There are times when the canonical gospels just seem out of the loop for some reason, and the injunction to pray for one's enemies is one of those times:
Justin Martyr, 1 Apology 14.3: 3 We who hated and destroyed one another, and on account of their different manners would not live with men of a different tribe, now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them and pray for our enemies (= Didache 1.3; Matthew 5.44 = Luke 6.27-28; 2 Clement 13.3-4), and we endeavour to persuade those who hate us unjustly to live comformably to the good precepts of Christ, to the end that they may become partakers with us of the same joyful hope of a reward from God the ruler of all. / 3 Οἱ μισάλληλοι δὲ καὶ ἀλληλοφόνοι καὶ πρὸς τοὺς οὐχ ὁμοφύλους διὰ τὰ ἔθη καὶ ἑστίας κοινὰς μὴ ποιούμενοι, νῦν μετὰ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὁμοδίαιτοι γινόμενοι, καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν εὐχόμενοι, καὶ τοὺς ἀδίκως μισοῦντας πείθειν πειρώμενοι, ὅπως οἱ κατὰ τὰς τοῦ Χριστοῦ καλὰς ὑποθημοσύνας βιώσαντες εὐέλπιδες ὦσι σὺν ἡμῖν τῶν αὐτῶν παρὰ τοῦ πάντων δεσπόζοντος θεοῦ τυχεῖν.
Justin Martyr, 1 Apology 15.9: 9 And of our love to all, He taught thus, “If you love those who love you, what new thing do you do? For even fornicators do this. But I say unto you, pray for your enemies and love those who hate you, and bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (= Didache 1.3; Matthew 5.44 = Luke 6.27-28; 2 Clement 13.3-4). / 9 Περὶ δὲ τοῦ στέργειν ἅπαντας ταῦτα ἐδίδαξεν, «Εἰ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, τί καινὸν ποιεῖτε; καὶ γὰρ οἱ πόρνοι τοῦτο ποιοῦσιν. ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμῖν λέγω· εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς καὶ εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν καὶ εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς.»
Justin Martyr, Dialogue 35.8: 8 “Wherefore we pray for you (= Didache 1.3; Matthew 5.44 = Luke 6.27-28; 2 Clement 13.3-4) and for all other men who hate us; in order that you, having repented along with us, may not blaspheme Him who, by His works, by the mighty deeds even now wrought through His name, by the words He taught, by the prophecies announced concerning Him, is the blameless, and in all things irreproachable, Christ Jesus, but, believing on Him, may be saved in His second glorious advent, and may not be condemned to fire by Him.” / 8 «Διὸ καὶ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἐχθραινόντων ἡμῖν εὐχόμεθα, ἵνα μεταγνόντες σὺν ἡμῖν μὴ βλασφημῆτε τὸν διά τε τῶν ἔργων καὶ τῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ καὶ νῦν γινομένων δυνάμεων καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν τῆς διδαχῆς λόγων καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν προφητευθεισῶν εἰς αὐτὸν προφητειῶν ἄμωμον καὶ ἀνέγκλητον κατὰ πάντα Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν, ἀλλὰ πιστεύσαντες εἰς αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ πάλιν γενησομένῃ ἐνδόξῳ αὐτοῦ παρουσίᾳ σωθῆτε καὶ μὴ καταδικασθῆτε εἰς τὸ πῦρ ὑπ´ αὐτοῦ.»
Justin Martyr, Dialogue 96.3: 3 “And in addition to all this we pray for you, that Christ may have mercy upon you. For He taught us to pray for our enemies also saying, ‘Love your enemies; be kind and merciful, as your heavenly Father is’ (= Matthew 5.45a = Luke 6.36). For we see that the Almighty God is kind and merciful, causing His sun to rise on the unthankful and on the righteous, and sending rain on the holy and on the wicked (= Matthew 5.45), all of whom He has taught us He will judge.” / 3 «Καὶ πρὸς τούτοις πᾶσιν εὐχόμεθα ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἵνα ἐλεηθῆτε ὑπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ. οὗτος γὰρ ἐδίδαξεν ἡμᾶς καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν εὔχεσθαι εἰπών, ‹Γίνεσθε χρηστοὶ καὶ οἰκτίρμονες, ὡς καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος.› καὶ γὰρ τὸν παντοκράτορα θεὸν χρηστὸν καὶ οἰκτίρμονα ὁρῶμεν, τὸν ἥλιον αὐτοῦ ἀνατέλλοντα ἐπὶ ἀχαρίστους καὶ δικαίους, καὶ βρέχοντα ἐπὶ ὁσίους καὶ πονηρούς, οὓς πάντας ὅτι καὶ κρίνειν μέλλει ἐδίδαξε.»
Justin Martyr, Dialogue 133.6: 6 “For verily your hand is high to commit evil, because you slew the Christ and do not repent of it; but, so far from that, you hate and murder us who have believed through Him in the God and Father of all as often as you can, and you curse Him without ceasing, as well as those who side with Him, while all of us pray for you, and for all men, as our Christ and Lord taught us to do, when He enjoined us to pray even for our enemies (= Didache 1.3; Matthew 5.44 = Luke 6.27-28; 2 Clement 13.3-4), and to love those who hate us, and to bless those who curse us.” / 6 «Ἔτι γὰρ ἀληθῶς ἡ χεὶρ ὑμῶν πρὸς κακοποιΐαν ὑψηλή, ὅτι καὶ τὸν Χριστὸν ἀποκτείναντες οὐδ´ οὕτως μετανοεῖτε, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡμᾶς, τοὺς πιστεύσαντας δι´ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ τῶν ὅλων, μισεῖτε καὶ φονεύετε, ὁσάκις ἂν λάβητε ἐξουσίαν, ἀδιαλείπτως δὲ καταρᾶσθε αὐτῷ τε ἐκείνῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀπ´ αὐτοῦ, πάντων ἡμῶν εὐχομένων ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἁπλῶς ἀνθρώπων, ὡς ὑπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου ποιεῖν ἐδιδάχθημεν, παραγγείλαντος ἡμῖν εὔχεσθαι καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν καὶ ἀγαπᾶν τοὺς μισοῦντας καὶ εὐλογεῖν τοὺς καταρωμένους.»
2 Clement 13.3-4: 3 For when gentiles hear the oracles of God from our mouth, they are astonished at their beauty and greatness. Then when they discover that our actions do not match our words, they turn from astonishment to blasphemy, saying that our faith is some kind of myth and error. 4 For, on the one hand, they hear from us that God has said, “It is no great accomplishment for you to love those who love you; it is great if you love your enemies and those who hate you” (= Luke 6.32, 35). And when they hear these things, they are astonished by their extraordinary goodness. But then when they see that we fail to love not only those who hate us, but even those who love us, they ridicule us and the name is blasphemed. / 3 Τὰ ἔθνη γὰρ ἀκούοντα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἡμῶν τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς καλὰ καὶ μεγάλα θαυμάζει· ἔπειτα καταματων ὧν λέγομεν, ἔνθεν εἰς βλασφημίαν τρέπονται, λέγοντες εἶναι μῦθόν τινα καὶ πλάνην. 4 ὅταν γὰρ ἀκούσωσιν παρ´ ἡμῶν ὅτι λέγει ὁ θεός, «Οὐ χάρις ὑμῖν εἰ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς ἀλλὰ χάρις ὑμῖν, εἰ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς καὶ τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς.» ταῦτα ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν, θαυμάζουσιν τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῆς ἀγαθότητος· ὅταν δὲ ἴδωσιν, ὅτι οὐ μόνον τοὺς μισοῦντας οὐκ ἀγαπῶμεν, ἀλλ´ ὅτι οὐδὲ τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας, καταγελῶσιν ἡμῶν, καὶ βλασφημεῖται τὸ ὄνομα.
Didache 1.3: 3 This is the teaching relating to these matters. Bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For why is it so great to love those who love you? Do the Gentiles not do this as well? But you should love those who hate you — then you will have no enemy. / 3 Τούτων δὲ τῶν λόγων ἡ διδαχή ἐστιν αὕτη· εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν, νηστεύετε δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς· ποία γὰρ χάρις, ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς; οὐχὶ καὶ τὰ ἔθνη τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν; ὑμεῖς δὲ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς καὶ οὐχ ἕξετε ἐχθρόν.
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1224, fragment 2 recto, column 1, lines 2b-3a: 2b-3a [Κ]αὶ π[ρ]οσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ [τῶν ἐχθ]ρῶν ὑμῶν.
Pseudo-Clementine Homilies 12.32.1: 1 Δίκαιος δέ ἐστιν ἐκεῖνος ὁ τοῦ εὐλόγου ἕνεκα τῇ φύσει μαχόμενος. οἷον πᾶσιν πρόσεστιν ἐκ φύσεως φιλοῦντας φιλεῖν, δίκαιος πειρᾶται καὶ ἐχθροὺς ἀγαπᾶν καὶ λοιδοροῦντας εὐλογεῖν, ἔτι μὴν καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐχθρῶν εὔχεσθαι.
Matthew 5.44: 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” / 44 «Ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν· ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς.»
Luke 6.27-28: 27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” / 27 «Ἀλλ᾽ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς ἀκούουσιν· ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν, καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, 28 εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς, προσεύχεσθε περὶ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς.»
Code: Select all
1 Apology 14.3: καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν εὐχόμενοι
1 Apology 15.9: καὶ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς | εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν
Dialogue 35.8: ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν | εὐχόμεθα
Dialogue 96.3: ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν εὔχεσθαι
Dialogue 133.6: καὶ ἀγαπᾶν τοὺς μισοῦντας | εὔχεσθαι καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν
2 Clement 13.4: ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς καὶ τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς
Didache 1.3: ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς | προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν
Oxyrhynchus 1224: καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν
Homilies 12.32.1: ἐχθροὺς ἀγαπᾶν ὑπὲρ ἐχθρῶν εὔχεσθαι
Matthew 5.44: ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς
Luke 6.27: ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν | προσεύχεσθε περὶ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς
The first five passages on that list are from Justin Martyr. 2 Clement 13.4 goes its own way, but the rest of the passages, with the exception of Matthew 5.44 = Luke 6.27, all enjoin us to pray for our enemies. The canonical pair enjoins us, rather, to love our enemies and pray for those who mistreat or persecute us. It is as if the accepted agreement was to ignore Matthew and Luke for this particular command and go with a slightly different wording.
One doubts they all decided to make this change to the canonical gospels independently; it is not a completely unnatural one to make, but by no means is it inevitable, either. So one then has to wonder what the original source of the noncanonical wording is. The Didache
, perhaps, or one of its sources?
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1224
? It is suspected by some, on account of its first person singular in fragment 2 recto
, column 2, to be a fragment of the gospel of Peter, but certainty is not to be had on that matter; Justin Martyr bears parallels in other regards to the gospel of Peter
, though, so the possible connection is tempting.
If, perchance, the source were thought to be a gospel harmony which many think Justin used, then in this case the task was apparently not to harmonize, since both Matthew and Luke agree with each other against
this alternate reading.
A quick check for variants in Matthew and Luke reveals some intracanonical harmonization, but nothing in the direction of the alternate reading, so far as have found so far.