Did Jesus Experience a ‘Divine Abandonment’ at the Cross?



According to the 6th line of Stuart Townend’s popular modern hymn ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,’ “The Father turns His Away.” This lyric depicts Jesus of Nazareth, having been almost universally abandoned by people on Earth, finally, and gut-wrenchingly, abandoned by His father in heaven. Hans Von Balthasar[1], Jurgen Moltmann[2] and William Lane[3] are three influential modern proponents of this ‘divinely abandoned’ view.                                                                                                                                          However, this view appears rooted, almost entirely, in Mark 15:34: ‘Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabatchthani’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)’ Our reading of this verse matters more than many others. An entire depiction of Jesus can be heavily influenced through our understanding of it. Assuming he said it, why? And precisely what did he mean by it?
For Moltmann, ‘every theology which claims to be Christian must come to terms with Jesus’ cry on the cross.’ [4] But he is working on the presumption that Jesus is indeed asking a forlornly desperate, though genuine, question. From this presumption Moltmann concludes that it is not just a cry of despair and dereliction, but it indicated that Christ ‘was not merely assailed by fear and suffering in his human nature, as scholastic tradition would have it. He was assailed in his person, his very essence, in his relationship to the Father—in his divine sonship.’[5]                                                                                                                               In this post, I shall briefly discuss some of the problems associated with such a ‘divinely abandoned’ view, before sketching an alternative take on the verse that addresses these problems and thereby brings greater explanatory power and scope to our Christological and historical understanding of Jesus.

Problems with the Existing Interpretation: Theology and Metaphysics

 If we are to maintain a theology that posits God as the being of ‘maximal greatness,’[6] then the notion that in His perfect love He has ‘turned-away’ from His uniquely begotten Son remains problematic. How do we reconcile God’s perfect love with this?                                            Moreover, thinking both metaphysically and theologically, how does one person within the triune Godhead ‘turn away’ from another person within the triune Godhead, whilst maintaining a perfect, ontological Trinity? For orthodox Christian Theology dictates that Jesus is a consubstantial, co-existent person within a divinely aseitic Trinity, that permeates, necessarily, in perfect, immutable, harmonious unity. But for Moltmann, God, while still being God, turns away from God and in so doing undergoes suffering in some way and, therefore, has properties capable of change.                                                                                        Such conundrums impact our perceptions, and very understanding, of the Trinity and ‘God.’ From a theological perspective, the above orthodox Christian doctrines have been formulated after careful exegesis of the entire Biblical narrative. Moltmann’s Trinitarian view, meanwhile, relies heavily on an interpretation formulated predominantly from Mk.15:34 and speculative eisegesis of one documented event.

Exploring an Alternative Interpretation: Psalm 22

Exploring an alternative interpretation to Moltmann’s ‘divine abandonment’ theory begins with the recognition that Jesus was not just addressing God (The Father). For if he were we should almost certainly expect to see Jesus refer to God (The Father) as ‘My Father’ or even ‘Abba’ rather than ‘My God,’ an idiom that he just does not use anywhere else in the Gospels. This strongly suggests that he is quoting or referencing something.                     Moreover, Mark makes it even clearer that Jesus is specifically quoting Ps.22:1 and indeed Jesus is ‘appropriating it,’[7] as Mark gives the phrase in its original Aramaic, which indicates that Jesus recounted it in this language (his own) rather than just reciting it in its original Hebrew.
Therefore, we can be assured: it’s not a mere phrase that Jesus is using, he is clearly quoting the first line of Psalm 22, which is ultimately a Psalm of steadfast faith, of hope, deliverance and glory. It is a messianic psalm that vividly describes the desolate agony of an enduring suffering servant (V1-18); The strength of faith in God: ‘The Lord,’ that this servant draws on (V19-24); before heralding an ultimate victory in which a new universal and unending dominion of God is inaugurated (V25-31).                                                                 So if Jesus were looking to draw people’s attention to the whole Psalm rather than just its opening line then ‘the verse would be the ultimate expression of Jesus’ commitment to the Lord despite the causes for despair that surround him.’[8]                                                                            But are there reasonable grounds to think so? Well, if I sang, “God save our gracious Queen,” or said, “Our Father who art in heaven,” most people could either finish the verses or prayer, or at least have an awareness of how they continue because certain quotations in our culture, whether secular or religious, are known and even memorized because of their importance. According to Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm this was especially true of the psalms in Jesus’ time. He needed only say the first line, and most Jews would have known the rest:

“In the Jewish tradition up to this day, the books of the Pentateuch, or weekly portions of it, or some prayers, are cited by the first major word or sentence. Some psalms are also still cited by the first words or sen­tence. For instance Ashrei (Psalm 1), or Al naharot Bavel (Psalm 137). It is likely that at the time of the first Gospels, Psalm 22, in analogy to this usage, was also cited by its first major sentence. In other words, the Gospel tells us that Jesus, when he was dying, recited Psalm 22. This being so, there is no problem to be solved. As we have seen, the psalm begins in despair, but it ends in an enthusiastic mood of faith and hope.”[9]

As our social, cultural and anthropological knowledge has increased, so contemporary scholarship has continued to corroborate Fromm’s view and uncover further cultural ‘recital’ and ‘memorization’ norms. According to Dan Wallace: ‘These Middle-Eastern cultures and the Ancient cultures and especially the Ancient Jewish culture, learned how to memorize and lived by memorization extensively.’[10] Craig Keener’s research into the practice of ancient memorization has uncovered the same thing, and he argues that such practices were universal regardless of education and background.[11] Richard Bauckham notes that, ‘Memorization was universal in education in the ancient world. Learning meant, to a significant degree, memorizing…Books existed not so much to be read as to be heard and their contents to be held in the memory and transmitted orally.’[12] He adds, ‘In a Jewish context Scripture would certainly be memorized verbatim.”[13] Indeed, this practice is ‘still very much alive in the Middle East’ today.[14] All of this strongly corroborates Fromm’s proposition that Jesus was, indeed, referencing Psalm 22 in its entirety.

 Biography and Historiography

Modern scholarship now accepts that the Gospel’s belong to the genre of ancient Greco-Roman biography.[15] As such, they should be no more overlooked as historical sources than any other such works from the period, from writers like Plutarch, Tacitus or Lucian. Bauckham insists that the Gospel’s go back via carefully passed on oral traditions to sources of direct eye-witness testimony.[16] In treating them as such we can explore the collective contextual narrative that they portray in the way that any historian or investigator would do in reconstructing an event or scene. One might find this an all too ‘Tatian’ approach. However, just as there was one resurrection, and one assassination of Julius Caesar, so there was one event of ‘the cross.’                                                                                            When examined, the gospel accounts reveal a plethora of overlapping corroboration. And not just the ‘lifting’ of a Markan account by Matthew. Rather, much that is mentioned in one testimony is either expanded upon or ‘compressed’ by another.[17] This is exactly what we should expect to find in ancient biographical accounts, and even eye-witness accounts today.
The latter gospels: Luke and John, primarily seem to be supplementing the earlier Markan passion narrative (see Lk.1:1-2) and leaving certain details out that were already well known from that existing account. Every gospel references time (Mk.15:25, 33-34; Mt.27:1, 45; Lk.23:44; Jn.19:14). This is a signature detail of something that is demanding to be received as (evidential) testimony. Luke states that he has conducted his own thorough investigation (Lk.1:3) and John insists that he was an eye-witness to the event himself (Jn.19:26, 35). So they would have been read as additional testimonies to the one event.

Jesus: Context of the Cross

              In a gospel reconstruction of the cross we see that Jesus was crucified alongside two others (Mk.15:25-27). This is corroborated by both Matthew (27:38) and John (19:18) and Jesus’ interaction with these 2 men is expanded by Luke (Lk.23:32, 39-43) which concludes with Jesus telling one that on that day they will be with him in paradise (Lk.23:43). All three Synoptics mention the soldiers drawing lots and dividing up his clothes (Mk.15:24, Mt.27:35, Lk.23:34) which is then expanded upon by John (19:23-24). This echoes Psalm 22:18. Onlookers then mock and insult him (Mk.15:29-31 Mt.27:39-41, Lk.23:35-36) which echoes Psalm 22:6-7. And the mocking sentiment of Psalm 22:8 foreshadows Mk.15:31-32, 36, Mt.27:43, Lk. 23:35). Before noon Jesus both asks His Father to forgive his enemies who are having him crucified (Lk.23:34) and lovingly declares to his mother and John that they are now as mother and son (Jn.1926-27).
The Synoptics then recount a ‘darkness’ (Mk.15:33, Mt.27:45, 23:44) coming over the land at noon, which remained until Jesus’ death at 3pm. At this point (3pm) Mark and Matthew record Jesus’ Psalm 22:1 ‘cry.’ But, by this time, much of the content of the whole Psalm had already unfolded: including (historically) verses 3-5 and concurrently, V6-8 and 12-18.                                                                                                                                                                                    Therefore, two immediate possibilities spring to mind: Either all the gospel accounts were written with Psalm 22 in mind, or Jesus was fully aware that Psalm 22 was unfolding prophetically and he vocally declared it. The latter possibility clearly coheres with our ‘alternative’ interpretation.

Moreover, Jesus neither appears to be suffering perplexed, anguished abandonment prior to 3pm – as we can surmise from his praying to his Father for his enemies; his loving exchange with Mary and John; and his promise of impending paradise to a crucified man alongside him. Nor does he seem to be in such a helpless mental state immediately after offering this Psalm 22:1 ‘cry’ either. For Luke’s crucifixion account concludes with Jesus praying again to His Father: from another Psalm, this time Psalm 31:5 (Lk.23:46), also notably a Psalm of faith, hope and redemption rather than despair. This hardly seems to cohere with the idea that Jesus is ‘cut-off’ from His Father at this point. And John’s account concludes with Jesus, at the point of death, declaring ‘tetelestai’: a declaration of triumphant accomplishment (Jn.19:30). And either of these could well be what Matthew had condensed in 27:50. John 19:30, in particular, is a remarkably similar exclamation to the ‘he has done it!’ exhortation at very end of Psalm 22 (and Is.44:22-3).

Thus, the idea that Jesus is merely crying out in hopeless anguish and questioning despair on the cross just doesn’t fit an overall context for the Jesus that is portrayed around it. We can legitimately ask why, in the face of these clear portraits, not only of Christ’s suffering on the cross, but also his display of strength, grace and resolve, does Moltmann insist on bracketing Mk.15:34 as a ‘cry of despair’?[18] For even he recognizes that Christ’s other sayings on the cross convey a sense of ‘comfort and triumph.’[19]

Jesus: In His Broader Context

On this ‘divine abandonment’ view, the ever present self-understanding and autonomy that Jesus has of Himself and His mission, that is consistently portrayed throughout Mark (and all other Gospels), suddenly seems turned on its head at Mk.15:34. From chapter 8 onwards Mark portrays a Jesus who knows and embraces his mission and destiny: the cross and resurrection, alongside his forlorn attempts to explain this intentional destiny to his disciples, who do not understand. (See Mk.8:31-38, 9:12, 9:31-32, 10:33-34 and 10:45)
In Mk.14:21 and Jn.5:39 Jesus declares that the OT Scriptures were written about him and the gospels clearly reveal a Jesus who is intimately acquainted with them. He cites Isaiah a multitude of times. It is therefore highly likely that Jesus identified himself as the suffering servant of Isaiah 52/3. Jesus also identifies himself as the Son of Man figure prophesied in Daniel 7, as he associates himself to it in Mk.8:38, 13:26 and, finally when interrogated by Caiaphas in Mk.14:62. Dunn argues that Daniel 7 implies a suffering servant, as the representative of the suffering and oppressed ‘Saints of the most high.’[20] According to George Eldon Ladd, “Jesus poured the content of the Suffering Servant into the SoM concept.’[21]

Similarly, in the same response to Caiaphas, Jesus also refers to Himself as ‘the Lord’ depicted in Psalm 110. For the Psalms are another genre of OT Scripture in which Jesus saw himself and his destined mission. In the parable of the tenants, for example, Jesus self-identifies as being the ‘rejected cornerstone’ of Psalm 118. For Jesus believed his sacrificial mission and destiny lay in his fulfilling prophetic scriptures (see Matthew 5:17, 26:52-54; Mark 14:21, 14:49; Luke 18:31, 24:7, 25-27, Luke 4:17-21). According to Casey, ‘Jesus saw his own fate in the scriptures.’[22]

Indeed, the Last Supper (Mt.26:17-30, Mk.14:12-26, Lk.22:7-39) brings the Isaiah prophecies and Jesus’ intention to, Himself, be the Passover Lamb sharply into focus.             This portrayal is not just confined to the Synoptics. Jn.3:14-15 and 12:32-33 present a Jesus who fully intended to be crucified. John begins his Gospel by directing His readers to this intention (Jn.1:36). John 10, similarly, depicts Jesus alluding back to Ezekiel 34 but, in perceiving himself as the shepherd, he clearly and unequivocally announces his intention to sacrifice his life for his sheep (Jn.10:11) and, strikingly, Jesus declares that this intended sacrificial death is the ‘reason his Father loves him’ as ‘commanded’ by The Father. (Jn.10:17-18).

Jesus then declares that ‘I and the Father are one’ (Jn.10:30). Whether Jesus means in homoousios, or merely, in will is a matter for debate. John indicates that his onlookers took this to be a claim to be God (V33) a theme that echoes back to Jn.5:18. However, even if Jesus meant in terms of mission and will, as against full-blown ontology, such divinely missional self-awareness is all a far cry from an interpretation of Jesus crying out in perplexed, anguished abandonment on the cross. As Torrance insists, “there is a oneness of mind between the Father and the Son, revealed supremely in the cross.”[23]
The dual themes of mutual Father/Son glorification, in both ontology and in the mission of the cross, is also distinctive in Jn.12:23, 28, 29; 13:1, 3; 13:31-32; 14:10-11, 13. The latter is certainly a major juxtaposition to the theological ideas of Moltmann et al. of a cosmic, Trinitarian rip at the cross and postulating a divine Son abandoned by His Father.[24]

Furthermore, John 12:28-33 strongly juxtaposes such a view on its own. For this is the third occasion in the Gospels where we are given an account of the literal voice of God (The Father) being heard. The first is at Jesus’ baptism (Mk.1:11) and the second at the Transfiguration (Mk.9:7). On both occasions the Father affirms and declares His love for ‘His Son.’ But, on this third occasion in John 12, as the impending ‘hour’ of his crucifixion approaches, both the Son and the Father cry out in glorification for one another and this hour of crucifixion. Moreover, Jn.12:30 echoes back to the previous chapter at the tomb of Lazarus (Jn.11:41-42) where Jesus says something that was ‘for the benefit of the people,’ just as God’s voice was at Jn.12:30. But in the previous chapter Jesus had gone on to declare that ‘I knew that you always hear me.’ (Jn.11:42)

Thus, it has deeply troubling ramifications if, following this public, vocal affirmation of the Father and Son in a mutual, mission of glorification via the cross, Jesus, just hours later cries out in perplexed, anguished abandonment during the ‘glorious’ event itself. At most, we might hypothesize that, in penning his gospel, John (and perhaps Luke too) was seeking to re-dress this idea already in circulation: that Jesus had died in weakness and despair that a certain interpretation of Mark’s gospel had wrought. Mark’s portrayal of Jesus praying that the cup may be taken from him in Gethsemane (Mk.14:36) and then crying out in (supposed) abandonment on the cross (Mk.15:34) is strikingly replaced by Jesus praying resolutely for His disciples (Jn.17) and then with final words of triumphant accomplishment at the cross in John (Jn.19:30).

Moreover, Luke’s gospel (Lk. 24:25-27), post-cross, spells out how the ‘Messiah’s suffering’ was an integral part of the prophetic mission. So in all the Gospel accounts we see a pre and post-cross Jesus who is of one missional mind. Positing, then, a mid-cross Jesus who is utterly perplexed and abandoned just does not seem to fit.

Most historians and theologians would agree with E.P Sanders that, as far as escaping his execution, Jesus ‘seems not to have tried.’[25] For his self-understanding and mission was far further reaching than his earthly life.[26] Rather, at the will of God, (See Isaiah 53:10; John 3:16, 18:11; Acts 2:23; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9) Jesus intended to die.[27] Should we really, then, regard it as pure coincidence, that Psalm 22 uniquely seems to allude to Jesus’ own self-understanding as the (Isaian) suffering servant, including the nature and finer details of his mission, and his ultimate victory?

On a ‘divine abandonment’ view some troubling questions remain: Are we to believe that Jesus is actually asking ‘why?’ Because he’s crying out in anguished bewilderment and is seeking divine answers? Is it a genuine question: ‘why have I been abandoned, because I don’t know?’ Given the effort it would have required to say this (whilst in agony he would have had to muster the energy to push himself upwards on the cross and expel invaluable amounts of the precariously little oxygen he had left in order to say this) why would he bother? For if he knew this was all coming (including divine abandonment) then why go through this pain of publicly exclaiming it? Or, is it that he did know, but he’s announcing his abandonment for some other reason? On this view the victorious content of the suffering one contained in the second half of Psalm 22 remains curiously coincidental if Jesus were not looking to draw people’s attention to the whole Psalm.

Or did Jesus not realize he was to be abandoned by His Father? If so, this has problematic repercussions for our understanding of the Trinity & even Christ’s divinity, if this ‘oneness’ that he has proclaimed all-along, wasn’t in fact the case at the cross, to Jesus’ despairing surprise. If Jesus was in such a state doesn’t this, in at least some sense, suggest the Father is a deceiver or manipulator, if Jesus experienced this abandonment in a way that he was not expecting? Cue Steve Chalke…

A Contextual Interpretation

With our contextual understanding in mind, if Jesus was referencing (all of) Psalm 22: then our reasons for concluding God-The-Father has completely abandoned His Son in his Son’s suffering quickly dissipate.
In fact, other possibilities immediately present themselves: Jesus may well have been praying the Psalm to His Father, but in hope and assurance rather than abject despair of abandonment. This view is taken by Joachim Jeremias[28] and William Lane Craig.[29] And although R.T. France insists that Jeremias ‘does not support’ it,[30] I would suggest that our developing contemporary understanding of memorization customs, recital patterns and the oral culture of Judaism and the middle East, does.
Alternatively, by quoting this psalm, Jesus might have been announcing himself to be the fulfilment of prophecy, that he would be vindicated and victorious, which is evident in the psalm’s triumphant ending.

Or, perhaps even, Jesus was principally announcing this Psalm to his immediate hearers (see Jn.11:42), which included the Chief Priests and teachers of the law, in all probability, the very same people that were present at his ‘trial,’ including Caiaphas. This possibility presents us with the same Jesus that was stood before Caiaphas defying him just hours earlier during his trial (Mk 14.62). Perhaps, even on the cross, Jesus remained defiant to all those that did not understand and believed they were having him killed. For in Mk.14:62, Jesus, in one verse, had declared himself to be the embodiment of the eschatological Son of Man figure depicted in Daniel 7, and the embodiment of ‘the Lord,’ sitting at God’s right hand, depicted throughout Psalm 110. Then, just hours later on the cross, Jesus, in similar fashion, in one verse, declared himself to be the embodiment of the suffering, yet victorious saviour depicted in (the whole of) Psalm 22. As if he’s still telling them, just as he did during his trial: ‘I know what I am doing, I am fulfilling my mission!’

It could, in fact, be the same ‘and you will see…’ (Mk.14:62) Jesus that was stood before Caiaphas just hours previously. That with some of his final words, he was again citing Scripture to inform his gathered conspirators and persecutors (Mk.15:31) that he was far from cursed (Deut.21:23) and defeated, but was, in fact, in the throes of victory. And this interpretation coheres with an overall picture that the cross narratives paint of Jesus collectively: Not of a man emotionally desperate, destroyed, broken and utterly abandoned. But one who died victorious and duly declaring it (Jn.19:30 / Ps.22:31)

For if Jesus were merely crying out in perplexed, anguished abandonment then why did he cry out Psalm 22:1? Why this verse from this Psalm and not, say, a verse from a Psalm that only speaks of abandonment or desperation, like Psalm 142 for instance? Or, moreover, Psalm 88 where many of the verses, particularly v14 (‘why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?’), would seem to be immensely more appropriate if that is what he was feeling or wanted to convey? But, on the contrary, Jesus cites Psalm 22 which is ultimately a Psalm of hope and victory through a time of great suffering and darkness. And 22:24 (‘he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help’) says the complete opposite to Psalm 88:14 and, indeed, this ‘tradition’ that says God ‘hid his face’ from Jesus on the cross!



                Lest I be misunderstood, this essay does not seek to downplay the excruciating physical agony of the cross, which Jesus took upon himself. What it does seek to argue is that this physical torment did not lead to, or include, a ‘spiritual abandonment’ or ‘cutting off’ of the Son from The Father, within the ontological interconnection of The Trinity.
The problem with the ‘divine abandonment’ hermeneutic is its conflation of the stark depictions of Mark and Matthew’s gospels of Jesus’ rejection, suffering and abandonment by man, and far too swiftly superimposing this rejection and abandonment onto Jesus by God Himself at the cross.

Indeed, that Jesus would cite this Psalm because of its depiction of both his suffering and final victory, entirely coheres with the considerable insight into his extensive self-understanding and sense of mission portrayed by every gospel. This, and the overarching narrative of the cross that we have, when all of the Gospel testimonies are examined side by side, present us with a very different Jesus than a man wretchedly toiling in hopeless, Spiritless abandonment.

We should therefore be extremely cautious about interpreting Mk.15:34 as Jesus declaring his complete and total abandonment by His Father, and then constructing ad-hoc Trinitarian theologies around it, as perhaps, Moltmann and others have done. On the contrary, far from utterly abandoned by God-The-Father, he may never have lost sight of their impending goal. It may even be this that he was declaring more than anything else.



Anselm, Proslogion http://www.stanselminstitute.org/files/AnselmProslogion.pdf
Bailey, K.E. ‘Informed Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels’ in Asia Journal of Theology 5 (1991)
Bauckham, R. Jesus A Very Short Introduction  (Oxford: OUP, 2011)
— — (Personal Interview) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHSoovmy4cw
— — Jesus and the Eye Witnesses (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids 2008)
Burridge, Richard A Four Gospels, One Jesus 2nd edn (London: SPK, 2005)
Carey, H. Jesus’ Cry From the Cross: Towards a First-century Understanding of the Intertextual Relationship between Psalm 22 and the Narrative of Mark’s Gospel (London: T&T Clark 2009)
Casey, M. The Solution to the ‘Son of Man’ Problem (Bloomsbury: London 2009)
Craig, W.L. ‘Do the Gospels Support a Muslim View of Jesus?http://www.reasonablefaith.org/do-the-gospels-support-a-muslim-view-of-jesus
Crossley, J. The Date of Mark’s Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity (T&T Clark: London 2004)
Dunn, J.D.G. ‘The Son of Man in Mark’ in Parables of Enoch: A Paradigm Shift D. Bock & J.H. Charlesworth eds.(T&T Clark: London 2013)
France R.T. The Gospel of Mark: The New international Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2014)
Fromm, E. You shall be as gods: A radical interpretation of the Old Testament and its tradition (London: Jonathan Cape, 1967)
Goodacre, M. Scripturalization in Mark‘s Crucifixion Narrative in Geert van Oyen and Tom Shepherd (eds.), The Trial and Death of Jesus: Essays on the Passion Narrative in Mark (Leuven: Peeters, 2006): 33-47
Gundry, R.H. Commentary on Mark (Grand Rapids: Baker 2010)
Hooker, M. The Son of Man in Mark (SPCK: London 1967)
Hurtado, L.  ‘A New Take on Jesus’ Cry from the Cross’
Jeremias, J. New Testament Theology (Norwich: SCM 2012)
Jesus of Testimony (documentary) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR7Ns2u2FOM
Keith, C. ‘Did God Forsake Jesus on the Cross (according to Mark and Matthew)?’ http://historicaljesusresearch.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/did-god-forsake-jesus-on-cross.html
Ladd, G.E.  A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1974)
Lane, W.L. The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1974)
Marcus, J. Mark 8-16 The Anchor Yale Bible Commentary (Yale University 2009)
— — The Way of the Lord: Christological Exegesis of the Old Testament in the Gospel of Mark (Louisville: Westminster 1992)
— –‘The Role of Scripture in the Gospel Passion Narratives’, in John T. Carroll and Joel B. Green (eds.), The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity (Peabody, MA: Hendricksons, 1995)
Moltmann, J. The Crucified God (tr. John Bowden & R.A. Wilson; London: SCM, 1974),
— — The Trinity and the Kingdom of God (tr. Margaret Kohl; London: SCM, 1981)
Sanders, E. P. The Historical Figure of Jesus (Allen Lane 1993)
Stanton, G. The Gospels and Jesus  2nd edn (Oxford: OUP, 2002)
Torrance, J. B. ‘Worship – Unitarian Or Trinitarian?’ In: Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace. (Carlisle: Paternoster 1996)
Von Balthazar, H.U.  Mysterium Paschale (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1990 second edition)
Wenham, D. and Walton, S. Exploring the NT (vol1) 2nd edn (London: SPCK, 2011)
Wilmhurst, S. Mark: A ransom For Many (Darlington: EP Books 2011)
[1] See Von Balthazar, H. Mysterium Paschale

[2] See Moltmann, J. The Crucified God

[3] Lane, W.L. The Gospel of Mark,pp.572-3

[4] Ibid,p.152

[5] Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom of God,p.77

[6] See Anselm, Proslogion

[7] Bauckham R.,(personal interview 38mins-38.33mins)

[8] Keith, C. ‘Did God Forsake Jesus on the Cross (according to Mark and Matthew)?’(Blog)

[9] Fromm, E You shall be as gods: A radical interpretation of the Old Testament and its tradition,p.232

[10] Wallace, D. Jesus of Testimony(40.17mins-40.27mins)

[11] Keener, C. ibid,(40.27mins-41.52mins)

[12] Bauckham, R. Jesus and the Eye Witnesses,p.280

[13] Ibid,p.281;

[14] Bailey, K.E. ‘Informed Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels’,pp.5-6

[15] Burridge R. Four Gospels, One Jesus,p.8;cf. Stanton G. The Gospels and Jesus,p.17

[16] Bauckham R. The Jesus of Testimony(1.13mins-1.22mins) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR7Ns2u2FOM

[17] Such literary devices were commonplace within the genre of Greco-Roman biography. For example, see Plutarch:Life Of Antony Chapter 12 to Plutarch:Life of Caesar Chapters 60 and 61.

[18] Moltmann, Trinity,p.77

[19] Moltmann, Crucified God,p.146

[20] Dunn,J.D.G.‘Mark’,pp.24-5

[21] Ladd,G.E. A Theology of the NT,p.157

[22] Casey,M. The Solution to the ‘Son of Man’ Problem,p.129

[23] Torrance, J.B. Worship – Unitarian Or Trinitarian?P.12

[24] See Moltmann-‘the first person of the Trinity casts out and annihilates the second’ The Crucified God,p.241

[25] Sanders E.P.The Historical Figure of Jesus,p.267

[26] Ibid,p.248;cf. Wenham & Walton Exploring the NT,p.165

[27] Wenham & Walton Exploring the NT,p.170;cf. Bauckham,(personal interview 38mins-38.33mins)

[28] Jeremias J. New Testament Theology,p.189

[29] Craig, W.L. ‘Do the Gospels Support a Muslim View of Jesus?

[30] France R.T. The Gospel of Mark,p.652

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