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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Gamli kanóki, 1. Harmsól, 22 [Vol. 7, 92-3]

[All]: The story of the two thieves, one repentant, the other not, is found only in S. Luke’s Gospel (XXIII.39-43). The other synoptic gospels state baldly that both thieves joined the bystanders in mocking Christ (cf. Matt. XXVII.44, Mark XV.32). Gamli appears to be conflating the thief’s words si tu es Christus salvum fac temet ipsum et nos ‘if thou be Christ, save thyself and us’ (Luke XXIII.39) with the more specific jibes of the bystanders: si Filius Dei es descende de cruce ‘if thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross’ (Matt. XXVII.40; cf. Matt. XXVII.42, Mark XV.30). The effect is to heighten the dramatic irony of the taunt.

references

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