Maranatha

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By Hadrian Mâr Élijah Bar Israël



For a number of years, I have been mulling over various pieces of Aramaic literature, searching for those pearls and gems, which others may not have noticed, or have intentionally ignored, because they don't fit the Eurocentric narrative of Christianity. I have discovered a number of such things over the years and am working on putting them together into one place, to eventually share them with the world. In this case, what I have discovered is something that all Aramaic scholars should know and everyone pretends not to... Something staring us in the face for centuries. It relates to the Aramaic word מרןאתא "MARANATHA", which is used only once in all of Aramaic literature at 1st Corinthians 16:22:

מן דלא רחם למרן ישוע משיחא נהוא חרם מרןאתא

The Aramaic Bible in Plain English translates this verse as:

Whoever does not love our Lord Yeshua The Messiah, let him be damned. our Lord has come.

This makes sense, if it is translated from Greek, but sounds much less authentic in Aramaic. Furthermore the earliest manuscripts preserve the original מרןאתא reading, while the later manuscripts (more likely to be translations from Greek) most often split this word into two; making the most likely translation “Our Lord comes” / "our Lord has come". Which is exactly what the Greek version also says.

But there is no reason to suppose the "comes" or "has come" hypothesis, when there is a third and more consistent sounding reading. It makes more sense, and sounds more authentic if we regard it as a compound idiom, from מרן meaning "Our Lord", plus אתא meaning “miracle”. In which case the correct translation would be:

“Our [Lord / Master] is the [sign / miracle]!”, or “Our [Lord / Master] [miraculous / sign]!”

So that 1st Corinthians 16:22 would best be translated as:

Whoever doesn't love our [Lord / Master] Yeshue the [anointed / Messiah],
let him be cursed, for our [Lord / Master] is the [miraculous / sign].

This final phrasology makes a lot more sense, is less halting and poetic. It also explains why the two words were compounded, to 'impose the unity' of the words "our Lord" with and as the "miracle", in a single concept. It may not seem like much, but it changes the way we view Yeshue's presence in the world, as a "miracle" in the here and now, rather than as some future philosophical construct for which we are all waiting around.