The “Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer” is None of the Above

The “Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer” is None of the Above February 2, 2012

After it came up on this blog a while back, I’ve wanted to return to the topic of the “Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer.” Why? Because the thing that can be found online referred to in this way is not original, not Aramaic, not a translation, and not the Lord’s Prayer.

Let me elaborate further.

This prayer can be found online in a number of places, and stems for the most part from books like Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meaning of Jesus’s Words by Neil Douglas-Klotz.

The transliteration is poor, and so anyone reading the English letters will not get a sense of what the words sound like. The transliteration is based on the Syriac version of the Lord’s Prayer. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, but it differs in some respects from Galilean and other Palestinian dialects of Aramaic, and so even to the extent that the Syriac prayer is Aramaic, it is not the original Aramaic. (Scroll to the end of the post for the text of the prayer in Syriac).

Let me go through the alleged translation of the alleged original Aramaic prayer line by line, and explain why it is not a translation of the meaning of the Aramaic into English (whether the Syriac or a reconstructed Galilean version), and thus does not deserve to be considered a form of the Lord’s Prayer.

Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes, who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.

This is not a translation of either Matthew’s or Luke’s version, much less an attempt to determine which is the more original. The likelihood that Jesus’ own uttered version of the prayer, before it was adapted for communal use by Christians as reflected in Matthew, simply began with Abba, the Aramaic word for father, is likely. There is no personal pronoun, and no sense in which Abba means “one from whom the breath of life comes.” Nor does the reference to heaven/sky – again, found in Matthew but not in Luke – translate naturally to “realms of sound, light and vibration.”

May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.

This is clearly an attempt to do something with “Hallowed be your name.” But how does name become light, and how does the expression of a desire for the name to be sanctified become something holy in the one praying? This is not a translation or even an interpretation of what is in the Syriac, Aramaic or any other version of the Lord’s Prayer.

Your Heavenly Domain approaches.

This line is not as bad as the previous ones if considered an attempt to paraphrastically explore the meaning of Matthew’s version. But since we know that the version in Matthew, “kingdom of heaven,” is his rendering of “kingdom of God,” combining the sense that it is God’s domain with the idea that it is heavenly is potentially confusing.  As for the verb, the future tense has been rendered in previous lines as expressing the desire for something to happen, and so for consistency it should be rendered the same way here: “May the domain of God come.” Otherwise, it should be “The domain of God will come.”

Let Your will come true – in the universe (all that vibrates) just as on earth (that is material and dense).

The first part of this is not bad – a very literal rendering might be “Let your will be” which can carry the sense of “Let your will happen/come to pass.” Turning the heavens into a universe that vibrates and adding commentary about density to the earth is unhelpful and does not reflect an ancient understanding, which did not necessarily view the heavens as immaterial, nor do I think that people today think of the universe as immaterial. So once again, not only is this not translation, much less good translation, but it is unnecessarily confusing.

Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need, detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma) like we let go the guilt of others.

Turning the request for bread into a request for wisdom, however much the provision of manna was treated as symbolic of the giving of wisdom, takes one well beyond translation. The second part adds karma for no reason, and this is clearly the importing of an Indian concept into what is being claimed as a first century Galilean Jewish prayer.

Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations), but let us be freed from that what keeps us from our true purpose.

The interpretation of temptation as having to do with superficial things and materialism, and the interpretation of evil as “what keeps us from our true purpose” is interesting and worth reflecting on, but it is not in any sense a translation of what the Aramaic words mean, but an attempt to apply the prayer to today’s very different setting. Materialism was not an issue that most of Jesus’ audience had the luxury of being tempted by.

From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.

This has almost nothing in common with the Aramaic. The closest is its rendering of the word for power in terms of “strength to act,” since strength is indeed one of the meanings of the Aramaic word found where, in the familiar English versions, the Greek is rendered “power.” But the introduction of a song as a substitute for “glory” when the Aramaic has no musical connotations is unjustified, and so too the introduction of the notion of “will” where previously the same word for kingdom was rendered (quite legitimately, if narrowly) as “domain.”

Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being)

I am tempted to mention that “Amen” means different things in different contexts – my pastor regularly says that in a Baptist church, “Amen” means “You may be seated.” The question of what Amen means in a lexical sense is relevant, but so too is the question of how the term functioned when used even by people who were speaking languages other than Hebrew and yet still used the Hebrew term.

In short, I have no problem with anyone who happens to want to utter this prayer or finds it meaningful or spiritually useful. Just don’t mistake it for a translation of the Lord’s Prayer, much less the original Aramaic one. The same applies to many of the other supposed translations of the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer that one can find online. In short, the less it looks like the Lord’s Prayer as you know it, the more likely it is to be a free paraphrase or interpretation rather than a translation. And if you want to really grasp the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus uttered it in his own language, there is only one way to get even close to doing that: learn the ancient Palestinian dialect of Aramaic. Translating words from one language into another always involves some transformation of meaning. There is simply no way to fully grasp the precise meaning and nuance of anything in another language than by becoming intimately acquainted with the language and culture in question.

For more on this subject, see the several relevant posts by Steve Caruso on The Aramaic Blog as well as other critical appraisals available online.

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  • Ian

    Superb, thanks for this. Made my day.

  • Cdwild

    Even if you knew Aramaic, you still couldn’t be sure you knew the original prayer, since what we have is a Greek translation, right? You could translate the greek to aramaic, I suppose, but would that wouldn’t be the original Aramaic. If the Greek hasn’t preserved the at least the gist of the original meaning, no amount retranslating will uncover it.

    • Indeed! One can attempt to translate it back into Aramaic, or use the Syriac which is a translation from the Greek into a dialect of Aramaic. But any reconstructed “original” will be hypothetical.

      • The Penitent Man

        Or one could go to the Peshitta and read it in the Aramaic.

        • I was referring to the Peshitta, which is in the Syriac dialect of Aramaic. It isn’t in the Galilean dialect that Jesus would have spoken, but it brings us relatively close.

          • The Penitent Man

            Yes, you’re correct and I agree. Though I believe Messiah could speak Aramaic, His primary language (I believe) was Hebrew. Many speculate as to how Yahushua was raised, i.e., brought up in the Torah. It’s pretty airtight that the Jewish teachers taught their talmidim in Hebrew, the language of the Torah.

          • Can you provide evidence to support your claim that about this being “pretty airtight”?

          • The Penitent Man

            Sure I can but you know, I’m sure you are aware of this just as I am. I’ve already given concrete sources in my previous replies. I suggest you investigate them first and we’ll built on our conversation from what you have learned.

          • Perhaps one of your comments did not get through, as I have seen a lot of assertions but not sources which demonstrate the claims. No one doubts that Hebrew was still used for particular purposes in this period, as the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate. But it remains the case that the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, when transliterated rather than translated, are typically in Aramaic. And so you have yet to make a case either for Jesus having spoken predominantly Hebrew, or for the Gospels having been translated from Aramaic into Greek.

          • Evan Dukofsky

            I did speak hebrew.

  • Robert Perry

    I think you have done a real service here. My understanding of Douglas-Klotz’s prayer is that it is a translation into contemporary New Age. But because he bills it as the original deal, it has taken in a lot of people.

  • Sherry

    I do not understand why you all feel that this translation is so far from the real thing. I prayed, sang, and danced this version of the prayer and have never felt closer to God.  The version we get today in most bibles has been translated from person to person, from language to language over many years. Then you add in the fact that it was written by a male dominated society in which the the most powerful, fearful people ruled.  It was submitted to the bible at a time when control of the people was contingent on blind obedience and unquestioning faith.  They wanted followers who were too afraid to question perceived authority.(meaning man and not God)  Human beings, not God/ Jesus, needed fear of hell, damnation, suffering and pain.  Jesus worked hard and died to show us that we are all worthy.  Why would God ever “lead us into temptation”? We create and lead ourselves into temptation when we forget what Jesus taught us and stray fro m the personal path we were meant to take.  We deliver ourselves from perceived evil when we listen to the Holy Spirit within us that leads us to right action.  I was amazed that the use of the word “light” was so misunderstood.  The “light” is all that is good and right.  Jesus refered to himself and to us as the light of the world, and to be a beacon contrasting the “dark” and the “light”.  God created all that moves in light meaning if it is darkness or bad/negative, He did not create it. Although it seems as though this person seems to be well educated and knowledgable about the bible, I am surprised at the lack of understanding of the metaphors used in the text of the bible.  The Bible is plum full of anectdotes, parables, and metaphors.  With all due respect, open your minds and realize that “new age” is not really new at all but rather it embraces very ancient concepts in their purest form.  The Lord’s Prayer is beautiful either way and the meaning is the same. It is just a matter of how it is worded.  When I look into my heart I know He/She is there and that is all that matters.

    • Many believe that God can work even through things that are imperfect or just plain wrong. I am happy to hear that the text gave you a sense of closeness to God, but that doesn’t mean that when the author of it made things up that do not correspond to what the Lord’s Prayer actually says in Aramaic, it therefore becomes an accurate and faithful translation. Faithful translation is about correspondence to the meaning of the original, and not the beauty or impact of the end product.

      • Ashley

        People feel good when they sin as well! …”feeling” can’t be an indicator of what is, or isn’t right.

        • Ashley

          Sorry…this was intended for Sherry….

        • The Penitent Man

          Exactly. We should be weary of our “feelings”.

          • Charles M Lee

            Feelings is precisely the realm that God deals in. She does not deal in the intellect, but the intuition. It is my intellect that I do not trust. That is the realm of ego. And I agree with Ashley, that version of the prayer is very powerful and resonates with me also. It FEELS a lot truer than the traditional translation. I am with you Ashley. I do not adhere to doctrine and dogma, just the Truth that inhabits my being. The mind will never understand that.

          • PeaceBang

            I actually find that those who insist that their personal feelings trump legitimate scholarship are not only egotistical but destructive. The need to believe in one’s own feelings over/against considered and informed information is dangerous. Thank you for this article, Dr. McGrath.

      • SLB

        The same can go for the translation that you believe in. Ever wonder why Christians don’t know what Jesus did during those 18 missing years and why it was not told. I have done research and there is physical proof of what Jesus did during those missing years. If it was known it would change christianity as we know it.

        • I don’t “believe in” a translation. If I were not able to read the New Testament in Greek and deal proficiently with Aramaic, I wouldn’t be commenting on this topic.

          Feel free to offer your physical proof, assuming that you have had any finds that you have made documented properly when they were excavated and subjected to appropriate analyses.

          • SLB

            I feel sorry for you! You seem to question and judge others that don’t agree with you. Men with egos can not stomach anything that is different and that does not agree with them. For this reason we have wars because of one sided beliefs which shames us all in spiritual growth. Jesus taught differently then anyone has taught before, he had no ego. Don’t forget what Holy Wisdom is about (Sofia)(sp.?) There are some who are more in tuned to the spiritual side of things then others are. Women have more of a 6th sense then most men but men can achieve it with a open heart. The more spiritually you grow the more physic one becomes. You are fine the way you want to believe!! But you don’t have the right to judge others, for you believe in what you were taught. There is a difference between being religious and spiritual. Jesus said seek and you shell find knock and the door will be opened. Jesus was more spiritual and he honored different religious ways that honor God and that differ from the Jews. He wants everyone to know the real God. The old Greek scriptures Jesus speaks of a mother god and the word Queendom that was changed to Kingdom as many feminine words were changed to masculine words. For some reason I feel that you and the other men who commented and questioned on the he/she belief of God,feel uncomfortable and perhaps are threatened about the possibility.

          • SLB

            Aramaic has different dialects which can change the meanings somewhat and that difference can be at times huge in ones translations. Now are you telling me that you are a trained Bible scholar or one who has a Greek and Aramaic dictionary? I’ll stick with the pros in their teachings because they actually have seen and read the Greek and Aramaic scrolls, especially those who come to the table with an open heart and seek deeper in the message than that of orthodox scholars who stop searching when it starts becoming less orthodox in nature.

          • Are you telling me that you have no idea whose blog you are commenting on?

            Please do stick with the pros, instead of people like Neil Douglas-Klotz!

          • SLB

            I am commenting on you not on Neil Douglas Klotz. His prayer has several translations and yes I will stick to the pros where do you think I gain my knowledge from.

          • SLB

            I am sorry, I didn’t know you taught Bible teachings at a College. You sound like you studied in the orthodox way and that is the problem mainstream scholarship trying to say this is the only way, if this is what you are saying. Most Biblical scholars are orthodox but there are Biblical scholars who went deeper in examining the scrolls writings that was less in orthodox nature.

          • SLB

            I can not believe what I saw while surfing the web on the internet that takes people to your blog. I noticed that you took my first line which is in the above response ” I am commenting on you not on Neil Douglas Klotz etc.” and put it in to advertise. I don’t understand the why or your motive in doing this. I feel they are not honorable. I only know this is not how an educated Professor at a college should act. You are slipping Sir.

          • What on earth are you talking about?

          • SLB

            I notice that you have taken them down. Thank you for taking them down and changing them You had at least 4-5 blog sites that had my statement on them. Mr. McGrath you know very well what I am talking about.. This blog that I just sign on was one of them. Start being truthful and stop mocking people.

          • I am not involved in other blog sites. What are you talking about?

          • SLB.

            The blog sites were

          • Are you complaining that, when you made a comment, it showed up in the list of recent comments? If that bothers you then you obviously should stop commenting!

          • SLB

            No that does not bother me. It’s when the first line of one of my comments to you was used to draw attention to a person who might be interest in looking into your blog and log in to the website I noticed there were 4 to 5 sites at this web site that was using the comment of “I am commenting to you not Neil Douglas Klotz (etc.)” With in the time frame that I pointed it out to you all sites disappeared or were changed.

          • Slb

            Just came across this site again bearing my comment linked to your web site. This one you forgot to take down or change, thank you for taking down the others though. Those who may not be interested in logging in or reading your blog can still see my comment when looking over the main page for other web sites to log into. Please I don’t want to question the authenticity of who you are. I am sure you are a good person.

          • SLB

            To show you how I found this site bearing my comment. I put in the lord’s prayer in Aramaic by Neil Douglas Klotz? Your site is on the far right bearing these words. The ” Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer” is none of the above. Patheos Date Feb. 2, 2012. and my comment ” I am commenting on you not on Neil Douglas Klotz his prayer has several translations and yes I will stick to the pros where do you think I gain” this is what is shown. Please don’t use my comments for the general public to see to further your personal mission on Neil Douglas Klotz. I believe in the he/she because in the old Greek scriptures (scrolls) it said that Jesus did talk about a Mother God and Queendom along with many feminine words which were changed to masculine in the King James version among other things. I believe in both a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother and Neil Douglas Klotz does address this in his prayer.

          • You are really confused SLB. Do you really think James McGrath would try to draw readers to a two year old post by “advertising” your comments?

            This is the way the internet works. Browser algorithms record all the text on web sites (including blog comments) as key words for searches. This happens to be one of James McGrath’s more popular posts (not because of your comments – it was popular long before you commented), and so if you search on any unique words in the comments, this blog post may appear near the top of a search, usually with the words you were searching for highlighted.

            James also has a feature on his own blog by which the first lines of the most recent comments appear in a column on the right of the blog.

            All of this is automated – not a personal attack on you. Believe me, your comments aren’t worth that much trouble.

          • Josh Magda

            Looking forward to Steve Caruso finishing a complete Gospel in Galilean Aramaic, so progressive Christians can finally have a liturgical language (if I have my way 😉

            In the meantime, isn’t the Peshitta the best we’ve got? And why we would we fault a mystical interpretation of the LP in Syriac? Since Jesus was a mystic, how do you know that Douglas-Klotz’s interpretation isn’t “professional”- by which you mean literal?

            The Church has always needed both- the literal-factual and the mystical. We shouldn’t fault those working in either domain.

          • Josh Magda

            It’s also interesting that someone who writes theology off of Star Wars and Dr. Who is complaining about Douglas-Klotz! And that someone linking to fantasy websites on their theology blog is hesitant to embrace the fuller implications of Dr. Alexander’s (and many other people’s) testimony.

            I’m picking on you because you’re a geek like me. These are questions best addressed over a round of Butterbeer and a game of Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures. Though if I had to guess, just off the limited info I have, I think your Heart and Soul want certain spiritual things to be true, but your mind continually objects. Story of my Life.

            So just on your “all experience is psychological” remark. Tonight I read this passage from Robert Sardello:

            “The magical tradition sustains the feeling we all have, but never acknowledge: that everything is animated. Such feeling is not animism, for animism is a theory that says soul life is projected onto an inanimate world from within the human psyche. On the contrary, soul inheres within the world and creates our psyches.”

            What is your immediate reaction to that passage, especially the last sentence, before your mind can process it?


          • This comment strikes me as very strange. It doesn’t seem to me that “you write about religious themes in science fiction, therefore when Douglas-Klotz pretends to offer a translation, you shouldn’t complain about it even though you are a scholar who works on Aramaic dialects and on the historical Jesus” is a persuasive argument.

          • Josh Magda

            Or maybe we’re just on different wavelengths. To me, religion, like Life, is too important to take seriously. 😉 Which is why I appreciate Douglas-Klotz.

            Anyways. Looking forward to Galilean Aramaic and other achievements at religion’s literal-textual level too. A few years ago some guy named Matt (I think) was working on getting the whole Zohar into English, an extremely valuable contribution if there ever was one. You probably know if he succeeded. Sigh. My Hebrew continues to wither on the vine from lack of use.

          • It simply isn’t a translation in any normal meaning of that term. The Peshitta doesn’t mean in Syriac what he claims it does in his English version. It isn’t about it being a non-literal translation. It isn’t a paraphrase. It doesn’t reflect the meaning of the Syriac words except occasionally.

            Perhaps a good illustration would be to ask whether you would view his translation as accurately conveying the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer as found in English in any mainstream translation?

    • Aaron

      I like what you’re getting at here. Just one thing. Proverbs 16:4 The Lord hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

    • The Penitent Man

      No, the Besorah has not been changed. what you say about the gospel is a justification to do what you would like rather then what Yahushua commands. And we who follow Yahushua do not base our walk with him on “feelings” we get from outside stimuli like dancing, chanting, etc. Sure, there are times when the set-apart Spirit gives us encouragement and we feel that physical sensation of love and power run through us for a short time. But it leaves and we are left amongst the brothers and sisters and their love for us, whether they with us physically or are with us in the spirit. I do not disagree with the spirit within your words but I fear, when taken too far, it leads one away from the Father (not he/she) and the Son of the Most High.

      • Charles M Lee

        Of course you know the truth and everyone else is wrong oh great one.

        • peter

          I wrote the pope and told him the holy spirt came to me and told me the our father needed to be changed that it was being said wrong,it should say lead us away from temptation , he told me that God would have never lead u into tempt ion . So it should not read lead us not into temptation , just think if a common man could change a prayer being said for generations , I’m betting he is a doubter just like everyone I tell this to. God is with us everyday , I see him in all people in all faces , think how peoe would treat each other if they truly believed that , and they should it’s true , my name is Peter Bach , I am not afraid of God , he loves me!!!!

  • Tygherlily

    I have been led here as of late to seek out the Lord’s Prayer in the original biblical Aramaic. I am at a disadvantage because I only speak English and cannot decipher in any way, shape or form what is correct and what isn’t in another language. I mean, if it’s spelled out in English I can obviously see whether it is correct or not.

    We have so many versions of the bible now and everything has become confused and disoriented. People are confused and disoriented for the most part. I am left with the idea that I will have to seek out a rabbi in order to learn the prayer in the Aramaic language. I will have to be taught how to say it that way, I can’t trust the internet.

    I do want to throw this out there for consideration though. When people refer to “God”, do they know who they are actually referring to? We inhabit this earth and this earth is the realm of Satan, this is his temporary domain and he considers himself to be “god” here. When we are indiscriminate about calling out to “God” or “god” who are we actually calling out to?

    A person can sing and dance and pray according to what they have been taught, but do they really understand what they are singing, dancing or praying about or even to whom? It’s not as simple as some would think, there is much deception about, especially where the word of the God of Heaven is concerned. This is why we were told to be wise and to test. Most people don’t even consider doing that. They are of the mind that if it sounds pretty it must be good and experience teaches that 9 times out of 10 (if not 10 out of 10) it never is what it appears to be. There is something to be said for “immediate gratification”.

    Just something to think about.

    • Servant of Allah

      Tigerlilly, You speak about what I’ve come to know, through my Creator’s guidance. In my life-long search for the truth, I found that Islam {submission to the Will of Allah(the proper name for “God”)} is the true way to worship The Most-Merciful Creator, Allah as the prophets from Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Solemon, Jona, Jesus, and Muhammad(peace and blessings be upon them and all the prophets) have taught us throughout history. The message is the same, unchanging message from Allah to humankind, to worship Him and only Him, and no other. Islam teaches this and is not confused with poytheism as Christianity is. I invite you to read the Holy Quran, the last and final testiment of Allah, in the english translation (the original is in Arabic, you can learn Arabic and read it, too). And find a local Mosque to go and ask questions about your search for truth. Your soul and mine are only our own responsibilities, no one can decide for us to follow the Way of Allah or not to. It’s so good to see you looking for the truth. Alhamdulillah(thank God) sister, and may Allah guide you to the Way that is Straight. Salam(peace) to you.

      • Dn. Alfred

        Last I checked out of all the prophets you mentioned only Muhammad spoke Arabic. But since the topic is the Lord’s Prayer, would you say that the opening of Surat Al-Fatihah is the same prayer as the one we see in Aramaic?

        • Ali

          The Lord’s Prayer:

          [Nomination]: Our Father in heaven,
          [Exaltation]: hallowed be your name.
          Your Kingdom come,
          your will be done,
          on earth as in heaven.
          [Prayer]: Give us today our daily bread.
          Forgive us our sins,
          as we forgive those who sin against us.
          Lead us not into temptation,
          but deliver us from evil.
          [Forged]: [For the kingdom,
          the power and the glory are yours.
          Now and for ever.]

          Surat Al-Fatihah:

          [Nomination]: In the name of God, the Almighty, the Merciful.
          [Exaltation]: Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
          The Almighty, the Merciful.
          King of the Day of Judgement.
          [Prayer]: You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
          Guide us on the straight path,
          the path of those who have received your grace;
          not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wandered astray.

      • tubaman

        bull shit!!!!Allah was the moon god of the pagan Bedouins of the Arabian peninsula and Mohammed usurped IT to be the GOD????? of the new religion he was promoting,

    • Dn. Alfred

      There are concordances that will help give you an idea of how to pronounce the ancient words, as well as give you insight into their full meanings, and might also contain a list of places in scripture where they appear.

      One of the important things when it comes to faith is that while there are many beliefs that are beyond reason, there should not be beliefs that deny reason. That’s one of the tests that I use.

      And lastly I’ll leave you with a thought, if there is, as I believe, an all powerful and all knowing God, then even if you get the name wrong the message will be received along with its full intent. God and Satan are not equal in power – far from it!

  • pbeatty

    I am not sure why people critique this – or other – versions and dont offer what they think is a more reliable Aramaic to English version? Because it doesnt exist? Well, then Syriac to English is probably the next best thing. Dont criticize unless you can offer something else. Good rule of thumb. This version makes complete sense to a mystic. Bread is always used for spiritual food, i.e. wisdom;the concept of Abba means one who is intimately close to me, not of superior status, i.e. the breath (God-spirit) that enlivens life; God is light, we are made in that image…hello? light has been used in a spiritual sense for eons. It refers to energy and our ability to make relative discernements about the phsycial AND the spiritual psychological realms. As long as people who are not intuitive keep trying to interpret scripture by objective measures, we wil fall short of the deep meaning there. Dont let the words confine you – this is the beauty of the “Aramaic” version – the words allow for far more expansive conscience, as do Hebrew and to some extent, Greek…but even Greek starts narrowing down the breadth of subjective interpretation that is truly available. The New Testament writers were telling us about spiritual reality – a reality that is obscured by the intellect and its need to define things. definition limits. God truth is unlimited. Unless you can let go of the mind’s need to define, you will not see the spiritual truth. It must be intuited/felt, not sensed or thought.

    • The issue is not whether it makes sense to you spiritually. The issue is whether it is a translation of the Syriac. It is not. I could claim that your comment mens this, that, or the other to me spiritually. But if, in the process of claiming to translate your words into another language, I twisted and misrepresented the meaning of what you said, I suspect that you might not be too happy.

      Can you grasp this distinction? The issue is whether the supposed translator has offered a translation. In this case what you are given is not a translation, but a free reinterpretation only based very loosely on the meaning of the words. If their work was described as a “free reinterpretation” I would not have offered these criticisms. The point is that it is not a translation!

  • Tanitops1

    AMEN means that you agree on one accord and /or it is said, ….NOT to sit down. I am born and raised in the Baptist church, I have never heard of using AMEN to be used as a form of having the congregation to sit down. All I hear is allegations and your opinion. As Christ walkers, we suppose to seek Him, try to get closer to the HOLY ONE. If we meditate from HIS WORD ( The BIBLE) look for deeper meaning from original works aside of our KJVersion nor any other translation, then AMEN, So be it! The more we are closer to the original word the better the understanding.; but that is up to what you want your heart, mind and soul to take in as your spiritual food. Let the Holy Spirit Guide you and He show you HEy! “Taste and see that the LORD is Good” (Psalm 34:8)

    • Although I could merely point out that you seem to have no sense of humor, your comment makes an important point in spite of not getting what was clearly a joke. A term like “Amen” which is often left untranslated has a meaning, it cannot just mean whatever we wish it to. That is the problem with the so-called “translations” of the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer. The renderings in English do not correspond to the meanings of the words in Aramaic.

      • The Penitent Man

        Yes, it is a pretty simple concept to grasp, you do your best to give a word for word translation from one language to another, often called a “formal” translation. Then there is a “dynamic” translation, which is basically a paraphrase. But even dynamic translations are better then this new age “prayer”. People often talk of the Holy Spirit leading them, but what spirit is actually leading them if it takes them right past the actual word of Elohiym? If the “spirit” disagrees with the Torah, the written Word then there is a serious problem going on. The Ruach HaKodesh would never lead anyone to anything against the Tanakh or the Besorah (Ketuvim Netzarim).

        • Charles M Lee

          I take great exception to you comment. I am new age and I am very glad to be new age. You think there is only one way to God. That is your hell, I won’t live in it.

      • Charles M Lee

        James. Just think if people try to translate something written by us two thousand years from now. Do you know how the meaning of some words can get mixed up. If they hear a hip hop record and think that is the dialect, how far off will they be? Or if they hear a valley girl or a goth person, they say the same words but they have different meanings. Take the phrase “that is so dope”. Well the future people would probably know that ‘dope’ means stupid traditionally. But in that phrase it meant great or good.

        My point being, one translation is as good as any other. No one really knows. I am sure their were dialects in the days of Jesus. One thing you will never hear me say, is that my beliefs are “The Truth”. What a pompous thing to say. I am calling everyone who disagrees with me wrong. I respect all belief systems, and I truly pity people who THINK they have the truth. Particularly when it is based on a book that has over 10,000 translation errors.

        Thank you for your research. It is definitely something to consider as we “search” for answers.

        • We have evidence for the dialects of Aramaic in Jesus’ time. What you are proposing is the equivalent of someone saying 2,000 years from now, “Even though all the different dialects of 21st century English for which we have evidence use ‘father’ to mean X, I am going to assert it meant Y even though I have no evidence that it did so.

          • Charles M Lee

            Not at all. I am just saying how difficult it is to be certain of things from so long ago. I don’t think there is any justification for falsification. There would probably be no indication the dope meant great, or good. So it would be misinterpreted. They would think that person was putting something down when in reality they were praising it.

            As for Prayers of the Cosmos, It resonates with me so I like it. I know now not to take it as an accurate translation of the Lord’s Prayer, but it is some very good stuff.

          • If there were as many examples of “the dope” as we have of “father” in Aramaic texts, there would probably be no misunderstanding. But what makes this seem like an appropriate analogy to you? And if you agree that the so-called translation I discuss in this post is not in fact a translation but a very free paraphrase that you happen to like, then what exactly if anything do you disagree with me about? 🙂

          • Charles M Lee

            Just having a dialogue with you is all. The analogy seemed appropriate to me just leave it at that. I tend to distrust the “accepted” view point.
            I am just seeking a better understanding is all. I don’t really disagree with you, or agree, I am just getting more knowledge. I was about to give a talk on the Lords Prayer as translated in “Prayers of the Cosmos”. I was researching it and ran across this site. Naturally my whole perspective has changed. I cannot in good conscious give the talk I intended knowing it is based in falsehood. I will have to present your assertions in the talk. I think I have a good enough feel for you to know that you are a good man and only interested in what is true. There are some people who will go to any length to ‘protect’ their traditional beliefs You do not seem to be one of those people. So my talk – while favoring the principles in Cosmos, will not be presenting it is accurate and I will present the facts as you have asserted here. Thank you.

  • Glynnis48

    It is always wise to pray IN the Spirit of God. Whatever way we pray, and whatever words we use, it is how and why we pray. In every word of the Lord’s Prayer he is asking that God’s Will be done, even down to our daily bread. He is also showing his disciples how to trust. God Will Provide. God will and does provide. If we lack anything, according to ourselves, then the true lack is that we lack God’s spirit and obedience to Him. The Lord’s Prayer is asking God to lead us through the day and through the world, walking WITH Him, not He following. He leads, not us. Loving, trusting God, that IS the true meaning of ALL prayer, no matter what the words may be. I love the Lord’s Prayer, I love all prayer, including the new one, because it helps to bring us ever closer to HIM, which IS the TRUE mean of prayer.

  • Clive Clifton

    Tyndale gave his life so we, the ordinary may understand Gods word for ourselves. When he translated the Bible into English from the Greek and the Aramaic, I do not believe he had any additional agenda, other than to making Gods Word available for the masses which eventually happened after his death by a German printer.

    In the Church of England we swing from the original King James translation which was taken from Tyndales, or the modern version. We do not use the words hallowed, thy, trespasses etc but the meaning is still the same but maybe not as clear. I do lean toward the King James version and yesterday that was confirmed by one our Church seer’s. At our Monday prayer meeting she had a vision of the Bible in Gold, written in Aramaic. Jesus said to her “please say this prayer in it’s original way”. We all agreed that the King James was the one He meant.

    In everyday life we often misunderstand many things as the meaning gets lost in translation. I understand what Jesus was saying in that prayer because I know Him from reading His story from Genesis to Revelation and my 32 years as a believer.

    Our Father, which art in Heaven

    Hallowed be thy name

    Thy Kingdom come

    Thy Will be done

    In Earth as it is in Heaven

    Give us today our daily bread

    And forgive us our debts

    As we forgive our debtors

    And lead us not into temptation

    But deliver us from evil

    For thine is the kingdom

    And the power

    And the Glory for ever Amen

    Matthew 6 v 9. In Luke it is worded differently but the same meaning comes through as Jesus teachers what the prayer means in practice.

    I have a number of Bibles with various translations which help me to understand what was being said in a particular culture at a particular time. many learned people say that Shakespeare was the way that English should be spoken and what we have now is a very crude simplification.

    I can’t argue any of this but I do believe and know that my redeemer liveth, How? because Gods Spirit is in me making him Known.

    When we look are we seeking to find Him or striving to disprove him.

    • Can you please explain your logic. Your friend has a dream about Jesus with a Bible in Aramaic saying that the prayer should be said in the original way, and you conclude from that that Jesus was communicating to you all that you ought to use the King James Version? I don’t follow your reasoning.

      • The Penitent Man

        And I wasn’t aware that Tyndale had access to the Peshitta? And “the church seer”??? wow! I’m sorry but I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.

      • Charles M Lee

        Some denominations call this the gift of prophecy. That is, God can speak to them in visions and give them instructions. As for the logic, well that is a different thing. I came out of a similar belief system – the Pentecostal Movement, tongue talking and so, didn’t handle any snakes. I sort of moved away from it as studied more and had more experiences with God in my life.

  • nic paton

    Hi James. According to, Douglas-Klotz’s claim is that it is a “Transliteration and original translation”. He does not claim that it is simply a “translation”. Your polemic assumes a particular paradigm – literal correspondence – that is only half (or one third, since he says “original” translation) claimed by the author. In as far as he might claim translation, you make some good points. However, if it indeed a transliteration (you may be better placed than I to define that technically) then as I understand it its allowing for a more subjective, poetic correspondence.

    The bigger discussion here must include an epistemological angle. That is, what is the nature of our knowing? Some here claim that the knowing that counts is intuitive, others poetic, and then there is your more rigorous and rational approach. We have to be up front about our paradigms. While I very much respect your rigor, I myself tend to prefer a “poetic intuitive” epistemology in ultimately deciding what is true. Our “modern literal” culture is a latecomer; I tend to agree with Aquinas that truth comes by the bible AND by nature, or Eckhardt who says every creature is a book about God. This points to a perennial intuative tradition, out of which the likes of Douglas-Klotz are writing.

    • Transliteration refers to the rendering of the sounds of the Aramaic into their closest corresponding English letters. It is not a more poetic or freer translation. It is writing the Aramaic word for father as “Abba” rather than using the Aramaic alphabet, for example.

  • I don’t think it’s unreasonable to call into question a “Matthew” “Mark” “Luke” or a “John” (4 English-sounding dudes) as “authentic” sources for a wooly-haired, brass-skinned revolutionary named Yoshua bin Yoself (that would later become Yeshua, then Jeshua, on & on until we somehow got to Jesus) that was executed by The State for being too radical in his messages of love and oneness and speaking out against The State. Not to mention all the exact or similar stories of virgin birth/miracle child/Dec 25th/healing/performing miracles/Sun/Son of God worship from so many “Gods” before him that predate the Jesus story. Starting with Heru (aka Horus) of ancient Kemet (aka what is now called Egypt). So… y’know.. debate until the cows come home. Who knows. Get what you can from it and move on. These so-called “scholars” obvious lack an authority to tell you what’s what. I’m no scholar and I can shoot half that bs down. Amen

    • Claude

      Just No.

    • You are indeed not a scholar, as you seem not to fact check any of the things you read on the internet or the ideas that pop into your head. I would encourage you to not be so confident in your own ability to simply know what is correct without having to either investigate evidence or practice critical thinking. Your belief that you are being skeptical can actually result in your being gullible and taken for a ride.

      • Charles M Lee

        I think all of Christendom is being taken for a ride. Jesus certainly did not have blond hair and blue eyes. The depiction of Jesus that is popular today was rendered by Leonardo Di Vinci, about 16 centuries after the death of Jesus. Jesus would have had to be of a darker color living where he did. But people chose to believe the lie because it suits them. Most of the Christian holidays were not Christian at all. Jesus was not born on December 25, this date was chosen as it incorporated (what I think) was the Festival of Lights and had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. Easter was a pagan fertility ritual that had nothing to do with Jesus. There have been books left out of the canon we call the Bible. The Book of Mary, The Gospel of Thomas just to name a couple. Many of the most influential people in the Bible were not scholars. They were simple people who had ideas pop into their heads. I think they were called revelations. Scholars cannot understand the workings of God because they use their intellect and a “scientific” approach. The human intellect will never be able to grasp God or the workings of God. “His ways are past finding out” “foolish to the carnal mind”. God speaks to the inner being, which is not the intellect.

        • Scholars deal with the evidence, and scholars have done a great deal to address some of the misconceptions you mention. It is not adequate to say “I feel like this isn’t true” because anyone can say that. Studying and discussing ancient texts, the historical evidence for the processes whereby the canon was formed, etc., is the work of scholarship. And the notion that God speaks to the inner being in a way that is completely unrelated to the intellect suggests that you’ve not actually read the arguments, the reasoning, the use of human language, and other intellectual activities that are actually found in the Bible. The inner being may make you content to offer false antitheses, but thankfully both my intellect and my inner being see the problem with your doing so.

          • Charles M Lee

            Well good for you. You do not know what I have studied or read during my life time. You do not know much about me. I used to be an intellectual. However when I sit in the silence, and shut my mind down – which can be very hard – I find that I am in the presence of unspeakable and unfathomable love. There I find the guidance that I need for any situation. No one can explain that, it can not be quantified. I have been faced with seeming insurmountable challenges. Of course I sit down and analyze my options. But then I sit quietly and shut my mind down and let my inner being speak, and miraculously seemingly out of nowhere solutions come. I could right page after page of miracles that have occurred in my life from just sitting quietly and “listening”. You cannot study that. It will not fit into the intellectual study. I would love to see the conversation you and Isaiah would have engaged in.

          • Well, if your approach as articulated here were correct, then I don’t need to know anything about you. I can just sense the truth in my inner being. My own view is that, on the contrary, evidence matters. The mystical transcends the rational, but trying to appeal to the mystical as though it could justify dismissing what we can observe and study is dubious, as I think you know, since you appeal to evidence when you need to.

          • Charles M Lee

            Mockery?? I would have thought that would be beneath you. Don’t you find it ironic that what you are studying is what was giving to people intuitively? Evidence can be altered, like ya know, no one seems to want to talk about the period in Egypt when there were Black Pharaohs, or the fact the Shaka Zulu conquered an area comparable to Alexander the Great.
            I am not against evidence all together, I am just saying that there are some things that won’t fit into the scientific study, or even allow themselves to be analyzed. As for ancient text, of course they have to studied to determine what was said. As for the meaning of what was said, there is where intuition comes into being. I believe as we read those texts God speaks to us softly and if we are open we get a message. Again I would love to have sat in on a conversation with you and Noah. Man oh man, you would have ripped him to shreds. “What evidence do you have that it is going to rain Noah.” “God spoke to my heart”

          • You seem to be assuming that there was a historical Noah, whereas once again the evidence suggests otherwise.

            I didn’t notice any mockery. Perhaps you misunderstood something I wrote?

          • Charles M Lee

            I don’t really believe there was a Noah, but I think if the story is taken metaphysically there are great principles there. But I think you get my point to you. Whether there was or wasn’t, these characters in the Bible received things from God intuitively.

            I am sure I misunderstood what you wrote. It is refreshing to have a dialogue with someone who does not resort to personal insults when someone disagrees with them. I am loving this debate.

          • Charles M Lee

            When I speak of sitting the silence, it is not a way to know everything, of course I cannot know you by sitting in the silence. However, I can get to know more about God. If I want to know about astronomy, I watch “How The Universe Works”

          • James Walker

            we don’t know that any of the characters depicted in the Bible “received intuitive communications from God”. all we can be said to know about them is that they are depicted as having received some form of communication from God by the writers (and presumably by whomever originated the oral tradition that preceded the writing).

          • Charles M Lee

            Touche’ This is why I take the Metaphysical approach. But you are right.

    • The Penitent Man

      Oh boy.

  • I personally dig this version best *shrug* ….so far, until we “dis-cover” another one I like better.

  • JofELO

    I don’t think there ever was an “original” Aramaic Lord’s prayer. The modern consensus is that Jesus spoke primarily Hebrew, not Aramaic, and certainly the “original” Lord’s prayer would have been spoken in Hebrew since it is mainly a compilation and repetition of already existing Hebrew prayers, which in turn were derived from bits and pieces of the Hebrew scriptures. For us, though, the original Lord’s prayer is in Greek, since that is the oldest version we have. If there was an earlier Hebrew or Aramaic version, we don’t have it.

    • I’m curious what gave you the impression that there is a modern consensus that Jesus primarily spoke Hebrew rather than Aramaic.

      • The Penitent Man

        There is ample evidence that Yahushua (not Yeshua) spoke Hebrew and not Aramaic, like many once believed, according to the amount of evidence they had in their time. We can see evidence of this in the Gospels themselves (Paul speaking Hebrew, not Aramaic, to the crowd in Acts) or the ample evidence in the Gospel of John (which one can easily show that it was a Greek translation of a Hebrew manuscript). My point is that scholarship and archaeology have moved forward, more evidence has been laid to support the fact that Hebrew was a living language in an about Yerushalayim in the fist century A.D. Read the works of Josephus if you don’t believe me, it’s all in there. Me personally, I don’t consider consensus a rule for what is truth.

        • There is sometimes confusion about this, since Aramaic was sometimes referred to as “Hebrew” since it was what “Hebrews” in this period spoke. But the evidence of the words attributed to Jesus in Mark, coupled with Galatians, seems fairly clear cut. But by all means, present evidence for a different view, if you are so inclined!

          • The Penitent Man

            Shalom James,

            This is funny, I was literally just reading about this very view (that the Aramaic was called “Hebrew”). I will give a short answer: This is an older view that comes from Greek primacists. Various recent archaeological discoveries say otherwise. They have found coins minted in the first century in Israel that were engraved in Hebrew, not Aramaic. We also have the Dead Sea scrolls, found in Qumran in 1947 (104 B.C.E to 66 C.E), the majority of which were penned in Hebrew (85%). They also discovered letters from Simon Bar Kosiba, which were written in Hebrew, not Aramaic. I can say this, whether Aramaic or Hebrew, the original autographs were not written in Greek. The Greek codices were copies translated from Hebrew/Aramaic into Greek.

          • You can say it, but what I am asking you to do is present evidence and not merely say it. Anyone can say any number of things, but not all of them correspond to what the evidence suggests was the case.

          • The Penitent Man

            I told you I would prepare a written work with references but my time is limited. When completed we can discuss the topic. But as I mentioned before, there is plenty of evidence that you seem to be pushing aside. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a perfect example, all written in the time of Yahushua Messiah and 85% written in the Hebrew tongue. That alone proves beyond all doubt that the common spoken language of the Jews was Hebrew, not Aramaic, though I would take guess and say they could speak both with equal command. Aramaic is a sister language of Hebrew so it makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is that the Apostles spoke Greek or even though to write the gospels in a gentile tongue. Their teacher, Messiah, came first to Israel. Tens of thousands of Jews accepted and believed in Yahushua (as the Greek gospels attest to).

          • I’ve seen both higher and lower percentages of the scrolls listed in Aramaic, but either way, a substantial part of the percentage that are in Hebrew are copies of Biblical texts and other literary works that were composed in Hebrew. And so, again, I think you are making assumptions and jumping to conclusions based on the data which are not justified. There is no doubt that Hebrew was still highly regarded and was used for literary purposes.

            You also seem to be assuming that (1) the apostles wrote the New Testament Gospels, and (2) that there were not large number of Jews who spoke Greek in this period.

            And so you really do need to make your case. The evidence does not obviously point to the conclusion you think that it does.

          • The Penitent Man

            No, 85% is accurate. And no, the Hebrew contained euphemisms, meaning it was alive and being used by the people. Here’s good example the demonstrates why the Ketuvim Netzarim (what you call the New Testament) was not originally written in the Greek language:

            “We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.”-John 1:41.


            “I know that Messias is coming, which is called Christ:
            when he is come, he will tell us all things.”-John 4:25.

            Would the Samaritan woman have to translate for us? Or Andrew, brother of Peter (Kepha)? These are definite signs of translation, from on language to another.

            Here’s another:

            “Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, What seek you? They said to him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, teacher) where dwell you?”-John 1:38.

            There are many, many examples like this in the Greek New Testament. The text itself is a witness (John 1:38).

            Josephus (Joseph ben Mattathias), the famous Jewish historian, wrote, “I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understanding the elements of the Greek language although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own language, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness: for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations.”

            The key is in the last sentence:

            “for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations.”

            The Jewish people of antiquity looked upon any thing “goyim” as unclean, utterly detestable. That includes language. They would only burden themselves with gentile learning if it was a matter of survival, and even then, sometimes, they would have rather died. In order to understand the Word we must also understand Jewish culture, and most importantly, their language which is the key to unlocking their culture. If you don’t possess that all important key then you may as well watch television with a tablecloth draped over the screen.

            Let me as you this, did Mashiach teach his talmidim in Greek? Did He think in Greek, dress Greek or eat pork? (you would think He was a Greek according to some of the western caricatures of Him).

            Yahushua was a Jew through and through and so were His Apostles. He didn’t eat anything unclean and never once taught against the Torah. If He had then He would have disqualified Himself from being the Mashiach.

            Then there are the words of the early church fathers:

            Papias (Eusebius, H.E. 3.39.16)
            “Matthew collected the oracles (ta logia) in the Hebrew language, and each interpreted them as best he could.”

            Origen (Eusebius, H.E. 6.25.4)
            “As having learnt by tradition concerning the four Gospels, which alone are unquestionable in the Church of God under heaven, that first was written according to Matthew, who was once a tax collector but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language.”

            Eusebius, H.E. 3.24.6
            “Matthew had first preached to Hebrews, and when he was on the point of going to others he transmitted in writing in his native language the Gospel according to himself, and thus supplied by writing the lack of his own presence to those from whom he was sent.”

            (ca. 315-403), bishop of Salamis, refers to a gospel used by the Ebionites (Panarion 30. 13.1-30.22.4). He says it is Matthew, called “According to the Hebrews” by them, but says it is corrupt and mutilated. He says Matthew issued his Gospel in Hebrew letters.

            Jerome also asserts that Matthew wrote in the Hebrew language (Epist. 20.5), and he refers to a Hebrew Matthew and a Gospel of the Hebrews-unclear if they are the same. He also quotes from the Gospel used by the Nazoreans (Netzarim) and the Ebionites, which he says he has
            recently translated from Hebrew to Greek (in Matt 12.13)

            If the Greek primacists hold to their standard of truth then they cannot possibly deny these historical references by their own church fathers . I think we can confidently say that the “New Testament” (you can thank Marcion for that lovely little tittle) was first written in Hebrew and Aramaic, then copied by Greek scribes and translated into Greek.

            Read the gospels yourself, without bias and with a careful eye. Why would Yahushua ever refer to Eliyah the prophet as “Helios”? Well…He wouldn’t, never in a million years. But go look in your “original” Greek codices, they all say “Helios”. Check out Strong’s G2243 (Luke 9:30).

          • You seem to be confused about the topic under discussion. It is not the scholarly consensus that Jesus spoke in Greek. It is the scholarly consensus that our earliest Gospels were written in Greek. It is unlikely that an actual Samaritan woman would have spoken about the Messiah, as opposed to the Taheb, but the Gospel of John is not typified by words that can be attributed to the historical figure of Jesus, and so this is scarcely a surprise.

            Whether or not there was a Hebrew Gospel of Matthew (Baal Shem Tov had one, presumably a translation into Hebrew, in later times) is as irrelevant to the question of what language Jesus spoke as is the likelihood that the earliest Gospels were in Greek, since writing about someone in a language does not mean that that is the language the person being written about spoke. And since whatever work they identified as Hebrew Matthew is no longer extant, we cannot determine whether it was in Hebrew or Aramaic, whether it was a precursor of or translation from the Greek Gospel, or anything else we might wish we could answer.

          • I ought to add that, if you refer to Strong’s numbers, you are clearly not in a position to be discussing this at the sort of level necessary.

          • Ian

            What is it with you and Sun-fixated anti-scholarly folks at the moment, James?

          • I do seem to be attracting them at the moment, don’t I? 🙂

          • The Penitent Man

            I referred to Strong’s for you sake. I also know what you are implying and if you’re correct no one can understand the Word. I am a student, just like you. I speak a little Hebrew and am learning to become fluent, that in no way disqualifies me from taking part or understanding the matters being discussed. Your view is one of elitism and exclusion based on credentials. How convenient for you.

          • The Penitent Man

            I don’t care about the scholarly consensus, truth is not defined by consensus. Most scientists/scholars believe in evolution which directly contradicts the creation account in Genesis. Are you an evolutionist? If not then why not? It is the current scientific consensus.

            There are plenty of scholars who follow the clear evidence for Shemitic primacy. I’m really shocked you actually believe Yahushua spoke in Greek, that is just bizarre.”An actual Samaritan woman”? Yahushua wasn’t talking to the air! Listen, I can see you’re firm in your belief. Happy trails to to you.

          • Ian

            Evolution denial and naive biblical literalism too.

            Let’s see, you think 9/11 was an explosive inside job, Global Warming is a UN Conspiracy, a Shadowy New World Order controls the banking system, and Agenda 21 is a thinly veiled plot to kill 90% of the world’s population, right?

          • The Penitent Man

            Thanks for assuming so much about what I believe. The Scriptures have been fulfilled literally many times over. That should lead anyone with an ounce of intelligence that the prophecies still future will be fulfilled literally. Your arrogance and ignorance are legion. You follow the traditions of men, I do not. I follow the Great One, Yahushua HaMashiach. I put my trust in Him.

          • Ian

            I didn’t assume anything. I looked at your Disqus posting history and found comments where you appeared to argue for all the above.

            Also, why the Hebrew fetishism? אני מניח שאתה לא מדבר עברית

          • The Penitent Man

            I like the use of the word “appeared”. And I find your red herring attempt laughable. We’re discussing scripture, not the conspiracies of a fallen world.

          • Ian

            Fair enough, interesting that we can’t trust what you write in comments as being indicative of your views.

            We’re trying to discuss scripture, but it isn’t going well, since you don’t seem to be actually responding to what is said to you. If you’d like to return to the issue that Strongs contradicts your point about the etymology of ‘Elias, and that James said the opposite of what you accused him of, then feel free. But I suspect you’re more comfortable with the insults than the actual linguistic details.

          • Ian

            But go look in your “original” Greek codices, they all say “Helios”. Check out Strong’s G2243 (Luke 9:30).

            No text I could find says “Helios”, there is no significant textual variation on that word. Codices Aleph and B (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) are both online and show clearly that the word is `Elias, with an ‘a’. it would inflect to `Eliou, I guess, but I don’t know if it does anywhere in the NT (checked, yes, Luke 1:17 has the gen.) In any case, the two words have no etymological connection.

          • The Penitent Man

            First off, though I gave you Strong’s #G2243 (and I’m looking at it right now in my interlinear) it is in the Greek codices. Keep looking. Yes, that is my point, “Helios/Helias” have no connection to Eliyah whatsoever. Do you, like James, believe Yahushua spoke Greek?

          • Ian

            You misunderstood my point. ‘Elios and ‘Elias are etymologically unrelated. You gave me a (non scholarly, and not very good) reference. But still, even that reference backs me up, and contradicts your point. Strongs identifies ήλιας as a derivation of אליה. The same for Thayer and Bauer, which contain more detailed etymology and show that the word has nothing to do with ήλιος. Putting two words/weirds that sound a bit alike together with a slash doesn’t make them related. Your own source contradicts your point.

            Neither James nor I think Jesus primarily spoke Greek. As he pointed out. If you didn’t understand his point, fair enough. If you are knowingly misrepresenting him after being corrected, then you enter trolling territory.

            The extent to which Jesus spoke second-language Greek, as a person raised in a Hellenized region, is debatable, but ultimately unanswerable.

            And, as has been pointed out, this conversation isn’t about what language Jesus spoke, but about the language of composition of the NT texts, which is a different question. Even if Jesus couldn’t manage a single word of Greek, it wouldn’t change the analysis of the composition language of the NT.

          • The Penitent Man

            I gave you an excellent reference. You can deny it but it won’t change the truth. James said Yahushua spoke great straight out. Go and read his comment. I only asked you if you thought Yahushua spoke Greek. And don’t start that childish “you’re a troll” rhetoric, it’s tired and weak. I disagree, it is not unanswerable. Study the culture in full, especially of the period we are discussing.

            If you fail to put aside your Greek bias and your trust in a theology that directly contradicts the Word of Messiah then there is no reason to continue this discussion.

          • Ian

            You gave me a reference that explicitly contradicted your point, as I’ve shown several times now.

            James said “It is not the scholarly consensus that Jesus spoke in Greek.”

            Can you not read?

          • The Penitent Man

            Listen Ian, it is very apparent to me that you are an ignorant man, one quick to argue with an evil tongue. I wasn’t (nor will I answer any more of your blatant attempts to start a fight) speaking with you, I was speaking with James, an adult who can answer for himself. If you want to speak to someone then speak to someone who will listen. As for me, I am finished listening to you.

          • If I behave as an adult and in a mature way, as is indeed my attempt, your lashing out in this way does not give me the impression that you are trying to attain the same level. Ian is a regular commenter here, whereas you are a newcomer. You have made claims which thus far you have not revised in light of counterevidence nor defended with other evidence that might merit revising the picture. To then call someone else ignorant, and as having an evil tongue, does not give me a good impression of your seriousness. Why respond with insults rather than the evidence you have been asked for over and over again?

          • The Penitent Man

            There is no “lashing out” I’m experienced enough to know when someone isn’t interested in discussing a topic in a respectful manner, as Ian did. I really don’t care if Ian has been coming here for ten years, it makes no difference. He lashed out, not I. I’ve given you many opportunities to investigate the issue, you just reply with the same statement over and over, not even considering what was written to you. You also want to define the structure of the argument, how and what “I” must do in order to meet your personal idea of how something is considered truth.

            If someone starts a fight with me, brings up the off-topic discussion of “conspiracy” and makes ignorant comments then they are ignorant James. And for you to defend someone like that (and based on your own personal relationship with him) that shows an inconsistency in integrity. I’m not here so my buddies can agree with me and create a false sense of truth. Let the whole world disagree with me, if my belief is wrong then let me be judged by those in authority (and I am not speaking of the things of man).

          • I would have thought, if you were a believer, that you would want to allow your views to be judged against available evidence, before they and your misguided attitude towards them and others are judged by the Supreme Authority.

            Why do you insist that you have presented evidence, when you clearly do not know enough about the subject to accurately depict the scholarly consensus, nor enough about the relevant languages to understand Strong’s entries – much less to understand why offering Strong’s entries shows that you are not adequately equipped for a discussion of this sort?

          • Ian

            Very funny. I’m not trying to start a fight, I’m pointing out that you’re wrong. This isn’t personal. The facts simply don’t agree with you, and even your evidence to support your position contradicts you.

            Being shown in detail that you’re wrong is often confused for a personal attack.

            I do happen to think you’re a bit of a fruitcake. And clearly you think I’m arrogant (which, to be fair, is an area in which I chronically err). But our opinions are irrelevant to the question at hand, which can be discussed with evidence, if you are willing to provide it.

  • Colin Saxton

    Your prayers to the Lord are from the heart (your new mind given to you by Christ). You do not have to go
    Back to the original languages. Speak to God in the language he gave you, God understands just as well
    And you will also understand your prayer to God, 1Corinthians14:7-9

  • Will

    My feiend, i am Jewish, I ve been to 65 counries, to the most “sacred” plaçes on Earth from the Piramids to Machu Pich and Jerusalem.

    The entire Bible is paraphrased, it was writen years later by the Christian churches of the time. he real scriptures are hidden in the Vatican. Hitler, the Soviet Union, Washington and the Israely government have the real copies (in film) oc fhem.

    Nowardays, with all the technology, all the digging in Israel, and the research done we know that Jesus had to be married (all rabis at his age had to be), that his mother was probably raped by a Roman capitain before she fot married to Joseph, and that is why Jesus was a rebel and fought against the Romana and against the Priests at the Temple who were just pupets of the Roman Empire.

    So what people believe today can be seen as all fake, but id peiple believe that is what count. The power of prawer and Faith has been proved by science, so your statements without scientific bases confuses people.

    I respect uour opionion, and please respeçt mine.

    • You are free to think whatever you wish, but you are not due respect for things that you make up which are contrary to the evidence. Conspiracy theories can be fun, but it is sad when someone mistakes them for reality.

    • The Penitent Man

      No, as the scriptures attest, the Ruach HaKodesh would bring back into remembrance every word Yahushua had spoken to his talmidim. Your “story” has been circulating since April 8th, A.D. 30. Yahushua wasn’t a “rabbi” He was the Great One, the Mashiach.

  • alyssa

    Thank you for working against God to continue to use religion to seperate people rather than its original intention, to bring us together.

    • I’m not sure whom your message was aimed at, but it sounds like it is saying that those who are concerned for truth and accuracy, rather than those who make false claims, are the ones who cause divisions rather than bring people together. How is insisting that one cannot just make things up and call it a translation of another text when one has changed the meaning “using religion to separate people”?

      • One voice

        I just want to say thank you. It helped me understand the issue. And I have been praying, “come Lord Jesus!” Ever since this was brought to attention. Koltz will have to answer few question when he see his maker, just like we will. Now I need to go to a group of people who has studied Koltz and help them put this to its rightful place, poetry and interpreted dance.

  • Ru

    From Russia with Love! <3

  • Chris Linzey

    Well done. Thanks.

  • Annoyed person

    If you’re so smart, why burst the bubble without providing a more accurate translation? Now I’m just annoyed.

    • There are a lot of good Bible translations available, in print and online. They do the job just fine. There is no radical change of meaning if you translate from Greek into Aramaic and then Aramaic into English. But this seems obvious, and so perhaps I am missing what you are looking for? Or are you just not aware of where to find Bible translations online? is one good place to start, and comparing translations in English is the best thing that a person not reading in the original language can do to avoid getting a wrong impression from any one English translation.

      • Annoyed (for the last time)

        Ooops! Meant to mark it thumbs down, not up. Subtract that. The whole point of the Aramaic exercise was to revisit what the different options of meaning from the ORIGINAL LANGUAGE that the translators selected their one word choice from. Considering that for much of the past millennium and beyond, adult women have had no more rights than children (sometimes less), it is a reasonable thing to want to go past the choices that have been made, and view the different options. I would expect that someone with a reasonable education on these matters would have the humility to provide proper sources to accompany their bare opinion.

        • But this so-called “translation” does not do that. There are differences of nuance between the languages, but this is not even a paraphrase, as anyone who knows the prayer in English ought to realize. This is a completely different prayer, reading things into it that simply are not there in Aramaic any more than Greek or English.

          Anyone who wants more information on the subject would do well to consult books by actual scholars and linguists. This is a blog post. If you want recommendations of such sources to address specific aspects of the prayer, let me know. There is an abundance of them, and it is simply a matter of picking one and beginning to learn, but I realize that some people may not have ever been taught how to distinguish between scholarship and pseudoscholarly bunk. If that is the issue, let me know and I will be happy to help!

          • Ben

            Yes, this is “just a blog post”, but you chose to use it to address what, according to YOU, is a deep, spiritual matter concerning the accuracy of the most well-known prayer in Christianity. This was mentioned before on this blog, but I have to re-iterate that when someone wishes to disprove, denigrate or otherwise debunk any belief or information put forth as fact, such as this “original” Lord’s Prayer, then that demands a provable, fact-by-fact argument, as well as an offering of what IS correct, true, etc. You have offered neither! You do not yourself give a word-for-word translation of the “Syriac” prayer. You point out how certain passages cannot possibly mean what they have been translated as, and your arguments are based on your perception of what amounts to cultural impossibilities, and because they don’t jibe with the current English “Lord’s Prayer”. What kind of scholarship is that? It is not scholarship, it is opinion upheld by your unflagging faith in your own opinion, apparently your opinion that the current English Lord’s Prayer is unassailably perfect, and an ability to articulate your opinion. However, any opinion, no matter how well articulated and staunchly defended, remains opinion without the “accuracy” and “scholarship” you claim to support. If you are so very certain that this “Aramaic”, “Syriac”, etc., translation (and I’m not saying I’m convinced of it one way or another at this time) is bogus, show us your translation, word for word, the one that informs you as to the illegitimacy of the one you speak of on this blog. If you don’t have it, then at least have the intellectual honesty to say so plainly, and clarify that your belief on this topic is simply your opinion. Too many who call themselves Christians are in love with parading their “knowledge”, even when it interferes with the faith of the brethren, and even when it is only opinion masquerading as knowledge (and don’t defend your “knowledge” as upsetting those who aren’t looking for truth as you obviously think you are-faith trumps knowledge every time, and even if you were right, which you cannot show you are, we are to “honor the weaker brother”). I’m in agreement with “nic paton”, who describes our modern view of “literal” (as well as “proof”, I would add) as a “latecomer”. What we use today is largely sophistry, a Greek practice of being able to argue anything from any point of view and make it all sound perfectly “logical”. Your answer to “nic” totally missed his point, btw. Thank you, and YHVH bless and keep us all.

          • I think you must still not be getting the point. The Aramaic does not mean something other than the Greek does. That is first of all because we do not have an Aramaic original, or a Syriac version not translated from Greek, and so all Aramaic renderings are based on the Greek. But second of all, whether one is speaking Aramaic or Greek or English, there are ways of saying “Our Father.” The cultural background may result in different nuances and connotations. But in no language is the equivalent of “Our Father” a phrase like “Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes, who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.”

            It is simply a different prayer. You could say something like that in Aramaic, or in Greek, or in English, but at no point could it ever be considered the same prayer as the Lord’s Prayer in any of the forms in which we have it.

            Does that make sense?

            Here is a useful blog post with an attempt to render the prayer into the Galilean dialect of Aramaic:

          • The Penitent Man

            I would disagree with your statement concerning the Aramaic. The Peshitta codices do not come from translating Greek into Aramaic. In reality the opposite is true, the Greek come from the Aramaic codices. So when you say “All Aramaic renderings are based on the Greek” I have a hard time taking your view seriously. It does seem you are working off of a Greek bias. Though I agree with much of what you’ve written I cannot agree on this point. You must be ignorant of the recent scholarship done in this area.

          • Scholars work from the evidence we have available to us. If you have evidence that the Peshitta is older than the Greek versions of New Testament works, by all means present it.

          • The Penitent Man

            Shalom aleichem James,

            I can offer evidence but it will take a little time to compile. I’ve been dropping bits and pieces in my comments. But I think you’re asking for a complete, succinct summary of my position, is that correct? I’m willing to write about it if you’re willing to listen with an open mind?

          • I think you have summarized your position well. I am more interested in the evidence that you think supports it. Scholars have concluded, based on the texts which talk about the Peshitta as well as the study of the Peshitta itself in comparison with the Greek, that the Peshitta is a translation from Greek into Syriac. What I am wondering is what the case is against the mainstream scholarly conclusion that you find persuasive.

          • The Penitent Man

            Hey James,

            Okay, no problem. But I’d like you to be patient with me so that I can write a good defense of my position. I would like to say one thing though; Greek primacists are working off of a bias (not necessarily surprising or bad), if they accept a Shemitic primacy then it undermines their theological teachings also, mainly the idea that Yahushua did away with the Torah (which is ridiculous, considering Matthew 5:17-19). We need to look at the evidence in light of the biases on both sides so we can be as honest as possible with ourselves, since ultimately, it is a salvation issue (correct understanding of Yahushua’s words and commands to us, His kodeshim [saints]).-shalom.


            I am a student like you and I am seeking the truth just as I believe you are. In this light I do my best to keep an open mind, for the truth of the Father is a living thing.

          • The only reason for thinking that the Greek written texts precede the Syriac is because that is what ancient church sources and the study of the texts in the two languages indicates. A proposal that something else was the case should only require clear-cut evidence in support of it, and however much there may be initial skepticism, it will be overcome.

          • Nick G

            But in no language is the equivalent of “Our Father” a phrase like “Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes, who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.”

            Not even in Californian?

          • Josh Magda

            Well, mystics don’t get any street cred. For that, you have to publish in journals no one reads. When Jesus uttered the Lord’s Prayer, he probably had a wooden-y literalist idea of God in mind. He was, after all, known for such a thing. Mr. “camels going through the eye of a needle” key concern was linguistic precision, not semantic improvisation.

            Altogether now. Let’s practice the Reza Aslan “I’m offended because I’m a super-important Biblical scholar, and you asked me an (admittedly obnoxious) personal question about my work. IT’S MY JOB!”

      • The Penitent Man

        +1 to that James. I use multiple translations for my studies, both Aramaic, Hebrew, English, etc. I’m learning to speak Hebrew for personal reasons. Wanting accuracy and truth is not “religion” nor is it divisive (though the truly divisive among us like to play the victim). I’m surprised so many people who call themselves His followers are not intensively hanging on Mashiach Yahushua’s every word!

        • monk

          What language did Jesus and the Romans communicate in ?

          • We have no way of knowing for certain what and whether they communicated. The Gospels, in places, depict Jesus as refusing to answer, in other places as communicating briefly, but the authors are unlikely to have had traditions that were informed by witnesses to those events. The possibility that Jesus knew enough Greek to speak with them exists, as does the possibility that a translator was used, as the Roman authorities would have often needed to work through translators. But we simply don’t have that information for this specific instance.

          • Adam

            I thank all for this very interesting and informative discussion. I’m 48 years old and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior 8 months ago. While I was still seeking (or waiting to be called, if you believe in the doctrine of election as I do), Matthew 6 had a profound impact on me. I loved the simplicity of the Lord’s Prayer, and Jesus’ warning against “babbling like pagans” because “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” I always assumed Jesus spoke this prayer in Aramaic, and, with a desire to draw closer to the Lord and understand this prayer at a deeper level, I decided undertake a quest to learn this prayer as Jesus actually spoke it. Here’s my takeaway: 1) this blog and discussion thread makes a very compelling case against Douglas-Klotz’ book being a more accurate, literal, or meaningful translation, 2) it’s not, as I originally assumed, as simple as searching “The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic” and learning to pray in the language of Jesus in 3 easy steps, and 3) God doesn’t ask or require us to undertake such a daunting task in order to have a personal relationship with Him. He simply asks you to ‘confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,’ and ‘you will be saved.’ (Romans 10:9) That’s all I did, and the Holy Spirit has done the rest. And I don’t think our God cares what version of the bible you read or what language you speak, only that you read and meditate on His word, spend quiet time seeking guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit, and then obey His commands. The bible is obviously the most profound book ever written, but I think sometimes satan uses that profoundity to confuse and confound us. So as a humble layman, I choose to keep it simple and focus on verses that I can wrap my tiny brain around, such as “God is love.” (1 John 4:17) Peace, mercy and God’s grace to all.

  • George

    Hi,who ever.
    We Don’t want western interpretation of Lords prayer,as the same time Trans religious interpritations . West, ate the Christianity by mixing with greco roman philosophy.Therefore we need to find the original west asian roots of dielects interprit the holy scripture.

  • Msgr James Rodgers

    This is not intended to be a literal translation. Instead, it was meant to be a poetic rendering to explore the prayer’s deeper meaning. The New Zealand Prayer Book does the same thing for use in its morning prayer service.

  • erickcartman

    Is this the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, shown above?

    • Douglas-Klotz’s text is not a translation of either the Aramaic or the Syriac versions shown above. Is that what you were asking?

  • Tangomaniac

    Thanks for this post!


    assyrian Neo-Aramaic(also known as Assuri,Assuri,Aturi,Assyrian,Aisorski,Assyrianci,Assyriski,Lishana Aturaya,Neo-Syriac,Sooreth,Suret,Sureth,or Suryaya Swadaya)is a Neo-Aramaic dialect,
    I think you are just confused,and wants to confuse others with you.
    If I were you, I would specialize in writing fiction stories for living!.

    • Sorry, but I think that you may be the one who is confused. This post is not about modern Aramaic, it is about someone who claims that something they wrote in English is a translation of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, when in fact most of it bears little or no connection to the meaning of the words in any Aramaic version of the Lord’s Prayer.

  • mark

    I think that the way he spoke and communicated with people was different than what he intended to document or write. They have recently found scriptures, they clamed to be written by Mary Magdalene, they are in Greek, so once translated will give us even more understanding in terms of correct translations. Stay Faithfull

    • Are you referring to the already-known Gospel of Mary, or something else? Why would finding another copy of a later pseudepigraphon have any bearing on the translation of the Lord’s Prayer?

  • thursfield

    Your views are totally unconvincing, Mr McGrath. But anybody can have an opinion. As an old sage once said: “Theology was invented by those who cannot perceive God directly”.

    • This is not about theology but about linguistics. And while it is indeed true that anyone can have an opinion, the problem here is the belief that anyone can provide a translation of a text, even without them knowing the relevant language.

  • Leon Tory Walker

    Between Gospels and different Greek manuscripts, we have a number of versions of this prayer, four at least, counting the manuscript variations in both the Luke and Matthew versions and i would say six at most. So given that its a short prayer, all these versions can be translated into first century Palestinian Aramaic, there is just not a lot of difference to be had, and what does it matter anyway? The Syriac may differ in some words, but you know what those represent, and its not hard to find the parallels you need in the conservative language of Jewish prayers, and in the first century Targum Onkelos. But bear in mind that Jewish Aramaic in the religious sphere is heavily inundated with Biblical Hebrew, just like the Koine Greek of the Gospels is inundated with the Greek of the Septuagint. Also worth noting is that almost the entire Jewish liturgy is in Hebrew to this day, with the notable exception of the indispensible Kaddish prayer which is in Aramaic and the Kaddish rates almost as highly in Judaism as the Lord’s Prayer in Christianity.

  • ContriteHeart

    Thank you very much to the author! Have any of you checked out Vic Alexanders’ Leeshanna Ateeqah (Ancient Aramaic) translations? You can google him. I am expecting some books from him this week, Allaha willing. Maryah bless the true believers!

    • I’m not sure why you would want to use the work of an amateur who seems to prefer idiosyncratic spellings and whose linguistic competence is at best unclear, rather than the comparable works which have been readily available for so long that you can get them for free as they are in the public domain.

      • conjure

        how rude insecure and ungenerous your response is. as a scholar it is unbecoming

        • It is typical of promoters of unscholarly and pseudoscholarly nonsense that they complain that those who justly criticize them are behaving in ways unbecoming a scholar. Pretending to know languages you don’t is what is inappropriate. Objecting to this is not.

          • conjure

            I don’t know what is “typical” to you. I AM a scholar. I have written numerous peer reviewed and published materials in my field of research and study. I received my Ph.D. in the study of comparative religions at an Ivy league university, and I am a competent academic authority. And I am a tenured faculty member at a liberal arts college. So I am a teacher as well. I suppose that all of those things qualify me to be a competent scholar and to KNOW what a scholar is and what scholarly activity. And I also know what rude insecure and ungenerous behavior is. You obviously do not. And since this is a working day for me as a scholar/teacher, I cannot stay long to quibble with you. Enjoy your little internet fiefdom, your pitiful realm of dogmatic authority. But it really doesn’t count at all, you know.

          • Pleased to make your acquaintance. I would appreciate it if you could share a link to your online CV so that I can get to know your work.

            I assume that you are aware, as an educator, that there is an abundance of misinformation on the subject of comparative religion online. Do you have nice things to say about it? Do you not feel the same disappointment I do when students accept uncritically things that have been posted online claiming things that simply are not true and not well-informed?

          • conjure

            I apologize for the angry tone of my response to you. As this will be the last comment that I make here, I will say that the study of religion is probably one of the fields that provokes the strongest emotional reaction from students AND scholars – whom, I believe, are one and the same. This ranges from fear, impatience, and anger, to joy, delight, and wonder. You must understand this in your quest to speak for the “truth.” The fact that you claim, as a scholar, to frame this interpretive argument in terms of “truth” in a realm that consists of poetics, imagination, “science”, theology, culture, history, and myth – demonstrates how far apart those of us who want to speak with authority and clarity on the subject of religion really are. There is no final “truth.” In the cyber realm, there are only different types and qualities of information. In the material realm, as any student of religion will tell you, every person has the authority to speak of their own informed experience – “truthfully” about religious matters. Good day.

          • I will repeat my request for a link to your academic web page, in case you missed it in my previous comment. I am confident that you will want to distinguish yourself online from those who claim unverifiably to have expertise that they may or may not have in reality.

            The discussion here of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic was not about matters of theology which are no susceptible to proof or even verification. It was a discussion about language, and about a charlatan who claims to be translating a language when he is not doing that, but instead freely rewriting the prayer in his own language. Linguistics is a field that is constrained by data, and so even when one allows for the flexibility that human languages have, some claims about the meanings and connotations of words are still simply false.

          • conjure

            I am not a linguist. I claim no expertise in this arena. In religious studies however it is understood that all translations of language and culture itself are interpretations.

            “And if you want to really grasp the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus uttered it in his own language, there is only one way to get even close to doing that: learn the ancient Palestinian dialect of Aramaic.”

            The idea that 21st century humans may experience or “grasp” a religious experience, be it a prayer or a mantram, as “Jesus did” must remain an open question. It is possible that the “meaning” of the experience transcends time and space. Again, the “truth” or fact of this may not be possible to determine.

            The social scientist is asking very different questions from the religionist. Furthermore I find that the comparative approach provides a more useful set of tools.

            Sorry, I have no interest in posting my academic credentials/personal vita in such a forum, in this fashion, and in a such public space.

          • I suspect that even though you are not a linguist, you can understand that one cannot offer the following and call is a “translation” of the Lord’s prayer: “May the Force which surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together be with you. May the Jedi council be established, the Clone Wars end, and the will of the Force be done on Separatist worlds as in the Republic. May we resist the temptations of the Dark Side, and be delivered from the Sith.”

            Languages are not infinitely flexible. All translation involves interpretation, but that does not mean that there is no point at which one has passed beyond the pale of what may be called “translation.” Sometimes something may seem too free to some, but some things simply do not deserve to be called a translation at all.

          • conjure

            One might indeed consider what you have written to be a culturally-supported translation of the “Lord’s Prayer.” Your argument with me is about a technical use of the term translation. As a linguist, you find this appropriate. My perspective privileges the flexibility and and freedom by which humans continually work and rework meaning for their own purposes. Please see the link below. You may have created a useful liturgical device that will bring joy, comfort and uplift to others. There is NOTHING better than that to me.

          • That is not the issue, as I said in the comment thread here some years ago. People can take comfort from a prayer if they like. But it is objectionable for someone to use false advertising and claim that their rendering is “what the original Aramaic version of the Lord’s Prayer actually means” when it isn’t. And that has been done for the obvious reason that pretending your own prayer is the meaning of Jesus’ prayer will sell your books in a way that simply offering something new of your own will not.

          • conjure

            Good morning, I have lost the original thread from years back; are you saying that you have access, per your own translation, to what the Aramaic prayer “means” in its original context as it was spoken? Is your objection that someone else has “pretended” to know this and is selling books and profiting off this information? I will say it one more time: these are religious and theological claims that have nothing to do with “truth” – how can you object to people taking comfort and joy from that, whether or not you agree with the methodology?

          • What do you mean when you say you have lost the thread? It is right here on this blog post you are commenting on.

            If someone claimed to translate an article of yours into another language, but in fact they knew no English and simply attributed their own ideas to you, are you saying that you would see nothing objectionable in that, as long as readers found comfort in the words the so-called translator attributed to you?

  • Ali


    Yithqadash sh‘mak.
    May thy name be holy.

    Tethe malkuthak.
    May thy kingdom come.

    Teh’wey ra’uthak.
    May thy will be done.

    Pitthan d-çorak hav lan yomden.
    Give us today our usual bread.

    w-Shbuq lan hobenan.
    And forgive us our debts / sins.

    Hek ‘anan sh‘baqin l-haibenan.
    As we forgive our debtors.

    w-La ‘ul lan l-nisyon.
    And lead us not into temptation.


    • Syed

      This is similar to Arabic and I can already point some similarities out:
      Abba (also vocative for Father in Arabic)
      Malakootak (your kingdom)
      yaum (daily)

  • Travis Garcia

    Why is it so hard to believe that’s why u will perish just like everything and ppl that see and believe live in the eternal light by the way I believe and do what you call imposibale I do everyday move and bend objects anyone can do it but in till u see the light you will live in the shaddow of a not Evan full bible

  • Charles M Lee

    Abba does not mean father, it is much more intimate, like daddy. Granted any reconstruction would be theoretical, but it would be much closer than what is in the Bible.

    • If your statement is about Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, then it is simply false. Abba is the Aramaic word for ‘the father’ and is not limited to the more intimate and childish connotations that ‘daddy’ has in English. See James Barr’s famous article on this topic if you are interested in more details.

      • Charles M Lee

        I am always interested in more details, that is why I am reading your forum.

  • malatesta

    I was just wondering what evidence there is that it was Jesus who composed this prayer? What’s wrong with the views that it was inserted by early Christians? If he did state it, was it his, or a cobbling together of prayers popular among students of John the Baptist? Or could it have been taken whole from, say, John the Baptist? Personally I don;t mind any of these prayers but for myself have rewritten the New Age out of it. If Ye’shua spoke of vibrations he’d certainly be a few steps beyond theoretical physics at present that’s catching up.

  • jg collins

    Our pastor read the alleged Aramaic-to-English version on Sunday. Putting aside the dubious provenance of “the original Aramaic,” the all-too-obvious New Age, woo-woo content reveals the piece as pure glurge. I don’t see any place for “making things up” in Christian thought, no matter how pious the motivation. Thanks for setting the record straight.

  • Arthur

    One thing people need to be aware of is that the “church” wanted full ownership, and the aspirant going inwards, was not what they wanted,…no outward control, ooops…Churches were meant to be meeting place for inward meditation and spiritual discussions, not tayler made agendas stiff as a board, without any true spiritual revelations, and most of all connections….The heart must not be allowed to rule the head, and women need to be silenced as though they are a mere shadow…So the active beta mind was OK, but the deeper passive alpha and theta were “verboten”, cause the church became superfluous…It is only now, with research that we are finding out our brains are more active in sleep than in the waking state…

    • conjure

      This is true, and the prayer, the way it is spoken ( i.e. the vibrations), help the individual aspirant focus and turn inward…away from the controlling programs of the “Church.” These words have meaning on their own as they are spoken, and that is dangerous and powerful…

  • Onza M. Simangunsong

    Good argument from western point of view. Let’s try eastern aproach. Our Teacher from Nazareth from eastern-spiritual world. Christian based on 4 gospel the author froms western-materilsm world.

  • DCP the Lesser

    Glad to see that there are still some people who haven’t been taken in by the abovementioned nonsense. Hopefully, people will come here and get educated a bit instead of believing such and making a whole theology/belief system out of it.

    As you already know, the first two words easily can be broken down into their grammatical constituents.

    Ab/Abba = Father
    on = our
    (combined they become Abwun = “Our Father”)

    d = who/which
    ba = in
    shmaya = “heaven”/ “the heaven”

    There is no lack of gender here as advocates of the New Age version of the prayer often claim, and only one person is addressed, namely, the Father. How they get “begetter of the cosmos” or anything like that out of that second word escapes me. How those people get such as they have out of a simple phrase I’ll never know. The least they can do is say that their material is a very loose and overexpansive, mystical paraphrase rather than claim it is an actual translation of an ancient translation of the Lord’s Prayer.

    But, thanks for making this information available to the public.

  • profling

    The simple original is better than your garbled interpretation.

  • lorimav

    Is there a distinction in the Galilean Aramaic between you familiar and you formal? If so, which is used in the Lord’s prayer? Also, is Abba a relatively formal or informal term, or perhaps somewhere in between?

    • There is no distinct form of “you” that expresses formality, such as one finds in some other languages (e.g. Romanian). Nor is the second person plural used to indicate formality in Aramaic. The word “abba” simply means “father” and so it has whatever connotations that status implies in the cultural context in which the word is used.

      • lorimav

        Thank you for the information. One prominent Catholic prelate whom I otherwise admire wrote in one of his books complaining that in France they had begun using the tu instead of the vous, in French in the Lord’s Prayer. This prelate was a fan of Thomas Aquinas who used the tu form in his Latin prayers. Then it also occurred to me that perhaps there was not even a distinction in the original Aramaic.

  • Florin S.

    March 7, 2017: Pope John Paul II said the interpretation of the Lord’s prayer as we now have it is not entirely correct. When I pray the Lord’s prayer privately, I never say ‘lead us not into temptation’ because God would never lead us into temptation. I pray: “let me not be led into temptation’ or ‘let me not give in to temptation”..

  • Andy White

    you clearly have an ax to grind. Right from the get go you assume the syriac version to be derivative without backing up your implicit claim. Are you saying the current form of the Lord’s prayer predates the first century.? I really doubt it.

    • I apologize that I did not link to evidence – this is such a well-established point, that I didn’t think anyone would have trouble finding additional information if they needed it.

      You may want to begin here:

      You may be confusing two (perhaps three) separate issues. Clearly Jesus spoke Galilean Aramaic, and his sayings would have originated in that language. It is also possible that there were written Aramaic sources used by the authors of the works in the Greek New Testament in the form in which we now have them. But the Peshitta, in the Syriac dialect of Aramaic, is clearly not original, since Jesus would have spoken the Galilean dialect.

      • Andy White

        ok, so the syriac is derivative of an original in gallilean, perhaps orally passed on for a bit, but that does not mean the version we have today predates them, unless you link it to Horus.

        • What on Earth are you talking about? Did you misunderstand something in my post?

          • Andy White

            that must be it….

      • Frankie Chavez

        The Lord’s Prayer is very similar to the Jewish Kaddish. I don’t know which came first.

  • Michael Kakley

    If you’re so certain that these translations are wrong then where is yours?

    • There are so many translations of both the Greek and the Syriac available. Why do you feel that you need another one?

  • Jason Christopher Patrick Gold

    There are approximately nine iterations of the lords prayer in Aramaic. Each one is about seven paragraphs in length. There are several reasons for this. Like English in the USA, there were differing dialects and in fact many words did not translate well at the time the Bible was written due to the lack of understanding available today through specialized study. This is not to say those of the era were not intelligent but rather the material was not readily available for study and so required interpretation on the part of scholars. The unfortunate result here is a bastardized translation. You might notice the difference in iterations of the Bible as well concerning the sins of cleanliness being an “abomination” vs. “thou shalt surely die”. There are many “adaptations” like this made throughout history and though this is widely known, the study of these inconsistencies is frowned upon much like the study of sexual issues throughout the Bible. Aramaic was also a largely spoken language and not a written one much like the Native American tribes in USA history. This also brings into light why the first written submissions of the Bible were in Greek which was widely used at the time if you wanted to get your material dispersed through society. I’m curious Mr. McGrath. What degree do you hold if any? I myself attended Christian colleges and have spoken with educators on this matter who attended seminary. Your translations are, at best, ignorant. I know this because I probably could do no better with combing the internet for familiar diatribe to uphold my false narratives. I know enough to go to informed sources on these matters. In my case, I studied under a graduate collage professor who had spent many years studying obscure foreign languages through seminary in Italy. And lastly, as it is late and I am tired of educating the ignorant, you may want to think more deeply, Mr. McGrath, than to tell people “There are so many translations of both the Greek and the Syriac available. Why do you feel that you need another one?”. This response is indicative of your own failure in the fact you have not thoroughly researched this material.

    • Jason Christopher Patrick Gold

      And now that I see your area of study from Butler University I can easily understand your misconception of ancient languages.

      • Your Googling skills appear to have let you down…

        • Jason Christopher Patrick Gold

          That information is from your information page

          • My area of expertise as a professor at Butler University is in New Testament language and literature. Your comment did not show an awareness of that.

    • The idea that people in the time when Aramaic was spoken had less idea what words meant in the Aramaic dialects spoken then, than we do today, is a rather strange one to even suggest.

      Can you direct me to these seven seven-paragraph-long texts that you mistakenly think are ancient Aramaic versions of the Lord’s Prayer? Perhaps, not knowing Aramaic, you have mistaken one thing for another, or are thinking of some modern commentary or paraphrase.

      • Jason Christopher Patrick Gold

        I was attending a Christian college in Northern Indiana. The pastor/professor produced the material from his studies abroad. Though it has been several years, I do believe the information to still be accurate. The Aramaic language was his focus of study

        • So things that you think you remember, which you heard second hand, and about which you can provide no specific details and no evidence?

          • Jason Christopher Patrick Gold

            I’m not debating your interpretation which I believe to be flawed. I’m stating my belief in an individual from a Christian perspective who is an expert in his field over that of yourself.

          • You are trusting one Christian whose identity and expertise you are unwilling or unable to share, over another Christian whose identity and qualifications are freely available. You are of course free to do so, but it is unclear what other than personal preference, combined with lack of linguistic expertise and accurate information, motivates your choice.

          • Jason Christopher Patrick Gold

            Then allow me to reiterate that this University professor at a Christian University had, at the time, spent 10 years studying ancient languages within the church for the specific purpose of translation errors. Not just in a classroom setting, but among those few 50,000 or less who still speak some dialects of the language. This motivates my choice in addition to the fact different bibles printed throughout the years have provided different language through some passages.

          • You refuse to identify the individual. You seem to think that ten years dedicated to language study is a lot. You seem to think that modern languages are the same as their precursors millennia earlier. You refuse to identify the institution with which the individual was affiliated. You have demonstrated that you do not have the linguistic background to accurately assess someone else’s knowledge or expertise. How can you possibly expect anyone to accept your internet comments on your own authority in this manner?

  • Frankie Chavez

    Do you have an Aramaic translation that you think is accurate? I have been looking and so far all I have seen are close variations of this one, with the peculiar word choices. All I have found have been dialect/grammar differences, all based on those words.

    • I’m not sure what you are looking for. A good Aramaic translation of the Greek? A good English translation of the Syriac? If the latter, then I suspect that the bilingual edition from Gorgias Press will be good, having reviewed other volumes in that series:

      But might not this online tool provide what you need?

      • Frankie Chavez

        is it your contention that the Aramaic words are roughly accurate and that these English re-translations are the problem? Or something different than that?

        • Comparing translations will provide as close a guide to the meaning of an underlying text in a language one does not know as it is possible to obtain without learning the language in question.

          I suspect that you can see the stark differences between the several translations of the Aramaic that I linked to, and what Neil Douglas-Klotz pretends is a translation, can you not?

          • Frankie Chavez

            Yep. The English part is glaring, and disconcerting. I am not sure I can see significant differences in all of the professed Aramaic versions, though. But I am not an expert.

  • rrickarr

    If you say that what you think we have read is not the original, you could be gracious enough to post the original! And, if things get lost in translation, why bother saying the Lord’s Prayer (in English) at all, if things get lost in translation, since we do not know Palestinian Aramaic?

    • I’m not sure if I understand what you are saying. If you know more than one language, you will know that there isn’t a consistent one to one precise correspondence between the semantic ranges of words in any two human languages. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot convey the meaning – it just means that sometimes footnotes explaining nuances or cultural background are necessary.

      But since we do not have Jesus’ exact words recorded in his own Galilean Aramaic, I’m not sure what you are asking for when you ask me to post “the original.”

      • rrickarr

        I felt that your article was a bit dismissive towards the translations that do exist – your very first and very last paragraphs are rather condescending. If you dismiss a translation as being unoriginal then you should provide the original or simply say that we really cannot know the original with any precision, But what would then be the point of your article? Can you give us a closer translation? Should we also say the same of the Bible!!!!! I am rather sad that these are the types of issues that theologians argue about rather than being Christlike!

        • You seem to have completely misunderstood what I wrote, which was about the thing that Neil Douglas-Klotz claims is a translation of the Lord’s Prayer, but isn’t. I did not dismiss any translation as “unoriginal.” Indeed, what I said is that Douglas-Klotz wrote something so original that it bears no resemblance to the text he claims to be translating! There are plenty of translations available of the Greek New Testament versions of the Lord’s Prayer, as well as of the Syriac, and I have linked to them above. I am not sure how you managed to so completely understand what I wrote, to be honest!

  • Back in the mid ’90s I asked Neil Douglas-Klotz personally if he thought “translation” was the right word to use for his work on Jesus’s Aramaic sayings. He said he thought “Midrashic” was a better characterization.

  • Observator14

    The part of the Greek version which is translated as “lead us not into Temptation” should be actually “into Court” “TrialL” or “Judgement”, perhaps, for the Greek word “peirasmon”. What meanings about this can be sensed in the Aramaic version? Thank you.


    Thank you for this explanation. I was confused reading other sites

  • Will

    Are the words correct and the translation off, or are both the Aramaic and the translations wrong? I was under the assumption that Jesus had said Abba, but many of these ‘translations’ use Abwoon.

    • The words in the fanciful adaptation that is the focus of this blog post are simply not a translation of any known Aramaic form of the Lord’s Prayer. You will find transliterations of Syriac translations of the New Testament, as well as attempts to render the prayer back into Galilean Aramaic. Because of the different wording between Matthew and Luke, you will find some that use “Father” and some that use “Our Father.”

      Does that help?

      • Craig Hudgins

        Be assured Mr. McGrath that having followed the chain of comments to the last has been very helpful and enlightening. Your patience with rather ascerbic comments is laudable. And your intent is realized more completely by a more in-depth pondering/analysis of your basic premise, which clearly is a somewhat casual brush with a very complex field.
        The one thing(and I assert of major importance) that seems to be missing in all the comments is a recognition of the exclusivity (yes, and although there are probably hundreds of versions) of the mainstream Bibles printed that reflect a consistent pattern of interpretation, reflecting also the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the design of His Word, the importance again of Christian orthodoxy and that the reading of His Word is an intimate, mysterious relationship of revelation between the reader and the Lord God.
        In all such things, as an ill-informed individual in these areas, I seek and rely in confidence on the ability of the Holy Spirit to lead to all truth.