Pope Francis said a few months ago, in an interview with the Italian Bishops’ Conference on TV, that he did not like translating the Father into this language, especially regarding the sixth petition which was written in Italian ‘E non c’ indurre in tentazione, which would be in Portuguese’ And don’t let us fall into temptation.”
Francis made it clear that it is Satan, not God, who gives us temptation or leads us to it, and he praised the French Church, which, in 2017, adopted the phrase “leading us not to temptation.”
However, the Pope did not mention that this is the version that the Portuguese and Spaniards have been praying for centuries and that this is the version he learned as a child, being Argentine.
But looking at the ancient languages of Christianity, the truth is that Portuguese and Spanish are curious exceptions in this matter. With the exception of the languages of the autonomous regions of Spain, which are naturally influenced by Castilian, the only other European language in which it is said “do not lead us into temptation” is one of the dialects of Sardinia, which is spoken in Sardinia, but there, too, the most natural thing is to be Under Castilian influence, Spain controlled the island for hundreds of years.
The exception would have been confined to the Iberian corner of Europe were it not for the fact that Spain and Portugal were primarily responsible for bringing Christianity to much of the world, including many parts of Asia, Africa and South America.
By faith, the Iberian version of the Apana, also still found in Japanese, Tetum, spoken in East Timor, in Konkanim and Indo-Portuguese, and in India, Tagalog, the present language of the Philippines, also passed on.
Although the French applauded the move, Francis did not go so far as to suggest other countries should follow suit. However, as expected, the discussion was launched and the Italian bishops will discuss the amendment at a meeting in November. The German bishops had already discussed this matter, but chose not to change.
But is the Portuguese translation correct? From a literal point of view, it is not so, as the biblical scholar and Franciscan friar Bernardo Almeida explains: “Simply put, a near-perfect translation would be something like ‘Do not advance us/Do not make us go into distress.’ That would be a literal translation. We have a verb here. , which is “eisphérō,” which means “bring to” or “present.” “Don’t advance, don’t take us,” he explains.
But the monk explains, at once, that “Even a literal translation is always an approximation. It is important not to forget that our communication is not exactly what is written, but what is written. Therefore, we often have the same expression or the same word, but with different meanings.”
In this sense, the Bible scholar sees no reason for much controversy or concern. “It does not seem to me at all that we pray in different ways, from the point of view of meaning, because the meaning is very clear. God is our supreme good, our Father, everything works together for our good,” he says.
In search of the origin of the fall
But where does the Iberian translation favored by Pope Francis come from, even though it is not the most literal?
The first copies of the Our Father in Portuguese and Spanish date from the 14th and 15th centuries and are in most cases commentaries or paraphrases of prayers. In the Portuguese case, there is a 14th-century Catechism that says “That is why we say: et ne nos inducas in temptationem, which means forbid us, Lord, from accepting temptation.”
Over the following centuries, the norm is the absence of rules. The variety of different translations shows that there is no central text used as a reference for the authors. The rule in both liturgical and personal recitation is Latin, and each one, when he has to translate, does so in his own way, from “Do not let us fall into temptation,” to “Do not lead us into temptation,” through “Do not let us be overcome by temptation.”
The first text in which Renaissance I was able to find an example of “Don’t let us fall” in “Livro de Horas” in Portuguese, published in Paris in 1501, but even in this volume there is also a version with “Don’t make us temptation”.
And after this publication the variety remained, although one often begins to see what would become the final phrase in both Portuguese and Spanish, including in Gil Vicente, in “Auto da Cananeia”, written in 1534, which in Dialogue about the Father writes: “And with the intent of groaning, children, you should ask Him not to lead you into any temptation that might destroy you.”
Apparently, the use of “don’t let us down” has simply become routine, but it cannot be excluded that this is an alternative to the aforementioned “don’t let us down”. If it is true that the expressions have different meanings, since this requires the presence of a person who commits the act of overthrowing, then in both cases the result is a fall.
Portugal has two main references to the translation of the Bible into the vernacular. This was done by João Ferreira de Almeida, a Protestant, in 1681 and in our Father’s translation he uses “Não nos metas”, but when Antonio Pereira de Figueiredo gave his translation in 1778, he actually used “não we let them fall”.
Another curious fact is the complete absence of academic research on the subject so far. In fact, the various specialists who are with them Renaissance I spoke unanimously in saying that not only did they know how to explain the discrepancy between the Portuguese translation of the Our Father and the Greek original, but they had never thought of it. Reactions from among them varied.
If, on the one hand, a well-known biblical scholar informed Renaissance that he was not interested in cooperating because “the problem is not relevant”, and shortly thereafter, the translator of classical languages Frederico Lourenzo, who is currently doing a new translation of the Bible from the original languages, looked into investigating the Renaissance “Very exciting,” though I regretted not being able to help explain the phenomenon.
The version Frederico Lourenço uses also differs from what is usually prayed in Portuguese: “Don’t take us to the test.”
Our Father is the only prayer that Christ teaches directly to his disciples, and therefore it is of great importance to Christians. The Bible has two versions, one in the Gospel of Matthew and the other in Saint Mark. The transcripts present small but oddly enough variations that they are completely identical in this sixth petition.
Jesus spoke Aramaic with his disciples, but the Gospels were written in Greek, so the language in which current translations are based today is Biblical Greek.