Posted: 19 Jul 2014 05:21 AM PDT
First of all, thank you all for your comments. I’ll try to answer both Stephens’ questions about emphasis, although I’m not sure this is the appropriate place as it does not concern the Greek text – please let me know. However, I will try to tie in some of the other comments which do concern the text.
In Matthew 6.8, the verse before the Lord’s prayer, Jesus says that the Father knows what we need before we ask him (which might imply that we don’t need to ask). Then at the end of the chapter (32-34), Jesus repeats this idea that the Father knows our material needs, and he exhorts us not to seek them nor worry about them because if we seek the Kingdom of God these needs will be supplied. He concludes with an exhortation to concentrate on the present day and not worry about the following day.
I consider the Lord’s Prayer to be a summary of Jesus’ vision of the relationship between the believer and God, the essentials of this relationship in a nutshell. I find it strange that Jesus should include in his “list” of essentials something which in other contexts (as above) he presents as thoroughly marginal. Consequently, I don’t think that the request for bread is the cry of a starving person who is pleading with God to supply his need. It seems to fit in more appropriately with the mindset expressed by Jesus in the verses cited above, that is, the awareness of the importance of being content with having what we need for today and, implicitly, not seeking or desiring more than that so we can concentrate our attention on the kingdom. It seems to me that this is compatible with all of Jesus’ teaching concerning wealth and material needs (serving God and Mammon, laying up treasure in heaven, the Foolish Rich Man, etc.). It also obviously reflects the experience of the manna in the desert as Stephen mentions in his second comment.
So when I asked about “emphasis” I was simply trying to identify the point Jesus’ wanted to make in this sentence. Is he saying, “When you’re hungry, have faith in God, ask him for the bread you need, and you’ll see that it will arrive,” or is it closer to the expression of an awareness: “Father, give us what we need today / day by day (because that is all we desire).”
In this sense, Jonathan’s comment (If I understand Levinsohn correctly, his analysis of this prayer in both Matthew and Luke says that the phrase τὸν ἄρτον ἡµῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον is moved forward to give it focal prominence.) might indicate that the emphasis I was looking for is actually present; I was simply looking in the wrong place.
If “Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον” has been “moved forward to give it focal promince”, then that is perhaps the point Jesus wanted to make: “What do we ask the Father for today? Just the essentials for today – nothing more, nothing less.”
Statistics: Posted by thomas.hagen — July 19th, 2014, 8:21 am
Posted: 19 Jul 2014 04:29 AM PDT
Yes, Thomas Hagen, ‘daily bread’ is probably not the Focus (a.k.a. emphasis).
Fronting can occur in order to provide a context and that would not be called focal prominence. The bread is not the most salient piece of information being specially marked but is introducing what will be talked about.
Ultimately there are three different contexts in three differentcommunitcations: there could be a special focus by Luke, by Matthew, both in Greek, or a special emphasis by Jesus in a hypothesized Hebrew order. But any of the three communications could also have a fronted “bread…’ without any Focus at all.
Meself? I think that the phrase was originally “leHem Huqqenu” ‘bread of our right, allotment’ and without Focus. It only presented the topic for discussion, becoming what I would call a contextualizing constituent.
Statistics: Posted by RandallButh — July 19th, 2014, 7:29 am
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