Tuesday, 3 May 2011

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Matthew 27:46
Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" which is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Mark 15:34
And at the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

The invaluable w.: 'This saying is traditionally called "The Word of Abandonment" and is the only saying that appears in more than one Gospel. This saying is given in Aramaic with a translation (originally in Greek) after it. This phrase is the opening line of Psalm 22, a psalm about persecution, the mercy and salvation of God. It was common for people at this time to reference songs by quoting their first lines. In the verses immediately following this saying, in both Gospels, the onlookers who hear Jesus' cry understand him to be calling for help from Elijah (Eliyyâ). The slight differences between the two gospel accounts are most probably due to dialect. Matthew's version seems to have been more influenced by Hebrew, whereas Mark's is perhaps more colloquial.'

What interests me here, at the moment (actually, this particular saying of the cross interests me a great deal), is the implied atheism of the divinity -- Chesterton says somethng like this in his Orthodoxy book. It's the phrasing: Christ doesn't say, as presumably he might have done, "My God, my God, it feels as though you have forsaken me?", or even "My God, my God, have you forsaken me?" He starts from the assertion that God has indeed forsaken him, and asks why. If we leave aside the notion that he (Christ, God himself) could be mistaken on this matter, as beneath the dignity of omnipotence, even in its human incarnation, we're left with the startling conclusion that God indeed has forsake himself. The crucifiction is the death of God in a more than Nietzschean sense.

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