Historical Contexts of the Lord's Prayers
The following table provides an outline of the events that shaped the
evolution of the various Bibles that have been written. Mouse over any
date in the left column for a brief description of what was going
4 BCE - 30 CE
||Life of the Historical Jesus
|30 - 66 CE
||Era of the 'Early Church' |
|67 - 72 CE
||Jewish-Roman wars, ending with|
Mark's gospel, Q gospel
||Matthew's gospel, Luke's gospel
|300's CE||Codex Sinaiticus
||John Wycliffe's Bible
|| William Tyndale's New Testament
||Martin Luther's Bible
|1611 CE -
|King James Version, 1611
Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, 1789 - 1979
|1843 CE||Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English
|Modern Bible translations|
What did Jesus
| The Cotton Patch
What would Jesus say today?
The Lord's Prayer sprang from the Roman persecution of Jews and Christians.
Ancient texts gradually mutated as they were copied from scribe to scribe. The doctrine of
inerrancy took hold, forcing consistency between doctrines and Bibles. Heretics
in England and Germany got hold of the ancient documents, igniting the
Protestant Reformation. Today, modern Bibles are again inserting translators' beliefs amid claims of high
accuracy and "dynamic equivalence." How will the Bible evolve from here?
[ Sources ]
John Dominic Crossan
Robin Griffith Jones
Life of the Historical Jesus
Prayer is thought to be rooted in the actual
prayers and experiences with Jesus and his
|Execution of Jesus
|Era of the 'Early
The Pauline letters
The Lord's Prayer is not found in surviving writings from the early years following
the execution of Jesus. However, the precedent for intertwining liturgy and sacred text
is set by Paul. Philippians 2:6-11 is thought to be an early church hymn, preserved in
his letter. Given that similar sacred writings from this time have been preserved, it
appears that the Lord's prayer may have been written later.
Jesus didn't do it
See Dart J. Bible Scholars Say Jesus Didn’t Create or Teach Lord’s Prayer. Los Angeles Times,
1988 October 18. Jesus Seminar [full text].
The Jewish Diaspora
The scattering of
Jews over the known world at that time, apart
from their homeland.
Paul was beheaded by Nero in 68 CE, and two of
Jesus' companions were crucified. Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed in 70 CE.
of this historical context, the preservation
of sacred teachings, hymns, liturgy, and
prayers began. This was the first stage in the
canonization of sacred Christian writings.
persecution targeted both Jews and
ChristiansConsidered a Jewish sect by the
Romans and continued through the reign of
81 - 96 CE, threatening the extinction of
the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Canonization began as the preservation of sacred
teachings, only later supporting goals of
imperial control and doctrines of
inerrancy.That the Canonical
Bible is the Word of God, infallible and without
error in every detail.
|Mark's gospel, Q manuscripts
manuscripts written around the time of Mark's gospel have
been lost, but are mentioned at the
beginning of Luke's gospel. They are
thought to include the
Q gospel and what may be the
earliest version of the Lord's prayer.
Q is defined as the common source material, other than Mark's
gospel, that was available to both Matthew and Luke.
The International Q project first inferred
the editorial policies of Luke and Matthew
from how their gospels incorporated material
from Mark's. They then recovered
elements of Q by applying these editorial
policies in reverse to ideas found in Luke's
and Matthew's gospels but not Mark's.
|Matthew's gospel , Luke's gospel
Matthew and Luke build on Mark and Q. Matthew adds theological links to the Old Testment, while Luke adds theological
interpretations for the Gentile-Christian community.
Lord's prayer is found in both gospels,
with the version in Luke being a little
* Existence of Q
* English translation of Q
Portions of the prayer that appear in
both gospels (and by inference, in Q)
may be of earlier origin than those
which appear only in Matthew.
By this time, the prayer is probably
already a product of the community,
though not necessarily in departure
from the actual prayers of Jesus and
|John's gospel is written
In contrast to previous gospels that
provide a history with theological
links and themes, John's is a theology
with historical links and themes. No mention of the Lord's
|Codex Sinaiticus is penned
Sinaiticus is regarded as a generally
accurate copy of original Greek texts
dating back to the dawn of the
Christian church. It includes the
oldest surviving copy of the New
Wycliffe and his staff translated the Latin Vulgate Bible into the everyday speech of lay people.
The Catholic Church banned any further printings of his Bible in 1409,
and all later printings carried the false publication date of 1409.
|Tyndale New Testament
Tyndale's New Testament was the first to draw on Greek and
Hebrew texts. The Catholic Church strangled him, and two
years later, King Henry VIII decreed that every church in
England make a copy of his Bible available.
Tyndale and King Henry VIII were secular enemies. Tyndale wrote a scathing article
about the King Henry's divorce and went into hiding. The King tracked him down and threw him
into a Belgium prison. Eighteen months later, the Catholics brought him back for
a large show trial where they hung him, tied his body to a stake, and threw
gun powder on the kindling wood. Tyndale went out with a bang.
Martin Luther also drew on Greek and Hebrew texts and ensured
that his Bible was readable by lay people. The Catholic Church excommunicated him,
and he launched the Protestant Reformation.
|Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon
referred to as the LSJ,
A Greek-English Lexicon, edited by
Liddell, Scott and Jones, has served as
the basis of all later lexicographical
work on Classical Greek. Its
first edition was published in 1843;
its ninth, the most recent edition, was
released online by the Perseus Project in 2007.
The LSJ attempts to
rediscover Classical Greek by comparing
each word across multiple ancient
documents. This objective
contrasts with that of the more recent
ten-volume Theological Dictionary of
the New Testament by Kittle and
Friedrich, whose initial goal was to
lexicographically encapsulate their
theology of the New Testament.
|Book Of Common Prayer
Roughly 84% of the KJV is taken from Tyndale's Bible.
The most popular variant of the Lord's
prayer in the United States is found in
the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common
Prayer. It's use of trespasses in place of debts is from
Some goals of the newer Bibles have been:
Accessibility to those with limited knowledge of English
Accuracy and readability – the English Standard Edition.
Palatability to particular denominations
Catholics, Lutherans, Jewish Christians, Seventh-day
Expressing what the Bible's authors must have meant as opposed to what they said
billed as "dynamic equivalences" or paraphrases.
Today, the King James Bible remains more popular than all others combined.
|What Would Jesus Say?
In the Cotton Patch Gospels, Clarence Jordan replaced Jews, Gentiles, and
the Crucifixion with whites, blacks, and lynching's.
But the question remains: What would Jesus now say to we
who have eight times as many words to hear Him with? We
who have cable TV and the Internet? We who see the horrors of war daily?
See Jordan C. Cotton Patch Gospel: The Complete Collection.
Smyth & Helwys 2012 March 16. Civil Rights Gospel [hardcopy].
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