The Lords Prayer

The Lords Prayer

If you’ve grown up in the west, you’ve probably been exposed to The Lords Prayer – perhaps quite regularly and for many years.

The best known version is this, with only spelling updates from the King James Bible of 1611:

Our father which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

This is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and a shorter version in Luke 11:2-4. “For Thine is the kingdom…for ever and ever” is a more modern addition to the end.

Recently, I’ve heard a few versions that were said to be “translated from the original Aramaic“. It was implied they were closer to what Jesus said or meant to communicate. But many sources lacked any references. Most others were said to be “translated by Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz.” But none of them were his translation. [now off-line] Some were not even close. And his translation includes the modern lines that are not in the Bible.

The Unity church has apparently adapted this further with their terminology in various non-standard versions. Some of that adaptation is questionable to me, expressing a lack of experiential understanding of the content.

It reminded me of one of those spam emails getting passed around, completely out of integrity. A Snopes-worth story. And therein lies the biggest issue. It’s one thing to teach what you believe. It’s a whole other thing to claim that as a historical teaching. As I frequently reference historical texts, I’m very aware of the need to keep their integrity while I interpret.

I should note that a few are claiming to be translating from  “alternate” ancient texts. But when these translations include the more modern lines after ‘evil’, then it’s not anything original.

The legitimate translations I found were largely similar to the standard version above, perhaps slightly modernized. You may find the prayer paternal or dualistic but it is the Lord’s Prayer. If you don’t like it, use something else. But don’t call that the Lord’s Prayer.

Cutting new trails in the jungle is exciting. But if you lead others off on a folly, everyone looses their way.

Last Updated on April 27, 2018 by

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    1. Thanks, Uli. A fascinating review of the prayer from a Sufi perspective, from someone who’s studied the related languages. He touches on interesting Muslim and later Greek influences in modern translations. He does mention the “I will” lines that seem to have been added later but debates if that’s true.

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