[b-hebrew] Mark 15:34, Mat 27:46, & Psalm 22

Trevor Peterson 06peterson at cua.edu
Tue Apr 20 05:41:46 EDT 2004

Peter Kirk wrote:

> But Mark's "Eloi" sounds more like Hebrew Elohi, suggesting that Jesus 
> was misquoting Hebrew (or quoting a different Hebrew text), i.e. using a 
> different word for "God", for the first half of the verse. Matthew's 
> "Eli" looks like a correction to match the Hebrew better. Neither form 
> is Aramaic, surely.

Surely? Do we know enough about the vocalization of Aramaic in all its 
spoken dialects from this period to say? JPA vocalizes elaha with 
short-e in the first syllable. The Western tradition of Syriac exhibits 
the same sort of rounding trend that we find in the so-called Canaanite 
shift, as in aloho. Both of these effects seem to be more broadly 
geographical than simply isolated to Hebrew. (And I don't see much 
problem with combining them, since qametz is used for the long vowels in 
the JPA vocalization, which could also have been rounded.) Since Jesus, 
if he spoke Aramaic, undoubtedly spoke a Western dialect, I don't see 
any reason that he couldn't have pronounced it elohi (perhaps all the 
more likely if in fact he spoke Hebrew as well). And just as achuhi 
became achui (now made famous in the yaaqov ossuary, but in any event 
probably earlier in the spoken language than in the writing), eloi would 
make sense here.

But perhaps it would be better to continue such a discussion on the 
Aramaic list, since whatever was spoken here, it was probably not BH.

Trevor Peterson

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