AKELDAMA (Ἀκελδαμά TR)

AKELDAMA (Ἁκελδαμάχ WH, Ἀκελδαμά TR)

Akeldama is said to be equivalent to χωρίον αἵματος in Ac 1:19, and to ἀγρὸς αἵματος in Mt 27:8: in that case the word represents Aram. הֲקֵל ךְּמָא and the final χ (which is retained also in the best Vulg. text, acheldemach) transliterates א (which is only rarely so found). It has, therefore, been suggested as possible that the second part of the word represents Aram. דְּמַךְ = κοιμητήριον, ‘cemetery,’ which accords better with St. Matthew’s explanation, though not with St. Luke’s. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that we have here an instance of the occasional discrepancies and inaccuracies which have from an early period crept into the text of the NT.

It would certainly seem as if the explanation of the title ‘field of blood’ given in Mt 27:8 is radically different from that suggested in Ac 1:19, and that the former is more in accordance with the facts, though still an incorrect translation of the Aram. title, while it is probable that the whole section vv. 18, 19 (with or without v. 20) of the latter passage is not part of St. Peter’s speech, but a comment or gloss either by the author of the book (St. Luke) himself or even by some later editor or transcriber, who has incorporated a less trustworthy tradition in the text.

The site of Akeldama is the modern Ḥaḳk ed-Dumm, on the south side of the Valley of Hinnom. See, further, art. s.v. in HDB and DCG.

L. Feltoe.

WH Westcott-Hort’s Greek Testament.

TR Textus Receptus, Received Text.

Vulg. Vulgate.

art. article.

HDB Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible (5 vols.).

DCG Dict. of Christ and the Gospels.

Feltoe, C. L. (1916-1918). Akeldama. In J. Hastings (Ed.), Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (2 Vols.) (J. Hastings, Ed.) (1:47). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

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