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retrojected into the Jesus tradition. This likelihood is strengthened by three factors. (1) In only one of his recorded prayers does Jesus fail to call on God as 'Father', and that is the cry on the cross: 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (Mark 15.34 par.).43 The tradition in effect acknowledges an exception here. Even the redactional history of the unanimous tradition points to a motif elaborated rather than invented. (2) The prayer Jesus taught his disciples encourages them also to address God as 'Father'. The obvious implication is that this manner of address was seen from the beginning as an echo of Jesus' own manner of praying. So far as the Gethsemane prayer is concerned it would hardly be sufficient to conclude simply that it was derived from the Lord's Prayer. More likely both elements are rooted in a common memory of Jesus' own prayer and teaching on prayer. (3) We will return to the testimony of early Christian prayer (Rom. 8.15; Gal. 4.6) below.

There are also good grounds for the further conclusion that Jesus used the Aramaic address Abba.44 The use of this term is attested in the Jesus tradition only in Mark 14.36. But since Matthew and Luke read the Greek vocative pater at that point, the probability is that underlying the vocative pater in the other prayers of Jesus (including the Lord's Prayer) was Aramaic The most striking evidence here is given by Paul's evocation of what seems to have been a (or the) common prayer form within his churches:

Rom. 8.15-17: You have received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry, "Abba, Father". The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, also heirs — heirs of God and heirs together with Christ.

Gal. 4.6-7: God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying, "Abba, Father". Consequently you are no longer a slave, but a son. And if a son, then also an heir through God.

The notable features here are threefold. First, Paul reminds his readers of what he knew (Galatians) and could assume (Romans) was an experience shared by Gen

43. 'If one accepts literally that anguish at the opening moment (Gethsemane) when Jesus could still call God "Abba, Father", one should accept equally literally this screamed protest against abandonment wrenched from the utterly forlorn Jesus who now is so isolated and estranged that he no longer uses "Father" language but speaks as the humblest servant' (Brown, Death of the Messiah 1051).

44. Despite the sparsity of evidence, the support for this conclusion is amazingly strong; e.g., Hahn, Hoheitstitel320 (Titles 307); Perrin, Rediscovering40-41; Funk, Honest208.

45. It is evident from the parallel forms in Matt. 11,25-26/Luke 10.21, one with vocative pater, the other with ho pater, that ho pater also functioned as a form of address, hence the translation, 'Abba (that is) hopater'= 'Abba, Father'. As Mark 14.36 also indicates, the latter quickly established itself in the Jesus tradition and in Christian prayer.

tile Christians ('we cry'. 'ourhearts'). Second. these Gentile (Greek-speaking) churches continued to use an Aramaic prayer-form. This must be because it had become such a firmly established form in the earliest (Aramaic-speaking) churches that the first were simply inducted to it as new con verts. and thus it became a regular expression and mark of Christian devotion. Third. in both passages the prayer is seen to express the Christians' own sonship. which is obviously seen as a reflection of Christ's sonship. The Spirit who cries is the Spirit of the Son; the cry is proof that those who so pray share in his sonship and inheritance.

The most obvious conclusion to draw from all this is that the Abba prayer was so cherished among the first believers precisely because it was own prayerform. It was precisely because it was his way of praying that their use of it served as assurance that they shared in his sonship. I have made this argument several times. but still the importance to the case (that the Abba prayer was taken over in Christian circles from. and in imitation of Jesus' own distinctive way of praying) seems not to be adequately appreciated. In my judgment. the case for arguing that Jesus regularly addressed God as his prayers. a case which is but weakly founded within the Jesus tradition itself. is in the end dependent for its persuasiveness on the testimony of the two Pauline texts.46

Was the Abba prayer a distinctive feature of Jesus' prayer? In giving an affirmative answer. this was one of the places where Jeremias overreached the data.47 We have already noted that the same address to God (pater, 'abi) is attested elsewhere for the time of Jesus (above. n. 17). Nevertheless. the tradition of usage attested in Rom. 8.15 and Gal. 4.6 clearly assumes that the

Abba prayer was a mark of Christian worship, and therefore. presumably. distinctive of Christians. And by the same logic as above. it follows that they must have regarded Jesus' Abba address as distinctive of Jesus' prayer. It also follows that the first disciples. who in their own praying in Aramaic established the Abba prayer as Christian. cannot have been aware of abba as a regular address in the prayers of fellow Jews.48 The obvious qualification thus called for to Jeremias's

46. Cf. J. A. Fitzmyer. 'Abba and Jesus' Relation to God'. in A Cause deL'Evangile, J. Dupont FS (LD 123; Paris: Cerf. 1985) 15-38 (here 31-32). The point is made independently by Thompson. Promise 67-68 (citing particularly Meier. Marginal Jew 1.266).

47. Jeremias. Proclamation 63-68; but we should note that Jeremias's findings and arguments are largely supported by Fitzmyer ('Abba and Jesus' Relation to God'). For sympathetic restatements of Jeremias's argument see Witherington. Christology 216-21. and Thompson. Promise 21-34.

48. It will not do simply to reply that 'Abba' may have been in more regular usage by one or more sections of Second Temple Judaism. Deductions should be drawn from the evidence available. though. of course. always remaining open to correction from further evidence. Pace M. R. D'Angelo. 'Abba and "Father": Imperial Theology and the Jesus Traditions'. JBL

claim is that it was not so much Jesus' use of abba in his prayer which was distinctive, but the fact that abba was his consistent and almost unvarying form of address to God.

The significance of Jesus' use of abba in address to God is not much doubted, though it has also been exaggerated. By common consent, abba was a family word, expressive of a family relationship of some intimacy. This is presumably why it was so little used in contemporary Jewish prayer: it was regarded as too familiar, bordering on presumption.49 In contrast, it is hard to avoid the opposite deduction, that Jesus used this prayer form because he regarded it as appropriate; that is, his prayer was expressive of his sense of his own relationship towards God. Like he prayed to God 'like a son of the house'. We can even begin to deduce that Jesus could have prayed so consistently only if he had experienced his relationship with God as an intimate family relationship. And to that extent we can begin to see how this broader category (God's son) began to be filled with a new significance which Christians subsequently took further.

One other point. The implication of Luke's version of the Lord's Prayer is that Jesus taught his disciples also to say abba to God as a distinguishing badge of their discipleship (Luke 11.1-2). This, however, does not constitute a weakening of the conclusion regarding the distinctiveness of Jesus' Abba prayer. For, as with Rom. 8.15 and Gal. 4.6, it is precisely disciples of Jesus who are encouraged so to pray, and as a mark of their discipleship. There is a clear sense on each occasion, then, that the disciple's sonship expressed in the Abba prayer is not somehow independent of Jesus' sonship but is precisely derivative from Jesus' sonship. The point is of a piece with the observation that Jesus chose twelve disciples (to represent Israel). He did not choose another eleven so that he with them might represent Israel, he being one of the twelve. He set himself in some measure over against the twelve, distinct from them, as the one who called them. This observation fits too with the older point that Jesus is often remembered as saying 'my Father' and 'your Father', but never as joining with his dis

111 (1992) 611 -30 (particularly 614-16). See also my earlier response to Morton Smith on this point in Christology 27-28.

49. In m. Ta'an. 3.8 Simeon ben Shetah seems to criticize Honi for such presumption. But the point should not be overstated: J. Barr, 'Abba Isn't Daddy!', JTS 39 (1988) 28-47; Vermes, Religion 180-82.

50. 'Jesus was aware, in a peculiarly intense and intimate way, that God was his father' (Barrett, Jesus 29); 'Jesus' uniqueness in his relation to God undoubtedly lies in its unaffected simplicity' (Schillebeeckx, Jesus 260, also 268); 'an unusual directness' (Stuhlmacher, Biblische Theologie 1.85-87); 'He regarded his relationship with God as especially intimate' (Sanders, Historical Figure 239); Caird, Theology 403; Goshen-Gottstein, 'Hillel and Jesus' 50-53; see also and further McKnight, New Vision 49-65; with proper hesitation, Thompson, Promise 30-32, 69-70, 78-82. Witherington notes that Barr does not dispute that abba is the language of intimacy {Christology 218).

ciples in saying 'our Father'.51 And we recall also the conclusion of Jesus' reply to the Baptist: 'Blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me' (Matt. 11.6/Luke 7.23). All this strengthens the likelihood both that Jesus thought of himself as God's son and that he sensed his sonship to be something distinctive in its intimacy and immediacy. Such certainly seems to be the most obvious conclusion to draw from the impact which he left on, in and through the Jesus tradition at this point.

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