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On Thursday, December 2, 2004, at 03:22 , And Rosta wrote:
[snip]
> Eh? There are a number of Present Day English versions (at least
> of the NT,

..and of the complete Bible. I well understand your "Eh?" I was taught of
the existence of modern translations when I was at school in the 1950s!

> though necessarily not the Book of Common Prayer,

That would be a bit like having a modern English version of Shakespeare.
But in fact the Church of England did want to revise the Book of Common
Prayer back in the 1920s, and a revised version was by Convocation in 1927
& 1928. However, as the Church is established in law it meant it could not
replace the older book without the approval of the British Parliament
which rejected it down. However, the 1928 revision, tho not replacing the
1662 book, was widely used in CofE churches back in the 1950s - I left it
in 1961. Since then I understand an 'Alternative Services Book' which
contains, so I understand, alternaive forms of services some being
revisions of the BCP and some entirely in modern English - but I do not
know the 'present state of play'.

> afaik
> -- these two being the source of the bestknown debts/traspesses versions)
> .

The source of both 'debts' and 'trespasses' is in fact the Greek NT. A
literal translation of Matthew 6:12 is:
"And forgive us our debts, as also we have forgiven our debtors"

After the prayer, in verses 14 & 15, Jesus is quoted as adding by way of
explanation:
"For if you forgive people their trespasses [parapto:mata], your heavenly
father will forgive you also; but if you do not forgive people, neither
will your heavenly father forgive your trespasses."

For that reason, when the prayer is excerpted from the passage for
liturgical use, the "trespasses" from the explanatory bit afterwards, has
been substituted for 'debts' to make it more meaningful. But this
tradition in English must be older the Book of Common Prayer as it was and
still is traditional in Catholic use which was quite independent of the
PCP.

A modern translation, if it is a translation and not a paraphrase, must
leave 'debts' in Matt. 6:12 - after all debts are probably even more a
feature of modern life than they were of the 1st cent CE when the Matthew
was written!

But a modern translation might chose something else than 'trespasses' -
tho the concept of trespassing is hardly an unknown one. The Greek
_parapto:mata_ is the plural of _parapto:ma_ "a straying from the path"

_pto:ma_ is a neuter noun derived from the stem -pt- (ablaut grades
-pet- ~ -pot-) "fall". The verb "to fall" is _pi-pt-ein_. The noun
_pto:ma_ could literally mean "a fall" but could also mean "ruin",
"calamity", "misfortune".

_para-_ as a prefix meant either "alongside of" (cf. parallel) or "to the
side of"

  So:
_parapto:ma_ was a "falling to the side", it denote a straying from the
path (quite literally), hence trespassing; it could also mean an error or
a blunder in a more general sense.

The modern version I have in front of me (The Jerusalem Bible) translates
it thus:
"Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will
forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not
forgive your failings either."

Returning from the NT to the liturgical use of the Pater Noster - about 30
years back IIRC a common form in modern English was agreed between all the
main Christian churches in the UK and it was intended that this would
replace the traditional 'outdated' wording. It has not happened and the
reasons seems to have been congregations generally (I imagine there were
exceptions) simply did not want to change. It reminds me a bit of the
early days of Esperanto when Zamenhof proposed several changes, but the
rank & file Esperantists did not want the language changed. People simply
get used to things  :)

> Presumably some [Present Day English versions] are available online too.

You presume correctly    :)

Ray
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Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason."      [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]