Dear Rick Santorum: Kids Can and Do Pray in School

Rick Santorum is busy promoting a new movie put out by the Christian film studio he isn’t qualified to run. And true to Santorum’s usual form, he doesn’t care if he has to lie to do it. The movie is called One Generation Away and it’s the usual faux-persecution claptrap we hear from the Christian right on a daily basis. Here’s what he had to say during an interview about the movie:

The movie argues that the observant are being forced to practice in private, for few hours in church on Sundays. But on a personal level, can’t you observe your religion wherever you want?

Not necessarily. You can’t pray in school, but it’s good to have prayer. Are people offended by prayer? Sure. But the constitution gives us the right to offend. There are a lot of things today in America that offend me.

That would be a lie. You can pray in school. Students and teachers do it every single day all over the country. They do it silently to themselves, they do it individually and in groups at student club meetings before and after school, they do it in the staff room and the cafeteria before they have lunch. What they can’t do is have teachers pray with students during instructional time or force others to sit through their prayers. That’s illegal. And it should be.

Right, but isn’t school different? There are lots of rules in school that don’t apply to the rest of society.

This is a fallacy. By making such a judgment, you’re communicating what’s good and bad. Not having the Bible taught in school is a mistake. The Bible is the basis upon which Western civilization was built. It is the most influential book of all. And yet it’s not taught. In school, they can’t talk about the impact of this book. This is, in fact, putting forth a view of history that is ahistorical. It’s hard to not look at the history of Western civilization and not see faith.

Another lie. In fact, schools can teach about the Bible as history and literature as long as it’s done in an objective, scholarly manner. Which it never is, of course, because people like Santorum would throw a fit if it were. They want the Bible to be taught in a way that proselytizes.

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  • eternalstudent

    I’ve heard it said that as long as there are exams in school, there will be prayer in school…

  • John Pieret

    You can pray in school.

    It doesn’t count unless you can force them to say your sect’s prayers out loud.

  • raven

    The Bible is the basis upon which Western civilization was built.

    AARGGHHHH!!!!

    This is a common lie of fundie xians. That and that xianity is the basis of Western Civilization

    Both are wildly wrong, lies, false.

    1. The roots of Western civilization are many and varied. They go back to the Middle East and the invention of agriculture, the invention of metal working, domestic animals such as horses and cows. Then Greek and Roman philosophy, technology. With additions from Pagan Northern Europe. Xianity got in there late and had influence but it wasn’t all that much.

    Most of Western Civilization derives from Pagan sources.

    2. Western Civilization isn’t done. It’s still evolving. The main driver for the amazing transformation of the last few centuries is…Science!!!

    Look around people. The defining character of our modern Hi Tech civilization is objects that do things. Computers, internet, cell phones, electricity, indoor running water and plumbing, cars, jets, space ships, robot probes, etc..

    We live lives of unimaginable luxury, convenience, and health compared to the Dark Ages. All xianity did was get in the way occasionally and is mostly just baggage being dragged along behind us and holding us back.

  • raven

    It (the bible) is the most influential book of all.

    Standard lie of some xians.

    The bible is just a kludgy, old collection of obsolete morality and mythology. It has very little to offer modern people.

    1. Even a lot of xians know this. The Catholic church didn’t want anyone reading it and burnt the first English translator, Tinsdale, at the stake.

    2. Even today, the vast majority of xians haven’t read it and have no idea what is actually in the bible.

    3. The fundies are the worst. A lot of them have a collection of a few dozen or hundred of proof texts, isolated quotes taken out of context that prove whatever they want to prove. The vast majority of the bible is simply ignored.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @3… you forgot Islam during the Middle Ages. How dare they keep all of those libraries!

  • LightningRose

    They always seem to forget this part (allegedly said by Jeebus hisself):

    Matthew 6:5-6King James Version (KJV)

    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

  • peterh

    Small point, Raven: it was Tyndale who got burned for his English translation. Tyndale House, in homage to him and associated with Cambridge University, is a gold mine of biblical manuscript study and commentary.

    Santorum is a treasure trove of fundie xian lies, distortions, misrepresentations and non sequiturs.

  • howardhershey

    We owe “Western Civilization” to a number of factors, including tolerant versions of both Islam (which kept learning alive and preserved much of our present knowledge of Classical thought) and, later, Christianity (many scientists considered, and many still consider, what they did to be finding out how God worked from examination of His Nature). That said, there is almost nothing of value to come out of those versions of either Christianity or Islam who pretend that their Holy Books are perfect and that societies ought to be based on them. We only get oppression of dissidence, with accompanying violence.

    I should also point out (as a retired scientist myself) that science has not always worked for the best interests of humanity. It has, in fact, been used to justify discrimination on the basis of both race and class. I say both the above because humility, and a willingness to look at one’s own flaws and one’s enemies good points, is a good thing to keep in mind.

  • D. C. Sessions

    There’s not that much difference between Western civilization and the civilizations of China and India, Are China and India (both closer, in different ways, to the eastern Mediterranean cultures of the Biblical period) based on Christianity and the Bible?

    I’d like to have someone explain that one. Either way.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    LightningRose,

    They always seem to forget this part (allegedly said by Jeebus hisself):

    Matthew 6:5-6King James Version (KJV)

    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    It’s not forgetting it, it is just not applying it stupidly as you do. The bible is meant to be read intelligently. There is a large number of public/corporate prayers in the bible. Jesus pays in public on a number of occasions, including his so-called high priestly prayer of John 17. As do the apostles. This passage which atheists trot out gotcha-style (over and over and over again–and then rinse and repeat) as if they know it and we do not–is not a blanket prohibition of public prayer, unless you think Jesus is condemning himself. In context, and in light of what is taught elsewhere, it is plainly an admonition against a) the way hypocrites pray and b) against making a public spectacle of your private, personal prayers to god. Keep those to yourself.

    You may now resume pretending you have superior biblical knowledge, or perhaps reply with the standard “you are just aptly showing how the bible is inconsistent and can make it say whatever you want” loophole.

    Just to be clear, I agree with everything Ed wrote in his post.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Sure, I can join others in my church and pray, but It’s not real prayer if I can’t force others to join me. Those are the most powerful kind. Those are the kind of prayers that win football games.

  • John Pieret

    Modus @11:

    Those are the kind of prayers that win football games.

    It also helps if your players are bigger, faster and stronger that the other team’s players but maybe compulsory prayer does that too … or maybe it’s just the steroids.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730511544 billdaniels

    Santorum is ignoring Catholic history in the US. There were many battles, both in courts and in the streets, that were fought because Catholics were forced to read and hear verses from the King James Bible. This led to Catholics building their own schools and abandoning the public schools. My father was born in 1923. Many Catholics of his generation were sure that, if their children had to go to public schools they would immediately turn into Protestants. My eight-grade nun actually cried when I told her I was going to a public high school. She was totally convinced that they would destroy my mind, as if the Catholic schools I went to hadn’t tried to do that already.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730511544 billdaniels

    Plus Catholics don’t consider prayers to be kosher unless you throw in a saint or two.

  • dingojack

    For those with limited time:

    Shorter Heddle — Christianity: Trying to find plausible sounding excuses for their homophobia, misogyny and general idioticy* since 300 AD (at least).

    Dingo

    ———

    * and the rest

  • Owlmirror

    @heddle:

    unless you think Jesus is condemning himself

    I think it is not unreasonable to note that Jesus does condemn things in various parts of the gospels that he himself does, in various parts of the gospels.

  • matty1

    In school, they can’t talk about the impact of this book.

    Is he really sure he wants kids taught about that impact?

  • =8)-DX

    Santorum.. such an ugly name. But then the man is always full of shit..

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    owlmirror,

    I think it is not unreasonable to note that Jesus does condemn things in various parts of the gospels that he himself does, in various parts of the gospels.

    Fair enough, but the points stands that public, corporate prayer is common in the NT (John 17 is not the only time Jesus prayed in public–he gave public thanks to the father on many occasions). Even the model prayer is intended as a public prayer (Give us this day, Forgive us our sins, etc.). Acts has many examples of corporate prayer and so do the epistles. Even if you give Jesus a pass, you’d have to conclude that the biblical record includes, in seemingly favorable light, the apostles and the early church routinely engaging in corporate prayer.

    Now I would agree that there is no precedent in the NT that says: and please force people who are not interested to listen to your prayers. For this reason I do not like prayer at (general) public events. I don’t bow my head at such times as a small protest. But it seems to me that the bible is perfectly clear that public prayer at Christian gatherings–say in church or a bible study or small group–is not only acceptable but expected. Just don’t pray as the hypocrites prayed.

  • Owlmirror

    Looking back at #6 which sparked your #10, I don’t see anything that is meant to imply that corporate, mutually-agreed-upon public prayer is what the verses are meant to apply to. “They”, after all, appears to refer to Rick Santorum and anyone else who wants mandatory ostentatious public prayer imposed in public schools and other locations which are not meant to be sectarian gatherings.

    And I would say that it is specifically against those sorts of imposed prayers that those verses from Matthew 6 are usually invoked by atheists. I’m pretty sure that most would not bring them up simply against a group of Christians who wished to pray together — out loud, even — on a school field or in an empty classroom.

    Given that you seem to agree with the sentiment, I’m not sure why you use your #10 to sneer at what #6 says. Were you perhaps being extremely uncharitable?

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    owlmirror,

    Given that you seem to agree with the sentiment, I’m not sure why you use your #10 to sneer at what #6 says. Were you perhaps being extremely uncharitable?

    Possibly. I often am. But is it possible that you are being overly charitable? Do you dispute that atheists sometimes use this passage to suggest that Christians do not read their own bible and do not know that they should not pray in public? Does the fact that he used the long-worn-out-and-no-longer-clever “Jeebus” suggest that, just maybe, he/she was not attempting to make a reasoned, nuanced argument? Because it looks like a blunt-instrument claim to me. But as you said, perhaps I am being uncharitable.

  • Michael Heath

    heddle @ 19 writes:

    I would agree that there is no precedent in the NT that says: and please force people who are not interested to listen to your prayers. For this reason I do not like prayer at (general) public events. I don’t bow my head at such times as a small protest.

    @ 6 LightningRose applies Matthew 6:5-6, in your words @10, “stupidly“. That’s in spite of her post @ 6 making a narrowly framed argument perfectly consistent with the one you then make @19. I find her post to be far superior to yours @19 if one is a Bible-thumping Christian; that’s because it’s a citation of holy dogma.

    I recommend conceding you’re wrong @10; that the hammer @10 imagined a nail at @6, a nail that doesn’t actually exist @ 6. It hasn’t even been all that long since we observed you misrepresenting what someone else wrote where you then pound on one of your favorite strawman mantras. You’ve yet to respond to that misrepresentation.

    I happily admit I’ve got my own hobby horses but unlike you, you won’t find me misrepresenting what others write and claiming behavior that’s not true.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    MH,

    That’s in spite of her post @ 6 making a narrowly framed argument

    I’m sorry, but are you out of your mind? The post at #6 reads, in its entirety:

    They always seem to forget this part (allegedly said by Jeebus hisself):

    Matthew 6:5-6King James Version (KJV)

    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    In what universe is that a narrowly framed argument? (Hint: not this one.)

    I happily admit I’ve got my own hobby horses but unlike you, you won’t find me misrepresenting what others write

    Actually I find you doing so quite often. Your manner is to repeat, in Raven-esque robotic style, that I haven’t adressed something after I had on multiple occasions. You say “haven’t addressed” but what you mean is “haven’t admitted that I, Michael Heath am correct.”

  • Al Dente

    Shorter heddle @23:

    I don’t misrepresent what you say, so there, NYAH! Besides you’re a big meanie and I hate you for not being a goddist like me! NYAH NYAH NYAH!!1!

  • John Pieret

    heddle:

    I’m sorry, but are you out of your mind?

    Possibly … but having read Michael’s post for several years, I seriously doubt it.

    You object to this:

    They always seem to forget this part (allegedly said by Jeebus hisself):

    Matthew 6:5-6King James Version (KJV)

    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    Now, I gather, your objection is that that is an unsophisticated reading of the passage. But is it? Yes, Jesus prayed with his apostles and the apostles prayed with other Christians. But did either insist on using the government to allow them to use government facilities and public places to pray AT non-Christians? Well, of course not. it would be another 300-400 years before they got such political power. But what Jesus was (apparently) complaining about was those who controlled the synagogues (which were, if you believe the New Testament, a political power then) and the street corners (which the political power of the Roman Empire controlled then and would not have allowed unauthorized speech at) being able to to force their version of prayer on others for their own aggrandizement.

    I don’t see how that is so very different than the situation we are discussing here.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    John Pieret,

    Now, I gather, your objection is that that is an unsophisticated reading of the passage. But is it? Yes, Jesus prayed with his apostles and the apostles prayed with other Christians. But did either insist on using the government to allow them to use government facilities and public places to pray AT non-Christians?

    This is relevant how? My point is quite simple: this passage is not a blanket prohibition on public prayer.

    #6 did not frame it as “Christians should not pray on government property or at government functions” in which case I would have wholeheartedly agreed. #6 framed as “Christians don’t know their own bible, they don’t even know they are not supposed to pray in public” which is nonsense.

    I don’t see how that is so very different than the situation we are discussing here.

    Then try looking a little harder. Ed’s response was sensible. Telling Christians they don’t or should not have the right to official prayers, benedictions, invocations, etc at government functions is sensible. Telling Christians they “forget” the Matthew passage is not.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Al Dente ,

    I don’t misrepresent what you say, so there, NYAH! Besides you’re a big meanie and I hate you for not being a goddist like me! NYAH NYAH NYAH!!1!

    Nice, another graduate summa cum laude from the Pharynguloid School of Rhetoric! That place just keeps turning ’em out, each more impressive than the last.

  • LightningRose

    Heddle, you dumb shit, It’s *exactly* what *your* Wholly Babble says.

    If you don’t like it, I suggest you borrow Obama’s time machine and convince the Council of Nicea to clean up all the contradictions and inconsistencies in the crap they were editing.

    In the mean time, I challenge you to a simple gospel quiz. I scored 100%

    http://exchristian.net/3/

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    LightningRose,

    Heddle, you dumb shit, It’s *exactly* what *your* Wholly Babble says.

    Oh, I see, everyone else was right and I was wrong. You are making a nuanced, narrowly framed argument. Sorry, my bad. And the phrase “Wholly Babble” is, what can I say, ingenious. Did you invent that? Well done! It sure put me in my place.

  • busterggi

    “But the constitution gives us the right to offend.”

    Glad to hear Santorum come out in favor of public Black Masses held by Satanists.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    busterggi, no, “the Constitution gives us the right to offend”. Not them.

  • martinc

    heddle @ 10:

    This passage which atheists trot out … as if they know it and we do not

    The simple fact is that in the majority of cases (present company excepted) that’s true – most Christians are unaware of this passage and are usually rather dismayed to hear of it.

    You may now resume pretending you have superior biblical knowledge

    Again, perhaps unfortunately – we do. You are not a good example of a typical Christian in that you have clearly read the Bible and have some understanding of the content in it – your being aware of the pitfalls of endorsing it word-for-word says that alone. But the vast majority of Christians that atheists like myself argue with absolutely DO have inferior biblical knowledge to myself – simply because I have actually read the damn thing.

    PS. While I disagree with you, I don’t like the method of reply some people here are using toward you. Regardless of whatever your past history might be, I wish people would deal solely with the actual content of your posts.

  • John Pieret

    heddle @ 26:

    #6 did not frame it as “Christians should not pray on government property or at government functions” in which case I would have wholeheartedly agreed.

    Why does she have to “frame” it that way when that was the original context of the discussion … the subject of the OP?

  • colnago80

    Re martinc @ #32

    PS. While I disagree with you, I don’t like the method of reply some people here are using toward you. Regardless of whatever your past history might be, I wish people would deal solely with the actual content of your posts.

    Hey the blogs resident physics professor and former math department chairman is no shrinking violet. He dishes out as good as he gets.

  • https://www.facebook.com/michael.latiolais.7 Michael Latiolais

    This is relevant how? My point is quite simple: this passage is not a blanket prohibition on public prayer.

    I would assume that people were responding after having read the article in question, which would lead us to the public prayer in question:

    And there are cheerleaders in Texas who defy authority and paint signs with biblical messages on them for football games.

    This places the Bible quote entirely in context. Furthermore, it’s a point you agree with @19. Your objection is unfounded.

    —-

    In regards to Rick Santorum, his earnest buffoonery makes him an excellent example of right wing religious stupidity. I’ve found that such examples generally cause the Christians I debate to steer in more of a “sophisticated theology” direction(which tends to lead to more liberal social leanings, a minor win in any case), or they double down on the foolishness, in which case they become yet another bad example for those watching the exchange from the sidelines. Santorum and Palin are doing more to expose the vacuous underpinnings of the average fundamentalist mindset than virtually anything liberals and atheists are doing. Kudos to them.

  • freehand

    Heddle: But it seems to me that the bible is perfectly clear that public prayer at Christian gatherings–say in church or a bible study or small group–is not only acceptable but expected. Just don’t pray as the hypocrites prayed.

    .

    Just me, perhaps, but I never considered an “in church” prayer to be public. It’s more like a family gathering. I don’t recall any politicians complaining that he couldn’t pray at a church or with his family or at a picnic with his girlfriend (or his wife). No, these discussions are always about complaining that forced, state-sponsored prayers are no longer allowed in school, or that Obama didn’t pray to Jesus when he was having a Muslim head of state over for dinner, or right here at this state fair he’s gonna call on Jesus for a blessing. They are always pompous, public declarations of more-pious-than-you piety, humility, and a simple gosh darn it ain’t I a simple folk like you bullying of any outsiders present. Which seems pretty much like what Jesus what talking about. If he said those words. If there was a Jesus.

    .

    I guess the rule of thumb is, if I’m not looking for them, I won’t hear those prayers unless they’re public.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    freehand,

    I don’t recall any politicians complaining that he couldn’t pray at a church or with his family or at a picnic with his girlfriend (or his wife).

    Nor do I.

    Which seems pretty much like what Jesus what talking about.

    No it doesn’t seem at all like what Jesus was talking about. The concept of intruding on government functions would have been unknown. The passage states go into your closet. It doesn’t say “don’t pray in public, at government gatherings, go into your church”. The passage, in fact, has no direct application to the question of government functions, which is another reason it was silly to bring it up. Christians should not demand to pray at government functions, though not because we are told to pray in the closet, but because we are never commanded to force people to listen to our prayers. Quite the opposite, we are told to dust off our feet and walk away if people are not interested in the gospel. The passage, not at all relevant to the OP, either means (as #6 intended) that Christians should heed their bible and only pray in private or it means (as I contend) that personal prayers and petitions to God should be done in private–doing them in public being a sign that you are a self-righteous hypocrite–but not a prohibition on corporate prayer in (Christian) public settings.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Michael Latiolais,

    This places the Bible quote entirely in context. Furthermore, it’s a point you agree with @19. Your objection is unfounded.

    You baseless assertion that my objection is unfounded is summarily dismissed.

  • cjcolucci

    Uh, people, heddle agrees with us here. He’s on our side. Let’s take “yes” for an answer when we get it. While I don’t agree with heddle’s general theology, as best I understand it, it is serious theology, based upon the application of intelligence to texts he has actually read, not the nut-job literalism of people who haven’t actually read what they think they take literally. It is entirely understandable that he would resent being classified with the many people that, as martinc @32 points out, really do subscribe to illiterate nut-job literalism. Maybe he’s too sensitive about that, but maybe he wouldn’t be if we taxed him only with his own sins and not those of others.

  • 12ab

    In this passage from the Sermon on the Mount, “public” or “corporate” prayer would be limited and approved within the cultic setting/environment. However, even then the prayer(s) would be of a liturgical nature and designed to acknowledge the worship of God. Otherwise, the possibility remains that freely constructed prayers within the cultic setting could be produced by hypocrites within the cult. It should be remembered that “hypocrites” represent general religious character types and not just specific religious groups (i.e., scribes and pharisees). This means that the term “hypocrite” can be used to describe anyone who is suspected of performing rituals or ritual prayer without integrity. Individual members of the cult are advised to address their private concerns within the privacy of their own “closets.” While it is true that Jesus participated in corporate/public prayer I believe that for personal issues the emphasis would be on private prayer as being preferable to the prayers of the gathered cult. As for the expression of religion/prayer in our American/national environment, it appears to me that it is all too often a demonstration of religious and political power. Such public expressions attempt to leave no doubt about who is in charge of religion. My claim is that precisely because of such religiopolitical demonstrations, the act of prayer and religion itself has been turned into the opposite of what it is supposed to be. The passage being discussed here is a caution against the display of sham religiousness. In America, public prayer and public religious demonstrations outside the boundaries of the “cult(s)” in many ways have become mechanisms of division, hatred and intolerance among the population at large. The American claim of “constitutional privilege” facilitates the rise of “biblical nationalism” over against the religious principles of the message of the Gospels.

  • Owlmirror

    @heddle:

    Do you dispute that atheists sometimes use this passage to suggest that Christians do not read their own bible and do not know that they should not pray in public?

    It appears to be an established fact (as of 2010) that most atheists know more about the bible than most mainline Protestants and Catholics. I concede that white evangelicals and Mormons do appear to generally know more than atheists — but Rick Santorum, at least, is Catholic.

    I do suspect that the verses in Matthew may be interpreted over-broadly by atheists, so I’ll let it go for now.

  • Owlmirror

    @heddle:

    Does the fact that he used the long-worn-out-and-no-longer-clever “Jeebus”

    I don’t think “Jeebus” was ever very clever, but seeing complaints about it always makes me want to say something along the lines of “Jesus” being completely inaccurate (and long-worn-out, I suppose, as well). Those who cherish linguistic accuracy should be saying “Yeshua”.

    Have you seen this, btw?

    http://aramaicnt.org/articles/the-lords-prayer-in-galilean-aramaic/

  • 12ab

    Owlmirror @42:

    For the sake of curiosity, I would like to ask what your intention is regarding the reference to the link to “The Lord’s Prayer in Galilean Aramaic?” If I remember correctly, most scholars have always contended that there is no indication of an Aramaic vernacular behind the so-called Lord’s Prayer. I think that the Lord’s Prayer is attested only in Greek and there is no reliable information that supports any claim that it was first composed in Aramaic or Hebrew and then translated into Greek. Please understand that I am not being controversial nor am I challenging you in any way. I am just curious as to what purpose, if any, you make reference to the link as it might relate to comments posted here.

  • Owlmirror

    @12ab:

    If I remember correctly, most scholars have always contended that there is no indication of an Aramaic vernacular behind the so-called Lord’s Prayer.

    Really? No indication whatsoever? I am genuinely astonished. I am right now doing a Google scholar search, and as best I can tell, most seem to take it for granted that the Lord’s Prayer has some Aramaic predecessor (eg: Much of scholarship, however, supports an Aramaic Urtext for some or all of the gospel of Matthew — Byargeon 1998). This consensus could have somehow become reversed in some way, but I don’t see how. Still, there are documents, and whole books, that I don’t have access to or time to read. I would be genuinely interested to see when this opposing view came about, and on what basis, if you can provide even a single reference.

    Note that the page I linked to is an acknowledged reconstruction, based on genuinely recent scholarship in Galilean Aramaic.

    I am just curious as to what purpose, if any, you make reference to the link as it might relate to comments posted here.

    Oh, mostly because I thought it was interesting, but also to remind heddle that the origins of his religion are more complex than the modern instantiation tends to indicate. He probably knows that — he’s aware of the Markan appendix, for example — but I think it’s useful to remind him now and again.

  • 12ab

    Owlmirror @44

    Some references for your consideration:

    1. Hans Dieter Betz. The Sermon on the Mount: Including the Sermon on the Plain, Hermeneia-A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1995 (692 pp.)

    –“Those scholars who are looking for a Semitic source of the term (battalogeo – babble) must be disappointed because the word battalogeo is pure Greek and attempts to relate it to an Aramaic word have failed. This word in effect is one of the sure signs that the Sermon on the Mount is not a translated text but Greek from the beginning” (pp. 364-65).

    –“Its simplicity and brevity do not point to folk religion, and there is also no indication of an Aramaic vernacular behind this Greek prayer (The Lord’s Prayer)”, (p. 374).

    –“The earliest sources gives no indication that anything but the Greek was in use” (p. 374).

    –“Thus no evidence suggests that the Lord’s Prayer as we have it was first composed in Aramaic or Hebrew and only then translated into Greek” (p.375).

    –Regarding the restoration of the text, Betz says,” It should be clear, however, that the whole matter rests on the hypothesis that there was an original Aramaic substratum in the first place. Taken to its extreme, the method of recovering the Aramaic original declares most of the extant Greek texts as unreliable; the so-called restoration, however, produces an entirely fictional text that has no basis in actual manuscripts” (p. 375, n. 344).

    2. F. W. Beare. The Gospel According to Matthew. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981, 550 pp.

    –“. . . . ever since the publication of the papal bull Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943), nearly all scholars of the Roman Church have come to hold to the priority of Mark and to affirm that our Matthew is not a translation of a supposititious ‘Aramaic Matthew’, but a work based almost entirely on Greek sources, including Mark and Q” (p.45).

    3. W. C. Allen. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Matthew. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1907 (first edition), 352 pp.

    –Allen comments on Papias’s mention of an Aramaic document, saying: ” . . . . but the reconstruction of the Aramaic document mentioned by Papias out of the material common to Mt. and Luke is an impossible task” (p. xlviii).

    –“Mt. drew directly from a Greek translation of the logia” (p. lx).

    –“The Greek of the Gospel is not so full of Aramaisms and of harsh construction due to translation from Aramaic as is the Greek of the second Gospel” (p.lxxxv).

    4. Floyd V. Filson. The Gospel According to Matthew. Black’s New Testament Commentaries. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1977, 319 pp.

    –Filson considers several possibilities for the collection of the material. He says, “It could have occurred in Aramaic, in Greek, or independently in both; but any early Aramaic form was soon translated into Greek, for we know only the Greek form of the tradition” (p. 8).

    –He also says, “Palestine was more widely bilingual than is often supposed, and it is not surprising that even in the earliest days there were Greek speaking Jewish Christians in the Jerusalem Church” (p. 6).

    I must confess that I am not familiar with your reference to a “Google Scholar Search.” All of my studies have been done in university classrooms and libraries using text books under the supervision of university professors. Google notwithstanding, one thing I am sure of is that Professor Hans Dieter Betz is a world class scholar. In addition to his books, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (10 volumes) contains many essays by Betz regarding translation and history of words and phrases. Also, Beare and Filson are recognized experts in the field of New Testament Studies. Allen’s commentary on Matthew, while dated, is still viewed as one of the foremost reference works regarding philology of the New Testament.

    I concede that my statement was faulty. I should have said, “Most scholars with whom I am acquainted have always contended that there is no viable indication of an Aramaic vernacular behind the so-called Lord’s Prayer.” Of course I know that there are those who have argued differently. My faith in and allegiance to those who have schooled me probably influenced my statement. I apologize for this oversight.

    Indeed, Heddle is aware of the complexity of the origins of “his” religion. While I can’t speak for Heddle, I think that he does not like to be included in any group of “Christians” that are referred to as being less than adequately informed of the Bible and the nature of its contents.

  • Michael Heath

    Heddle,

    Lightning Rose never claimed a blanket prohibition of public prayer by way of the Bible. That post was a response to this blog post’s context, he/she never expanded on the context. Here’s it’s not only perfectly relevant, but effectively equivalent to your argument at 19. Yet her/his post is “stupid”. Your calling that post “stupid” was based on the strawman in your mind, at least when it came to this person’s post.

    The spittle in some of your posts shines through. I agree you have a right to be frustrated with some biblically illiterate commenters, but not with what LightningRose or what I wrote.

  • Owlmirror

    @12ab:

    Thank you for taking the time to type up those references.

    I am a bit surprised that you are unaware as to what Google Scholar is. Google has indexed many scholarly journals, such as the Journal of Theology and Journal of Semitic Studies (Oxford Publications), The Expository Times, The Bible Translator, and The Journal for the Study of the New Testament (Sage Publications), the Journal of Biblical Literature, and many other journals published by Cambridge, Harvard, and other institutions. Google Scholar allows this index to be searched.

    Or perhaps you have no respect for such journals for some reason, and are only interested in the books you have already studied from, in which case, no reference I can offer will please you.

    Alas, I do not have seem to have access to most of the books you reference. Google Books lists them, but has not made their texts available for searching or browsing.

    However, Allen’s book is in the public domain, and is available on archive.org. And it is very interesting to me that on page lix, there is an entire paragraph which takes for granted that there was an Aramaic antecedant to the Synoptics; an Aramaic Logia or Sayings. The line you quote from page lx is part of the conclusion of this paragraph.

    So rather than showing that there was “no indication of an Aramaic vernacular”, this citation, when examined in context, appears to be arguing that an Aramaic vernacular did exist, but at two removes from the Gospels rather than only one. And it’s very interesting indeed that you tried to obscure this by omitting that context. Did you learn to do that in your university classes and libraries supervised by university professors?

    Your citation from Filson appears to be in tentative agreement with the two-remove scenario; the citation from Beare is rather more tentative and qualified than Betz’s bold statements, and might be in agreement with the two-remove scenario. Neither citation supports the contention.

    Betz appears to be in a minority of one in his assertions about the gospels, and I would like to examine what he wrote more closely in context before accepting that his statements have any reasonable justification.

  • 12ab

    Of course I am aware of the scholarly journals you cite. The internet was not an option during my active scholarly years. As I am now in my senior years and not given to pursuing the magic of the internet, I continue to be mostly a reader of books. I detect an unpleasant tone in your response(s). I am sorry that you have made this an “ad hominem” issue rather than a simple exchange of information. I did not try to obscure anything that Allen wrote. Allen’s reference to “either Hebrew or Aramaic” was in connection with Papias’ claim regarding an Aramaic text (and Irenaeus and Eusebius based their positions on the statement by Papias). Since the claim of Papias has been largely rejected as being unreliable, and since there is no proof that there ever was an Aramaic text (conjecture only based on the likelihood of the oral tradition), I believe that Allen’s forthright statement that “Matthew drew directly from a Greek translation of the logia” is far more telling than any reference to “an entirely fictional text that has no basis in actual manuscripts” (Betz, p. 375, n. 344). I included the reference to Filson to show that his scholarly work suggested that one might argue for either case. It would then be left to the individual to pursue his/her own inclinations regarding the issue. I suppose that one could say that the inclusion of “nearly all” in the quote from Beare might render it “tentative” and/or “qualified.” What it definitely indicates is a major shift among “most” (would “most” equate to “nearly all”?) RC scholars as recognizing that Matthew is based almost entirely on Greek sources. I hope you will pursue an examination of what Professor Betz has written. I don’t believe that his efforts would have been requested by and published by Augsburg Fortress in their Hermeneia series if they suspected that his work lacked “reasonable justification.”

    As I stated at the outset, I had no intention of being controversial or of challenging you in any way. I also said that I should have worded my statement as “most scholars with whom I am acquainted….” You are obviously more up to date than am I in terms of what is going on in the contemporary arena of New Testament studies. As I have no interest in “ad hominem” attacks and counter-attacks, I will simply extend my appreciation for our exchange of comments.