I was reading the Bible today, and I stumbled on something familiar. Even though we never did it in my church growing up, "The Lord's Prayer" or "Our Father" or "Pater Noster" is such a huge part of most mainstream christianity that I actually have it mostly memorized. Just from incidental contact (second-hand smoke and mirrors?)!
Pater noster, qui es in caelis
So I'm reading in Matthew 6 and I perk up. This is something I know. Everybody put on your most bored monotone and say it with me now:
Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our…
Wait a minute… I may never have had to say this as a penance or anything, but I swear that doesn't sound right. I thought it was "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." Now I'm looking at Matthew, and he's saying "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." What the huh?
Well of course this launched me into a whole flurry of half-assed research. First, I looked at as many translations of the Bible as I could, just to make sure I wasn't reading some wacked-out version without realizing it (it said King James, but this bible was stolen for me from a hotel- and I honestly don't know who the hell the Gideons are, so I couldn't be sure they hadn't fucked around with it…). Almost every version I read was the same. For the most part they all said "debts" and "debtors." For the most part. There were some delightfully creative divergences like this, from the "The Message" version of the bible:
|Keep us safe from ourselves…|
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
I gotta get me a copy of that piece of crap bible!
Having confirmed that the wording I had read was correct, I then googled "lord's prayer" to see if there was any explaination about the word swap. As it turns out, Wikipedia has a whole article about it which is totally adequate for my purposes (really don't care about accuracy that much…).
Basically the explanation has to do with the Greek and the Aramaic and debt is the same word as sin in some language or other… blah blah blah. So most folks who do the Our Father say trespasses. I guess my question is- is the Bible just not good enough for them or what? Why do they feel like they have to change it? Matthew wrote out a perfectly nice prayer, and thousands of people say it every day- incorrectly. I mean- if you're going to say it, surely saying it as written isn't asking too much, is it?
Yes yes yes.