Saturday, November 17, 2018

Matthew 6:13 - How Does the Lord's Prayer End? (Part 1)

Matthew 6:13b in minuscule 13.

          At the close of Matthew 6:13, most modern versions of the New Testament place the phrase, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever; Amen” in a footnote, whereas the KJV, NKJV, WEB, and MEV have it in the text.  (The hyper-paraphrase The Message also has it in the text, albeit in a rather distorted form.)  Let’s take a closer look at the evidence pertaining to this textual contest.
          In about 98.5% of the Greek manuscripts that contain Matthew 6:13 (something around 1,500 MSS), the words ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ (“but deliver us from evil”) are followed by ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν (“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen”). 
            Some anomalous readings in this phrase appear in Greek manuscripts and versions, as the late Bruce Metzger pointed out in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament:   it “occurs in several forms,” which he listed, citing the Sahidic and Fayummic versions – which don’t mention “the kingdom” – and the habitually anomalous Old Latin Codex Bobbiensis – which only has the Latin equivalent of “For yours is the power forever and ever” – and minor liturgical expansions found in “some Greek manuscripts” and “Several late manuscripts.”  However, Metzger frugally declined to share with readers the consistency with which the vast majority of Greek manuscripts perpetuate the words (with some allowance for spelling).    
Matthew 6:13 in Codex W.
          Fortunately this gap in Metzger’s comments has been filled in by data presented by Jonathan Borland, who has pointed out that 1,416 manuscripts preserve the phrase exactly, and that all of the MSS from the 900s and earlier that have the phrase “contain the doxology completely intact, letter for letter.”  Among these 105 MSS are Codices E G K L M S U V W Δ Θ Π Σ Φ Ω 047 0211 0233 0257 0287 and minuscules such as 33 123 151 274 405 461 565 773 892 1073 1077 1079 1080 1110 1172 1346 1424 1701 1816 2142 2414 and 2812.
          There is a smattering of variations among MSS that support the inclusion of the doxology, but their attestation is practically trivial:
          ● The final “Amen” is missing in 16 MSS, at least in the text written by the main scribe.
          ● In 20 MSS, an extra “and ever” appears between “forever” and “Amen.” 
          ● Five manuscripts read the equivalent of “For yours is the kingdom and the power forever, Amen.” 
          ● Six manuscripts read the equivalent of “For yours is the kingdom and the glory forever, Amen.” 

           Why is a passage with so much manuscript-support not included in the base-text of the NIV, ESV, CSB, etc.?  Because it is absent from several important early witnesses.  These include Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (the flagship manuscripts of the Alexandrian Text – as well as Codex Bezae (the flagship MS of the Western Text), Codex Z (035, from the 500s), 0170 (400s or 500s), and the leading members of family-1, and a smattering of other minuscules (130, 372, 890, 1090c, 2701s, 2737, 2780*, and 2786. 
          In addition, most Old Latin copies do not include the doxology; nor do the Middle Egyptian version and the earliest strata of the Bohairic version. 
          Turning to the versional support for inclusion of the doxology, we find that the Peshitta (late 300s/early 400s), the Gothic version (mid-300s), the Palestinian Aramaic, the Harklean Syriac (616), and the Armenian (c. 430), Georgian, and Ethiopic versions favor inclusion.  The Curetonian Syriac supports “for yours is the kingdom and the glory forever, Amen.”  Although the Vulgate and most Old Latin witnesses support non-inclusion, VL 7 (g1) supports the whole passage except “Amen,” and Codex Bobbiensis (VL 1, k) supports “For yours is the power forever and ever, Amen.”  Miller (1893) also cited Codex Brixianus (VL 10, f) and VL 13 (q) as support for inclusion.  The Sahidic and Fayummic versions are both cited in the UBS apparatus (ed. 2) as support for “For yours is the power and the glory forever, Amen.”
          We now come to the patristic evidence.  Some very significant patristic writings support the non-inclusion of the doxology: 
          Origen (first half of the 200s, in Caesarea)
          Acts of Thomas (200s)
          ● Hilary of Poitiers (mid-300s),
          ● Caesarius of Nazianzus (mid-300s),
          Gregory of Nyssa (mid-late 300s),
          ● Cyril of Alexandria (early 400s),
          ● Maximus the Confessor (early 600s), and, in Latin, 
          Tertullian (c. 200, in North Africa),
          ● Cyprian (mid-200s, in North Africa), and
          ● Ambrose (late 300s),  
          ● Chromatius of Aquileia (late 300s),
          ● Augustine (early 400s), and     
          ● Peter Chrysologus (mid-400s).

          Meanwhile, John Chrysostom quoted and commented upon the entire phrase (c. 400) and it also appears in Apostolic Constitutions (composed c. 380).  In the very early composition known as The Didache (early 100s), in chapter 8, the unknown author states the following:
          Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites.  For they fast on the second and fifth day of the week.  Instead, fast on the fourth day, and the Preparation-Day (Friday).  Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, like this:
          “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed is Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors.  And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the power and the glory forever.

          In chapter 9, the Didache contains a model-prayer for the communion service which includes the following statement:  As this broken bread was once scattered on the mountains, and after it had been brought together became one, so may thy church be gathered together from the ends of the earth unto thy kingdom, for thine is the glory, and the power, through Jesus Christ, forever.
          In chapter 10, the Didache presents a model prayer to be given following the communion-service; it begins with the phrase, “We thank You, holy Father, for Your holy name which You caused to dwell in our hearts.”  Here is its final paragraph, slightly adjusted from the translations by Kirsopp Lake and J. B. Lightfoot, slightly modernized:

          “Remember, Lord, your Church, to deliver it from all evil and to perfect it in your love, and gather it together from the four winds – the sanctified people – into your kingdom which you have prepared for it. For yours is the power and the glory for ever.  May grace come and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If any man is holy, let him come; if any man is not, let him repent.   Maranatha,  Amen.”
          All three of these passages in the Didache look like adaptations of the doxology in Matthew 6:13.    Particularly in chapter 10, there are thematic connections to the Lord’s Prayer as presented in Matthew 6:9-13:  we see in close proximity, and in the same order, a reference to the Father, to His name, and to deliverance from evil – and then to the Father’s kingdom, and then the phrase “for Yours is the power and the glory forever.” 
          When considering the testimony of the Didache, however, two things need to be kept in mind:  first, that the most complete manuscript of the Didache was produced in 1056, and its liturgical contents might have been influenced by factors that did not exist when it was initially composed.  In other words, it is possible that the doxology-phrase might have been added to the Didache’s contents some time after the second century.   Second, and dovetailing with that, the incorporation of parts of the Didache into other compositions such as Apostolic Constitutions Book VII (generally assigned to 380) and a sermon of St. Boniface suggests that its text was subject to customization, which is all the more reason why some researchers have suggested that it is somewhat precarious to treat the text of the Didache’s eleventh-century representative as if it must echo the second-century text.   
          Fortunately we have a bit more data which may help us balance these factors.  The main witness to the text of the Didache is Codex Hierosolymitanus 54 was discovered in 1873 by Philotheos Bryennios, the metropolitan of Nicomedia, at Constantinople.  It contains not only the text of the Didache but some other early Christian compositions as well, such as the Epistle of Barnabas, First Clement, Second Clement, the long form of the Epistles of Ignatius, and the text known as the Epistle of Mary of Kassobelae to Ignatius.
          In 1922, Arthur Hunt published two small fragments which contained text from the first three chapters (1:3c-4a and 2:7b-3:2a) of the Didache – although the text of this fifth- or sixth-century witness, P. Oxy. 15.1782, varied from the contents of Codex Hierosolymitanus.  The relevance of the textual variations in P.Oxy. 15.1782, however, are a matter of debate, inasmuch as this witness takes the form of a miniature codex – the fragments measure only 5 x 5.8 cm and 5.7 x 4.8 cm – and such small books may have been intended to include merely an abridged sample of the Didache’s contents.  
              In 1924, the document known as Br. Mus. Or. 9271 was published by George Horner:  it is a Coptic text “of a Middle Egyptian kind,” written on papyrus, that contains Didache 10:3b-12:2a.  Its production-date was estimated to be perhaps as early as 400.  Horner, in Journal of Theological Studies, provided an English translation of the text from this one-sheet fragment; here is the final paragraph of its text of the communion-prayer in chapter 10, as translated by Horner: 
          Remember, O Lord, thy Church that thou shouldst deliver her from all the evil and perfect her by Thy love, and gather her from the four winds into thy kingdom which thou preparedst for her.  Because thine is the power and the glory eternal, hamen.  Let come the Lord, and let this world pass away, hamen.  Osanna to the house of David.  He who is holy, let him come, he who is not holy, let him repent.  The Lord came, Amen.”
          In case the close agreement between Codex Hierosolymitanus 54 and Br. Mus. Or. 9271 is not clear, here is a line-by-line comparison; Horner’s translation from the Coptic text is in bold italicized black print; a translation of Codex H54 is in bold blue print:
          Remember, O Lord, thy Church
          “Remember, Lord, your Church,

          that thou shouldst deliver her from all the evil
          to deliver it from all evil

          and perfect her by Thy love,
          and to perfect it in your love,

          and gather her from the four winds into thy kingdom
          and gather it together from the four winds
            – the sanctified people – into your kingdom

          which thou preparedst for her. 
          which you have prepared for it.

          Because thine is the power and the glory eternal, hamen. 
          For yours is the power and the glory forever. 

          Let come the Lord, and let this world pass away, hamen.
          May grace come and may this world pass away.

          Osanna to the house of David.
          Hosanna to the God of David.
         
          He who is holy, let him come,
          If any man is holy, let him come;

          he who is not holy, let him repent.
          if any man is not, let him repent.  

          The Lord came, Amen.”
          Maranatha,  Amen.”

          Clearly both manuscripts are presenting the same prayer, and clearly the phrase “For yours is the power and the glory forever” is in them both.
          I note that while it is possible that a moment of inattentiveness could cause a scribe’s line of sight to skip from the ἡ before βασιλεία (“kingdom”) to the ἡ before δύναμις (“power”) and thus fail to preserve the reference to the kingdom, another and probably better explanation of the absence of the reference to the kingdom in this prayer (and in chapter 9) is that because this doxology-phrase is immediately preceded by a reference to God’s kingdom, the term was not used so as to avoid superfluity.
          Inasmuch as the Didache repeatedly borrows language from the Gospel of Matthew and uses Matthews form of the Lords model prayer (this is so indisputable that the point need not be argued), the concerns of those who are hesitant to affirm that Codex Hierosolymitanus 54 shows that the author of the Didache was familiar with a text of Matthew 6:13 that included the doxology may be alleviated by the combined testimony of Codex Hierosolymitanus 54 and Br. Mus. Or. 9271.
          Inasmuch as the Didache was probably composed when people who knew the apostle Matthew were still alive, this is an extremely weighty witness for the inclusion of the doxology in the original text of Matthew 6:13.

To be continued in Part 2.


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6 comments:

John Podgorney said...

I am Catholic and we always say the whole phrase, "For the kingdom and power and glory are your's forever." after the Lord's Prayer. That is a part of our liturgy. So we include it.

Wayne Steury said...

Thanks for your excellent research.

Daniel Buck said...

"The doxology is absent in ℵ B D Z 0170 [f1-pt] 1090c and in 10 other insignificant witnesses from the 14th century or later. . . "All the manuscripts from the 10th century and earlier (105 witnesses!) contain the doxology completely intact, letter for letter.” {JCB}
This shows how stable the text was, century after century. There simply is no such phenomena amongst the mss, spread out over as many centuries, that share any given distinctly Alexandrian reading.

maurice a. robinson said...

I would question the assertion that "all the manuscripts from the 10th century and earlier ... contain the doxology completely intact" when pre-10th century MSS lacking the doxology were already cited in the previous quoted portion.

Also, one key reason for omitting the doxology may lie in the liturgical practice of the Greek Orthodox church, since after the recitation of most of the prayer by the laity, only the priest recites the closing doxology, and that in a low voice.

Veritas said...

Good research. Personally I find the omission (as James noted) by Origen in his thorough and enjoyable piece “On Prayer” difficult to overcome. And Origen was not shy about noting and exploring variants among copies found in both OT and NT. Similar wording can be found in Revelation 4:11 so either way it’s a valid praise to express to God.

Steve

Daniel Buck said...

Maurice Robinson,
What was being claimed obviously was not that the doxology was present in every pre-10th century manuscript, but that variations to the doxology are ONLY present in later manuscripts. Those earlier ones that do have it, have it exactly--unlike the "oldest and best manuscripts" which rarely agree exactly other than in what they leave out--and anything multiplied by zero is always zero, so that's not exactly the kind of perfect agreement to brag about, especially if that's all you have.