Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Let's get back to some of the characteristic speech patterns exhibited by Jesus. Scholars are confident that Jesus spoke Aramaic. Even though the New Testament is written in Greek, there are several examples of his Aramaic words scattered throughout the gospels. One such word is "Abba." In many older works, this word was explained as a term used by children that was an equivalent to our English word "Daddy." This is not correct, nor is it correct that the term was unique to Jesus. There are a number of instances of its use by other writers of the period. The word, which was not just for children, is a term of respect and is perhaps better translated as something like "dearest Father." The one instance of Abba in the gospels is found in Mark 14:36, but it is assumed as the Aramaic basis of the Greek word for "Father" that is frequently on the lips of Jesus. So another characteristic way of speaking for Jesus is to refer to God as Abba. A question to consider: How has Jesus' use of Abba shaped our understanding of God? How comfortable are you in thinking of God as Mother?