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11 The Riddle of Jesus’ Cry from the Cross: The Meaning of ηλι ηλι λαμα σαβαχθανι (Matthew 27:46) and the Literary Function of ελωι ελωι λειμα σαβαχθανι (Mark 15:34)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores several questions by evaluating them in the light of what is known about the tri-language situation of the time and especially from the perspective of current Mishnaic Hebrew scholarship. Is the story historical or did it have a historical basis? What was actually said? Most importantly, how does the cry function within the narratives of Mark and Matthew? The Gospels of Matthew and Mark have separate transcriptions and the Gospel authors probably had separate literary purposes. The chapter also demonstrates the help that current Mishnaic Hebrew scholarship is able to contribute to New Testament studies, especially in cases of textual complexity where there is a need for linguistic sensitivity, as in the case of Jesus' words from the cross. Reciprocally, the New Testament data, even in Greek dress, makes a small contribution to Mishnaic Hebrew studies.

Keywords: gospel; Hebrew; Jesus; literary function; Mark; Matthew; New Testament studies



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