A day late, here is this (past) week’s Readers Mailbag.   I will be dealing with two questions this time, one on why Mark includes Aramaic words in his accounts of Jesus’ sayings and the other on where someone might find English versions of the surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  If you too have a question, simply ask it here as a comment, or send me an email, and I will add it to the list!



Why is Mark sometimes quoting Jesus in Aramaic? I know, that Jesus cry on cross is possibly reference to the psalms, but why is Mark spicing his gospel with Aramaic much more than other gospel authors? Is it sign of a oral/written source used by Mark?


Ah, good question.   It’s true that Mark on occasion does record some of the words of Jesus in Aramaic.   For example, in chapter 5 Jesus is told that a young girl (daughter of Jairus) has died; he goes to her in her room, and taking her by the hand and says “Talitha cumi” (5:41); the author then tells us that this means “Little girl, arise.”  She rises from the dead.  But why does Mark quote the line in Aramaic? (Here’s an interesting tidbit that you probably have never heard.  In the book of Acts, the apostle Peter is told that a woman named Tabitha [note how close it is to Talitha] has died and is asked to come and do something about it.  He goes to her in her room, prays over her, and says “Tabitha arise” [Acts 9:40].  She rises from the dead.   Did the “Talitha arise” of the story in Mark 5 become garbled in…

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