Jesus speaks poetry
An interesting observation about the probable rhythmic and rhymed style of Jesus' original sayings, from the article entitled, The Lord's Prayer, by Jack Kilmon:
"This author [Jack Kilmon] believes that one of Jesus’ disciples, probably Levi Mattathia ben Alfai (Matthew), wrote down notable sayings of Jesus both during and after his sermons. Written in Aramaic, this collection of sayings would be referred to as the "Oracles of the Lord" by Eusebius in his Church History written in the 4th century. Some scholars, capable of isolating these sayings in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, would call the source "Q." The Lord’s Prayer may have been contained, in it’s original form, in this collection of sayings. A "fingerprint" of Jesus’ sayings seems to be a two-four beat rhythm and rhyming. This was a device of good oratory of the time that assisted listeners in remembering what was said . . . Scholars learned to identify much of the "Q Source" material as genuine Yeshuine sayings by this meter and rhyme when the Greek of the New Testament record was "retroverted" to the Aramaic of Jesus."
One cannot help but see a parallel with the extensive use of iambic pentameter (blank verse) in the Course.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
The Language of the Lord’s Prayer
The Hebrew language, in 1st century Palestine, was used for scriptural and scholarly writings. The weekly synagogue readings (the Sidra, Parashah, and Haphtarah) were always accompanied with an Aramaic translation. These oral translations of the Hebrew lections to Aramaic would eventually be written down in the Targumim. The Gemara of the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud were written in Eastern (Babylonian) Aramaic. Why did the Jewish people speak Aramaic and not Hebrew? Aramaic was the language of commerce of the Persian Empire and was used widely from the Indus Valley to Egypt. It became the language of the Jewish people by conquest, first when the Israelites were deported by Tiglath-Pileser III in 732 BCE in the first Assyrian invasion. The northern tribes were deported in 721 BCE when Sargon II made Israel an Assyrian province and finally the Judeans in 587 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar. There is, in a sense, some irony to this since these Mesopotamian conquerors came from the land that gave birth to Abraham. Aramaic was the language of the ancestor of the Jewish people. What is known as the Hebrew Language in the New Testament was called the Lip of Canaan in the Old Testament. Abraham and the Patriarchs adopted the language and script of the Phoenicians. The aftermath of the "Babylonian Captivity" resulted in a readoption of the Aramaic ancestral language of Abraham. The "Hebrew" script used today is actually the Aramaic Square Script which replaced the Phoenician script known as "Old Hebrew" about 200 BCE. Old Hebrew is exemplified by the Moabite stone inscription, the Lachish letters, and the Siloam inscription. Most Christians are surprised to learn that until the adoption of Hebrew as the official language of the State of Israel in 1948, it had not been the vernacular of the Jewish people for over 2500 years.
The recording of the Lord’s Prayer from the mouth of Jesus
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
In retroversion to the Aramaic of Jesus, however, it becomes (transliterated):
BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED
The reader need not know Aramaic to read these transliterations and get a sense of the beautiful rhyming oratorical style of our Lord and feel the impact of his true voice.
Do the Gospels record the original rendition of the Lord’s Prayer?
There are two renditions of the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospels. One is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and a shorter version in Luke 11:2-4. Since both are different, which one records the exact words of Jesus? In fact, the logical conclusion is that no ONE form of the two versions records the original ipsissima vox Jesu (exact words of Jesus). Jesus also could have repeated the words at different times in sermons using variations. Both versions reflect editorial modifications by the authors of the Gospels to reflect the liturgical traditions of the separate groups of Greek speaking Christians to which the authors subscribed. The Gospel writers were not as concerned about the EXACT words of Jesus as much as conveying the sense of their liturgical tradition as the INTENT of Jesus’ words. Let us first look at these two renderings in the Greek of the Gospel writers (taken from the Codex Sinaiticus, c. 325CE and other ancient texts), English and an Aramaic retroversion.