Re: ponerou in Matt. 6:13 and the meaning of Matt 6:13b

From: Jeffrey Gibson (
Date: Wed Sep 10 1997 - 14:42:24 EDT

On Wed, 10 Sep 1997, Mark Goodacre wrote:

> How nice to be back to the Lord's Prayer and Jeffrey Gibson's
> theories again!
> However, I would be grateful if Jeffrey could clarify something
> in the current post. It looks to me that you (rightly, in my view)
> come down on the side of hO PONHROS = the Devil here, but then go on
> largely to prefer TO PONHRON = Evil in the body of the post. The
> petition to save us from 'doing evil' would make much more sense if
> we are thinking TO PONHRON (though at the end of the
> message a case is made for 'doing evil' still being the substance
> behind a petition to 'deliver us from the Devil').
> Also, a small point: does 'Deliver us from doing evil' constitute a
> 'repetition' of the previous petition, or does it, reputedly like
> Hebrew poetry, repeat + build on it, rather as 'Thy will be done'
> repeats but also adds to 'Thy kingdom come'?
> If this is the case, then we could have h0 PONHROS = the Devil +
> Jeffrey's parallel with Matt. 4 // Luke 4 + 'deliver us from doing
> evil' as the substance behind the explicit petition. Or perhaps this
> is the point that Jeffrey is making?


Thanks for your kind words. I hope that others on the list share
your sentiments not only on being "back to the Lord's Prayer"
again, but on being subjected to my views on what is being said in
Matt. 6:13.

You are quite right to notice what appears to be a contradiction in
my latest contribution, i.e., that while I side with those who see
TOU PONHROU as a reference to the Devil, I nevertheless go on to
expound the meaning of Matt. 6:13b as if TOU PONHROU was used there
with the meaning "evil". What I was *trying* to do was to show that
no matter which sense TOU PONHROU bears in Matt 6:13b (whether
"Evil One" or "evil), the petition RhUSAI hHMAS APO TOU PONHROU is
still a request of the community to be prevented from putting God
to the test. But I gave so much emphasis in the body of my post to
showing how this is so by reading TOU PONHROU as "evil", or rather
as "(the) doing (of) evil", than by reading the phrase as "the Evil
One", that I seemed to be disavowing what I had originally claimed.

Let me state this: after further reflection, and in the light of
what I see to be the intention behind Matt 6:13b, as well as how
well taking TOU PONHROU as "doing evil" fits in with what appears
to be the interpretative context of the LP (i.e., Deut 4-8), I am
not so certain that "the Evil One" is indeed the meaning of the
phrase. Or at least the ONLY meaning. It may be that we set up a
false dichotomy when we assume that TOU PONHROU can have only one
meaning here and must mean either "evil" or "the Evil one". Perhaps
Mathhew is here trading off an intentional ambiguity and means the
phrase to read both ways at once.

As to your question about whether Matt 6:13b is a repetition of
Matt 6:13a or something that builds upon the "lead us not" clause,
my answer is that I really do not know. I DO think, however, that
the ALLA prefacing RhUSAI hHMAS APO TOU PONHROU is not adversative,
and that there is no actual or intended *contrast* between the two
petitions. Do others on the list have further insights on this


Jeffrey Gibson

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