This essay seeks to analyze tensions in historical criticism by reviewing Raymond Brown's treatment of "the cry of dereliction" in The Death of the Messiah. Brown navigates a three-tiered reading of Mark 15: the text/surface level, an intertext level, and a historical Jesus level. The historical Jesus level will presumably operate as an extra-linguistic control which enhances the objectivity of Brown's reading of the surface text. But this "history" in Brown's reading actually refers to a sub-text generated by proposed intertextual links which Brown's own language renders unstable. The deconstruction of Brown's reading is followed by an attempt to read Mark 15:34 in explicitly intertextual terms, using Michael Riffaterre's semiotic theory. While the conclusions reached by this method are basically identical to Brown's, they are hopefully based on a more careful approach to the question of intertextual relations.