Lord's Prayer - newer version

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Fri May 3 08:51:07 EDT 2002

At 6:44 AM -0400 5/3/02, richard smith wrote:
>Thanks to those who responded to my questions, both on and off list.  The
>points made with regard to the theology and the significance of PEIRASMOS
>have expanded its meaning to me greatly.
>But my question was not related specifically to any distinction between
>trial and temptation.
>My concern is the role of God, or the role of the Holy Spirit, in our
>testing, trials, and temptations.
>My question is more focused toward the verb MH EISENEGKHiS.  The new
>version translates "save" which seems to me to render a different meaning
>that a more literal "do not lead."
>And the scriptural allusions that seem to be missed with the translation
>of "save" include Jesus' temptation, Gethsemane, and the instruction to
>the disciples at Gethsemane to stay awake and pray not to fall into
>temptation. The missed allusions are not important in themselves, unless
>the prayer intends to point to a theme that is consistent in scripture
>regarding temptation and God's role in temptation.
>The lectionary reading for this week comes also to mind. John 15:1-15.
>Is it our prayer that God save us from temptation (I picture something of
>a prayer for a deus ex machina) or that God not lead us into temptation
>(here I picture a deity who in love works to strengthen faith and
>dependence on Him)?
>But, again I am not asking for a theological discussion, only about how
>the verb EISFERW is best rendered in the context of this prayer,
>especially with regard to the role of the Holy Spirit.

While you say that you're not asking for a theological discussion, you are
asking questions broader questions about biblical interpretation that don't
have so much to do with how the Greek is interpreted as with how an
understanding of the text is applied in a specific ecclesiastical tradition
and interpretation--and that, I think, does fall outside of the basic
guidelines of list discussion.

As for the more specifically "b-greek" question--which, I think is more
properly speaking, a translation question as to how MH EISENEGKHiS hHMAS
EIS PEIRASMON is properly Englished--certainly the verb EISFERW here will
most literally mean "bring into" and PEIRASMON will mean "testing, trial,
ordeal." On the other hand, since the accompanying (second) half of the
petition is ALLA hRUSAI hHMAS APO TOU PONHROU, the imperative hRUSAI hHMAS
seems to imply that somehow "not bringing us into testing" is equivalent to
"rescuing us ..."--so that a translation, "save us from the time of trial"
does seem implicit in MH EISENEGKHiS hHMAS EIS PEIRASMON to the extent that
the prayer is for protection from a situation which one fears may overwhelm
one's spiritual strength.

As for scriptural allusions inherent in this petition of the LP, I'd be
very wary of making confident assertions, but I can't help but think that,
within the Synoptic tradition at least, MH EISENEGKHiS hHMAS EIS PEIRASMON
... hRUSAI hHMAS APO TOU PONHROU relates more closely to the traditions of
Jesus' PEIRASMOS in Mk 1:12ff., Mt 4:1ff. and Lk 4:1ff., particularly
insofar as hO PONHROS = Mk's hO SATANAS, Mt-Lk's hO DIABOLOS, although it
may also relate to Mt 26:41par., GRHGOREITE KAI PROSEUCESQE, hINA MH

But both these issues are largely tangential to the central focus of BG
discussion: how the Greek text itself of a specific passage is properly to
be understood.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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