The many different interpretations of the various aspects of what is offered as foundational information about Jesus the Nazarene, has always been of great interest – what he said and taught, and how translations over the centuries have changed dramatically, sometimes even altering the original meaning of a particular text.
Aramaic manuscripts have been uncovered over the years ,which provide us with original source documents which can be fairly well authenticated. Beginning with Constantine around 325 AD, dramatic changes began to be infused into interpretations as texts were translated from Aramaic into Greek and then into Latin. In later years, there were then translations into old English, and later, more translations into modern English.
The Aramaic Language does not distinguish between means and purpose, inside quality or outside action. Both are given simultaneously as in “what you’ve sown, so you’ll harvest.” When Jesus refers to the “Kingdom of Heaven”, he means the Kingdom inside as well as the Kingdom in the middle or “amongst” us. Also, “the next one” is inside and outside as in the Whole or Self. The arbitrary borders between spirit, body and soul are nonexistent.
The Aramaic Language has (like the Hebrew and Arabic) different levels of meaning. The words are organized and defined by a poetical system where different meanings of every word are possible. So, every line of the Lords Prayer could be translated into English in many different versions. As an example of how the intent of a passage can be changed, here are some translations of the Lord’s Prayer directly translated from the ancient Aramaic language into modern English.
The Lord’ s Prayer and its Latin Version is perhaps the best-known prayer in Christianity. Two versions of it occur in the New Testament – one in the Gospel of Matthew 6:9–13 as part of the discourse on ostentation, a section of the Sermon on the Mount; and the other in the Gospel of Luke 11:2–4.
The most known version is the Catholic and Anglican. The three versions shown below are variations of the Greek text of Matthew 6:9-13 and the Latin text used in the Roman Catholic liturgy. The last is the Syriac Aramaic liturgical version.
- Catholic and Anglican version in English:
“Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
(*For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.)
*The text in parenthesis was added in 1928 in the Anglican BCP version.
2. Latin liturgical version
Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur Nomen Tuum;
adveniat Regnum Tuum;
fiat voluntas Tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem* nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a Malo
*The meaning of the word normally translated as daily (quotidianum in Latin), ἐπιούσιος epiousios, is obscure. Etymologically, epiousios seems to be related to the Greek word epi, meaning on, over, at, against and ousia, meaning substance. It is translated as supersubstantialem in the Vulgate (Matthew 6:11) and accordingly as supersubstantial in the Douay-Rheims Bible (Matthew 6:11).
The ancient Galilean Aramaic version is very interesting for me, because In 1998, I had the occasion to hear it in the first person from a group of people gathered in Gorski Kotar (Croatia) which teaching is related to the Essenic and Zoroastrian teachings. They presented this prayer as a sort of sung breathing exercise, more like the Muslim sung Zikr, and more ancient than Jesus’ teachings: in fact, they claimed it as Essen, not Christian. The following is the transliteration of the prayer in Aramaic and the translation in English
Avvon d-bish-maiya, nith-qaddash shim-mukh.
Tih-teh mal-chootukh. Nih-weh çiw-yanukh:
ei-chana d’bish-maiya: ap b’ar-ah.
Haw lan lakh-ma d’soonqa-nan yoo-mana.
O’shwooq lan kho-bein:
ei-chana d’ap kh’nan shwiq-qan l’khaya-ween.
Oo’la te-ellan l’niss-yoona:
il-la paç-çan min beesha.
Mid-til de-di-lukh hai mal-choota
oo khai-la oo tush-bookh-ta
Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes, who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
Let Your will come true – in the universe just as on earth.
Give us understanding for our daily need, detach the fetters of faults that bind us, like we let go the guilt of others.
Let us not be lost in superficial things, but let us be freed from that what keeps us from our true purpose.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.
Sealed in trust, faith and truth.
I confirm with my whole being