Psalms 22, 31,69
6. Lk 23.46
They divided his clothes by casting lots for them
Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads . . .
He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to ...
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and he drank it.
Father, into your hands I place my spirit
22.18 They divide my clothes among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
22.7 All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads.
22.8 He hoped in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him save him because he wants to (LXX). 22.1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
69.21 For my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
Into your hands I shall place my spirit.
In the face of such evidence it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the narrative has been shaped to bring out these echoes. The point is most obvious in the particular elaborations of Matthew (27.43) and Luke (23.46), where the specific quotation of the psalm is obviously an addition to a more sparsely told tradition.75 But even so, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the tradition itself was formulated from the beginning in the light of the psalms in both verses. This
73. For fuller documentation and discussion see D. J. Moo, The Old Testament in the Gospel Passion Narratives (Sheffield: Almond, 1983) ch. 4 (tabulated 285-86); Brown, Death 1445-67; J. Marcus, 'The Old Testament and the Death of Jesus: The Role of Scripture in the Gospel Passion Narratives', in Carroll and Green, Death ofJesus 205-33 (tabulation 207-209); Davies and Allison, Matthew 3.608-609. Moo also documents references to the Servant songs and the use of Zech. 9-14 in the Passion narratives (chs. 2-3; tabulation 163-64, 222); similarly Marcus 214-15, 219.
74. Bultmann, History 280-81; Bornkamm, Jesus 156-57; B. Lindars, New Testament Apologetic (London: SCM, 1961) ch. 3: 'passion apologetic' (particularly 88-110);Juel, Messianic Exegesis 89-117; Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels 220-30.
75. Discussion in Brown, Death 994-96, 1066-69.
76. 'If there is a pre-Markan passion tradition that can be isolated, the psalms surely does not mean that the details in question were created in the light of the scriptural allusions:77 the crucifixion with two others (Mark 15.27 pars.) is hardly derived from Isa. 53.12;78 the mocking (Mark 15.29-32 pars.), like its earlier counter-part,79 is determined more from within the tradition (echoing the earlier accusation and trial verdict) than by the scriptural echoes ('shaking their heads'); it is not implausible that the attendant soldiers should have offered some of their own vinegary wine (oxos) to drink,80 whether out of malice (Gos. Pet. 5.16-17) or compassion; and some memory of Jesus crying out in the words of Ps. (problematic as narrated for subsequent Christology) may have prompted the search for other echoes of the psalm (see below).81 But it does mean that from the first, the shape of the tradition may have obscured as well as enhanced various details of the event.82 Was it ever otherwise with partisan accounts?83
form the basis of the tradition. It is unlikely that Jesus' story was ever told as a recitation of facts' (Juel, Messianic Exegesis 113). The Gospel of Peter attests a variant (not necessarily a more original) instance of the procedure (cf. Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels 220-30); but Koester's conclusion — 'No question (sic), the Gospel of Peter has preserved the most original narrative version of the tradition of scriptural interpretation' (230) — is hardly justified. See further above, chapter 7 n. 154.
77. As already pointed out by Dibelius, Tradition 188-89. Moo, Old Testament, notes indications that the scriptural texts were themselves emended in order to fit more closely to the events as they were remembered. A good example is the use of Zech. 11.13 in Matt. 27.9-10 (Lindars, New Testament Apologetic 116-2 2; Dunn, Unity and Diversity 92-93, 95-96). Juel concludes on the use of Psalm 89 in the tradition (echoing cited above in chapter 15 n. 'The psalm was cited not to prove Jesus was the Christ but to make sense confession' (Messianic Exegesis
78. 'He was numbered with the transgressors' (Isa. 53.12).
79. The purple robe, the crown of thorns, the mock homage (Mark 15.16-20 pars.); cf. Isa. 50.6: 'I gave my back to those who struck me and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting'. Flusser notes also the mockery of Karabas described by in 36-39 (Jesus 169-70, and suggests that Pilate's 'Behold the man' (John was a mocking acclamation echoing the soldiers' mockery (20720); in reference to Matt. 26.68/Luke 22.64 Flusser also suggests that Jesus was made the butt of an ancient game, 'Who is it that struck You?' (187-94).
81. A case could also be made for quotation of Zech. 13.7 in Mark 14.27/Matt. 26.31 in view of the strong shepherd/sheep motif in Jesus' teaching (Wright, Jesus 533-34; see §13.3c n.110 above); see also Marcus, 'Old Testament' 220.
82. The point should not be exaggerated; the restraint of the tradition should also be noted. As Keck observes, 'no gospel reports that the Voice spoke where one might expect it most of all — at the crucifixion At Golgotha the silence of God was deafening' (Who Is Jesus? 128; see also the powerful meditation on the holiness of God in regard to Jesus' crucifixion which follows [134-40]).
83. In a paper delivered at the SBL annual meeting in Denver, Colorado (November 2001), Mark Goodacre noted how many details of the accounts cannot be derived from Scrip
In terms of the traditioning process, if I am right, the evidence points to two important corollaries. One is the implication that (one of) the earliest disciple responses to the shock of Jesus' execution was to turn to Scripture to see what sense could be made of it. For a people to whom Scripture was life and light, the reaction is wholly understandable. It would be equally understandable that the great 'suffering psalms', including, not least, Psalms 22 and 69, should have become luminous at that time. No wonder, then, that the first attempts to speak about the event in a tradition-forming way drew on just these psalms to incorporate the disciples' perspective on what had happened.84
If the account was based even partially on eyewitness memory, then it is not unimportant to recall that the only eyewitnesses that all the Evangelists agree on were women disciples (Mark 15.40 pars.).85 There is a strong possibility, therefore, that these women played a significant role in forming the tradition of Jesus' death.
At least one other point should be raised — that is, regarding Jesus' last words from the cross, which have provided the basis for generations of Christian meditation. In the light of which, and given the character of the tradition just adduced, it is somewhat disturbing to have to acknowledge how weakly rooted these last words are in the tradition.
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