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A rabbinic Hebrew translation of the “Lord’s Prayer,” by Shem Tov ibn Shaprut (14th c.)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=35348 A rabbinic Hebrew translation of the "Lord's Prayer," by Shem Tov ibn Shaprut (14th c.) 2021-02-04 21:55:51 A rabbinic Hebrew translation of the "Lord's Prayer." Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Shem Tov ibn Shaprut (translation) Mattai ben Alphaeus haLevi https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ Second Temple Period Classical Antiquity 1st century C.E. 38th century A.M. התבודדות hitbodedut Lord's Prayer Needing Vocalization
This is a medieval rabbinic Hebrew translation of Matthew 6:5-15 containing what many Christians refer to as the “Lord’s Prayer.”[1] The title is due to the Christian identification of Jesus, who prescribes the prayer, as a mortal human manifestation of YHVH (the Lord). Reference to this common title here does not imply endorsement of that belief.  [2] For more on the source for which ibn Shaprut derived his translation, find William L. Peterson, “The Vorlage of Shem-Tob’s ‘Hebrew Matthew’”, New Testament Studies 44, 490–512. For a compelling argument as to the Hebrew translation’s derivation from a Catalan translation of Tatian’s Diatessaron, find Jose Vicente Niclós, “L’évangile en hébreu de Shem Tob Ibn Shaprut,” RB 106 (1999) 358-407. I have compared the translations of the Diatessaron in Latin and Arabic (9:1-15) with ibn Shaprut’s Hebrew and found his translation closer to that of Matthew.  The Hebrew translation is contained in אבן בחן (Even Boḥan), a polemical work against the baptizing of Jews by Shem Tov ben Yitsḥaq ibn Shaprut (born at Tudela, fl. 14th century). While known mainly in its Christian context, the “Lord’s Prayer” is ultimately some version of a Jewish prayer of the first century CE, preserved in Koine Greek. –Aharon Varady

Source (Koine Greek) Translation (Hebrew) Secondary Translation (English)
6 5 Καὶ ὅταν προσεύχησθε, οὐκ ἔσεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταί: ὅτι φιλοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ ἐν ταῖς γωνίαις τῶν πλατειῶν ἑστῶτες προσεύχεσθαι, ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσι τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.
בעת ההיא אמר יש״ו לתלמידיו
בשעה שתתפללו
אל תרימו קול
ואל תהיו כחנפים העצבים
האוהבים להתפלל בבתי כנסיות
ובמקצוע חצרות
ומתפללים בגבוהות
שישמעו וישבחו בני אדם.
אמן אני אומר לכם
שכבר קבלו שכרם.
At that time Yeshu (Jesus) said to his disciples:
In the hour you pray
do not raise your voice
and do not be like sad hypocrites
who love to pray in synagogues
and in courtyard corners
and pray with lofty pretentions
that men might hear and praise them.
Truly I say to you,
they have received their reward already.
6 σὺ δὲ ὅταν προσεύχῃ, “εἴσελθε εἰς τὸ ταμεῖόν σου καὶ κλείσας τὴν θύραν σου πρόσευξαι” τῷ πατρί σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ: καὶ ὁ πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ἀποδώσει σοι.
ואתה בהתפללך
בא למשכבך
וסגור דלתיך בעדך
והתפלל לאביך בסתר
ואביך הרואה בסתר
ישלם לך.
But you, when you pray,
go to your couch,
close your doors upon you,
and pray to your father in secret,
and your father who sees in secret
will reward you.
7 Προσευχόμενοι δὲ μὴ βατταλογήσητε ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί, δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται:
ואתם כאשר תתפללו
אל תרבו דברים כמו שהמינים
חושבים שברוב דברים
ישמעום.
So you, when you pray,
do not multiply words as the heretics
who think that by the multitude of words
they will make themselves heard.
8 μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς, οἶδεν γὰρ [ὁ θεὸς] ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν.
ואתם אל תראו
שאביכם שבשמים
יודע דבריכם קודם שתשאלו ממנו?
Do you not see
that your father who is in Heaven
knows your words before you ask from him?
9 Οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς
 
πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου
10 ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου
וכן תתפללו
 
אָבִינוּ (שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם)
יִתְקַדֵּשׁ שִׁמְךָ
וְיִתְבָּרֵךְ מַלְכוּתֶךָ
So shall you pray:
 
Our father (who is in Heaven),
may your name be sanctified;
and may your kingdom be blessed.
γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς
11 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον
רְצוֹנְךָ יִהְיֶה עֲשׂוּי בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ
וְתִתֵּן לַחֲמֵנוּ תְּמִידִית.
May your will be done in Heaven and on Earth,
and give our bread always.[3] Alternately, we find in the Greek text something like: ותתן לחמנו לכל מחסרינו תמידית (“And give us our bread, sufficient for all our needs, always”), founded upon Deuteronomy 15:8. Although unconvinced, Ponomariov notes the opinion of Samuel T. Lachs (in A Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament. New York: Ktav, 1987) “[who] argues that the original reading was “de maḥsarenu” ‘sufficient for what we lack’ (for our needs)”. According to him, “The temporal translations of ἐπιούσιον (epiousios) can be explained if we assume that de maḥsarenu was the original reading. It is possible that a confusion arose between de maḥsarenu “sufficient for our needs” and de maḥarenu “sufficient for our tomorrow.” This explanation holds as well in understanding Jerome’s reading maḥar; it was probably a mistaken reading for maḥsor in that the letter sameq dropped out in transcription. In this way, by positing a Hebrew original, one can account for the two categories of explanation for epiousios, “sufficiency” and “temporality.” (Lachs 1987:120-121).” Lachs’s opinion seems correct to me. The underlying Hebrew I think can be compared with the phrase in the opening blessing of the birkat hamazon: וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָֽנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָֽנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד (“And through Their great beneficence, we have never lacked, and may we never lack, nourishment, in the cosmos forever.”). While in modern Hebrew, ḥasar has a strong connotation of flaw and deficiency, a different valence is apparent in rabbinic Jewish liturgy of the common era. The concept of ḥesronan (absence, lacking) is found as well in the blessing borei nefashot, and in the blessing over flowering fruit trees in the spring season.  
12 καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν
ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν
וּמָחוֹל לָנוּ חַטֹּאתֵינוּ
כַּאֲשֶׁר אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹחֲלִים לַחוֹטְאִים לָנוּ
And forgive us our transgressions
as we forgive those who transgress against us.
13 καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ
וְאַל תְּבִיאֵנוּ לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן
וְשָׁמְרֵנוּ מִכָּל רַע
And do not lead us into the grasp of temptation
but keep us from all evil.

אָמֵן.
Amen.
14 Ἐὰν γὰρ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν,
ἀφήσει καὶ ὑμῖν ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος:
15 ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις [τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν],
οὐδὲ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἀφήσει τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν.
אם תמחול לבני אדם עונותיהם
ימחול אביכם שבשמים עונותיכם.
ואם לא תמחלו להם
לא ימחול לכם עונותיכם לכם.
If you forgive men their transgressions
your father who is in Heaven will forgive your transgressions.
But if you do not forgive them
he will not forgive you your transgressions.

In 1987, George Howard published The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, a critical text of Shem Tov ibn Shaprut’s Hebrew translation, presumably of Matthew. Soon afterward, other scholars determined ibn Shaprut’s text to be based upon translations of Tatian’s Diatessaron, a gospel harmony originally compiled sometime between 160–175 CE. Howards’s transcription was largely drawn from Add MS 26964, a manuscript of Even Boḥan held in the collection of the British Library.

For further insights as to the relationship between the phrasing of this prayer and other familiar Jewish prayers, find Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky’s essay at Ansche Chesed.

I have digitized Howard’s Hebrew transcription of ibn Shaprut’s chapter 22 for Matthew (Matthew 6:5-15) and set it side-by-side with the known Greek text of Matthew (copied from Perseus at Tufts). The English translation provided is adapted from the one made by Howard after ibn Shaprut’s Hebrew text. I’ve added niqqud for the text of the prayer. –Aharon Varady

Source(s)

Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, p 22 (George Howard 1987)

Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, p 24 (George Howard 1987)

Notes

Notes
1 The title is due to the Christian identification of Jesus, who prescribes the prayer, as a mortal human manifestation of YHVH (the Lord). Reference to this common title here does not imply endorsement of that belief.
2 For more on the source for which ibn Shaprut derived his translation, find William L. Peterson, “The Vorlage of Shem-Tob’s ‘Hebrew Matthew’”, New Testament Studies 44, 490–512. For a compelling argument as to the Hebrew translation’s derivation from a Catalan translation of Tatian’s Diatessaron, find Jose Vicente Niclós, “L’évangile en hébreu de Shem Tob Ibn Shaprut,” RB 106 (1999) 358-407. I have compared the translations of the Diatessaron in Latin and Arabic (9:1-15) with ibn Shaprut’s Hebrew and found his translation closer to that of Matthew.
3 Alternately, we find in the Greek text something like: ותתן לחמנו לכל מחסרינו תמידית (“And give us our bread, sufficient for all our needs, always”), founded upon Deuteronomy 15:8. Although unconvinced, Ponomariov notes the opinion of Samuel T. Lachs (in A Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament. New York: Ktav, 1987) “[who] argues that the original reading was “de maḥsarenu” ‘sufficient for what we lack’ (for our needs)”. According to him, “The temporal translations of ἐπιούσιον (epiousios) can be explained if we assume that de maḥsarenu was the original reading. It is possible that a confusion arose between de maḥsarenu “sufficient for our needs” and de maḥarenu “sufficient for our tomorrow.” This explanation holds as well in understanding Jerome’s reading maḥar; it was probably a mistaken reading for maḥsor in that the letter sameq dropped out in transcription. In this way, by positing a Hebrew original, one can account for the two categories of explanation for epiousios, “sufficiency” and “temporality.” (Lachs 1987:120-121).” Lachs’s opinion seems correct to me. The underlying Hebrew I think can be compared with the phrase in the opening blessing of the birkat hamazon: וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָֽנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָֽנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד (“And through Their great beneficence, we have never lacked, and may we never lack, nourishment, in the cosmos forever.”). While in modern Hebrew, ḥasar has a strong connotation of flaw and deficiency, a different valence is apparent in rabbinic Jewish liturgy of the common era. The concept of ḥesronan (absence, lacking) is found as well in the blessing borei nefashot, and in the blessing over flowering fruit trees in the spring season.

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