'Yielded' in Matthew 27:50 - Merely an Idiom?

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Peter Lever | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, May 6 2017 12:25 PM

Matthew 27:50 yielded up His spirit - An idiom meaning “died.”

This note seem to dilute the fact that Jesus voluntarily gave up his spirit, unlike any other human.

in my opinion, the note should be fixed to reflect the voluntary act of Jesus Christ.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 6 2017 1:37 PM

Your argument has plus minus points among early Christians. The early church fathers ran with a literal meaning as you. Translation into the syriac or coptic either went further (syriac) or accepted the idiom (coptic, relative to Mark). Then you have to deal with idiomatic usage examples at the time.

But your argument seems to want to run backwards ... a theological point forced on to an iffy usage. Versus looking at usage, and it may reflect theological (it certainly did to the syriac translator).


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Disciple of Christ (doc) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 7 2017 2:53 PM

From UBS handbook on Matthew, p. 865

"Yielded up his spirit (NAB, NIV, Mft, AT “gave up his spirit”) is translated “breathed his last” by TEV. The meaning is he “died” (Brc, GeCL, Lu). One must be careful in translation not to imply that the divine Spirit departed from Jesus before he died, as some heretical groups of the first century affirmed on the basis of this text. To “give up the spirit” is a Hebrew idiom for dying (see Gen 35:18), just as “to breath one’s last” is an English idiom for the same experience."

But maybe the note could be expanded on this issue given as you suggest Denise the ECF went with a more literal than idiomatic view of the text.

Denise:

Your argument has plus minus points among early Christians. The early church fathers ran with a literal meaning as you. Translation into the syriac or coptic either went further (syriac) or accepted the idiom (coptic, relative to Mark). Then you have to deal with idiomatic usage examples at the time.

But your argument seems to want to run backwards ... a theological point forced on to an iffy usage. Versus looking at usage, and it may reflect theological (it certainly did to the syriac translator).

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 7 2017 5:56 PM

It's interesting UBS doesn't want to take the chance the spirit departed before the body died. I suppose in some languages, that could happen unintensionally.

The Old Syriac (Sinaiticus) was adament the spirit ascended (spirit doing the acting). Versus a spirit being acted upon (gave up, let go, etc).  I'd suspect much had to do with what they thought happened at death. Presumably, the Syriac would run into problems on the third day; I haven't checked.  Depends on Paul's concept of what got resurrected.


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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 7 2017 9:15 PM

In Hebraic Biblical thought, it is impossible to relinquish/give up/yield/lose one's spirit and remain alive, since the spirit (breath) is definitionally necessary for life. The Greek says "the spirit", not "His spirit", so I suppose one could argue whether "the" means His life force or the Holy Spirit, but since they are in His case one-and-the-same, it is a fool's errand.

I suggest anyone who cares about this should look at how 'aphiaymi is used elsewhere rather than make decisions based on English (or Syriac, or Latin, or Coptic, etc.) translations.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 8 2017 6:37 AM

David, you're 2,000 years later, and no knowledge of where your  text is from (guesswork).  Looking at translations closer to the one of interest speaks to folks more conversant with both the manuscripts and meaning at the time (and guesswork).  Other usage is a gimme.


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