Jesus as ‘Rabbi/Rabbouni’ and Mark’s Use of Aramaic as Messianic Code Language

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Mark Verman Professsor of Religion, Wright State University, Dayton, OH, USA

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Jesus is referred to as Rabbi or Rabbouni on four occasions in Mark. Most scholars assume that it was a commonplace term during Jesus’ lifetime and it is a Hebrew synonym for Teacher. It will be posited that it was not in use during the early decades of the first century ce and that it is actually an Aramaic term utilized by Mark and endowed with a messianic valence. This will be viewed within the context of Mark’s agenda of obfuscating the true identity of Jesus and employing Aramaic as a code language. Both Bartimaeus’ petition and Judas’ betrayal of Jesus will also be viewed from this perspective.

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