumed what needs to be proven, namely,
              that the Kingdom petition in the LP is a call for God to bring in his BASILEIA
              in the near future and therefore has political overtones. I have argued in my
              recent BTB article on problems with seeing the LP as an eschatological prayer
              that this is simply **not** the focus of this petition. Rather, the aim of the
              petition is to secure divine aid against apostasy.

              I hope you'll forgive me for taking the liberty of quoting myself on this
              matter:

              *********
              Surely, the eschatologists argue, [the Kingdom] petition stands as conclusive
              proof that for Matthew and Luke the LP is an eschatological prayer. For is it
              not self evident, they ask, given (a) the import of the language of Matt.
              6:10a//Lk. 11:2c, and (b) the formal parallelism of the Kingdom petition with
              those in the Amidah and the Kaddish which speak of the hastening of God's
              kingdom and which (it is claimed) have eschatological intent, that what we have
              here is a plea for God to act now to do something he was expected to do only in
              the future, namely, establish decisively his sovereignty on earth?
              Well, no, it is not self evident, and for two reasons. First, to say that
              the petition is a plea for God soon to usher in his BASILEIA (reign/rule)
              implies that, at the time the prayer was given, Jesus believed that God not only
              had not yet done so, but, more importantly had no intention of doing so, at
              least in the foreseeable future (on this, see A. Polag, 60; Beasely Murray,
              150). And yet nothing is more certain in the portrait of Jesus that both Matthew
              and Luke paint than that Jesus knew God's kingdom to be a powerfully present
              reality. Indeed, in the contexts in GMatt and GLuke in which the giving of the
              LP takes place, the prevailing assumption about God's BASILEIA is that it and
              the opportunity it offers for the salvation of God's people has already arrived
              (cf. Matt. 4:16; Lk. 4:16-21; 19:44). In the light of this, it seems unlikely
              that the petition in Matt. 6:10a//Lk. 11:2c is a plea for God to act now to do
              something he was expected to do only in the (distant?) future. Why urge anyone
              to pray for the accomplishment of a fait accompli?
              Second, there is the observation that insofar as the wording of petitions in
              Jewish prayers wherein God is clearly urged to bring about the early dawning of
              his Kingdom stands as any kind of evidence for what prayers with this intent
              should look like or be worded, then taking Matt. 6:10a//Lk. 11:2c as having the
              intent that "eschatologists" say it has is ruled out. As these Jewish prayers
              evince, the standard practice when invoking God to hasten the arrival of his
              kingly rule was to use the expression "cause to reign" or a form of the verb "to
              reveal", not "to come". Thus if what Jesus actually intended his disciples to
              pray in the Kingdom petition for was God's speeding up the timetable for the
              arrival of the BASILEIA TOU THEOU (reign/rule of God), he should have urged them
              to say not ELTHETW hH BASILEIA SOU (Let your reign/rule come) but something more
              along the lines of APOKALUPSATW (be revealed) or (EM)FANEROUTW hH BASILIEA SOU
              (let your reign be manifested). And when we add to this observation the fact
              (acknowledged even by such staunch advocates of the eschatological
              interpretation of the LP as Meier [298], and Davies and Allison, [1:604]; see
              also Chilton, 37) that "kingdom" or the expression "God's Kingdom" cannot be
              found anywhere in the entire corpus of the literature of formative Judaism (let
              alone that of Jewish petitionary prayers, or for that matter that of the NT) as
              the subject of the verb "to come", we have good reason to doubt that the
              expression ELTHETW hE BASILEIA SOU means what the proponents of the
              eschatological interpretation of the LP claim is does.
              In fact what it seems to mean is "may we be made worthy of your reign by
              being conformed not to our own will but to yours". Three things indicate this.
              First, as we have seen, the petition is set by both Matthew and Luke within the
              context of Jesus' larger proclamation not only that the Kingdom has arrived but
              that both those who seek the Kingdom and those who think they have it as their
              heritage must turn and conform themselves to its demands if it is ever to be
              theirs. With this as its immediate background, ELTHETW hE BASILEIA SOU echoes
              the calls in Rabbinic literature (cf. Yoma 86b; Sanhedrin 97b) for Israel to
              seek God's aid to be conformed to charity, obedience, justice, and repentance in
              order to be rendered worthy of the deliverance that was faithful Israel's
              inheritance (so G.E. Moore, 2:350-352).
              Second, there is the implication of the fact, noted by George Caird, that
              in the formal and material parallel to the Kingdom petition (Matt. 6:10a//Lk.
              11:2c) found in Rev. 22:20c --namely, the petition ERCHOU, KURIE IESOU (Come,
              Lord Jesus!), which, like Matt. 6:10a//Lk. 11:2c, is (a) a prayer consisting of
              a form of ERXOMAI (to come) in the imperative + subject, and (b) also is uttered
              in the context of an announcement of the dawning of a divine visitation (cf.
              Rev. 22:20a,b "He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."
              (compare Matt. 4:17; Lk. 4:16-21)--the function ERCHOMAI has there is to express
              the desire to be turned from disobedience and conformed to what is called upon
              to "come". As Caird notes, Rev. 22:20c is "... a prayer that Christ will come
              again to win in his faithful servant the victory which is both Calvary and
              Armageddon. It is the prayer which says. 'All I ask is to know Christ and the
              power of his resurrection, to share his sufferings and conform to the pattern of
              his death, if only I may arrive at the resurrection of the dead’ (Phil. iii.
              10-11). It is a prayer that the Christian, confronted by the great ordeal, may
              'endure as one who sees the invisible' (Heb. xi. 27), and may hear above the
              harsh sentence of the Roman judge the triumph song of heaven" (288, italics
              mine). This being the case, then, mutatis mutandis, what the ELTHETW (let come)
              in the petition ELTHETW hE BASILEIA SOU does is to express the wish to be made
              worthy of God's Kingdom and to be protected from all that would prevent this
              end.
              And third, there is the implication of Matthew's expansion and explication
              of the petition ELTHETW hE BASILEIA SOU with the phrase "May your will be done,
              on earth as it is in heaven" (GENETHETW TO THELHMA SOU, hWS EN OURANW KAI EPI
              GES, Matt. 6:10b,c). If we assume, as I think we should (especially given how
              its conformity with the Matthean version of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane, where
              God's enabling of obedience in the face of a desire to be otherwise is exactly
              what is expressed, makes the ethical interpretation of Matt. 6:10b,c certain) ,
              that the concern of this explicatory phrase is God's enabling of the disciples'
              obedience in the face of a desire to be otherwise , we have early testimony that
              the objective of the petition which the phrase explicates (ELTHETW hE BASILEIA
              SOU) was known to be something other than having God decisively manifest himself
              ahead of the time he intended to so do. Quite the contrary, it is to have God
              insure that the will of his people is co-ordinate with and not antithetical to
              God's own purposes for them.
              In the light of all this, the eschatological interpretation of Matt.
              6:10a//Lk. 11:2c seems forced. Indeed, the evidence shows that rather than its
              being an imploration to God to make his kingdom arrive, ELTHETW hE BASILEIA SOU
              is actually a plea for divine aid for obedience and against engaging in apostasy
              as Jesus defines it.

              ****
              Given this, it then seems to me that if we grant for the sake of argument that
              Mark did indeed know the LP and chose to leave it out of his Gospel, it simply
              cannot be for the reasons you give.

              Yours,

              Jeffrey Gibson
              --
              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
              1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
              Floor 1
              Chicago, Illinois 60626
              e-mail jgibson000@...
              jgibson000@...



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            • Ron Price
              ... Jeffrey, The concept of the kingdom of God , like the role of Messiah , was too well-established in the tradition to be removed altogether. ... I ve not
              Message 6 of 21 , Jun 19, 2002
                I wrote:

                >> On my synoptic theory (the 3ST), Mark decided not to include the
                >> complete Lord's Prayer from the early sayings source ('sQ') because he
                >> realized the clause "May your kingdom come" had political overtones, and
                >> he was anxious to present a gospel which would not unduly offend the
                >> Roman authorities.

                Jeffrey Gibson replied:

                >Two problems here, I think.
                >
                >One, on your thesis it would be difficult to explain then why Mark has
                >Jesus not
                >only use **any** BASILEIA TOU QEOU language, but begin his ministry with the
                >programmatic announcement HGGIKEN hH BASILEIA TOU QEOU.

                Jeffrey,

                The concept of the "kingdom of God", like the role of "Messiah", was
                too well-established in the tradition to be removed altogether.

                >Two, it would also be difficult to explain why Mark chooses to summarize what
                >Jesus preaches as the EUAGGELION TOU QEOU since EUAGGELION is a term with roots
                >in the propaganda of the Imperial Cult, and the addition of the phrase TOU QEOU
                >makes Jesus' message a **direct competitor** to the EUAGGELION of Caesar. (on
                >this, see Craig A. Evans "MARK’S INCIPIT AND THE PRIENE CALENDAR INSCRIPTION:
                >FROM JEWISH GOSPEL TO GRECO-ROMAN GOSPEL" at http://www.jgrchj.com/page67)

                I've not yet had time to study this article in detail, but certainly
                an initial look leaves me unconvinced that Mark had in mind any
                background other than the Tanak, and Isaiah in particular.

                >Then there is the problem that you have assumed what needs to be proven,
                >namely,
                >that the Kingdom petition in the LP is a call for God to bring in his BASILEIA
                >in the near future and therefore has political overtones.

                In a previous reply to you (dated Jun 13) I had already presented a
                case for seeing political overtones in the kingdom petition. You may not
                accept my case, but it is gratuitous to say that I "assumed what needs
                to be proven".

                >I hope you'll forgive me for taking the liberty of quoting myself on this
                >matter:

                Do proceed.

                >*********
                >Surely, the eschatologists argue, [the Kingdom] petition stands as conclusive
                >proof that for Matthew and Luke the LP is an eschatological prayer.

                Already you seem to be attacking a different target. Or are you, by
                quoting these words in the present context, assuming that if Matthew and
                Luke didn't take the petition as eschatalogical, then neither would
                Mark?

                > ..... And yet nothing is more certain in the portrait of Jesus that both
                >Matthew
                >and Luke paint than that Jesus knew God's kingdom to be a powerfully present
                >reality.

                This may be the dominant impression, but there remains a certain
                ambivalence. For both writers included the saying about the kingdom of
                God being "near" (Matthew twice, Luke three times), in addition to the
                kingdom petition itself.

                > ..... it seems unlikely
                >that the petition in Matt. 6:10a//Lk. 11:2c is a plea for God to act now to do
                >something he was expected to do only in the (distant?) future. Why urge anyone
                >to pray for the accomplishment of a fait accompli?

                It was presumably a matter of timing. In other words, a "soon" seems
                to be implied, as you appear to acknowledge in the quotation below.

                > Second, there is the observation that insofar as the wording of
                >petitions in
                >Jewish prayers wherein God is clearly urged to bring about the early dawning of
                >his Kingdom stands as any kind of evidence for what prayers with this intent
                >should look like or be worded .....
                > ..... Thus if what Jesus actually intended his disciples to
                >pray in the Kingdom petition for was God's speeding up the timetable for the
                >arrival of the BASILEIA TOU THEOU (reign/rule of God) .....
                > ..... "kingdom" or the expression "God's Kingdom" cannot be
                >found anywhere in the entire corpus of the literature of formative Judaism (let
                >alone that of Jewish petitionary prayers, or for that matter that of the NT) as
                >the subject of the verb "to come", we have good reason to doubt that the
                >expression ELTHETW hE BASILEIA SOU means what the proponents of the
                >eschatological interpretation of the LP claim is does.

                The argument here is that formative Judaism expressed its
                eschatalogical hope using certain phraseology. Jesus didn't use that
                phraseology. Therefore Jesus is unlikely to have been expressing an
                eschatalogical hope. But the Christian interest in Jesus is precisely
                because he *didn't* conform to all the norms of Judaism. He introduced
                both new ideas and new phraseology. We cannot therefore assume that in
                this particular case he would have been a conformer. In painting a
                picture of the "kingdom of God", Jesus was clearly using his paints in
                an original way to produce an original overall effect.

                > In fact what it seems to mean is "may we be made worthy of your reign by
                >being conformed not to our own will but to yours" .....
                > [much snipped]
                >****

                The synoptic context of the kingdom petition is being invoked here.
                But even if your interpretation of this context is correct, Mark may
                still have worried that his readers might interpret "May your kingdom
                come" in isolation and take it (as I think it was originally intended)
                as a plea for the early restoration of the Davidic kingdom.

                Ron Price

                Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                e-mail: ron.price@...

                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

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