Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lead the Pope not into temptation and save us from a time of liturgical trial

We have not had a Pope like Francis in my lifetime. At odds politically with a US President we have not seen in my lifetime either, nevertheless there appears to be one thing they share in common: no thought goes unpublished. No temptation to air a view is resisted.

Today the Pope is in the news for airing a thought or two re changing the Lord's Prayer.

Indeed there is a restlessness abroad in the English-speaking world about the Do Not Lead Us into Temptation line in the Lord's Prayer, illustrated by ACANZP's adherence to "Save us from the time of trial" in the NZPB. Will we settle on an agreed translation in the course of the 21st century?

The issues around the Greek and presumptions about the underlying Aramaic are tricky (as the linked article hints above. See also Cranmer and The Times).

Perhaps we should say the Lord's Prayer in Greek, as we do the Kyrie Eleisons, on some occasions!

ADDED: A very sensible post from Ian Paul here. Also from Bosco Peters here.


Father Ron Smith said...

A member of my congregation at the Mass at SMAA this morning, Peter, says she is going to look up the 'original language of Jesus, Aramaic?', and recite it privately in that language. She may, though, have been joking.

I reckon 'save us from the time of trial' is not too bad a prospect. I've long had a problem with 'Lead us not into temptation' unless one inserts the word 'but' between the words: 'us' and 'not'. Even that has its problems.

MichaelA said...

The thing that interested me is that the Pope appears to have involved himself directly in a translation issue.

My understanding was that the Roman Catholic Church has panels of scholars who made recommendations for translation changes. They also participate in preparing translations, including where the RCC co-operates with other churches

Is this the first time that a Pope has made direct comment on what a translation should be, or have there been other cases?

Anonymous said...



Father Ron Smith said...

Could it be that Pope Francis heard the amended version for the first time at the Anglican Evensong he attended in Rome this year? He possibly thought it an improvement

Anonymous said...

"Lead us not..." is certainly awkward. How much better-- in millicranmers, the scientific measure of liturgical translation excellence-- is "save us from the time of trial" in Jesus's own eschatology? The NT comments here and there on the inevitability of tests and the wisdom of rejoicing in suffering. Personally. I have always liked "Save us from..." and on that scant basis estimate 650 millicranmers.


David Wilson said...


In regards to "lead us not into temptation" and an eschatalogical view of this, you might enjoy reading Andrew Periman's post on this matter:

Andrei said...

Why is everyone so sure the original language of Lord's Prayer, The Beatitudes &c. is Aramaic?

To be sure Jesus Christ may have spoken Aramaic at home but the lingua franca of his world was Greek

And where Scripture is quoted in the NT is is the Septuagint that is quoted and the very existence of this suggests Greek was more familiar to a great many Jews rather than Aramaic or Hebrew

And many faithful Jews of the day, the Apostle Paul for one obviously spoke Greek

A question - in the Gospels a dialogue between Pontius Pilate and Our Lord Jesus Christ is recorded - in what language did this dialogue take place and was there a translator involved?

Anonymous said...

Bowman; thanks for the link. I do wish Francis would leave theology to his dicasteries. Cardinal Burke would be my favourite for the next Pope, but the Cardinal accepts that he is inpapabile. Although conservatives like a man of principle like Burke, conservatives don’t like embarrassing the Pope either.


Father Ron Smith said...

Surely this is not a matter of direct translation but rather, in the context, what was Jesus actully implying. And, how do we understand his message as relating to us.

MichaelA said...

Good point Andre. No translator is mentioned during the Gospel dialogue between Jesus and Pilate, although it can't be ruled out.

Interestingly, Josephus and Philo both remark that Pontius Pilate was noted for his insensitivity to Jewish customs. It doesn't seem like the character of a man who would be that interested in pandering to those who didn't speak Greek the lingua franc of the eastern empire.