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

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Tue Apr 20 11:56:28 EDT 2004

On Tuesday 20 April 2004 03:41, Trevor Peterson wrote:
> 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.

We also haev to keep in mind that the person speaking had been beaten severely 
and was now undergoing one of the cruelest forms of suffocation ever devised 
by human hands.  It's quite possible that he was slurring his words a little 
and that the hearers had a little trouble catching every syllable, so the 
writers did the best they could, especially considering the limits of Greek 
for transliterating Aramaic.

Dave Washburn
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.

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