From: Jack Kilmon (
Date: Sat Jun 28 1997 - 21:52:23 EDT

Edward Hobbs wrote:

> Jonathan Robie writes:-------->
> I grew up saying "and lead us not into temptation", but doesn't this
> translate more literally into "do not bring us into temptation"?
> Regardless,
> what exactly does it mean? Is it a prayer that God will not bring us
> into
> temptation, as though God is the one who brings us into temptation,
> and we
> are asking him not to? Somehow, I'm not convinced that I'm reading
> this
> correctly...
> <----------------------
> Probably the most widely-held (among major scholars) view in recent
> years
> is the one which also has been accepted by the International
> Commission on
> English Texts (representing a majority of all English-speaking
> Chrisians
> world-wide)-- to wit, that PEIRASMON here refers to the "final"
> testing of
> of humanity before the End, a PEIRASMOS analogous to the PEIRASMOS of
> Israel in the Wilderness, often identified with the "tribulation" of
> Mark
> 13 and parallels. Hence we are to pray, "Save us from the time of
> trial!"
> This is the translation actually present (as an alternative form) in
> the
> major Prayer Books of English-speaking Christianity.
> (Of course, people don't change how they pray very easily, and
> though it is right there in the Prayer Book every time I go to church,
> I
> have never yet heard a congregation pray that version of the Lord's
> Prayer.
> They don't even use the King James Version ["Forgive us our
> debts...."]
> --used by churches founded after 1611--but stick to the good old 1539
> Great Bible version ["Forgive us our trespasses.....], since that was
> what was in the FIRST Prayer Book of 1549! The AV/KJV is still too
> new-
> fangled to use for prayer, not to speak of the ICET version, first in
> our
> PB in 1976!)
> Edward Hobbs

 bl) t(ln lnsywn) is the Aramaic rendering of this petition.

Abba Father
yitqadDASH sheMAK Holy is your name
Teteh malKOOtak Your kingdom come
LahmaNA di misteYA Our daily bread/food
heb laNAH yoMA deNAH Give us today
UsheBUQ laNAH hobayNA Forgive us our debts
kedi shebaqNA lehayYA-bayNA As we forgive our debtors
we‚AL ta`elinNA lenisYONA and do not lead us to the test.**
                                                        (Do not allow us
to come to the test)

** "Temptation" is a clumsy translation. I believe that the Letter of
James is one of the very earliest Jesus Movement writings originating
with Yaqub bar Yosef (James, the Righteous), Jesus‚ next eldest
brother. It reflects plays on words, alliterations, and rhyming meter
reminiscent of the "Q" Source style of the "sayings" source and,
although in good literary Greek, is very Hebraic in style. In this
letter Jesus‚ brother includes (probably dictated to a very
Greek-literate disciple) "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am
tempted of God: For God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He
any man." (1:13) "Lead us not into temptation" is probably the most
difficult petition to "pin down" in its meaning. It is not part of the
teachings of the Church that God would lead anyone to temptation. The
difficulty lies in the translation of the Aramaic Nesiona to the
Peirasmon of the Greek text. Some scholars see this petition with an
apocalyptic and eschatological bent and asking God to spare the faithful
from the final test of suffering, the Parousia. I think that the
meaning was not based on apocalyptic eschatology but was a simple daily
petition for God to "not allow us to enter into wrongful thinking
(testing)," the Aramaic verb in the Hafel form, signifying a causative
sense. An example of this can be found in the contemporaneous Dead Sea
Scrolls. The Psalms Scroll (11qpsa) contains a petition for escape from
temptation or evil.

Matthew‚s version asks God to "forgive us our debts" (ofeilhmata) "as we
forgive our debtors" (ofeiletaij), using the Semitic debts/debtors
metaphor for sins/sinners, which was familiar to Jews.
 Luke, writing for Gentiles who were not familiar with the Jewish double
meaning for debts replaces "debts" with "sins" (amartiaj) in the first
half and retain "debtors" (ofeilouti) in its participial form in the
second half.

Deliver us from evil...or "part us (Aramaic PASAN) from the evil one"
is dependent on whether the Greek phrase apo tou ponerou is masculine or
neuter. There is still the question, however, whether the Greek
rendering accurately reflects the original Aramaic rendering of Jesus.
There is a vast distance between the Aramaic and Greek idiom.

Jack Kilmon

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