Re: 3rd-person imperatives in the Lord's Prayer

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Sat Aug 16 1997 - 01:59:44 EDT

On Thu 14 Aug 97 (19:05:32), wrote:
> I'm a little uneasy with this, not only because it doesn't deal strictly
> with the question of why the petitions are in the imperative, but
> because it seems to assume that the "deliver us from evil" clause is
> original to the LP. Would you reach the same conclusion, Ben, from the
> Lukan form of the prayer, which has a far better case for its being
> closer to the original wording of the LP? And are you sure that your
> theology of the Evil One, while perhaps Matthew's, was that of Jesus?

 Jeffrey: thank you for pointing up the differences between the Matthean and
 Lukan LP. ISTM that Matthew/Levi was an eyewitness and an earwitness of the
 Lord Jesus Christ; whereas Luke on his own admission was retelling hearsay.
 Papias assures us "Every man translated Matthew's vernacular as best he
 could". Jesus called Levi/Matthew who was a tax collector, a /Mokhes/ or a
 /douanier/ (Edersheim, /Life and Times.../, vol 1 pp 513ff) to "follow me".
 As a trained Mokhes, Matthew made vernacular shorthand notes which he then
 translated and wrote up in Greek to send up to Rome with his tax remittances.
 As a disciple MAQHTHS TOU QEOU, he kept up his note-taking and recorded the
 Sayings LOGIA of Jesus (Papias).

 There is now a reaction against the theories of Tübingen, Form criticism,
 Redaction criticism, Q, Midrash, Hermeneutic, Structuralism. CA Blomberg says
 in R Keeley et al (eds), /Jesus 2,000/, 1989, that for the last 20 years,
 scholars have been taking seriously what Papias wrote whilst John was still
 alive. BC Butler /The Originality of St Matthew/, 1951, led the charge. Maybe
 Butler was a little too subservient to the 1911 Papal Commission's dictat
 "The Apostle Matthew was the first to write a Gospel. This Aramaic Gospel
 is substantially identical with the canonical Greek Gospel". JAT Robinson,
 /Redating the New Testament/, 1976, is on much firmer ground than Butler.
 Butler was probably reacting against GD Kilpatrick, /The Origins of the
 Gospel according to St Matthew/, 1946. Most recently, John Wenham /Redating
 Matthew Mark & Luke/, 1991, reviews all the right evidence and draws all the
 right conclusions (IMHO at least!).

 Jesus gave the LP to his disciples early in his ministry in the Sermon on the
 Mount as an example of prayer. Much later, in the third year of Christ's
 ministry, they wanted a prayer to repeat in 'John the Baptist' style (Luke
 11:2-4). They had forgotten the teaching of two years earlier! But Matthew
 had it all faithfully recorded. Matthew's LP has two neat triplets of
 petitions; Luke's is much shortened and simplified. If there is a later
 liturgical element in Matthew's version, it is the added doxology "For thine
 is the kingdom...".

 The theology of the "Evil One" arises from the Temptation, PEIRASQHNAI hUPO
 TOU DIABOLOU (Matthew 4:1), PEIRAZOMENO hUPO TOU DIABOLOU (Luke 4:2), right
 at the beginning of Christ's ministry. We had a long (very interesting) recent
 thread on PEIRAZW: let's not go into that again! We mustn't forget "Simon,
 Simon, Satan hath desired to have you [hUMAS], that he may sift you as wheat"
 (Luke 22:31).

 We cannot exclude the eschatological dimension from the LP. We are praying
 for nothing less than the return of Christ to reign upon earth.

 Revd Ben Crick, BA Bristol, 1963 (hons in Theology)
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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