Matthew 6:8 wrote:μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς, οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν.
thomas.hagen wrote:I am particularly interested in the phrase: "πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰῆσαι αὐτόν". I have a commentary of the Greek text which states that the use of the aorist infinitive indicates that Jesus is talking about requests which actually do not need to be made (or perhaps should not be made). As I tend to think that this is what Jesus implies in "μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς", I would appreciate knowing B-Greek members' opinions on this.
Without the ὑμᾶς (a subject), I think that the infinitive in πρὸ τοῦ ... αἰῆσαι αὐτόν could be referring to the action in an abstract sense, but with the ὑμᾶς, πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰῆσαι αὐτόν refers to someone actually doing it. But there is no implication that the action itself should not be done.
Another way to look at it is to paraphrase a bit...
If we think of an alternative construction in the aorist imperative, μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς, αἰτήσασθε χωρὶς πολυλογίᾶς
ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε, ὅτι ἤδη οἶδεν ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε, and compare how that could be different. Obviously a direct command to do something would mean that it should
be done, but doesn't really imply that it needs
to be done. My addition of χωρὶς πολυλογίᾶς / ἅπαξ / ἁπλῶς all of course are based on the previous verse.
Matthew 6:7 wrote:Προσευχόμενοι δὲ μὴ βαττολογήσητε, ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί· δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται.
Having expanded the sense out like that, we can ask whether
that properly expresses the intended sense of the πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν, or whether the sense of the πρό could / should actually be taken to imply that my construction αἰτήσασθε ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε is wrong, and we should understand it as μὴ αἰτήσασθε ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε. To answer that we need to understand the use of πρό better
A πρό seems to usually imply a simple marking of sequence order, rather than have the sense of a prohibition. For example,
John 1:48 wrote:Λέγει αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ, Πόθεν με γινώσκεις; Ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Πρὸ τοῦ σε Φίλιππον φωνῆσαι, ὄντα ὑπὸ τὴν συκῆν, εἶδόν σε.
Here Jesus knowing Nathaniel's name, before it was spoken out by Philip, did not stop or reduce the need for Philip to say it with the context of the greeting. (Nathaniel also knew his own name, so Philip didn't need to repeat it over and over again).
Another way of paraphrasing might be like
John 13:19 wrote:Ἀπ’ ἄρτι λέγω ὑμῖν πρὸ τοῦ γενέσθαι, ἵνα, ὅταν γένηται, πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι.
καὶ οἶδεν ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν, ἵνα, ὅταν προσεύχησθε, μὴ (πολλάκις) αἰτεῖσθε, ἀλλὰ (ἅπαξ) αἰτήσασθε. That of course raises the question of range of meaning (semantic domains) of προσευχή and αἴτησις.
In regard to semantics, the implication of the commentary that you are reading is that αἴτησις is not part of the meaning of προσευχή. (Jesus is saying that we should pray, and not request) In my thinking, that is an unsustainable. It is my opinion that προσευχή is an umbrella term, and αἴτησις (along with εὐχή, δοξολογία and αἴνεσις) is one of the things that it could
refer to at any time it is used, i.e. αἴτησις is a type of προσευχή.