Re: Matt. 6:3//Lk. 11:3 Another Lord's Prayer Question!

From: Jeffrey Gibson (
Date: Sun Feb 15 1998 - 10:42:46 EST

On Sun, 15 Feb 1998, Ward Powers wrote:

> At 19:02 98/02/13 -0600, Jeffrey Gibson wrote:
> >List-members,
> >
> >Recently John Kloppenborg, in commenting upon my thesis on the meaning of
> >Matt. 6:13//Lk. 11:4 which I propounded at length here on B-Greek last
> >July or so, has asked me to provide evidence in support of my
> >understanding of the petition *from within the immediate context of the
> >Lord's Prayer itself* and not from other parts of Q or from a study of the
> >use and meaning of PEIRASMOS, etc.. Pursuant to that I would like to ask
> >the list a question about the meaning of Matt. 6:11//Lk. 11:3
> [SNIP]
> >Assumptions:
> >
> >1. Behind the prayer stands authentic dominical tradition.
> >
> >2. The variants between both the substance and the wording of the Matthean
> >and Lukan versions of the LP are not to be explained by an appeal to the
> >supposition that Jesus gave two versions of the prayer on two or more
> >occasions, with Matthew reproducing one version, and Luke another. Rather,
> >behind each of the canonical versions stands a common tradition which each
> >evangelist has taken up and redacted.
> [SNIP]
> Jeffrey:
> May I ask for further clarification of this second assumption, and the
> grounds upon which you make it?
> As a preacher from 'way back, I have a "stock" of sermons which I have used
> on more than one occasion, adapting them slightly as appropriate to each
> particular audience/congregation. It seems to me highly likely that that is
> exactly what is happening with the sources of the two versions of the
> Lord's Prayer. Please do not get me wrong: I am not examining my own
> practice, and then arguing backwards to say that Jesus must have done the
> same thing. Rather, I am saying that when a preacher has something
> worthwhile to say, he wants it to get to a wide audience. It will be the
> exception when, given multiple opportunities, he preaches that sermon on
> just one occasion only.
> To focus now on the wording of the Lord's Prayer:

> 1. The contexts of its two occurrences [Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4] are
> different.
> 2. The time of the setting within the life of Christ appears to be
> different in Matthew (in the Sermon on the Mount) and Luke (in the Central
> Teaching Section); though we cannot be completely certain of this - it
> partly depends upon what we think of the unity of the Sermon on the Mount;
> and Luke's time setting is very general.
> 3. In Matthew the teaching of the Lord's Prayer originates with Jesus; in
> Luke Jesus gives it in response to a request from "one of his disciples".
> 4. In Matthew [6:14-15] Jesus goes on to draw a conclusion about
> forgiveness which Luke does not contain; in Luke [11:5-8] the Prayer is
> followed by the story of The Persistent Friend At Midnight, which has no
> parallel in Matthew.
> 5. And, supremely, the two versions differ significantly in wording at
> several points.
> Jeffrey, it may be that the two versions that we have do derive from a
> common tradition which each evangelist has taken up and redacted. But I
> remain unconvinced that the evidence supports this view. And I do seriously
> question that this can validly be taken as an initial assumption.

Thanks for your reply. I recognize that my second assumption is not
accepted universally. And I also recognize that the data you have outlined
above might lend itself, at first glance, to your claim that the variants
in the LP not only *can* but *should be* explained on the basis of the
assumption that I reject (i.e., that Jesus gave the prayer on more than
one occasion, and that Matthew's version of the Lp represents the first
(or second) of these occasions, and thal Luke's represents the second (or
first!) of them). But to use this forum to go into a defense of my
position, and a critique of yours - which would be based in the idea that
all of the variants in wording, placement, and substance can in this
isnatce easily be attributed to Matthew's redaction, which itself is based
on the acceptance of the existence of Q, a proposition which I know you
reject - would really be to engage in a debate, not about the meaning of
the Greek text of Matthew and Luke as we have it, but about Synoptic
origins and relationships. And this is something that is more appropriate
over on the newly formed Synoptic-L list than on B-Greek.

That said, I hasten to add that even *if* we grant that Jesus gave the
prayer (at least) twice (an historical *possiblity* I don't dispute) and
that Matthew's version represents what was given on the one occasion and
Luke's on the other (a conclusion that does not neceesarily follow even if
Jesus gave the prayer more than once), *we are still left with the problems*
of (a) whether Lk. 11:3 is to be taken as I have opined - a petition for
help in the effort not to become dissatisfied with the EPIOUSIOS bread and
to demand more, with the Exod./Deut./Num/.Pss. traditions of Israel
becoming dissatisfied with manna and abandoning God's standing as the
petition's background; and (b) whether the grammar and syntax of Matt.
6:11, or anything in its context, precludes this as an interpretation for
Matt. 6:11 as well. In fact, your assumptions about the origins of the
Matthean and Lukan versions of the LP only serves to raise these problems
more severely. It would be curious, wouldn't it, if Lk. 11:3 says what I
think it says, and Matt. 6:11 doesn't, and yet they *both* came from Jesus?

Now while I'm willing to go into the questions you ask of me, Ward, what
I'd really like to see from you - and all others on B-Greek - is some
response to the Greek questions I just set out. Will you grant me this

In any case, thanks again for the interaction.


Jeffrey Gibson

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