Barabbas' real name?


#1

I was listening to a ‘christian station’ on the radio earlier and heard a weird assertion. I tried to Google this, but only became more confused. The Catholic online encyclopedia was no real help.

They stated that not only was the name Jesus a common name for the time, (which I can buy) but that Barabbas’ real first name also happened to be Jesus. They asserted the translations were understandably shaky on this point because of the possible confusing implications to the unwashed masses (That’s where they lost me.) Barabbas is really Bar-Abbas, son of the father(s). Thus the crowd was given a choice between Jesus, Son of the Father, and Jesus, son of the father(s). God or mammon, good or evil. The crowds then in essence hollered: “Give us evil, give us evil.” When Pilate replied, “What of this good man?” They replied: “Crucify him!”

The possible layers of meaning become rather beautiful if you stop to think about them. Don’t get me wrong, the Passion is powerfully moving in and of itself. IF true, it just once again goes to show what a sublime and clever God he truly is.

Please help clear this up for me. Thank you, and God bless.


#2

I don’t know that I find the assertion of Barabbas’ “first” name being Jesus very convincing, as first and last names were not used in that time and place as they are today, but it is true that Jesus (Yeshua) was a fairly common name at that time. So it is not impossible that Barabbas’ given name might have been Jesus and that Barabbas was either a nickname or possibly a name substituted by an author or editor of this Scriptural account for clarification purposes. Other than that, I don’t know what sort help you’re looking for. You seem to have a good grasp on this story.


#3

…i would say his real name was “Lucky Pup”…

http://jeannero.free.fr/dessins-animes-2/SpaceGhost.gif


#4

The New American Bible has this:

16 9 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called (Jesus) Barabbas. 17 So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, (Jesus) Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah?” 9 [16-17] [Jesus] Barabbas: it is possible that the double name is the original reading; Jesus was a common Jewish name; see the note on Matthew 1:21. This reading is found in only a few textual witnesses, although its absence in the majority can be explained as an omission of Jesus made for reverential reasons. That name is bracketed because of its uncertain textual attestation. The Aramaic name Barabbas means “son of the father”; the irony of the choice offered between him and Jesus, the true son of the Father, would be evident to those addressees of Matthew who knew that.


#5

Yeah, Barabbas’ first name was Jesus. It was common back then. Jesus is actually “Yeshua,” which is Hebrew for “Joshua.” I’m sure there are tons of “Joshes” or “Joshuas” in the world.

And the host’s translation of “Barabbas” is wrong, because “of” or “of the” is “ben.” Yeshua ben Abba (Jesus, son of [the] Father). Remember, though, that there were no last names, so “Barabbas” would have to be “Yeshua bar Abbas.” However, it *is *likely that “Barabbas” does mean, or at the time meant, “of the fathers.” Not likely, but then again, I’m not a Hebrew Language Major.


#6

First and last names weren’t as common then as they are today, but there are other instances of people in the Gospels being called by a first name and a last name. The most obvious example I can think of is when Jesus says, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!” (Matt 16:17). Simon was the son of Jonah, so he was sometimes called Simon Bar-Jonah. The same thing might have happened with Barabbas.


#7

“Ben” is Hebrew, “Bar” is Aramaic. Jews of the day spoke Aramaic, hence “Bar-Abbas”.


#8

[quote=batteddy]The New American Bible has this:

16 9 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called (Jesus) Barabbas. 17 So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, (Jesus) Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah?” 9 [16-17] [Jesus] Barabbas: it is possible that the double name is the original reading; Jesus was a common Jewish name; see the note on Matthew 1:21. This reading is found in only a few textual witnesses, although its absence in the majority can be explained as an omission of Jesus made for reverential reasons. That name is bracketed because of its uncertain textual attestation. The Aramaic name Barabbas means “son of the father”; the irony of the choice offered between him and Jesus, the true son of the Father, would be evident to those addressees of Matthew who knew that.
[/quote]

Interesting. The Gospel Readings of Christ’s Passion for Palm Sunday and Good Friday, if I recall correctly, do not refer to Barabbas other than as just Barabbas, and the RSVCE just says Barabbas in the text for Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 and John 18, but a footnote in the RSVCE for Matthew 27 says “other ancient authorities read Jesus Barabbas”. I never noticed that before.


#9

In fact, if you will check the Islam forum of CAF, you will see that Islam uses this very thing to argue that Barabbas was really Jesus (i.e. “Jesus, son of the father” since Christians consider Jesus to be “Son of the Father,”) and thus Jesus was released, and was never crucified.


#10

Peace be with you!

This definitely sounds like a possibility. Jesus also called Peter Simon Bar-Jonah just before naming him Kepha.

In Christ,
Rand


#11

[quote=JimG]In fact, if you will check the Islam forum of CAF, you will see that Islam uses this very thing to argue that Barabbas was really Jesus (i.e. “Jesus, son of the father” since Christians consider Jesus to be “Son of the Father,”) and thus Jesus was released, and was never crucified.
[/quote]

Of course, but they fail to realize the context as usual. They also forget that it is definitely talking about 2 different people in context. I have heard the argument made that Barabbas was a rebel fighter and fought against the Romans who were persecuting the Jews - sort of like a modern day Jewish extremist, and that he murdered a Roman soldier. Jesus says that all are to pay respect to the laws and rulers of the time because they have no power except from above. Two polar opposites!


#12

I’ve heard the “Bar-Abba/son of the father” explanation from several sources. I think it makes sense.

So does the part abour the name “Jesus” or “Yeshua” being common at the time.


#13

I have read a report about the name Barabbas.
The conclusions were that:

1 Barabbas doesn’t mean son of the father, instead, it is a patronimic or an other nickname
2 The name Jesus followed by Barabbas in mt. 27:16, 17 can be found in some versions of the greek bible. It is reported in the Novum Testamentum Graece in brakkets because it is not considered true for certain. It could be caused by a copier’s mistake
3 It is possible that there was no mistake, but the name Jesus followed by Barabbas wasn’t uncommon in palestine and wasn’t a problem for eastern christians who knew the jewish culture
4 Later, other christians, who didn’t know jewish culture well, had the word jesus removed from barabbas as a form of respect towards Jesus Christ.
It can be found on internet at this address:digilander.libero.it/Hard_Rain/Barabba.pdf

It is written in Italian so I’ll post the translation of the some of the most relevant parts of this report (“Note relative al nome Barabba”) and the original quotation from the Novum Testamentum Graece (nestle-aland.com/en/read-na28-online/text/bibeltext/lesen/stelle/50/270001/279999/)::slight_smile:

16εἶχον δὲ τότε δέσμιον ἐπίσημον λεγόμενον Ἰησοῦν] Βαραββᾶν ([Jesus] Barabbas).
17συνηγμένων οὖν αὐτῶν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Πιλᾶτος• τίνα θέλετε ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν, Ἰησοῦν τὸν] Βαραββᾶν ([Jesus the] Barabbas) ἢ Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον χριστόν;

P 11
the term bar Abba, בר אבא, is so common in Jewish literature that anyone who meets it immediately think of a patronymic, not tied to God as Father, but to a person’s name. Bar Abba understood as a child of God, called “Father” as a title or proper name, is in fact an expression totally unknown in Judaism. It is possible to call God Abba, but never would anybody call someone a “son of the Father” and even “son of God”.

P 13, footnote 49
It is allowed to invoke God in Aramaic as “abba” in the first person, as in the case of Jesus, although the use is limited.

P 13, footnote 49
In Judaism we do not have cases of use of the word of “abba” as the title of God

P17
If there is no literary attestation that “bar Abba” or derived forms may mean son of the Father in the honorific sense of “son of God”, even in terms of simple Aramaic grammar this solution is to be discarded.

P 18
if you wanted to say “Son of the Father” in Aramaic you should say: בריה דאבא (berè deAbba), or “son-of-his Father,” an expression that provides a greek word transliteration incompatible with Barabbas / n. Moreover, this expression is never understood in the sense of “son of God”, but as the son of the rabbi, the teacher.

P11
In the Talmud Abba is a name of a person and bar Abba is a patronymic , in the Seder has Dorot are cited dozens of rabbis who are called Abba , we also have mention of a Yeshua bar Abba , of course this is not purely and simply identified with Barabbas in the gospel ( whose name was Jesus , according to some manuscripts of Matthew’s Gospel ), but it illustrates how the combination in Aramaic of Jesus with patronymic bar Abba is certainly not a fact that gave anybody some sort of perplexity.

P 18
It is possible, if not likely, that both Mark and Matthew have meant reporting what was not a patronymic form, which could only correspond to the "son of Abba " , but a nickname, a nom de guerre of who in effect is defined as brigand , a bandit who was in prison .

P 72
Barabbas can be interpreted as a patronymic (son of Abba), or as a nickname (in a similar way to bar Kokhba), this gives us an interpretation of this character consistent with the Jewish culture and the environment.

P 9-10
It is possible, on the one hand, that the lesson Jesus Barabbas originated from an accident in the manuscript transmission but it is also possible that the lesson is genuine and has survived only in codes of “Palestinian” tradition and in Origen because the expression did not cause any inconvenience or theological embarrassment to an audience of Palestinian geographical origin and mentality, as opposed to other geographic regions where censorship began to operate very soon.

P 72
it is possible to conjecture that the name “Jesus” suffixed to Barabbas was known in the Palestinian traditions and were part of the older editions of the Gospel of Matthew; it was later censured for deference to Jesus Christ and the tradition was lost


#14

You have resurrected a thread that has been dormant for 9 years. We are not supposed to do that. If you wish to discuss the same topic you should start a new thread.


#15

Sorry


#16

Barabbas does mean ‘Son of the Father’. One possibility is that the crowd or part of the crowd was demanding that Jesus be released. Also, it is very doubtful, from a historical perspective, that Pilate ever offered the crowd a choice.


#17

The name Barabbas is clearly a patronymic (bar-Abbas or “son of the father”) rather than a given name. The NRSV has the name of Barabbas as Jesus. Barabbas is a Hellenization of the Aramaic bar abba בר אבא, literally “son of the father” or “Jesus, son of the Father”


#18

This thread is almost 10 years old, but figured I’d post as long as people are still viewing it:
The ironic theology of “Barabbas”
:wink:


#19

Agreed. Per Michael Francis (our tireless moderator). This protocol is a common and widely accepted artifact from the era of Usenet.


#20

Many things that went on in Jesus’ life are connected to other things that are mind blowing when explained by a bible/religious scholar. Like in the Old Testament and the New Testament as Jesus came to fulfill the law but also where Jesus did things and when He did them are explained by bible scholars is amazing. They show what things meant as Jesus did them.


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