Monday, December 11, 2017


Ancient Unease with Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Jeffrey B. Gibson, The Disciples' Prayer: The Prayer Jesus Taught in Its Historical Setting (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), p. 146, n. 29:
Moule's observation that there really is no sense in praying for exemption from πειρασμός if the πειρασμός in the petition is taken as a "testing to be experienced by believers"—indeed, that taking πειρασμός to have this meaning, renders the petition illogical, if not absurd, and that it therefore cannot be what Matthew and Luke thought Jesus was saying when he urged his disciples to urge God μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν—is supported by the peculiar way the petition is (mis)transmitted in the manuscript tradition or glossed by early commentators. For instance, Marcion reproduces it as "Do not suffer us to be led into 'testing'" (καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν), a gloss that appears again in the early third century in a fragment of a work by Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria and pupil of Origen, who, when commenting on how the petition is to be understood, says, "that is, do not suffer us to fall into 'testing'" (καὶ δὴ καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν· τουτέστι, μὴ ἐάσῃς ἡμᾶςἐμπεσεῖν εἰς πειρασμόν [Patrologia Graeca 10:1601]). Tertullian rendered it "Do not allow us to be led into 'testing' by him who 'tests' (the devil)" ("Ne nos inducas in temptationem, id est, ne nos patiaris induci ab eo utique qui temptat," De oratione 8), and Cyprian recites it in the form "do not suffer us to be induced into 'testing'" ("et ne patiaris nos induci in temtationem"). In Codex Bobbiensis and the Itala we find "ne passus fueris induci nos in temptationem," and Chromatius of Aquila, Jerome, Augustine, and various Western liturgies gloss it as "Do not lead us into testing which we cannot bear" ("et ne nos inferas in temptationem quam suffere non possumus"/"ne inducas nos in temptationem quam ferre non possumus"). On all of this, see Willis, "Lead Us Not into Temptation," 281-88; A.J.B. Higgins, "Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Some Latin Variants," Journal of Theological Studies o.s. 46 (1945): 179-83.
There is something wrong with the Greek quotation in Gibson's phrase
Marcion reproduces it as "Do not suffer us to be led into 'testing'" (καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν).
The phrase should read
Marcion reproduces it as "Do not suffer us to be led into 'testing'" (μὴ ἄφες ἡμᾶς εἰσενεχθῆναι εἰς πειρασμόν).
Gibson's reference to Willis is to Geoffrey G. Willis, "Lead Us Not into Temptation," Downside Review Vol. 93, No. 313 (October, 1975) 281-288. The articles by Willis and Higgins are unavailable to me.


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