Lead us not into temptation

by eyeuse2badub 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Phizzy

    Thanks D-J.

    Just a point on a throwaway line in the O.P, the reason maybe that Luke and Matthew give a different version is that they are talking about Jesus preaching on two occasions, a year apart.

    Of course Jesus also made it plain that his Model Prayer, or prayers, were not to be repeated parrot fashion, something ignored by most Christians !

  • David_Jay

    Actually, prayers were the first liturgical compositions, meaning the first formulas of recitation in address to God.

    The Book of Psalms is the official book of prayers for three religious groups: the Jews, the Catholics/Orthodox, and the Anglicans/Episcopalians. The Psalms are recited daily usually three or four times a day at set hours on a set schedule, often chanted or sung, until all have been covered over a period of so many days, and then the cycle repeats. This has been occurring since these religions began. It is the reason for the Psalms existence.

    By the Second Temple era when Jesus was living, the Jews said all prayers by rote. The reason Luke and Matthew's account of the Lord's Prayer differ is not because they are attempting to advance freedom from the Jewish standard but because the two are attempting to match. If they were advancing freedom to pray as one wished they would have differed greatly, not matched in general expression. They differ because they come from different sources, Matthew coming directly from an established Jewish Christian community's liturgy.

    The first Christian Liturgy is attributed to the Jerusalem congregation prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt. It contains the version of the Lord's Prayer that resembles Matthew's and what appears in the Latin Liturgy of the Catholic Church. While there has always been room for spontaneous prayer, the "Our Father" has been a formula prayer of Christianity since its inception.

  • David_Jay
    ...the reason maybe that Luke and Matthew give a different version is that they are talking about Jesus preaching on two occasions, a year apart.

    A closer focus on this point: this was often an argument advanced by the Watchtower when I was associating with the Witnesses during the 1980s. It hasn't much critical scholarship to stand on.

    Matthew's gospel appears to be a Jewish liturgical account, meant to be read in a synagogue of Jewish Christian worshipers who were Torah-observant. Along with their Torah readings on the Sabbath (Friday night or Saturday morning), they would read from Matthew's text. They saw no alteration to their Judaism in accepting Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah, neither did they change their Jewish practice.--See Acts 21:20ff.

    Luke's gospel was once a single volume with the Acts of the Apostles. It was an evagelism tool, read in Christian meetings that took place once the Sabbath had concluded, usually on Saturday night (as Jews could not assemble with Gentile believers or assemble at all outside of synagogues or Temple according to the Law as long as it was Sabbath--and Sabbath ended on sundown Saturday). This might explain Paul's discourse on "the first day of the week," why it occured late at night, and why it lead to the death and subseqent resurrection of Eutychus. (See Acts 20:7-12) This text of Luke's became used for the new "Lord's Day" services as liturgy of a new type, meetings which were held "on the first day of the week," the day after the Jewish Sabbath, or our Saturday night or Sunday mornings. Eventually the two services would merge on Sunday once Christianity became Rome's state religion.

    At the canonization of the New Testament, the gospels were separated into their own section, and Luke was split from its second half with the gospel of John dividing it from Acts.

    The discourse in which the Lord's Prayer occurs in both Matthew and Luke is the exact same event. The difference is that Matthew records it as Jewish liturgy and Luke records it as Christian evagelism to the Gentiles.

    As Jewish liturgy, Jesus is the New Moses to whom his disciples "climb the New Sinai" to hear the "Sermon on the Mount." From there they hear "the Torah" explained, receiving the Beatitudes much like Israel received the Ten Commandments: "Blessed are the meek...Blessed are the..." etc. This Jesus in Matthew claims he comes not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it and curses those who teach against it. He then teaches his followers how to pray. The prayer is not unique, however, but very much in line with common Jewish themes along the line of rabbincal teachers of Jesus' day.

    Luke does not compose the event as does Matthew. He does not draw the event as if the people are all Jews. He writes for an international audience, in a way that the reader can see themselves as part of those approaching Jesus. Instead of a mountain, Jesus is on a plain and approachable. Instead of a figure like Moses, Jesus is very human. He does not speak of the Mosaic Law. Instead of fulling the Law, Jesus is seen as comming to redeem and teach the world, not merely the Jews. Luke is foreshadowing the events that will lead to Paul's ministry in the Acts of the Apostles.

    Pope Francis' discussion about the Our Father is a little skewed in the press because most reporters don't know the history of where Christianity got the prayer in the first place. In fact, Christianity prayed the Our Father/Lord's Prayer first before the Gospels were written. It was an oral instruction and part of memorized instruction among Christians. Only later was it inserted into Christian Scripture. Most of the gospels we have come from "saying sources" like M and Q and L. Q, in fact, may have been the Aramaic sayings source that Papias identified as "Matthew's gospel," in theory.

    All nomative academia agrees that none of the narrative in the gospels comes from the original authors but was added much later to these sayings that the Christians attributed to what they claimed to be oral teachings attributed to memory from Jesus of Nazareth. This includes the Lord's Prayer which had been recited by this time by memory in a liturgical setting prior to the Communion service in Christian services before anyone had written it as gospel.

Share this