Author Topic: Debts or Trespasses?  (Read 9432 times)

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Offline Frobie

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Debts or Trespasses?
« on: December 17, 2002, 11:01:46 PM »
For the Our Father, which do you prefer, debts or trespasses?

Offline The young fogey

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2002, 12:03:50 AM »
Trespasses: it is the Catholic and Anglican translation and part of my language, even though the Latin says debita nostra and debitoribus nostris. The Jordanville Prayer Book printed by ROCOR seems to prefer debtors, which to my ears sounds too low-church Protestant. That book also says, 'Our Father, who art in the heavens', probably because it's plural in Slavonic (-+-¦-¦-¦-ü-¦-à ).
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Offline SamB

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2002, 12:56:30 AM »
That book also says, 'Our Father, who art in the heavens', probably because it's plural in Slavonic (-+-¦-¦-¦-ü-¦-à ).

The same deal here.  "Samawaat", " +¦+Ã +º+ê+º+¬  ",  is plural.

Tresspasses/debts: Either form works with me.  

For some reason, the Orthodox and Melkites use different wording as well, entirely different phrases to be precise.  I still haven't any idea why that is the case.

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2002, 02:12:11 AM »
That book also says, 'Our Father, who art in the heavens', probably because it's plural in Slavonic (-+-¦-¦-¦-ü-¦-à ).

The same deal here.  "Samawaat", " +¦+Ã +º+ê+º+¬  ",  is plural.

Tresspasses/debts: Either form works with me.  

For some reason, the Orthodox and Melkites use different wording as well, entirely different phrases to be precise.  I still haven't any idea why that is the case.

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I haven't noticed a difference in the wording that Melkites and Orthodox use in the Lord's Prayer, so that may be a local Canadian thing (New Skete, Cambridge, NY, has its own peculiar modern English version as well).  The ROCOR, as seen from previous posts, does use "debts" rather than "trespasses," however, and I prefer "trespasses," which is what is used in the OCA and GOA, and, AFAIK, in the AOCA also.  But, if pressed, I could use either wording w/o going into a hissyfit.

One thing the ROCOR does in its English-language version that I *do* like: They say "..deliver us from the Evil One" rather than simply "...deliver us from evil."  IOW, in the ROCOR's version, evil is personified, something we too often forget in our modern world, which rejects belief in hell, Satan, devils and demons.

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Offline Mudriy

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2002, 02:33:20 AM »
Trespasses flows better; I could live with both.

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2002, 07:57:46 AM »
Trespasses: it is the Catholic and Anglican translation and part of my language, even though the Latin says debita nostra and debitoribus nostris.

Do you really call people tresspasers and call your wrong tresspases in your natural language? I would think that people more often use the word debts and debtors in everyday American English language.
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Offline SamB

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2002, 08:33:27 AM »
I haven't noticed a difference in the wording that Melkites and Orthodox use in the Lord's Prayer

Ironically, the difference is in the Arabic form of the prayer.

Both of us do say "the Evil One" however ("ash'shar'reer" rather than "ash'shar").

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« Last Edit: December 18, 2002, 12:58:12 PM by SamB »

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2002, 11:39:40 AM »
My personal preference is for "trespasses", since it is what I first learned, and, in my experience, is the translation used by most Christians in America (at least the ones I've encountered).  It flows better, and it's good to be able to pray at least the Lord's Prayer with other Christians who might not share our Orthodox faith.

With that said, I should say something in support of "debts", which is what we use in our English translations in church, along with "the Evil One" instead of "evil".  What follows made its first appearance at youretc.com, but because it was not "Magisterium-loyal-Papally-Promulgated", it probably helped to get me banned.   ;)  

In Syriac, the language in which Jesus would've spoken, the Lord's Prayer goes like this:

Abun d-bashmayo
nithqadash shmokh
tithe malkuthokh
nehwe sebyonokh
aykano d-bashmayo oph baro
hab lan lahmo d-sunqonan yowmono
washbuq lan hawbayn wahtohayn
aykano doph hnan shbaqan l-hayobayn
lo talan l-nesyuno
elo paso lan men bisho

metul d-dylokh hi malkutho
whaylo wteshbuhto
lolam olmin
Amin


The phrase that is of concern to us in this discussion is washbuq lan hawbayn wahtohayn aykano doph hnan shbaqan l-hayobayn.  When this is literally translated, what we have is "forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors".  This differs from "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".  The latter seems to ask God to forgive us in the same measure with which we forgive others.  The former, Syriac version says something different; it asks God to forgive us just as we have already forgiven those who sinned against us.  It presumes that, before daring to call upon God for forgiveness, we have already done our part in forgiving others.  When you think about it, this makes sense since, in the Gospel, Our Lord admonished us that if we are going to offer something to God, and then we remember that we have something against our brother, we are not to offer that gift, but rather set it aside, go to our brother and reconcile, and then only should we approach God with our oblation.  It makes sense with Christ's teaching in the Gospel that before we ask for forgiveness, we should offer forgiveness to others.      
 
And that's why Syriac is better than English.   :P
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Offline moronikos

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2002, 11:55:40 AM »
Trespasses.

However, even the Douay-Rheims translation has "debts" and not "trespasses".  I've seen some 16th century Anglican translations and they use "trespasses".  Did the RCs use "trespasses" first, or did the Anglicans?
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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2002, 09:58:51 PM »
We in the OCA Diocese of the South use debts, debtors, and the evil one as well as "Grant this O Lord" during litanies.  Also I used debts and the evil one when I was a protestant so that is what is most comfortable for me.
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Offline The young fogey

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2002, 09:27:18 AM »
Quote
We in the OCA Diocese of the South use debts, debtors, and the evil one as well as "Grant this O Lord" during litanies.  Also I used debts and the evil one when I was a protestant so that is what is most comfortable for me.  

Not surprising really considering the South's Protestant heritage.

I am literal-minded when to comes to debts and debtors - makes me think of Dickens-era debtor's prisons.

Actually, rather than trespassers (which makes me think of no-hunting, etc. signs) the closest word I'd use is more churchspeak: transgressors, transgressions, an elegant Latinate construction learnt from the Prayer Book and familiar through repeated use in the Byzantine Rite translations I use.

I don't use Deliver us from the evil one but can agree with its appeal. Perhaps like Our Father, who art in the heavens*, it may be a literal translation of the Slavonic -+-â-¦-¦-¦-ï-¦, genitive -+-â-¦-¦-¦-¦-¦-+ (the dictionary says in today's Russian it is an adjective meaning 'crafty', 'wily' - oh, and the modern Russian ending would be --+-¦-+).

I don't know who first used trespasses in English, the Anglicans or the Catholics, but it is ironic that as somebody pointed out the Douay Bible says debts, following the Latin.

*I don't use it but still get a kick out of the Prayer Book's Captain Kidd-sounding Our Father, which art in heaven.
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Offline Frobie

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2002, 04:16:21 PM »
Hhahahhaha, "which art in heaven"! So new age. I can see the sign interpreter now!

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Offline Brigid of Kildare

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2002, 06:09:43 PM »
There is an interesting page on translations of the Pater Noster in Early Middle and Late Modern English at the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University. I always understood that the trespasses/trespassers translation came from the Book of Common Prayer but this site seems to suggest that both were in use before this.

http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/ballc/oe/pater_noster.html

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Offline Brigid of Kildare

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Re:Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2002, 07:33:40 PM »
Another link to an article dealing with this very subject by a Congregationalist minister:

http://www.uccmanhasset.org/forgiveusourdebts.pdf
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2005, 09:08:57 AM »
Fwiw...

Quote
Since many of the modernist Orthodox jurisdictions have a preference for Protestant, rather than Orthodox Christian translations of Scripture and prayers, a conflict arises over the translation of the Greek words... (ofeilemata/ofeiletais). Should they be translated correctly as "debts/debtors," or should we simply accept the Protesant version, "traspasses/trespassers?"

In Matthew's Gospel, the words used in the original Greek are [ofeilemata and ofeiletais] which can mean only debts/debtors (lit. one who owes something to someone). This same word is used in Rm. 1:14 ("I am a debtor..."), and in Rm. 8:12; 15:27; Gal. 5:3. In each of these instances it is translated as "debtor," and could not be translated in any other way. There is a completely different word in Greek which could be translated as "trespass." This word is paraptoma, which literally means "falling aside," and it has no relationship whatsoever to any word used in the Lord's Prayer.

In Luke's Gospel, the literal reading of the prayer is "forgive us our sins (amartias) as we forgive those who owe us (ofeilonti)," literally, our debtors. Thus, there is no logical or realistic way the word "traspasses" could be read into either rendition of the "Lord's Prayer" in the Scripture. - Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, Understanding the Divine Liturgy (Scripture In the Liturgy), (Synaxis Press, 1996), p. 57

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2005, 11:46:07 AM »
Thanks, Paradosis. I grew up with 'debts/debtors' and wondered at why the pew books are now different. If I complain at my GOA parish, Fr Stephanos will just say "Then read the Greek side only"!
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Offline Irish Melkite

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2005, 12:11:48 PM »
Quote
In Luke's Gospel, the literal reading of the prayer is "forgive us our sins (amartias) as we forgive those who owe us (ofeilonti)," literally, our debtors. Thus, there is no logical or realistic way the word "traspasses" could be read into either rendition of the "Lord's Prayer" in the Scripture. - Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, Understanding the Divine Liturgy (Scripture In the Liturgy), (Synaxis Press, 1996), p. 57

I find that I really like the Archbishop's citation from Luke with respect to the first half of the petition (forgive us our sins), but the latter half doesn't grab me.

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Offline J

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2005, 12:36:45 PM »
I like debts, but I use trespasses because that's what we use in church, and therefore consequently, is what my wife is more comfortable with when we bless the food, etc.  I prefer debts/debtors and the evil one (as opposed to evil) in my personal rendition though.  There definitely is a big difference between transgressions and transgressors (as in what we do wrong and others who do us wrong), and debts/debtors (that which we've accrued against God and those who have accrued against us).

One thing that's nice about Arabic is that it's such a religiously-tinted language.  It's hard to lose the real meaning of religious words (in fact, you often find that it enhances the meaning) when you use Arabic.  I have an Arabic/English Bible, and it has all of the odd new English translations, but when you read the Arabic, it translates into something closer to The Septuagint and the Greek Gospel.

Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2005, 01:11:01 PM »
hmmm, Justin does the author of that bit you posted say which tollhouse one will wind up at if you say the wrong translation?

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2005, 02:30:25 PM »
I'm not sure I copy what you're saying, other than that it's humor.  I'm sure God's not going to shut anyone out because they say trespasses instead of debts!

Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2005, 06:28:56 PM »
It was humor directed at the other Justin's (Paradosis) quoting Bishop Lazar Puhalo about this.  Just from my glance at his writtings he seems to find the stain of the "gnostic heresy of toll houses" in EVERYTHING.  The man is obsessed with being anti- Fr. Seraphim Rose....  Because of Puhalo and others in Canada that fanaticaly anti - toll house a monk that I know said that je jokingly asked his Abbot if before he died he could move to Canada since apparently there aren't any toll houses there. 

Offline admiralnick

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2005, 05:35:17 PM »
I prefer trespasses but I have a somewhat unique way of looking at it so be patient with me. LOL

Being an accounting major and working as an accountant, I tend to see the words debt and debtors as relating to monetary concerns and wealth. Now my theological part tells me that if thats the case that I wouldn't want to bring money into the Our Father prayer. But it doesn't matter to me, when we get a standardized Our Father, I'll use that one. If that ever happens.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Debts or Trespasses?
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2005, 06:00:00 PM »
Hey, admiralnick!
Welcome to our forum!
As to a standardized version,...well, it is in Greek and Slavonic<grin>

I have wondered if originally this prayer as taught by our Lord wasn't inspired by the Jewish day of atonement which, if I recall, specifically notes debts and debtors.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2005, 06:00:41 PM by +æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é »
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