What does the Lord’s Prayer really say in the original Greek?

By: | Post date: 2015-12-17 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics

Like a lot of Ancient Greek verbs, aphiēmi has an impossibly broad range of meaning. Literally, it means “send from”. If you look at the range of meanings in LSJ (which is Classical Greek rather than Biblical Greek, but that helps us avoid the temptation of theologically influenced glosses), you’ll find:

I. send forth

II. send away

II.1.b. let go a person, release a person; and as a ditransitve, release a person from  something, acquit someone from something.

As others have said, releasing someone from a debt is the same thing as forgiving someone’s debt. (In fact, one of the instances of “release a person” given is from Polybius, “release them untaxed”, i.e. let them not pay their taxes.) But the concept involved is  forgiving a debt (or “trespass”), not  forgiving in general.

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