Since I’ve been doing some more work on the True Children of Abraham Debate in the Gospel of John, I was looking through a rather old book on the subject of Aramaic Primacy (the late C. F. Burney’s “The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel”) and came across something that I had long since forgotten about the phrase טליא דאלהא (talyâ d’alâhâ) or “The Lamb of God.”
In Galilean Aramaic, not only does talyâ mean “lamb,” but also “child” and “servant.” Burney’s argument was that this choice of words in John was a deliberate pun, which I’m finding more convincing as I research it. I have his full argument (since it’s now in the Public Domain) posted here:
The Lamb of God
2 thoughts on “The Lamb of God”
Excuse this comment on an ancient blog post of yours…
This post sent me off to the Hebrew of 2 Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55) for its “suffering servant” references. I’d been assured that 2 Isaiah uses a lot of Aramisms. “Servant” there doesn’t refer to a “lamb”; the word I see instead is ‘obdy (or, for the Muslims in your audience, ‘abdy). Pretty much what you’d expect.
With “lamb” becoming servant in Galilee, though, that sets the stage for 2 Isaiah’s servant to become the paschal sacrifice.
I have heard that the discovery of the meaning of talya as “son, servant, lamb” (contrary to Hebrew, where these words were different) was done by Eugenio Zolli (born Israel Zoller), the former Rabbi of Roma during the Nazi occupation.