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The Lord'S Prayer In Patristic Literature

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Chapter Summary

According to Jules Lebreton, the Lord?s Prayer was the biblical text most commented upon in ancient Christian literature. This chapter sides with the scholars who regard the square as pre-Christian, dissolvable as a cryptogram into other word sequences (e.g., PATER-N-SOTER), so that it does not tell the readers anything about the early Christian use of the Lord?s Prayer. For Christian theologians, the framework of the text of the Lord?s Prayer in the Gospels gave it additional significance. The author owes most of the surviving patristic expositions of the Lord?s Prayer to its liturgical use, especially in the context of baptism. In his Letter to Proba, Augustine answers very much like the philosophers: ?Pray for the beata vita, the happy life. All humans desire it.? Many of the texts owe their association with the ?Our Father? to the liturgy, i.e., to the familiar lessons read at baptism or eucharist.

Keywords: ancient Christian literature; Augustine; baptism; Christian theologian; eucharistic liturgy; Lord?s Prayer; pater noster; patristic exposition

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