Re: Matt. 6:11//Lk. 11:3

From: Mark Goodacre (
Date: Tue Feb 17 1998 - 12:40:18 EST

Jeffrey -- and all

Several thoughts:

1. It seems to me that first of all we need to be absolutely clear
about what the text of Q said. For this, I always give way to the
authority of the International Q Project who here reconstruct Q 11.3
as follows:


In other words, the Critical Text comes down in favour of Matthew's
version, as does Jeffrey.

2. Jeffrey's reading makes good sense of the Lukan version and
receives support from, e.g. McNeile (1915), "Luke has a generalised
request, DIDOU hHMIN KAQ hHMERAN, which may have been an early
variation due to the account of the manna (TO KAQ hHMERAN EIS
hHMERAN, Ex. 16.5)."

3. However, Luke's version does not come in an obviously
Exodus-type context. Matthew's Prayer, on the other hand,
does come in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, often thought to
be the height of Matthew's 'new Moses' treatment.

4. I do not know how we could know what the context of the prayer
was in Q except that, broadly, it came before the "Ask and Receive"
material (Q 11.9-13), material that might seem to support a
generalised (non-Exodus?) interpretation of the petition.

5. Is there anything in the Q / Matthew version that precludes
Jeffrey's reading? I would not have thought so, but I suppose that
it depends largely on the vexed question of the translation of
EPIOUSION. If it is understood as "Give us today (now) our bread for
the morrow", how does this affect the manna reading? Will it have to
be then thinking of the Sabbath on which there was sufficient bread
for the morrow?

6. The foregoing assumes belief in Q. I do not believe in Q but
even if I did, I would still have difficulties with the idea of an
"original version" of the Lord's Prayer. It is different in type
from everything else in Q in that it is a prayer, a liturgical text.
There is something troubling in treating a liturgical text as if it
is a literary text. Do we believe that the communities / authors
behind Matthew and Luke used the Lord's Prayer in worship? Surely we
do. If so, the daily (KAQ hHMERAN!) repetition of the prayer, with
local variations are bound to have moulded the forms we have in each
Gospel and the Didache (and Q if one believes in it). Literary
modification of existing literary texts is a paradigm that does not
make sense in this kind of context. The eucharistic traditions in
the Synoptics, the Didache and 1 Cor. 11 are another parallel case.
In Jewish studies, the search for an "original version" of the
Shemoneh Esreh is equally problematic.

7. Although this was originally a b-greek thread, I could not help
feeling a little disappointed that Jeffrey's fascinating contribution
did not go to Synoptic-L where we could discuss the language issues
without worrying about the overlap into source and related issues.
I copy this message to Crosstalk, following Jeffrey.

All the best


Dr Mark Goodacre
  Dept of Theology, University of Birmingham

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