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SNTP Update: Sacred Name
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posted 10-11-1998 06:38 PM
I have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the positive e-mail responses I have received regarding the Semitic New Testament Project. I would like to thank you all for your support as I endeavor daily on this very important work. As you know I am aiming at a very literal translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic New Testament manuscripts. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to read these words in the languages in which they were first written and to carefully ponder their meaning. The insights that are coming to the words of the Scriptures are so enlightening that I cannot help but share some of them with you from time to time as the work progresses. I thought I would share with you some of the profound insights that I discovered as I worked on Matthew:
Mt. 6:13a is one of the most puzzeling portions of the "Lord's Prayer."
And do not lead us into temptation,
This portion of the Lord's Prayer closely parallels "The Morning Prayer"
Give us this day and every day, grace, favour and mercy in your eyes;
The mystery is this: why would God lead us into temptation anyway? In fact
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God
Mt. 6:13 is actually a Hebrew idiom in which an active verb is used to
Lord YHWH, surely you have greatly decieved this people,
meaning that YHWH would allow the people to be decieved.
Another example is in the Torah in Ex. 4:21:
I [YHWH] will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go."
meaning YHWH would allow Pharaoh's heart to be hardened.
Thus the passage in Mt. 6:13 is a Hebrew idiom better understood to mean:
Allow us not to be lead into temptation...
This is not only clear evidence for the Semitic origin of the book, but a great help in understanding the passage as well. It is these kinds of subtleties in the Hebrew text which make this project so important. Great work has been done on the Greek text, but no translation taken strictly from the Greek can address these subtle points so clearly present in the Hebrew and Aramaic texts. As you may know, the Semitic New Testament Project is supported by free will contributions. I would like to thank those of you who have been helping the project in this way. We cannot accomplish this task alone. If we are to see this project to completion and publication we must have the continued help of our supporters.
I am reminded of an old Jewish story of a couple about to be married. They lived in a small village and had invited everyone from the village to their wedding. Each guest was asked to bring a jug of wine for the celebration. Each jug of wine would be poured into a giant vat to be shared by everyone. As the wedding day approached, each member of the village thought, "If I do not bring my jug of wine, it will not be missed among so many other jugs."
The wedding day arrived and the couple were married and everyone was excited. But as the tap of the vat was opened, not a drop of wine flowed from it, for everyone had been sure that someone else would provide their share.
Many of you have sent mail and e-mail telling us how important you feel this project is. We are counting on our supporters to fill the vat with wine to make this project work. Every little bit helps. To those who have contributed so far we hope that you can contribute regularly (perhaps monthly). In order to complete the New Testament within one year (which is our current goal) we need to find 500 people that will support this effort with at least $20.00 each month. Please let us know if we can count on you to be one of these people. Everyone who contributes at least $20.00 to the project will receive a free copy of my book THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT as well as a copy of the sample text of Ephesians from the project. For those who contribute $20.00 monthly we will send you monthly updates including samples of the work in progress. Please make checks payable to "The Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism" and write S.N.T.P. (Semitic New Testament Project) in the memo space. Our mailing address is:
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