"Lead Us Not": Linguistic and Exegetical Considerations for Translating the Sixth Petition of the Lord's Prayer
College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in English (MA)
Translation, Prayer, Temptation, Greek, Patristics, Hebrew
Christianity | Linguistics | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Robinson, Brodie Allan, ""Lead Us Not": Linguistic and Exegetical Considerations for Translating the Sixth Petition of the Lord's Prayer" (2020). Masters Theses. 678.
In 2019, the Vatican announced a revision to the Italian translation of the Roman Missal, modifying the temptation petition of the Lord’s Prayer from “non ci indurre in tentazione” (“lead us not into temptation”) to “non abbandonarci alla tentazione” (“do not abandon us to temptation”). A formal, word-for-word rendering of the petition was substituted for a freer, more interpretive one. Though such a change seems insignificant, it stands at the heart of one of the most theologically contested passages in the New Testament, a passage which appears to contradict most scriptural teaching on temptation. This thesis probes the multiple problems present in the passage—such as the second person conjugation of the verb, the multiple possible definitions of “temptation,” and the scope of the verse’s negation—and argues that the orthodox interpretation of the petition neglects a key exegetical element: the Massah tradition of the Exodus narrative. This biblical tradition suggests that the individual being “tempted” in the Lord’s Prayer may not be the believing supplicant, but God himself.
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