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At John 20:28, Thomas famously exclaims

"My Lord and my God!"

This could be translated in different ways. In particular, 'Lord' is ambiguous (Adonai or Adoni?) and 'God' is ambiguous (God or god?)

"My LORD (= Adonai in Hebrew) and my God!"

"My Lord (= Adoni in Hebrew) and my God!"

"My Lord and my god!"

In the Greek, it's

"O Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου"

Assuming Thomas was actually speaking in Aramaic, what are our options for the words and their sense originally spoken?

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    Like any ambiguous passage, we must seek from scripture the overwhelming answer that makes sense of the difficult or variably interpretable ones. Thus, when taken in isolation, we have the answers from opinion and tradition which ignore the truth of Jesus having a God who cannot die. Strangely, willing answers but no UV - a DV to dissuade asking about the obvious problems with traditional beliefs. +1
    – steveowen
    May 26 at 22:02
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    The Jews and the intended readers of this and other verses did not use this verses and advance a triune God. They read these verses as they were written and still affirmed that there is only a numerically one God and denied the divinity of all but God Almighty. May 30 at 1:43

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The proper name יהוה ("Yahweh," "LORD") does not take the possessive suffix י ("my"). We know therefore that κυριος ("Lord") does not translate יהוה (the Tetragrammaton, or the Divine Name). However, we know that θεος μου ("my God") can only be understood absolutely, since there is, for the monotheist ("one-god-ist"), only one God who is "his God." Cf. 1 Cor 8:6; Deut 6:4.

Therefore, if Thomas spoke Aramaic, he would have used: מרי ואלהי (mari wa elahi); if Hebrew, then: אדני ואלהי (adoni wa elahi).

The sense of the words in both Greek and Aramaic are "My Lord and my God!" For the Jew there is no "my a god and my a lord."

This passage destroys the idea that Thomas is referring to Jesus as anything other than his Creator. Cf. John 1:1; 16:25-30.

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    Jesus attributed creation to his God, not himself. Mark 13 :19. If he is not the Creator, he is not the only true God God that he prays to and worship. Does Jesus:' God pray and worship Jesus? May 26 at 23:17
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    There is no "Adonai" or "Adoni" in Scripture, only אדני and the Masoretes inserted vowels as they saw fit 1000 years ago (and not before). Therefore, we can conclude in no instance whether the word refers to God or some other lord in any given instance except from the context alone. This applies to the Aramaic, which made no distinction either. May 26 at 23:31
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    @SolaGratia. There is adonai and adoni in Scripture. Psalm 110 :1. first Lord is Adonai and the 2nd lord is adoni. Look it up. They both are there in Psalm 110:1. May 27 at 0:09
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    אֲדֹנִי, אֲדֹנַי, אֲדֹנָי are variations of Mass. pointing to distinguish divine reference fr. human. Pl., with few except an intens. pl. of rank; word takes sf. as pl. in all other pers.; so doubtless here. Orig. reading prob. in all cases אֲדֹנַי -- Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). In Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 10). Clarendon Press.
    – Perry Webb
    May 27 at 1:20
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    I didn't mean they just indiscriminately inserted whatever vowels they thought sounded the best, I mean they vowels were a product of 10th century Talmudic Judaism, and cannot be used as witnesses of how passages were seen 1000 years prior. It's like a papal decree from the 10th century being used as evidence that the papacy goes back to Peter. May 28 at 20:37
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The information is limited to answer your question. However, there is no reason to believe the meaning of what Thomas said is not accurately stated in the Greek of John's Gospel. When my is added to a noun such as Lord and God, they are understood to have the same meaning as having the article, thus the interchange:

The article is used this way in contexts in which the idea of possession is obvious, especially when human anatomy is involved. Thus, in Matt 8:3, there is no need for the evangelist to add αὐτοῦ to what is patently evident: “stretching out his hand” (ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα). -- Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (p. 215). Zondervan.

From the following Hebrew translations: Franz Delitzsch translated ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου as אֲדֹנִי וֵאלֹהָי (adoni welohai). The Bible Society in Israel translated ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου as ״אֲדוֹנִי וֵאלֹהַי!״ (adoni welohai).

In the Aramaic parts of the Tanakh, "My Lord" referring to God and not a person does not occur. "My God" occurs in Daniel 6:22 אֱלָהִ֞י (elahi). While מרי (mari) is not used referring to God in the Aramaic parts of the Tanakh, it is in the Syriac Peshitta, which translates ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου as ܡܳܪܝ ܂ ܘܰܐܠܴܗܝ (mari walohi) in John 20:28.

Most likely the pronunciation of the Tetragram was lost by the first century.

In the course of the Second Temple period the Tetragrammaton came to be regarded as charged with metaphysical potency and therefore ceased to be pronounced. It was replaced in speech by ʾadonai, “Lord,” rendered into Greek Kyrios. Often the vowels of ʾadonai would later accompany YHVH in written texts. This gave rise to the mistaken form Jehovah. The original pronunciation was eventually lost; modern attempts at recovery are conjectural. -- Sarna, N. M. (1991). Exodus (p. 18). Jewish Publication Society.

Another consideration is, by the first century, Aramaic had regional variations:

Aramaic continued unchallenged among Jews until the coming of the Greeks. It was particularly prevalent in Palestine during the time of Jesus, a period for which we use the term “Middle” Aramaic. Since the Persian empire, which had been responsible for the language’s earlier uniformity, no longer existed, it is not surprising that regional variation begins to be apparent at this time (note the reference to Peter’s distinctive accent in Matthew 26:73). These include the dialects attested in the Dead Sea Scrolls (see chapter 30) and the New Testament, as well as that in use among the Arab tribes known as Nabateans. The earliest layers of the targumim to the Pentateuch (Onkelos) and the Prophets (Jonathan) also probably date from this period. Other dialects are known from Palmyra (biblical Tadmor) and Edessa in Syria, and Hatra, which is in Mesopotamia. -- Greenspahn, F. E. (2003). An introduction to Aramaic (2nd ed., Vol. 46, p. 7). Society of Biblical Literature.

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    I can read the Greek, but can you transliterate the Hebrew for people who can't read it? Otherwise I'm just looking at a bunch of squigglies. :) May 26 at 23:21
  • would the tetragrammaton not still have been spoken by the High Priest on Yom Kippur in the first century, prior to the destruction of the temple? Whilst the pronunciation may have been lost to the general populace, it seems likely that many kohenim, and of course the High Priest himself, would still have known it
    – Tristan
    May 28 at 8:39
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My answer focused more on the "what are the options for what he originally said?" Let's examine the context. What was it that Thomas refused to believe? that Jesus was equally God as the Father is?

Did the disciples who had seen Jesus earlier tell Thomas that Jesus was God? (John 10:25)

If all the apostle knew that Jesus was God before he was resurrected, what does Thomas statement “ Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” mean?

The context shows that Thomas refused to believed the Jesus was resurrected.

Does being resurrected from the dead make Jesus God. There were people in the bible that had been resurrected from the dead and no one believed that these were God. Being resurrected from the dead would have proven that that person was not God, since God is immortal.

The context show that Jesus’ statement in John 20:17 and Thomas’ John 20:28 statement show that Jesus told those who saw him resurrected that the Father was his and their (Thomas included) God.

When Thomas touched Jesus 'wounds and saw Jesus' hands, Jesus proved that he was resurrected. Thomas' touching and seeing Jesus after he died proved that he believed Jesus was resurrected, not that Jesus is God.

Jesus continued to call the Father his God after he ascended to heaven as Revelation. 3:2; 3:12 show.

There were men in the bible that were called God/god, but, as the rest of the bible shows, these men were not the only true God. Johnathan called David O' Lord God in 1Samuel 20:12 KJB, Solomon was called O' God Psalm 45:6.

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  • -1 You misquote 1 Samuel 20:12 Then Jonathan said to David, "By the LORD, the God of Israel! I will sound out my father at this time tomorrow..." Jonathan is making a vow, invoking YHVH the God of Israel (not calling David YHVH the God of Israel). Similarly in Psalm 45 is about any king or queen, not Solomon. When Thomas saw the resurrected Christ, his response was to call Him My Lord and My God. He was not proclaiming a belief in the resurrection; he was proclaiming his response to the presence of the resurrected Christ (eg. Romans 1:4). May 29 at 17:32
  • And Thomas calls Jesus ὁ Θεός which according to your statements elsewhere means the [only] God. May 29 at 17:40
  • @RevelationLad. The only true God does not pray to another God and is immortal., invisible and does not change. Jesus prayed to and worship the Father. Is there any verse in the bible that shows the Father praying to Jesus and worshipping Jesus? Can God be touched? May 29 at 18:00
  • @RevelationLad. Your comment that I misquoted 1 Samuel 20 :12 is not true. Please look the KJB version of it. The resurrected Jesus called his Father "my God" too. May 29 at 18:20
  • KJV: And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee Jonathan is invoking YHVH of Israel: "O LORD God of Israel...if there be any good toward David..." May 29 at 23:24

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