James Hastings Dictionary of the Bible: Abba

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James Hastings Dictionary of the Bible: Abba


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ABBA is the ‘emphatic’ form of the Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] word for ‘father.’ It is found in the Gr. and Eng. text of Mar_14:36, Rom_8:15, and Gal_4:6 (in each case Abbâ, ho patçr, ‘Abba, Father’). Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] has no article, and the ‘emphatic’ affix â is usually the equivalent of the Heb. article. Both can represent the vocative case (for Hebrew see Davidson’s Syntax, § 21 f.); and abba occurs in the Pesb. of Luk_22:42; Luk_23:34 for pater. The ‘articular nominative’ is found in NT sixty times for the vocative; and so we have ho patçr for ô pater (Moulton, Gram. of NT Greek, p. 70). Jesus often addressed God as ‘Father’ or ‘my Father.’ In both cases He would probably use ‘Abba’; for ’abbâ may be used for ’âbî (Targ. on Gen_19:34). In Mar_14:36, ho patçr is perhaps a gloss added by the Evangelist, as in Mar_5:41; Mar_7:11; Mar_7:34 he adds an explanation of the Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] : but in Rom_8:15 and Gal_4:6 the Gentile Christians had learned for importunity to use the Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] word Abba; as the Jews in prayer borrowed Kyrie mou (‘my Lord’) from the Greek, and used it along with Heb. words for ‘my master,’ ‘my father’ (Schöttgen, Hor. Heb. 252).

J. T. Marshall.