Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Theology

Abstract

The Lord's Prayer is one of the most discussed texts within the Christian scriptures (Matt 6:9-13/Luke 11:2b-4). Most commentators have focused on the Matthean version of the prayer and have overlooked the source from which it comes: Q and its context. Both canonical versions of the prayer alter it and place it in different literary settings. This re-contextualizing of the original prayer has produced interpretations that either obscure or reinterpret the message from Q. These efforts have been overly influenced by extraneous source material, often subject to certain interpretative tendencies involving Jewish prophetic, Jewish intertestamental apocalyptic literature, and/or Christian eschatological pronouncements. However, recent scholarship on the Q Prayer Instruction (Q 11:2b-4, 9-13) has shown that the attached aphoristic commentary (Q 11:9-13) provides both interpretative guidelines and controls which limit the range of possible outcomes and points to how the community understood the prayer. Specifically, Ronald Piper has established that the aphoristic clusters in the formative stratum of Q exhibit an intentional and identifiable literary design with the last verse, in this case Q 11:13, serving as the "interpretative key" to the entire speech. This dissertation, following Piper's work, has examined the images within Q 11:9-13, especially v. 13, in order to highlight its climatic function in the set of aphorisms. Within Q 11:9-13, each subunit (11:9-10, 11-12, and 13) builds to the conclusion (v.13). Q 11:13, therefore, controls the meaning of the entire Prayer Instruction (Q 11:2b-4, 9-13). Thus, it is the imagery of v. 13 that determines the parental behavior expected in vv. 12-13. This image is the attentive, providing, and protective parent. The meaning of and expected behaviors of the "father" in the invocation is defined by the responsive and generous parent of v. 13. Thus, in order to understand the Q "prayer" within its setting, (11:2b-4, 9-10, 11-12, 13) it is necessary to start with the attached aphorisms and grasp their contextual force and full meaning. This study argues that the complier of the Q speech intentionally attached the aphorisms to the prayer and structured them in a specific and progressive way in order to provide the lens through which the entire speech should be seen.

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