By Daniel Nessim. Reposted with kind permission.
Should we read the Scripture with a ‘Greek’ mindset or a ‘Hebrew’ one? Sometimes the answer is both. In the previous month, we noted Yohanan 1:1 and its layers of meaning that draw on both Hebrew and Greek thought. We should also look at what we might think is the most Jewish of all Jewish quotations in the Gospels. It is Yeshua quoting the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4, something that is recited twice daily in Jewish prayer. In Deuteronomy, Israel is told to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength’.
What is interesting is that Mark cites Yeshua saying this (Mark 12:30, 37). When Yeshua quotes it He adds the word dianoia (which basically means ‘heart’ or ‘mind’). It can’t be that Mark didn’t know the Shema and got it wrong. Apart from the fact that we hold the Scriptures to be inerrant, he correctly quotes it three verses later in 12:33. Knowing that those Yeshua spoke to Jews knew the exact words, it seems that He paraphrased for the sake of emphasis, and to make a point in a form of midrash (interpretation).