Good Question...how did 'mind' get into the Shema?


Date: July 20/2003


This question came in...


Hi Glenn:


We met at XYZ, and I have a question I'm wrestling with. It has to do with the "Shema" in Deut and how it is later translated or quoted by Jesus in the NT. Specifically, the Deut passage says "love God with all your heart, soul and might. (NAS)" In Matt 22, Jesus quotes it as "love God with all your heart, soul and MIND." In Mark He is quoted as saying "love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."


It's a puzzle to me how the words "might" and "mind" are interchanged in Matt and how they BOTH appear in Mark. The Hebrew for might is "meod", meaning great quantity or exceedingly and elsewhere is translated "strength." The Greek for "mind" in Matt 22 is "dianoia" and has a sense of the inner being. The Greek for "strength" in Mark is "ischys."


So, I guess the question is how did the "mind" part get in there, if Jesus is quoting the Greatest Commandment and one which was literally written on every doorpost in the country?


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Here was my reply...



Here are the Greek terms used in this issue:



Kardia (heart)

Psyche (soul)

Dunamis (power)

Dianoia (mind)

Ischus (strength)

Deut 6.5 (LXX)

X (some vss)

X

X

X (some vss)


Matthew 22.37

X

X


X


Mark 12.30 (Jesus)

X

X


X

X

Mark 12.32 (scribe)

X



X

X

Luke 10.27 (lawyer)

X

X


X

X



Some versions of the LXX (mostly Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible) have kardia for heart and others have dianoia for heart…


Here are some Data points to consider:






Notice how the scribe, in responding to Jesus, does EXACTLY that: translates the nephesh term as BOTH mind and strength.









Any "doorpost-versions"-- by ONLY the VERY ORTHODOX in this pre-rabbinic age-- (and the daily prayers) would have been in Hebrew and thus reflect the Deut text, but the conversations recorded in the Gospels would have been in Aramaic, and the NT would have translated the Aramaic forms into the Greek ones--with perhaps a backward glance at the LXX.


The LXX came in 'two flavors'-- one translating 'heart' as kardia and one translating it as dianoia…There was no particular need to quote it in Hebrew for those discussions, so any complex of the five-Greek words would have 'worked adequately' to make the point…it IS interesting that TWO of the sayings in the gospels are NOT by Jesus, but by those 'versed in the Law' (a lawyer and a scribe), and THEY both used the Dianoia term--indicating that perhaps that was a 'common way' to express the Shema in ordinary parlance.


BTW, we don’t believe very many people actually DID the doorpost thing in the pre-Rabbinic NT period. And very few at the time--other than the lawyers, scribes, rabbis, etc--would have actually understood biblical Hebrew…it’s a little like the Catholic laity pre-vacatian2, with all the Latin Hymns that no one understood…but they were sung anyway….


I hope this helps a little(?),

glenn


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