The Nazarene Way
of Essenic Studies
Biblical scholars disagree about Jesus' meaning in the Lord's Prayer. Some view it as "existential," referring to man's present experience on earth, while others interpret it as "eschatological," referring to the coming Kingdom of God. The prayer itself lends to both interpretations, and further questions are posed by the existence of other translations and the problems inherent in the process of translation.
"This, then, is how you should pray:" ~Jesus, Matt 6:9
It has always been of great interest as to the many different interpretations of the various aspects of what is offered as foundational information about Jesus the Nazarene, what he said and taught, and how translations over the centuries have changed dramatically sometimes even altering the original meaning of a particular text.
The Aramaic Language has (like the Hebrew and Arabic) different levels of meaning. The words are organized and defined by a poetical system where different meanings of every word are possible. So, every line of the Lords Prayer could be translated into English in many different versions. As an example of how the intent of a passage can be changed, here are some translations of the Lord's Prayer directly translated from the ancient Aramaic language into modern English.
The Prayer To Our Father
(translated into first century Aramaic)
"Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes,
who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
Nehwê tzevjânach aikâna d'bwaschmâja af b'arha.
Let Your will come true - in the universe (all that vibrates)
just as on earth (that is material and dense).
Hawvlân lachma d'sûnkanân jaomâna.
Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,
Waschboklân chaubên wachtahên aikâna
daf chnân schwoken l'chaijabên.
detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma)
like we let go the guilt of others.
Wela tachlân l'nesjuna
Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),
ela patzân min bischa.
but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.
Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l'ahlâm almîn.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act,
the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.
Sealed in trust, faith and truth.
(I confirm with my entire being)
Translation by Neil Douglas-Klotz in Prayers of the Cosmos
O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos
Focus your light within us - make it useful.
Create your reign of unity now-
through our fiery hearts and willing hands
Help us love beyond our ideals
and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.
Animate the earth within us: we then
feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.
Untangle the knots within
so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.
Don't let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.
Out of you, the astonishing fire,
Returning light and sound to the cosmos.
Translation by G.J.R. Ouseley from The Gospel of the Holy Twelve
Our Father-Mother Who art above and within:
Hallowed be Thy Name in twofold Trinity.
In Wisdom, Love and Equity Thy Kingdom come to all.
Thy will be done, As in Heaven so in Earth.
Give us day by day to partake of Thy holy Bread, and the fruit of the living Vine.
As Thou dost forgive us our trespasses, so may we forgive others who trespass against us.
Shew upon us Thy goodness, that to others we may shew the same.
In the hour of temptation, deliver us from evil.
The Lord's Prayer, sometimes known by its first two Latin words as the Pater Noster, or the English equivalent Our Father, is probably the most well-known prayer in the Christian religion. The Lord's Prayer is excerpted from Matt. 6:9-13 during the Sermon on the Mount. A similar prayer is found on Luke 11:2-4.
It is called the "Lord's Prayer" because it was the prayer given by Jesus in response to a request from the Apostles for guidance on how to pray. Most Christian theologians point out that Jesus would have never used this prayer himself, for it specifically asks for forgiveness of sins or, more literally, for cancellation of debts, and in most schools of Christian thought, Christ never sinned. However since it says "forgive us our sins", not "forgive me my sins", Christ might have prayed it by way of identifying himself with the common plight of man and of asking for the forgiveness of the sins of his disciples.
The doxology (For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen) was not present in the original version of the prayer, but rather was added to the Gospels as a result of its use in the liturgy of the early church. For this reason, it is not included in many modern translations.
Origins of the Lord's Prayer
In the latter part of the second century, Matthew translates the Lord's Prayer in rather crude Greek, behind which one can still sense the original Aramaic. The commonly accepted version of the Lord's Prayer is the version of Matthew. This version however is admitted to be grossly inaccurate. It contains sixty-six words. The Revised Version of Matthew contains but fifty-five. Twenty-four words either do not belong to the prayer, or have been misplaced; while words which do belong to it have been omitted. In this regard, John E. Remsberg, author of The Christ writes: "If the custodians of the Christian Scriptures have permitted the prayer of their Lord to be corrupted to this extent, what reliance can be placed upon the genuineness of the remainder of these writings?"
The Lord's Prayer, like so many more of the precepts and discourses ascribed to Jesus, is borrowed. Dr. Hardwicke, of England, says: "The so-called 'Lord's Prayer' was learned by the Messiah as the 'Kadish' from the Talmud."
The Kadish, as translated by Christian scholar, Rev. John Gregorie, is as follows:
"Our Parent which art in heaven, be gracious to us, O Lord, our God; hallowed be thy name, and let the remembrance of thee be glorified in heaven above and in the earth here below. Let thy kingdom reign over us now and forever. The holy men of old said, Remit and forgive unto all men whatsoever they have done against me. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil thing. For thine is the kingdom, and thou shalt reign in glory for ever and for evermore."
The eminent Swiss theologian, Dr. Wetstein, says: "It is a curious fact that the Lord's Prayer may be constructed almost verbatim out of the Talmud. The Sermon on the Mount is derived largely from the teachings of the Essenes, a Jewish sect to which Jesus is believed by many to have belonged."
In the early Church, the Christians living in the eastern half of the Roman Empire added the doxology ("For thine is the kingdom ect.") to the Gospel text of the Our Father when reciting the prayer at Mass. Evidence of this practice is also found in the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), a first-century manual of morals, worship and doctrine of the Church. (The Didache also prescribed that the faithful recite the Our Father three times a day.) Also when copying the scriptures, Greek scribes sometimes appended the doxology onto the original Gospel text of the Our Father; however, most texts today would omit this inclusion, relegate it to a footnote, or note that it was a later addition to the Gospel. Official "Catholic" Bibles including the Vulgate, the Douay-Rheims, the Confraternity Edition, and the New American have never included this doxology.
In the western half of the Roman Empire and in the Latin rite, the Our Father was always an important part of the Mass. St. Jerome (d. 420) attested to the usage of the Our Father in the Mass, and St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) placed the recitation of the Our Father after the Canon and before the Fraction. The Commentary on the Sacrament of St. Ambrose (d. 397) meditated on the meaning of "daily bread" in the context of the Holy Eucharist. In this same vein, St. Augustine (d. 430) saw the Our Father as a beautiful connection of the Holy Eucharist with the forgiveness of sins. In all instances, the Church saw this "perfect prayer which the Lord gave" as a proper means of preparing for Holy Communion. However, none of this evidence includes the appended doxology.
The English wording of the Our Father that is used today reflects the version mandated for use by Henry VIII, which was based on the English version of the Bible produced by Tyndale (1525). Later in 1541 after his official separation from the Holy Father, Henry VIII issued an edict saying:
"His Grace perceiving now the great diversity of the translations of the Pater Noster hath willed them all to be taken up, and instead of them hath caused an uniform translation of the said Pater Noster, Ave, Creed, etc., to be set forth, willing all his loving subjects to learn and use the same and straitly [sic] commanding all parsons, vicars, and curates to read and teach the same to their parishioners."
This English version without the doxology of the Our Father became accepted throughout the English-speaking world, even though the later English translations of the Bible including the Catholic Douay-Rheims (1610) and Protestant King James versions (1611) had different renderings of prayers as found in the Gospel of St. Matthew. Later, the Catholic Church made slight modifications in the English: "who art" replaced "which art," and "on earth" replaced "in earth." During the reign of Edward VI, the Book of Common Prayer (1549 and 1552 editions) of the Church of England did not change the wording of the Our Father nor add the doxology. However, during the reign of Elizabeth I and a resurgence to rid the Church of England from any Catholic vestiges, the Lord’s Prayer was changed to include the doxology.
Evolution of The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer to Our Father in the Original Aramaic
Abwûn O cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes,
d'bwaschmâja who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
Nethkâdasch schmach May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.
Têtê malkuthach. Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
Nehwê tzevjânach aikâna d'bwaschmâja af b'arha. Let Your will come true in the universe (all that vibrates) just as on earth (that is material and dense).
Hawvlân lachma d'sûnkanân jaomâna. Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,
Waschboklân chaubên wachtahên aikâna daf chnân schwoken l'chaijabên. detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma) like we let go the guilt of others.
Wela tachlân l'nesjuna Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),
ela patzân min bischa. but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.
Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l'ahlâm almîn. From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.
Amên. Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being)
The Lord's Prayer in Greek
Matthew's second century mistranslation of the Lord's Prayer in crude Greek, the commonly accepted version of the Lord's Prayer from which all others are translated.
- ΠΑΤΕΡ ΗΜΩΝ Ο ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΙΣ
ΑΓΙΑΣΘΗΤΩ ΤΟ ΟΝΟΜΑ ΣΟΥ (what looks like π, is γι: αγιασθητω)
ΕΛΘΕΤΩ Η ΒΑΣΙΛΕΙΑ ΣΟΥ
ΓΕΝΗΘΗΤΩ ΤΟ ΘΕΛΗΜΑ ΣΟΥ,
ΩΣ ΕΝ ΟΥΡΑΝΩ ΚΑΙ ΕΠΙ ΤΗΣ ΓΗΣ
ΤΟΝ ΑΡΤΟΝ ΗΜΩΝ ΤΟΝ ΕΠΙΟΥΣΙΟΝ
ΔΟΣ ΗΜΙΝ ΣΗΜΕΡΟΝ
ΚΑΙ ΑΦΕΣ ΗΜΙΝ ΤΑ ΟΦΕΙΛΗΜΑΤΑ ΗΜΩΝ,
ΩΣ ΚΑΙ ΗΜΕΙΣ ΑΦΙΕΜΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΟΦΕΙΛΕΤΑΙΣ ΗΜΩΝ
ΚΑΙ ΜΗ ΕΙΣΕΝΕΓΚΗΣ ΗΜΑΣ ΕΙΣ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΜΟΝ,
ΑΛΛΑ ΡΥΣΑΙ ΗΜΑΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΝΗΡΟΥ.
Pater hêmôn ho en toes ouranoes;
hagiasthêtô to onoma sou;
elthetô hê basileia sou;
genêthêtô to thelêma sou,
hôs en ouranô, kae epi tês gês.
ton arton hêmôn ton epiousion dos hêmin sêmeron;
kae aphes hêmin ta opheilêmata hêmôn,
hôs kae hêmeis aphiemen toes opheiletaes hêmôn;
kae mê eisenenkês hêmas eis peirasmon,
alla rhysae hêmas apo tou ponerou.
hoti sou estin hê basileia kae hê dynamis kae hê doxa eis tous aeônas;
The 'Pater Noster' in Latin:
Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the Our Father was universally recited in Latin by clergy and laity alike. Hence it was then most commonly known as the Pater Noster. The rather curious English translation we have today is due to Henry VIII's efforts to impose a standard English version.
Pater Noster, qui es in caelis,
Sanctificetur nomen tuum.
Adveniat regnum tuum,
Fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem,
Sed libera nos a malo.
The Lord's Prayer Old English (c. 450-1100)
This version of the Lord's Prayer probably isn't recognizable by the majority of modern English speakers. 1000 AD is before the Norman invasion of England and therefore many of the words in Modern English that were taken from French are not yet present in the Language.
Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice.
The Lord's Prayer Dated 1384 AD
Most modern English speakers should be able to understand some of this version of the Lord's Prayer when written. Spoken it would sound a great deal different; for instance, ou is pronounced like oo and in general the vowels have their continental value (oorra fahderr thut arrt in ai(r)venas ulwid bai(r) thee nahma, with trilled rr). Note the use of the letter þ, this has essentially the same value as "th" in modern English.
Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name;
þi reume or kyngdom come to be.
Be þi wille don in herþe as it is doun in heuene.
yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred.
And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us.
And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl.
The Lord's Prayer Dated 1611 AD (King James Bible)
Most modern English speakers should be able to understand this version of the Lord's Prayer. Note the use of u in place of v. It is not until fairly recently that u an v have been considered separate letters.
Our father which art in heauen,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen.
Giue us this day our daily bread.
And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliuer us from euill.
The Lord's Prayer Dated (1700-)
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: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The New Testament in Modern English (1963, tr. Phillips)
According to the New Testament, the Lord's Prayer is the name given to the only form of prayer Christ taught his disciples (Matt. 6:9-13). The closing doxology of the prayer is omitted by Luke (11:2-4), also in the R.V. of Matt. 6:13. This prayer contains no allusion to the atonement of Christ, nor to the offices of the Holy Spirit. All Christian prayer is based on the Lord's Prayer, but is also guided by that of His prayer in Gethsemane and of the prayer recorded by John 17. The Lord's Prayer is now comprehensive, the simplest and most universal form of prayer.
Our Heavenly Father, may your name be honored;
May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day the bread we need,
Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us.
Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil.
In Luke's far simpler version, 11. 2-4 NIV, it has become:
"'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'
Nazarene Transliteration of the Lord's Prayer
Avvon d-bish-maiya, nith-qaddash shim-mukh.
Tih-teh mal-chootukh. Nih-weh çiw-yanukh:
ei-chana d'bish-maiya: ap b'ar-ah.
Haw lan lakh-ma d'soonqa-nan yoo-mana.
O'shwooq lan kho-bein:
ei-chana d'ap kh'nan shwiq-qan l'khaya-ween.
Oo'la te-ellan l'niss-yoona:
Mid-til de-di-lukh hai mal-choota
Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes,
who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
Sealed in trust, faith and truth.
Hear the angelic voice of Pascale Sakr sing the Lord's Prayer in
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The Lords Prayer / Our Father / Pater Noster