Anglican bishop Kenneth W. Stevenson calls the Lord's Prayer the ''possession of the whole human race.'' He's glad history and biblical theorists have yet to settle its questions of interpretation and form. Glad its position in public worship continues to be debated. Glad for the rich fabric of its Jewish heritage; that it issued from the mouth of a humble rabbi. Primarily a historical treatment, Stevenson's book looks at biblical and Jewish evidence, the patristic East and West (complete with liturgical details), the later East (post-schism) and medieval West, the Middle Ages, Reformation and Counter-Refomation in all their dissonance, and the modern period through today. His sources include major figures from each period - Origen, Ephrem, Chrysostom, Maximus, Augustine, Cassian, Germanus, Anselm, Eckhart, Lombard, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Taylor, Spurgeon, Keble, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Schmemann... Okay, we'll stop - and his survey is informed without turning dry or stale. Quoting Origen's warning that ''God is not to be reached by word,'' Stevenson guards himself and us against too literal a theology, pointing out the apophatic quality and reticence of the Lord's Prayer and how its minimalistic focus on dependence produces in us prayers for ''the hungry, reconciliation for the unforgiving and unforgiven, and the capacity to move trustingly into an uncertain future.''
An Eighth Day View:
This magisterial study surveys the contributions of biblical scholars and theologians from the early patristic writers to the modern era, from eastern and western traditions, and from Catholic and Reformed, Enlightenment and Modernist sources to the interpretation of the Lord's Prayer.