120 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 120 The Lords Prayer in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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Comments on specific petitions


Jesus Seminar

The commentary in The Five Gospels reports on the judgments of the Seminar concerning each of the petitions:

Abba/Father - Luke preserves the earlier form while Matt expands it

Your name be revered - both Matt and Luke preserve the Q form
Impose your imperial rule - Matt expanded the Q petition into a couplet
Today's bread - Matt is closer to the Q form as the horizon is the same day
Sins/Debts - Luke has substituted "sins" for the original "debts"

Test after test - Matt again converts the petition into a couplet

Hal Taussig

In Jesus Before God. The Prayer Life of the Historical Jesus'. (Polebridge, 1999), Taussig develops his thesis that the Lord's Prayer is a collection of several prayer lines that were significant to the early Q community. His discussion of "Forgive us our debts" occurs on pages 89-92 and represents a good example of his argument. He concludes:

Situating this sentence prayer within its social context makes clear that it arose from certain specific situations in which Jesus found himself. It did not, within the lifetime of Jesus, belong to the Lord's Prayer, which was the product of the generations after Jesus. ... after Jesus was gone his followers in Galilee formulated a general prayer in his name, combining fragments from Jesus' own prayers with other material to create an institutionalized prayer in Jesus' name. As the various versions of this Lord's Prayer from the second half of the first century were passed on, the meanings of the individual prayer sentences were generalized and taken out of context. The sentence prayer about forgiveness made a gradual transition from forgiving one another's debts to forgiveness of sins.