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Talitha Cumi

TALITHA CUMI tăl’ ə thə ku’ mī (ταλιθὰ κου̂μι, derived from Aram. טַלְיְתָא קוּמִי, meaning damsel, arise). Mark preserves Peter’s vivid memory of the exact words of Jesus in raising the girl to life (Mark 5:41). Note other Aram. words of Jesus (7:34; 15:34) and of Peter (Acts 9:40). They come naturally to the Galilean. No magic formula is involved.

Many see proof here that Aram. was, with Gr., the common spoken language of Pal. J. Grintz (“Hebrew as the Spoken and Written Language in the Last Days of the Second Temple,” JBL, LXXIX [1960], 33-47) presents evidence from Josephus, Qumran lit., the NT, and other Jewish documents that Heb., instead, was the common spoken and literary language of Pal. Note, for example, that Paul (Acts 21:40; 22:2) and Josephus (Jos. War VI. ii. 1) delivered speeches to the populace in Heb. However, Aram. continued to prevail in the Temple service from the Pers. period, possibly because of the masses of Aram.-speaking Orientals who streamed into Jerusalem for the feasts (pp. 44, 45). Jesus chose the Temple language, with its rich connotations, for the words of the miracle. As R. Jonathan of Beit Gubrin said, “Aramaic for elegy; Hebrew for speech” (Jer. Megillah I, 9 [71b]).

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