The Lord’s Prayer: A Hebrew Reconstruction Based On Hebrew Prayers Found In The Synagogue -- By: Chuck Day

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 07:1 (Mar 2009)
Article: The Lord’s Prayer: A Hebrew Reconstruction Based On Hebrew Prayers Found In The Synagogue
Author: Chuck Day


The Lord’s Prayer: A Hebrew Reconstruction Based On Hebrew Prayers Found In The Synagogue

Chuck Day1

Abstract2

The purpose of this article is to show that a Hebrew reconstruction of the Lord’s Prayer can be gained quite easily using idioms found in other Jewish prayers found to this day in the Authorised Daily Prayer Book used in modern synagogues. Such a Hebrew reconstruction also helps to shed light on the meaning of some of the Greek phrases we find in the biblical version of the Lord’s Prayer.

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to show that a Hebrew reconstruction of the Lord’s Prayer can be gained quite easily using idioms found in other Jewish prayers found to this day in the Authorised Daily Prayer Book used in modern synagogues.

It is a lamentable fact that the words of Jesus have been handed down to the church in Greek rather than in Hebrew or Aramaic. In a great number of instances, reconstructing the sayings of Jesus in Hebrew and Aramaic allows a more authentic understanding of his teaching to be revealed. Nowhere is this truer than with the Lord’s Prayer, which contains quite literal translations of idioms present in many ancient Jewish prayers. The Lord’s Prayer, as it stands in Matthew 6.9-13, can actually be considered a very Jewish prayer.

Examining these idioms as they are found in Hebrew allows a means of understanding the Lord’s Prayer from a more Jewish perspective.

Using The Authorised Daily Prayer Book (ADPB) as a guide to the wording of ancient prayers is precarious at best and inaccurate at worst. Not all of the prayers contained within it go back to Second Temple times. However, some of them do. Therefore, particular stress will be laid on the wording of prayers which are considered to be the most ancient. The purpose for referencing these prayers from the ADPB is to demonstrate the fact that the idioms common to both the Lord’s Prayer and other Jewish prayers have been in use in the synagogue and can be easily accessed by anyone (even non-scholars) with a copy of the ADPB. Thus, finding suitable idioms for a Hebrew reconstruction has never been that difficult. It must be made clear that a theoretical reconstruction does not displace the Greek text. Yet, the Greek wording must be governed by the semantic range of the Hebrew terms it represents.

2. Our Father, Which Art In Heaven: Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν Τοῖς Οὐρανοῖς
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