John 8:58

A SUMMARY OF THE ISSUES SURROUNDING EGW EIMI IN JOHN 8:58 GregStffrd at aol.com GregStffrd at aol.com
Wed Sep 2 16:07:24 EDT 1998

 

In the interest of more open discussion I have recommended this forum! A SUMMARY OF THE ISSUES SURROUNDING EGW EIMI IN JOHN 8:58The past couple of weeks on b-Greek we have discussed, among other things, thequestion of whether or not EIMI in John 8:58 can properly be considered partof the idiom known as the Present of Past Action Still in Progress (PPA[Burton]) or the Extension from Past (McKay). This idiom occurs when a presentverb is used with an expression of past time. McKay explains: “When used withan expression of either past time or extent of time with past implications(but not in past narrative . . .), the present tense signals an activity begunin the past and continuing to the present time” (K. L. McKay, A New Syntax ofthe Verb in New Testament Greek: An Aspectual Approach [New York: Lang, 1994],p. 41). McKay gives Luke 13:7, 15:29; John 14:9; Acts 27:33; and John 8:58 asexamples of this particular idiom. The main objection to this view, stated by Kyle Dillon, has been in referenceto a comparison between Greek and English verbs. This is a dangerouscomparison to make, and, in my view, cannot help but result in confusion inthis case. Thus, I would like to restore the focus of this thread to theGreek text of John 8:58, and discuss its meaning, and consider its potentialrelationship to the use of EGW EIMI in the LXX of Isaiah.WHAT DOES THE GREEK TELL US?Someone on the list recently commented that “most theological arguments thatbegin `The Greek says…’ are simplywrong.” To me this kind of observation is not well founded at all. But here Iintend to argue grammar, not theology, though a certain theology naturallyresults from the grammar. Let’s begin by considering undisputed examples ofthe PPA. In John 14:9 Jesus says to Philip, TOSOUTON CHRONON MEQ’ hUMWN EIMI. HereTOSOUTON CHRONON has a past reference and modifies the present EIMI. InEnglish, we would not translate, “I am with you so much time,” but “I havebeen with you for a long time.” It is important to note that both Jesus andPhilip, the two direct participants in the discussion, know how long they havebeen together. Thus, for us to expect anything more specific than TOSOUTONCHRONON, in this context, is unnecessary. Why should Jesus be more specificthan he was? Also, we know from the context that there was a beginning to thetime they spent together.-John 1:43.In John 15:27 Jesus said to his disciples, AP’ ARCHS MET’ EMOU ESTE. Here AP’ARCHS modifies ESTE, providing a point from which the disciples shared Jesus’company. The use of APO is appropriate since the participants in thediscussion, Jesus and the disciples, both knew when they first began toassociate with Jesus. But ARCH does not tell us when that happened, and ifsomeone held to a particular view of ARCH that demanded it refer to the ARCHin, say, John 1:1, it could result in quite a creative view of Jesus’relationship with his disciples! But, again, Jesus can make reference to aparticular point from which he has been with his disciples, without beingspecific in terms of time or location, because he knows that they know what hemeans by AP’ ARCHS.The same is true of other examples of the PPA. In Luke 13:7 the man in Jesus’illustration and the vinedresser both know that for three years the man hascome looking for fruit, and even if the vinedresser did not have directknowledge of this fact (that is, he was not in the vineyard for the entirethree years, but came later) he would have had no problem relating to thepoint of reference. In Luke 15:29, in Jesus’ illustration of the prodigal son,the son who stayed with his father laments TOSAUTA ETH DOULEUW SOI. Obviously,both the son and his father know what period of servitude is meant by TOSAUTAETH. But when we come to John 8:58, the situation is not so simple, or is it? Jesusrefers to Abraham and says that Abraham rejoiced at the prospect of “seeinghis day.” This does not sit well with the Jews, who object, PENTHKONTA ETHOUPW hECHEIS KAI ABRAAM hEWRAKAS; Jesus responds emphatically, PRIN ABRAAMGENESQAI EGW EIMI. There are two ways to understand this verse, that alsorelate to the question Jesus is answering: 1) Jesus is claiming to haveexisted before Abraham was born; or 2) he is claiming a title belonging to Godwhich would ipso facto identify him as God, and therefore explain how he hasseen Abraham.Below we will (briefly) consider whether or not Jesus’ use of EGW EIMI can beviewed as the equivalent to a divine title/name. But here we should simplynote that the grammar of the passage contains the necessary past expressionand present verb to be considered a PPA. The only difference between thisverse and the other examples of the PPA we earlier considered, is the point ofreference; it is to a time unknown to both parties in the discussion. In otherwords, how else could Jesus state the fact of his preexistence and make hispoint that he has seen Abraham? If Jesus had said APO THS GENETHS TOU ABRAAM EGW EIMI that would have impliedthat he was a being who lived from the time of Abraham’s birth forward, butnot necessarily prior to that birth. By saying PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI hemaintains the truth of his existence and still answers their question. Butthere is really nothing more specific he could have said, since his existencepredates the Jews’ knowledge of history. It is the same with the use of PRO inPsalm 90:2 and Jeremiah 1:5. Since the past expression in all of these textsgoes beyond any date in history known by the person(s) spoken to, then allthat can be said in such instances is a vague reference prior to the time THATIS KNOWN. In other words, in Psalm 90:2 Moses and the Israelites know that the mountainswere created “in the beginning” (this is the farthest point of reference towhich they could relate, because it is spoken of in their scriptures-Gen. 1:1;Prov. 8:22ff.), but beyond the beginning they cannot relate to anythingfurther, historically. In Jeremiah 1:5 we are simply told that God knewJeremiah before he was born, but we do not know how long prior to his birthJeremiah was foreordained by God. All we know is that God foreknew Jeremiahbefore he was born. Anything else must be gathered from other scriptures, orread into the text in light of one’s presuppositions. It is similar in John8:58. All we can say for a certainty, based on the grammar of the text, isthat Jesus existed from a time before Abraham’s birth to the contextualpresent. The best English translation might well be that given by McKay: “I have beenin existence since before Abraham was born.” The use of “since” does not implya beginning, but a point of reference, and that is what the text provides.Jesus claims to have existed from a time before Abraham’s birth. That “time”can be viewed as eternal, but it need not be. Like the other examples of thePPA we discussed, context, immediate and larger, will have to tell us whetheror not Jesus’ existence had a beginning. Also, again, to object to the meaningof the Greek text on the basis of English grammar is an unfortunate error.This is a GREEK idiom, and the Greek language does not have the same time-based system of verbs that English has. But what about the translation “I have been” which is found in the NWT and invarious editions of the NASB and other translations? Again, in this instancewe have a situation where, in Greek, we are told that Jesus exists from a timebefore Abraham’s birth to the present. Literal translations like NWT and NASBtry to follow the Greek text as closely as possible while communicating themeaning of the text in English. It would have been too paraphrastic for eithertranslation to read, “I existed before Abraham was born, and I continue toexist.” But because that is what the text says it would have been correct.Both the Greek present and imperfect tense forms have imperfective aspect, andthey both would have communicated essentially the same thing. With the presentthere is what I consider a definite emphasis on the continuity of Jesus’existence. Also, the imperfect appears to function in the PPA/Extension fromPast idiom only in narrative (See McKay, A New Syntax, pp. 44-45).Viewed from this perspective, EIMI is a present verb modified by a pastexpression, showing that Jesus’ existence continues from a time before thebirth of Abraham, to the contextual present. The past reference is necessarilyvague, since those to whom Jesus is speaking cannot relate to a time beyond”the beginning.” But Abraham is used as the reference instead of “thebeginning” since Abraham is focus of the question at hand. Now we have to ask, does the Johannine use of EGW EIMI have anything to dowith the use of the same expression in the LXX of Isaiah?EGW EIMI IN THE LXX, IN JOHN AND IN THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELSThe answer to the question asked above this section is yes. If you examine thepredicateless use of EGO EIMI in the LXX and the NT, you will find that it isalmost always used of self-identification. The question is, is the “self”identified the same in all cases? I have written a book (see below for details) with a lengthy chapterdiscussing this issue. I believe you will find that the use of EGW EIMI in theLXX always has a predicate implied or directly stated, which predicate iseither “Lord” or “God” or some other equivalent expression. In the FourthGospel, Jesus uses the expression primarily as a means of identifying himselfas the Messiah (John 4:26; 13:19), the messianic Son of man (John 8:24, 28),as “Jesus” (John 18:1-6), and as a means of simple self-identification, “It isI” (John 6:20). His use in John 8:58 also has strong messianic overtones, butbecause it also appears to function as part of a Greek idiom that gathers thepast and present into a single expression, it is not certain whether we shouldalso understand “Christ” as an implied predicate. See my book, chapter 6,pages 135-139, for details. John also uses the predicateless EGW EIMI with theimplied predicate, “the one born blind” in John 9:9.Jonathan Robie asked about the doubling of EGW EIMI in the LXX of Isaiah, andI believe Ben Crick pointed out that this has to do with emphasis. I agree.This is a translation of the archaic ANOKI. The reason this doubling of ANOKIshould not be viewed as an equivalent to the divine name is because the divinename would then have to be duplicated, not the verb. But ANOKI is translated,not by KURIOS (or THEOS), but by EGW EIMI. However, the tetragrammaton istranslated in the LXX by KURIOS, not EGW EIMI. That is why the citation I gavefrom Davies is significant, because it points out that Brown’s observationreally begs the question, unless he can provide specific evidence supportinghis position. For observations of other scholars who recognize the emphasis inthe repetition of the ANI/ANOKI, see note 30 on pages 125 and 126 of my book.Again, John uses the predicateless EGW EIMI for the man born blind (John 9:9),knowing that the predicate is clearly implied in the context. John does thesame for Jesus. There is nothing inherently special or theological about EGWEIMI, but the importance of the expression lies in the predicate that isimplied or expressly stated with it. Similarly, the Synoptics use the predicateless EGW EIMI for Jesus as the”Christ.” There are many references on this point, and a good amount oftextual material to consider, so I suggest those interested take a look atpages 145-149 of my book. Here I will simply recommend that you compare Mark13:6 (Luke 21:8) with Matthew 24:5, and Mark 14:62 and Luke 22:70.CONCLUSIONIn John 8:58 EGW EIMI is used with an expression of past time, gathering thepast and present into a single expression, designed to emphasize Jesus’existence before Abraham’s birth, up to the time he spoke with the Jews. If apredicate is to be supplied, the context and other uses of EGW EIMI in theFourth Gospel and the Synoptics suggest “Messiah” or “Son of man.” English grammar should not be used to understand the Greek idiom in thispassage (or any other for that matter). Examples of the PPA will exhibitdifferences because of the speaker, those spoken to, and the subject underdiscussion. The past reference may be specific or vague, depending on whetheror not those involved in the conversation share the same understanding of thetime frame being considered. In any event, the text may still appear vague tous, as far as the time reference is concerned, and therefore we must searchthe immediate and larger contexts for more specific information. The LXX of Isaiah use EGW EIMI with and without and expressed predicate. Butin all of the examples the predicate is either “God” or “Lord” or someequivalent expression. There is no example in the LXX where the predicatelessEGW EIMI implies “Messiah” or “Christ.”The duplication of EGW EIMI in some of the LXX passages relates to theemphatic use of ANI/ANOKI. In no instance is the second ANI/ANOKI translatedby either “Lord” or “God,” as if they were equivalent to the divine name. EGW EIMI is used for identification purposes, and always involves a predicateof some sort that is implied or directly stated in the context. In John 8:58it may have a predicate also, but one thing is for sure, it is used togetherwith a past expression, highlighting the fact that Jesus existed beforeAbraham, and that is how he saw him “rejoice” at the prospect of seeing hisday, the day of the Messiah.-Gen. 22:17-18; Gal. 3:16.I you want more information you may <A HREF=”http://www.elihubooks.com/orders.htm”>order my book here</A>(http://www.elihubooks.com/orders.htm), or I can send you photocopies of thechapter where I discuss these issues. I mention this because it was suggested that if we have authored books onparticular topics that are being discussed, that we make it known where onecan obtain our published discussions.Greg Stafford

 

In the interest of more open discussionI have recommended this forum!

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) Stevens, Charles C Charles.Stevens at unisys.com
Tue Dec 28 12:59:38 EST 1999

 

Question on John 17:3 Question on John 17:3 Just as a point of clarification as to my intent: On 25 December 1999 at 3:15 AM, David C. Hindley summarized my position as:<<The posts that were of interest to me were Charles’ suggestionthat EGW EIMI implies a claim to identity with the speaker in Exodus 3:14(i.e., EGW EIMI implies hO WN as a predicate), …>>No, that’s not exactly what I meant. In fact I was deliberately looking atthe passage not from Jesus’ point of view, but rather that of the audience.What Jesus *meant* by it is entirely orthogonal to my point, and I took somecare to state it that way (perhaps I was not clear enough). What I intended to convey is that the context (in particular John 8:57 -8:59) leads me to the conclusion that the audience (the scribes andPharisees in particular) *most likely* understood Jesus’ statement to be aclaim to divinity, whether he meant it that way or not. John citesambiguous statements that may or may not be interpreted correctly elsewhere(see e.g. the discussion of GENNHQHi ANWQEN with Nicodemus in John 3), sosuch ambiguity as a rhetorical device is not unique to 8:58 in John. What Jesus *meant* by it requires theological conclusions that I think nowand thought then were inappropriate to . But I do believe one shouldtake into account what the audience’s reaction was, and what stimuli in thattime and place would likely have precipitated that reaction, in decidingwhat meaning the audience ascribed to what Jesus actually *said*.-Chuck Stevens

 

Question on John 17:3Question on John 17:3

[] John 8:58 PPA??? MAKARIOIOIPRAEIS at aol.com MAKARIOIOIPRAEIS at aol.com
Wed Feb 2 01:44:53 EST 2005

 

[] Passive Voice [] John 8:58 PPA??? My apologies for the drawing to the “Witnessess” to the current topic, historically the JW’s have actually used the term ‘perfect indefinite tense’ to refer to the tense of EGO EIMI (footnote NWT, 1950 edition) The post from Sat Jan 15 08:55:32 EST 2005 mentioned the debate between Rob Bowman and Jason Beduhn. “There is a guy named Jason Beduhn currently debating with Rob Bowman on the issue of John 8:58” Rob Bowman has debated JW’s in the past and authored several books on the Watchtower’s particular theology. (so my assumption for the current topic) and although Jason Beduhn has no affiliation with the JW’s, as a proffessor of Religious Studies he has been quoted as saying that the Watchtower’s Kingdom Interlinear of the NT is: “Simply put, it is the best interlinear New Testament available”I don’t believe there are many who would agree with that. (Julius R. Mantey for example) At any rate the quote from the The Watchman Expositor was meant as an example of arguing Jn 8:58 as a present tense by the fact that it by itself is a “predicate absolute” and therefore needs to be rendered in the simple English present tense. (unless this rule of thumb is open for debate)???I would say that I it would be very poor English to translate the blind man’s response in John 9:9 EGO EIMI as “I have been”. This statement is also a “predicate absolute” like John 8:58, and therefore makes the most sense as “I am” “…..Some said ‘This is he’ others ‘he is like him’ (the blind man) was saying “I am..” Makes no sense to me at least to see this as “I have been” or “I was ‘him’ ” or as a progressive, or historical present, but I’m not exactly sure what Jason Beduhn’s argument for the PPA in John 8:58 actually was. Richard Windisch

 

[] Passive Voice[] John 8:58 PPA???

[] John 8:58 PPA??? beb beb at tolstoy.freeserve.co.uk
Wed Feb 2 02:58:02 EST 2005

 

[] John 8:58 PPA??? [] John 8:58 PPA??? Dear Richard,Not so…the words “perfect indefinite tense” were NOT referring to the Greek EGO EIMI but the _English rendering_ “I have been” found in the NWT!Rebecca BarnardNorwichUK> My apologies for the drawing to the “Witnessess” to the current topic,> historically the JW’s have actually used the term ‘perfect indefinite > tense’ to> refer to the tense of EGO EIMI (footnote NWT, 1950 edition)>

 

[] John 8:58 PPA???[] John 8:58 PPA???

[] John 8:58 PPA??? Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Wed Feb 2 05:27:04 EST 2005

 

[] John 8:58 PPA??? [] John 8:58 PPA??? Dear Richard,In order to review translation alternatives it is much better to *describe* the syntactical and contextual situations than to tie the case to technical terms, such as PPA. One person (expressed by “I”) existed before a point of time in the past (PRIN ABRAAAM), and because he (Jesus) is the one uttering the words, he still exists at the deictic center (speech time). Because EIMI does not have a perfect, this is in Greek expressed by the present of EIMI. What is described is a state, and this states has lasted from before a certain point in the past and still lasts at present (the deictic center). John 9:9 is a completely different situation.The problem with English as a target laguage is that neiter simple present nor the the imperfective aspect (the present participle) can express the mentioned situation (a state existing before a poit in the past and is still existing). Thus, the NIV rendering “Before Abraham was born, I am” simply is ungrammatical! The only way to defend such a rendering in my view is to say that here we have an expression that transcends human understanding, so we must use an ungrammatical expression to catch it. But the problem with this is that we do not let language an grammar be the basis of our theology, but we let our theology in a way set language and grammar aside. McKay’s rendering “I have been in existence since before Abraham was born” is both grammatical and accounts perfectly for the syntax and the context. We need not connect this translation with a technical term to realize that.Best regardsRolf FuruliUniversity of OsloMAKARIOIOIPRAEIS at aol.com wrote:>snip > >At any rate the quote from the The Watchman Expositor was meant as an example >of arguing Jn 8:58 as a present tense by the fact that it by itself is a >“predicate absolute” and therefore needs to be rendered in the simple English >present tense. >(unless this rule of thumb is open for debate)???> >I would say that I it would be very poor English to translate the blind man’s >response in John 9:9 EGO EIMI as “I have been”. This statement is also a >“predicate absolute” like John 8:58, and therefore makes the most sense as “I am” > “…..Some said ‘This is he’ others ‘he is like him’ (the blind man) was >saying “I am..” >Makes no sense to me at least to see this as “I have been” or “I was ‘him’ ” >or as a progressive, or historical present, but I’m not exactly sure what >Jason Beduhn’s argument for the PPA in John 8:58 actually was. > >Richard Windisch> > > > > > > > >

 

[] John 8:58 PPA???[] John 8:58 PPA???

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Grant grant at cajun.net
Wed Dec 22 12:19:50 EST 1999

 

John 1:1 pronouns John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) The reason I decided to learn Greek (i think there was a topic a while back about this) is to learn all the legitimate interpretations of passages such as Philippians 2:6 (very much aware of this scripture now! ) and others. I would just like to say that has helped me understand and look at scriptures in a way I never did before. I would just like to give a warm thanks to all who have corresponed with me. I know at time I can be a little stubborn though.JOhn 8:58 “EIPEN AUTOIS IHSOUS AMHN AMHN LEGW hYMIN PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI EGW EIMI”I have read many variations in which some translate as “I am” while other seem to try to show an age rather than identity such as “I have been” or “I was.” From a scrictly grammatical standpoint, is “I have been” a correct rendering? Which English tense is closer to the Greek tense: the “I am” tense or the “I have been” tense?Sincerely,Grant POlle————– next part ————–An HTML attachment was scrubbed…URL: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail//attachments/19991222/f71747ad/attachment.html

 

John 1:1 pronounsJohn 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Dec 22 12:50:17 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Luke 2:1 (off topic) At 11:19 AM -0600 12/22/99, Grant wrote:>The reason I decided to learn Greek (i think there was a topic a while>back about this) is to learn all the legitimate interpretations of>passages such as Philippians 2:6 (very much aware of this scripture now! )>and others. I would just like to say that has helped me>understand and look at scriptures in a way I never did before. I would>just like to give a warm thanks to all who have corresponed with me. I>know at time I can be a little stubborn though.> >John 8:58 “EIPEN AUTOIS IHSOUS AMHN AMHN LEGW hYMIN PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI>EGW EIMI”> >I have read many variations in which some translate as “I am” while other>seem to try to show an age rather than identity such as “I have been” or>“I was.”> > From a scrictly grammatical standpoint, is “I have been” a correct>rendering? Which English tense is closer to the Greek tense: the “I am”>tense or the “I have been” tense?> >Sincerely,>Grant POlleOne could say, “I was,” but I think that “I am” captures the paradoxicalsense that the statement presents. If one is willing to sacrifice thestructure of the Greek and reformulate the content, I think one mightwrite, “My existence antedates the birth of Abraham.” Come to think of it,that reformulation fits the old observation (which is at least partly true,as anyone who has had to memorize Greek verb paradigms is well aware) thatEnglish tends to express major notions with nouns while Greek tends toexpress major ideas with verbs.Carl W. ConradDepartment of Classics/Washington UniversityOne Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649cwconrad at artsci.wustl.eduWWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/————– next part ————–A non-text attachment was scrubbed…Name: not availableType: text/enrichedSize: 1895 bytesDesc: not availableUrl : http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail//attachments/19991222/4d4cd83d/attachment.bin

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)Luke 2:1 (off topic)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Wed Dec 22 13:48:22 EST 1999

 

Luke 2:1 (off topic) John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) To: Carl W. Conrad,<< One could say, “I was,” but I think that “I am” captures the paradoxical sense that the statement presents. If one is willing to sacrifice the structure of the Greek and reformulate the content, I think one might write, “My existence antedates the birth of Abraham.” Come to think of it, that reformulation fits the old observation (which is at least partly true, as anyone who has had to memorize Greek verb paradigms is well aware) that English tends to express major notions with nouns while Greek tends to express major ideas with verbs. >>Perhaps, but EGW EIMI is just a common phrase which often in both Classical Greek and the NT simply means nothing more than “I am he” (assuming a male speaker). There is nothing in the Grammar of this Greek text which necessarily demands understanding this text to suggests pre-existence. One could just as easily interpret this passage to mean (something like): “before Abraham was, I was appointed to this task” (literally: “Before Abraham was, I am he”).On the other hand, I will concede the fact that the phrase PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI makes understanding the text somewhat difficult. Exactly what was before Abraham? Your interpretation assumes that it was the individual or person of Jesus which preexisted before Abraham. My interpretation merely assumes that the appointment of the person Jesus for God’s task preexisted before Abraham.-Steven Craig MillerAlton, Illinois (USA)scmiller at www.plantnet.comDisclaimer: “I’m just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree), what do I know?”

 

Luke 2:1 (off topic)John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Ilvgrammta at aol.com Ilvgrammta at aol.com
Wed Dec 22 13:58:05 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Dear Grant,In an article “EGW EIMI in John 1:20 and 4:25” Edwin D. Freed addresses the issues surrounding the so-called absolute use of EGW EIMI and whether this employment of the term ever occurs in the Johnannine literary corpus. He repeatedly demonstrates how a predicate could be supplied each time EGW EIMI appears in the Gospel of John. In spite of Freed’s treatment, however, most commentators admittedly understand EGW EIMI in John 8:58 to be absolute and they subsequently insist that Jesus was calling himself God in the Johannine Gospel. In the excellent work Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on SemanticDomains, Louw and Nida that John 8:58 give the following: “before Abraham came into existence, I existed” (Louw-Nida 158). IMHO, this rendering more accurately reflects the meaning of Jesus’ words recorded in John 8:58. It also helps us to understand that Jesus was evidently not speaking in a metaphysical sense, when he said PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI EGW EIMI. This reading can be supported by the normal usage of EGW EIMI in times of antiquity and the ancient writings about the Messiah.Edgar Foster

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)

John 8:58 Grant grant at cajun.net
Wed Dec 22 14:50:18 EST 1999

 

Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1-4 John 13:34 – A hINA Clause with the force of an imperative? Edgar quoting an article wrote:>>>>> He [quoted Author of book] repeatedly demonstrates how a predicate could be supplied each time EGW EIMI appears in the Gospel of John>>>>So are you here referring to a predicateless sentence where it was implied according to the context?Would this be an example? Are you tired of running? I am [tired of running]. implied predicate Are you the mail carier? I am [the mail carrier]. implied predicate nominativeMark 14:61: “Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One?”Mark 14:62 “I am” [the Christ the Son of the Blessed One].Is this what you mean??grant polle————– next part ————–An HTML attachment was scrubbed…URL: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail//attachments/19991222/5837769b/attachment.html

 

Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1-4John 13:34 – A hINA Clause with the force of an imperative?

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Wed Dec 22 15:03:49 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1-4 To: Edgar Foster,SCM: << … but EGW EIMI is just a common phrase which often in both Classical Greek and the NT simply means nothing more than “I am he” (assuming a male speaker). There is nothing in the Grammar of this Greek text which necessarily demands understanding this text to suggests pre-existence. One could just as easily interpret this passage to mean (something like): “before Abraham was, I was appointed to this task” (literally: “Before Abraham was, I am he”). >>EF: << In the excellent work Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Louw and Nida that John 8:58 give the following: “before Abraham came into existence, I existed” (Louw-Nida 158). IMHO, this rendering more accurately reflects the meaning of Jesus’ words recorded in John 8:58. >>I would concur with you that the Louw & Nida lexicon is an “excellent work.” On the other hand, I have reservations about this particular example. I can understand why people, confronted with making sense of this saying by the Johannine Jesus would want to translate the present tense verb EIMI as a past tense in English, but the fact remains that the most literal translation of these words is simply: “before Abraham was, I am he.”I will also note, for those who might be interested, that the conservative Daniel B. Wallace (some one whom I deeply respect for his scholarship despite my own personal liberal beliefs) puzzles over this passage in his grammar (p. 530). If I’m reading Wallace correctly, he seems to suggest that there is not sufficient linguistic parallels for taking EIMI as a past tense.-Steven Craig MillerAlton, Illinois (USA)scmiller at www.plantnet.comDisclaimer: “I’m just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree), what do I know?”

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1-4

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) George Goolde goolde at mtnempire.net
Wed Dec 22 17:34:59 EST 1999

 

Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1-4 John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) At 02:48 PM 12/22/99 -0800, you wrote:>To: Carl W. Conrad,> ><< One could say, “I was,” but I think that “I am” captures the>paradoxical>sense that the statement presents. If one is willing to sacrifice the>structure of the Greek and reformulate the content, I think one might>write, “My existence antedates the birth of Abraham.” Come to think of it,>that reformulation fits the old observation (which is at least partly>true,>as anyone who has had to memorize Greek verb paradigms is well aware) that>English tends to express major notions with nouns while Greek tends to>express major ideas with verbs. >>> >Perhaps, but EGW EIMI is just a common phrase which often in both>Classical>Greek and the NT simply means nothing more than “I am he” (assuming a male>speaker). There is nothing in the Grammar of this Greek text which>necessarily demands understanding this text to suggests pre-existence. One>could just as easily interpret this passage to mean (something like):>“before Abraham was, I was appointed to this task” (literally: “Before>Abraham was, I am he”).> >On the other hand, I will concede the fact that the phrase PRIN ABRAAM>GENESQAI makes understanding the text somewhat difficult. Exactly what was>before Abraham? Your interpretation assumes that it was the individual or>person of Jesus which preexisted before Abraham. My interpretation merely>assumes that the appointment of the person Jesus for God’s task preexisted>before Abraham.Which shows that we all have theological presuppositions which sometimes color our understanding of the Greek text.GeorgeGeorge A. GooldeProfessor, Bible and TheologySouthern California Bible College & SeminaryEl Cajon, Californiagoolde at mtnempire.net

 

Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1-4John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Ilvgrammta at aol.com Ilvgrammta at aol.com
Wed Dec 22 17:40:48 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) John 8:58 In a message dated 99-12-22 15:01:53 EST, scmiller at www.plantnet.com writes:<< I would concur with you that the Louw & Nida lexicon is an “excellent work.” On the other hand, I have reservations about this particular example. I can understand why people, confronted with making sense of this saying by the Johannine Jesus would want to translate the present tense verb EIMI as a past tense in English, but the fact remains that the most literal translation of these words is simply: “before Abraham was, I am he.”>>Let me clear up a few things here. For one, I think that the Johannine passage can be rendered in a number of acceptable ways. True, the most literal rendering is “I am he.” But the most literal translation might not be the best one in this case. In this context, I think this verse should be translated in an existential manner. The emphasis should be on the “existence” of Abraham over against the “existence” of Jesus. Now whether one chooses to render John 8:58 as “I have been” or “I existed”–he or she needs to emphasize the notion of existence. Either way, I do not think that the passage is juxtaposing temporality and atemporality. The only objection I have to the translation, “I am he,” is that it is too vague for the modern target audience. Besides preferring “I existed,” I also like K.L. Mckay’s treatment of this verse: “I have been in existence since before Abraham was born” (See Furuli, Rolf. _The Role of Theology and Bias in Bible Translation_. P. 238). Cf. Mckay [1994].Best regards,Edgar Foster

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)John 8:58

John 8:58 Ilvgrammta at aol.com Ilvgrammta at aol.com
Wed Dec 22 17:41:21 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1-4 In a message dated 99-12-22 15:00:53 EST, grant at cajun.net writes:<< So are you here referring to a predicateless sentence where it was implied according to the context? Would this be an example? Are you tired of running? I am [tired of running]. implied predicate Are you the mail carier? I am [the mail carrier]. implied predicate nominative Mark 14:61: “Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One?” Mark 14:62 “I am” [the Christ the Son of the Blessed One]. Is this what you mean?? grant polle >>Grant,The article I was quoting from is “Ego Eimi in John 1:20 and 4:25.” Edwin D. Freed. CBQ 41, 1979.And yes, when I speak of an implied predicate, I am saying that the predicate has to be supplied from the context. E.g., I am [the Messiah].Edgar Foster

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1-4

John 8:58 Stevens, Charles C Charles.Stevens at unisys.com
Wed Dec 22 18:47:58 EST 1999

 

Jude 9 (Archangel–First in command and/or time?) Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1-4 On 22 December 1999 at 2:41PM, Edgar Foster wrote: <<The article I was quoting from is “Ego Eimi in John 1:20 and 4:25.” EdwinD. Freed. CBQ 41, 1979.>>Don’t have access to the article. <<And yes, when I speak of an implied predicate, I am saying that thepredicate has to be supplied from the context. E.g., I am [the Messiah].>>I agree that the predicate has to be supplied from context, but the*immediate* context is the question asked in John 8:57 and the reaction tothe response to that question as described in John 8:59, and I would contendthat there is no *explicit* predicate to be found in that immediate context.In particular, I don’t see evidence specifically for a *messianic* claimhere, certainly as it would have been understood in Judaism at the time. Absent such an obvious predicative reference, I have to give considerableweight to the extreme reaction to the answer to the question asked. Theinquisitors found it *really* offensive, based on their actions as describedin 8:59. It thus seems to me extremely likely that the implied predicate is suppliedby “common knowledge” between Jesus and the inquisitors, in particular tothe likes of LXX Exodus 3:14 “EGW EIMI hO WN” (IMHO echoed several times inLXX Isaiah, for example 43:25, 45:18, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12). The impliedpredicate in this case would be “hO WN”, and the audience knowing thatreference would *reasonably* respond in the manner described. In other words, ISTM the most probable explanation for the reaction of thescribes and pharisees to Jesus’ ambiguous statement is that *they* took theimplied predicate as “hO WN”, and were outraged at the implications (a claimto identity with the speaker in Exodus 3:14), whether Jesus could bedemonstrated to have meant it that way or not! -Chuck Stevens

 

Jude 9 (Archangel–First in command and/or time?)Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1-4

John 8:58 Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Wed Dec 22 20:29:07 EST 1999

 

Jude 9 (Archangel–First in command and/or time?) Jude 9 (Archangel–First in command and/or time?) To: Charles C. Stevens,<< It thus seems to me extremely likely that the implied predicate is supplied by “common knowledge” between Jesus and the inquisitors, in particular to the likes of LXX Exodus 3:14 “EGW EIMI hO WN” (IMHO echoed several times in LXX Isaiah, for example 43:25, 45:18, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12). The implied predicate in this case would be “hO WN”, and the audience knowing that reference would *reasonably* respond in the manner described. In other words, ISTM the most probable explanation for the reaction of the scribes and pharisees to Jesus’ ambiguous statement is that *they* took the implied predicate as “hO WN”, and were outraged at the implications (a claim to identity with the speaker in Exodus 3:14), whether Jesus could be demonstrated to have meant it that way or not! >>IMO your suggestion here is simply impossible. First of all, you seem to assume that there is a predicate missing from the phrase EGW EIMI. That is simply incorrect, the phrase EGW EIMI is a common Greek idiom meaning “I am he” (assuming a male speaker, or “I am she” for a female speaker). One can find this phrase used this way without any predicate in both Classical Greek texts as well as the NT and LXX. Second, you seem to suppose that these two words EGW EIMI could serve as an allusion to the LXX text which reads: EGW EIMI hO WN (Ex 3:14 LXX). But this is simply impossible for a number of reasons. The main reason is that the phrase EGW EIMI is just too common for it to serve as a reminder for that particular passage. Even in the LXX the phrase EGW EIMI is common. Why should Ex 3:14 pop into their mind any more than lets say Judges 11:27: EGW EIMI OUC hHMARTON SOI “I have not sinned against you” (2 Kgs 11:5 LXX)? I would guess that given that Jesus was male, the phrase EGW EIMI EN GASTRI ECW “I am pregnant” would not pop to mind. But why not: EGW EIMI HDIKHSA “I am unjust” (2 Kgs 24:17 LXX)? Or why shouldn’t it bring to mind: EGW EIMI SUNESTRAFHN EPI TON KURION MOU “I conspire against my lord” (4 Kgs 10:9 LXX)? These last two passage could then been seen as confessions of Jesus’ guilt, and thus give ample reason that he should be stoned. But given how common the phrase EGW EIMI is, it is simply impossible for these two words by themselves to call to mind any one passage in the LXX. Then there is the further problem, that if one assumes that John 8:58 is historical, it is very likely that Jesus was speaking in Aramaic and not Greek. It is hardly likely that Jesus’ opponents, or even Jesus, would be familiar with the LXX.Actually, if one looks closely at these LXX examples, one will see that EGW EIMI usually means nothing more than “I am the one” and is used for emphasis. This also fits for the many passage you cited from LXX Isaiah (43:25, 45:18, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12). For example:EGW EIMI EGW EIMI hO EXALEIFWN TAS ANOMIAS “I am the one, I am the one who blots out your lawless” (Is 43:25 LXX).EGW EIMI EGW EIMI KURIOS hO LALWN DIKAIOSUNH “I am the one, I am the Lord, speaking righteousness” (Is 45:19 LXX).There is no grammatical justification to assume that EGW EIMI in these passages of LXX Isaiah call to mind LXX Ex 3:14.-Steven Craig MillerAlton, Illinois (USA)scmiller at www.plantnet.comDisclaimer: “I’m just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree), what do I know?”

 

Jude 9 (Archangel–First in command and/or time?)Jude 9 (Archangel–First in command and/or time?)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Thu Dec 23 14:32:15 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) To: George Goolde, Carl W. Conrad, et al.,CWC: << One could say, “I was,” but I think that “I am” captures the paradoxical sense that the statement presents. If one is willing to sacrifice the structure of the Greek and reformulate the content, I think one might write, “My existence antedates the birth of Abraham.” Come to think of it, that reformulation fits the old observation (which is at least partly true, as anyone who has had to memorize Greek verb paradigms is well aware) that English tends to express major notions with nouns while Greek tends to express major ideas with verbs. >>SCM: << Perhaps, but EGW EIMI is just a common phrase which often in both Classical Greek and the NT simply means nothing more than “I am he” (assuming a male speaker). There is nothing in the Grammar of this Greek text which necessarily demands understanding this text to suggests pre-existence. One could just as easily interpret this passage to mean (something like): “before Abraham was, I was appointed to this task” (literally: “Before Abraham was, I am he”). On the other hand, I will concede the fact that the phrase PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI makes understanding the text somewhat difficult. Exactly what was before Abraham? Your interpretation assumes that it was the individual or person of Jesus which preexisted before Abraham. My interpretation merely assumes that the appointment of the person Jesus for God’s task preexisted before Abraham. >>GG: << Which shows that we all have theological presuppositions which sometimes color our understanding of the Greek text. >>I fully concur. Since, after all, everything can be considered to be a “theological presupposition.” For example, should a person eat sausage or hot dogs? Someone who is Torah-observant would hold that eating sausage or hot dogs was an abomination unto God. Someone not Torah-observant might not care either way. Each can be said to have a “theological presupposition” as to what God requires of humanity. In Lutheran theology (and perhaps in other theologies as well) there is a category called “adiaphora,” which refers to “indifferent things,” which are neither commanded, nor forbidden, by God. But even here, assuming that somethings are “adiaphora” and other are not is also a “theological presupposition.”But despite the fact that everything can be considered to be a “theological presupposition,” we can still ask ourselves which interpretations of scripture better reflect the Greek text. The problem I have with Dr. Conrad’s interpretation of John 8:58 is that he seems to be taking a present tense EIMI and interpreting it as a historical present. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it seems to me that there is no real evidence (elsewhere) of the present tense of EIMI being used in this manner. Where as my interpretation of this passage interprets EIMI as a present tense.It would perhaps be an understatement for me to suggest that Dr. Conrad’s knowledge of Greek far exceeds my own. And I have a deep respect for him both as a person and a scholar. But on such issues as this, it does not seem unreasonable for one to ask for substantiation. Although I live across the Mississippi, in the state of Illinois, I subscribe to the motto of the great state of Missouri, “Show me.” Daniel B. Wallace, in his “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics” (1996), writes:<< A proper syntactical approach must be based on legitimate, undisputed examples >> (530n47).I am more than willing to change my mind on this issue when legitimate and undisputed examples are presented supporting the notion that the present tense of EIMI was used in ancient Greek as a historical present, or if it can be shown how I’ve misunderstood things here. But until then, it seems to me that suggesting that my interpretation also contains “theological presuppositions” is fairly meaningless, or at least moot, since each and every interpretation must contain “theological presuppositions” of one sort or another.-Steven Craig MillerAlton, Illinois (USA)scmiller at www.plantnet.comDisclaimer: “I’m just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree), what do I know?”

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) GregStffrd at aol.com GregStffrd at aol.com
Thu Dec 23 16:50:32 EST 1999

 

Acts 2:38 Which translation? John 8:58 In a message dated 12/23/99 11:31:10 AM Pacific Standard Time, scmiller at www.plantnet.com writes:<< The problem I have with Dr. Conrad’s interpretation of John 8:58 is that he seems to be taking a present tense EIMI and interpreting it as a historical present. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it seems to me that there is no real evidence (elsewhere) of the present tense of EIMI being used in this manner. Where as my interpretation of this passage interprets EIMI as a present tense. >>Dear Steven:I do not believe Carl views EIMI in John 8:58 as an historical present, but I will let him clarify his position, if he so chooses. However, even Wallace, to whom you make reference, admits that such a view of EIMI in John 8:58 is not impossible (Wallace, Greek Grammar, 530, note 47).Still, I find that many who reject a preexistent sense for this verse tend to isolate EIMI from the adverbial clause referring to a past time. When a present verb (such as EIMI) is used with a past expression, it is quite legitimate to view the entire expression as conveying existence from the period denoted by the past expression, up to the present. Several grammarians have noticed this idiom involving EIMI in John 8:58, including: F. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans. Robert W. Funk (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), 168, sec. 322 (cited erroneously as John 5:58); McKay, A New Syntax of the Verb in New Testament Greek (SBG 5; New York: Peter Lang, 1994), 41-42; Nigel Turner, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. 3, Syntax (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1963), 62, sec. (1c); George Benedict Winer, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, trans. J. Henry Thayer (Andover: Warren Draper, 1897), 267.McKay is the only one of these grammarians to actually translate John 8:58. He does so as follows, “I have been in existence since before Abraham was born.” As you allude to, Wallace considers McKay’s classification of EIMI as a present extending from the past more “nuanced” than those who view EIMI as a historical present, but nonetheless he believes “John 8:58 lacks sufficient parallels to be convincing” (Wallace, Greek Grammar, 531, note 48). Wallace does not specify what kind of “parallels” he has in mind, though he likely is referring to other uses of EIMI as an extending-from-the-past present. If so, then we could cite at least two examples from the NT (Joh 14:9; 15:27) and at least four from the LXX (Ge 31:38, 41; Jg 16:17; Ps 90:2). But even if we had no other examples of EIMI functioning as part of this idiom, that is not grounds for dismissing such a use in John 8:58. If it were, then what would we say about the use of DOULEUW in Luke 15:29? Here it is surely an extension-from-past present, but nowhere else in the NT is it so used. What about DOKEW in 2 Corinthians 12:19? It is not used as a present of past action still in progress (PPA) anywhere else in NT, but who doubts its use as such in 2 Corinthians 12:19? It is also worth noting that the Peshitta uses the time-indifferent particle of existence ith, having the rendering ‘ena ‘ithai, which, similar to the English participle, must take its time from the context. However, the Curetonian has an excellent translation, which preserves the present and the past element found in the Greek, ‘ena ‘ith hawith (“I is was”). So, there is every reason to view EIMI in John 8:58, together with the past expression, as an instance of a well-known Greek idiom designed to gather up the past and the present in a single expression.Best Regards,Greg Stafford

 

Acts 2:38 Which translation?John 8:58

John 8:58 George Goolde goolde at mtnempire.net
Thu Dec 23 16:56:13 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Luke 2:2 Steven Craig Miller wrote:SCM: << Perhaps, but EGW EIMI is just a common phrase which often in bothClassical Greek and the NT simply means nothing more than “I am he”(assuming a male speaker). There is nothing in the Grammar of this Greektext which necessarily demands understanding this text to suggestspre-existence.PRIN + the infinitive clearly means before. The passage *at least* means that “before Abraham was, I am” We do not usually make too much of the temporal aspect of the aorist infinitive, but following PRIN the infinitive acts very nearly as a finite verb (cf Burton #380), thus its secondary tense implications should be noted. The change from the secondary to the primary tense of EGW EIMI therefore becomes notable. The context here, including verse 57, is one of time, not one in which an idea has been introduced that may be translated as an understood predicate to EGO EIMI.SCM wrote further:One could just as easily interpret this passage to mean(something like): “before Abraham was, I was appointed to this task”But the context is not discussing “this task.” The context is discussing the relative age of Abraham and Jesus. This is explicit in verse 57. It seems to me that to change this thrust requires reading into the text. To supply an implied predicate requires that the predicate has been previously introduced in the context. No such predicate appears in this context, only the discussion of the time.SCM continues: Exactly what was before Abraham?EGW EIMI ! Is the simple answer.Of course, as I said before, our interpretations at this point are undoubtedly influenced by theological presuppositions, but looking at the Greek text alone I think Carl hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that there is a certain paradoxical sense that is being clearly portrayed here. The translation “My existence antedates the birth of Abraham” seems to be the simple, and dare I say the obvious, point of the passage.SCM also inquired as to the appropriateness of translating EGW EIMI as a historical present. ISTM that Exodus 3:14, LXX would be an appropriate example.I fully agree that we may well encounter a text where two alternatives are grammatical, syntactically possible, and that they appear to have more or less “equal weight.” In such cases we generally all would choose an interpretation that best fits our theological construct. Theology aside, I have difficulty finding such an “equal weight” in this passage. I would personally estimate that to set aside what appears to be a “heavy weight on one side” of the Greek text would require a theological imposition.GeorgeGeorge A. GooldeProfessor, Bible and TheologySouthern California Bible College & SeminaryEl Cajon, Californiagoolde at mtnempire.net

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)Luke 2:2

Fwd: Re: John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Dec 23 17:24:56 EST 1999

 

Luke 2:2 John 8:58 I just briefly ago sent the following message off-list to George Goolde andSteven Miller–I really had thought that we might get this off the list andthat it was becoming tedious to some. But I see that George Goolde now hasanother on-list contribution on it and also that Greg Stafford, whom I havelong known to be very interested in this text, have had further things tosay. Accordingly, I am now forwarding this on to the list but omitting the”mile-long” citation of the correspondence from George and Steven to whichI was responding. I do think this has been a more useful “shaking apart”(my read of what the Latin etymology of the word ‘discussion’ means) of theproblem of John 8:58 than I had thought was likely to emerge–andconsidering the theological ‘baggage’ attached to this verse, I think it’sbeen a wonderfully amicable exchange.>Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 16:04:52 -0600>To: Steven Craig Miller <scmiller at www.plantnet.com>>From: “Carl W. Conrad” <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>>Subject: Re: John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)>Cc: George Goolde <goolde at mtnempire.net>> >OFF-LIST (content approximately one mile below, but less than the width of>the muddy Mississippi nor so long as the distance between St. Louis County>and Alton, IL, and certainly not so long as the distance between the banks>of the Mississippi and the west coast of the U.S.):> ‘BIG MUDDY OMISSION’I honestly could see no point in carrying this any further on-list, whenwhat I have to say involves no alteration in the stance taken by any of usfrom that taken publicly on-list. I don’t think there’s a last word to besaid on this issue, or if there is, I don’t see how it could be of any usein altering the viewpoint of the other. That being said, however,nevertheless …I still honestly believe, as I wrote this morning, that George was right tosay:<< Which shows that we all have theological presuppositions which sometimescolor our understanding of the Greek text. >> Whether this be an ADIAFORONor not (and what sausages or hot dogs–what a NYTimes crossword puzzle Iwas working last night termed “a wurst dilemma”–have to do with it, Idon’t know), I thought the theological presupposition in this case was:”that theappointment of the person Jesus for God’s task preexisted before Abraham.”I cannot claim that is an unreasonable assumption to make, IF one iswilling to assume that EGW EIMI in this instance really is an instance ofwhat Steven claims, with unquestionable weight of evidence of the usage, tobe another instance of copulative EIMI. He did admit in the post precedingGeorge’s, “that the phrase PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI makes understanding thetext somewhat difficult.” My honest opinion, and I don’t in this instanceclaim much for it, is that the same difficulty arising from the phrase PRINABRAAM GENESQAI attends Steven’s way of construing it as the way that Ihave construed it. Moreover, I can’t claim to be comfortable construing itas I have; I readily admit that I am satisfied that the other instances ofEGW EIMI in John’s gospel bear no relationship to the self-revelation ofYahweh’s name to Moses in the account in Exodus 3:14–they will all explainquite satisfactorily as instances of copulative EIMI. This one in John8:58, however, is different. And if I can produce no other example of ahistorical present used with a phrase like PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI, I submitthat it would be difficult to find another example of the copulative EIMIused with a phrase like PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI. Actually my own conception ofEIMI here is NOT that it’s a historical present but that it’s a PERFECTIVEpresent of a verb that has no perfect tense: “I have been existence beforeAbraham’s birth.” Nor would I argue, as I think Charles Stevens was arguingthat John 8:58 alludes to Exodus 3:14. It really seems to me to be suigeneris.In sum, it seems to me that there are difficulties in the construction ofthis Greek text, PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI EGW EIMI no matter how one seeks toexplain the grammar. I think there are similar difficulties in the use ofthe verb EIMI in verse 18 of the Johannine prologue: QEON OUDEIS hEWRAKENPWPOTE; MONOGENHS QEOS hO WN EIS TON KOLPON TOU PATROS EKEINOS EXHGHSATO.Is this EIMI copulative–simply linking the referent of the articularparticiple to a place? or is it existential? In any case, I think the Greekconstruction is pretty much without adequate parallel here and again itinvolves a usage of EIMI coordinated with a different tense, the aorist ofEXHGHSATO. My own perspective on the participle WN here would again beperfective present, “the one who has had continuous existence within thebosom of the Father–He is the one who has made him known.” I don’t claimto be proving anything here, only “showing” what it seems to me to mean; ifyou can construe it in a way that makes more sense to you, you’re welcometo do so. For my part I don’t think this is a matter of one person PROVINGhow the text MUST be read; rather I think it’s a matter of suggesting aconception of how the text MAY be read. I think Dan Wallace’s dictum is allvery fine where there are legitimate examples to be pointed to, but readyas I am to admit that there are plenty of examples of EGW EIMI as acompulative with an understood predicate pronoun, “I am he,” I stillhaven’t seen an example produced that quite fits this combination of EGWEIMI with anything comparable to PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI.So far as I can see, there are distinct theological presuppositionsinvolved in the interpretation of this text, although I’m more inclined tothink that these are not pre-existing theological presuppositions so muchas they are surmises based on the effort to make sense of a very difficulttextual construct. And after that, I really don’t know that I have anythingmore useful to say on the subject.– Carl W. ConradDepartment of Classics/Washington UniversityOne Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649cwconrad at artsci.wustl.eduWWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

 

Luke 2:2John 8:58

John 8:58 Bill Ross wross at farmerstel.com
Thu Dec 23 17:29:21 EST 1999

 

Fwd: Re: John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Beck translation trivia—stauros- single upright pole also? * John’s Gospel begins with the following affirmation:John11EN ARCH HN O LOGOS KAI O LOGOS HN PROS TON QEON KAI QEOS HN O LOGOSJohn12OUTOS HN EN ARCH PROS TON QEONThese should show us:* John was writing about a person that “was in the beginning”* John believed this person was with God (and was God)* John used the logical, expected, easy to translate word HN to declare Hiscontemporary being in the past;John’s Gospel has this a few verses later:John115IWANNHS MARTUREI PERI AUTOU KAI KEKRAGEN LEGWN OUTOS HN ON EIPON OOPISW MOU ERCOMENOS EMPROSQEN MOU GEGONEN OTI PRWTOS MOU HNHere again, John uses “HN” but this time to show that Jesus already wasbefore John.But in John 8:58 he breaks from this. Why? I think some are asking us toaccept that this was just a common, natural idiomatic way of saying “Ialready was” or “I was appointed” but I think it is because:* it gives a dramatic, eternal “nowness” that, even in English, hastremendous beauty and power;* it alludes to the way YHWH revealed Himself, as the I AM;* it was true* it would lead John’s readers to believe on Him, which I daresay this versedoes.Bill RossPS. If anyone doubts that John’s Logos was also John’s Jesus:43NJohn14EN AUTW ZWH HN KAI H ZWH HN TO FWS TWN ANQRWPWN43NJohn15KAI TO FWS EN TH SKOTIA FAINEI KAI H SKOTIA AUTO OU KATELABEN43NJohn16EGENETO ANQRWPOS APESTALMENOS PARA QEOU ONOMA AUTW IWANNHS43NJohn17OUTOS HLQEN EIS MARTURIAN INA MARTURHSH PERI TOU FWTOS INAPANTES PISTEUSWSIN DI AUTOU43NJohn18OUK HN EKEINOS TO FWS ALL INA MARTURHSH PERI TOU FWTOS43NJohn19HN TO FWS TO ALHQINON O FWTIZEI PANTA ANQRWPON ERCOMENON EISTON KOSMON43NJohn110EN TW KOSMW HN KAI O KOSMOS DI AUTOU EGENETO KAI O KOSMOSAUTON OUK EGNW43NJohn111EIS TA IDIA HLQEN KAI OI IDIOI AUTON OU PARELABON43NJohn112OSOI DE ELABON AUTON EDWKEN AUTOIS EXOUSIAN TEKNA QEOUGENESQAI TOIS PISTEUOUSIN EIS TO ONOMA AUTOU43NJohn113OI OUK EX AIMATWN OUDE EK QELHMATOS SARKOS OUDE EK QELHMATOSANDROS ALL EK QEOU EGENNHQHSAN43NJohn114KAI O LOGOS SARX EGENETO KAI ESKHNWSEN EN HMIN KAI EQEASAMEQATHN DOXAN AUTOU DOXAN WS MONOGENOUS PARA PATROS PLHRHS CARITOS KAI ALHQEIAS43NJohn115IWANNHS MARTUREI PERI AUTOU KAI KEKRAGEN LEGWN OUTOS HN ONEIPON O OPISW MOU ERCOMENOS EMPROSQEN MOU GEGONEN OTI PRWTOS MOU HN

 

Fwd: Re: John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)Beck translation trivia—stauros- single upright pole also?

John 8:58 Ilvgrammta at aol.com Ilvgrammta at aol.com
Thu Dec 23 20:56:34 EST 1999

 

Beck’s Translation John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Dear Bill,This post is intended for you and Charles Stevens. I will try to explain why I do not believe that you can make such assertions about either John 1:1 or 8:58.In a message dated 99-12-23 17:30:11 EST, wross at farmerstel.com writes:<< John’s Gospel begins with the following affirmation: John 1 1 EN ARCH HN O LOGOS KAI O LOGOS HN PROS TON QEON KAI QEOS HN O LOGOS John 1 2 OUTOS HN EN ARCH PROS TON QEON These should show us: * John was writing about a person that “was in the beginning”<<I think that the Prologue makes it highly likely that John is writing about a person. Of course, not everyone would agree. But when John writes KAI hO LOGOS SARX EGENETO, he seems to clearly distinguish his LOGOS from that of the pre-Socratics, the Stoics, or Philo (as Augustine of Hippo observed). So I would voice my assent here, for what that’s worth. >>* John believed this person was with God (and was God)<<I think this proposition is a little harder to prove. While Jn 1:1c could certainly be understood in the way that you posit, it surely is not the only way the passage can be understood. In Wenham’s grammar, we are told that the construction in Jn 1:1c can be understood to mean “God” or “a god” (though Wenham mistakenly writes that “a god” connotes polytheism). Based on grammar alone, one choice is as reasonable as the other. I strike a middle ground and think that it should be translated “a divine being,” or “God of a sort” (as some German translations render this passage). But that may be due to my theological presuppositions. I am not telling you how you should understand this passage. I’m just trying to present the other side of matters. Concerning this passage, J.A.T. Robinson wrote:”The Greek runs: KAI QEOS HN hO LOGOS. The so-called Authorized Version has: ‘And the Word was God.’ This would indeed suggest the view that ‘Jesus’ and ‘God’ were identical and interchangeable. But in Greek this would most naturally be represented by ‘God’ with the article, not QEOS but hO QEOS. But,equally, St. John is not saying that Jesus is a ‘divine’ man, in the sense with which the ancient world was familiar or in the sense that Liberals spoke of him. That would be QEIOS. The Greek expression steers carefully between the two. It is impossible to represent it in a single English word, but the New English Bible, I believe, gets the sense pretty exactly with its rendering, ‘And what God was, the Word was.’ In other words, if one looked at Jesus, one saw God–for he who has seen me, has seen the Father . . . Through him, as through no one else, God spoke and God acted; when one met him one was met . . . by God” (Robinson 70-71). >>I think some are asking us to accept that this was just a common, natural idiomatic way of saying “I already was” or “I was appointed” but I think it is because: * it gives a dramatic, eternal “nowness” that, even in English, has tremendous beauty and power;<<Could you please explain how Jn 8:58 does this?>>* it alludes to the way YHWH revealed Himself, as the I AM;<<I am personally suspect about this interpretation. There are too many other options, as S. Miller has pointed out. T.W. Manson understood this passage to say, “I am the Messiah.” John L. Mckenzie has also written the following about Jn 8:58:”Jesus asserts his own innocence and the vindication which the Father will give him. This leads to a clear assertion of preexistence and his life is threatened for the first time. The preexistent Messiah actually does appear in rabbinical literature; and it was also rabbinical belief that the patriarchs and Moses saw the Messiah in a vision” (Mckenzie 193-194).So I think that it is quite possible Jesus was simply identifying himself as the Messiah in Jn 8:58–and the Jews knew it. Sure he provoked a heated response from his hearers. But this should not surprise us since Jesus claimed to antedate Abraham. This observation is made by K.L. Mckay in Expository Times. If you compare Ex. 3:14 and Jn 8:58, you will note some differences. An important being that god is not called EGW EIMI in Ex. 3:14, 15. The appellation He is given is hO WN.Sincerely,Edgar FosterEdgar Foster

 

Beck’s TranslationJohn 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Daniel L Christiansen dlc at multnomah.edu
Thu Dec 23 20:59:56 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) I concur with Carl: this thread has been surprisingly amicable,considering the possibilities inherent for theological bashing. I amcurious, however, that no-one has brought up the question of narrativecontext in this discussion. Maybe this *has* been mentioned, and Isimply missed it . . . if so, my apologies for the repetition. Any discussion of the possible/probable meaning or significance of aterm, must be based on the shared understanding of speaker/author andlistener/reader. Narrative texts, such as John 8, provide us with awonderful opportunity for determining just what that sharedunderstanding was. Members of the crowd ask Jesus a question, and heresponds to the question: it seems reasonable that his response isintelligible (though not appreciated) in terms of the question posed.Then, the crowd responds to his speech: I think it is safe to assumethat the crowd responds based on what Jesus’ words meant to them. Johndoes not, in this passage, inform us that the crowd misunderstood Jesus’intention; thus, we should understand Jesus’ statements in the samemanner as did the crowd (though we should respond quite differently). In John 8:57, Jesus claims ABRAAM . . . THN hHMERAN THN EMHN . . .EIDEN KAI ECARH. Not only would this statement appear to refer to apast-time event, grammatically, but the crowd’s response removes anydoubt of this fact. They deny that Jesus could have ABRAAM hEWRAKAS,since he is not old enough by hundreds of years. Then comes our versein question, in which EGW EIMI is clearly spoken as a refutation of thecrowd’s denial of Jesus having seen Abraham. And this is all topped offby the crowd wishing to stone Jesus in 8:59, because of his EGW EIMIstatement. We can argue/discuss/shake apart (thanks, Carl) endlessly aboutwhether a given present is “historic,” “perfective,” etc; each has hisown favorite grammatical terminology to employ. However, And, if oursyntax is going to be descriptive, the description must be based onuse. And the context of this particular EGW EIMI appears to me to leaveno room for doubt: this particular present does refer to a past event orstate. Either that, or those who originally spoke/heard/read thestatement were as much in the dark about the boundaries of the Greekpresent as are we.Dan–Daniel L. ChristiansenDepartment of BibleMultnomah Bible College8435 NE Glisan StreetPortland, OR 97220(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)e-mail: dlc at multnomah.edu

 

John 8:58John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) Daniel L Christiansen dlc at multnomah.edu
Thu Dec 23 21:05:36 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) My apologies for the broken-up appearance of my last post on John 8:58.I don’t know why the text is in pieces as it is. I have also noted suchan appearance on others’ posts, from time to time. If anyone knows whythis happens, I would appreciate hearing from you.Merry Christmas to all :)–Daniel L. ChristiansenDepartment of BibleMultnomah Bible College8435 NE Glisan StreetPortland, OR 97220(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)e-mail: dlc at multnomah.edu

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?)

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) Grant grant at cajun.net
Thu Dec 23 22:03:19 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?) God bless you , When I first posed the question, I did not realize the amount ofunderstandings under one passage. I think that this specific verse showsthe “difficulty”–though not impossible–of translating without “theology.”Yet, I think that a small degree of the “problem” lies in the connectionwith Exodus 3:14 which is rather self evident. Some argue the connectionwhile others interpret in light of no connection. Of course, we know what the LXX reveals, namely, hO WN. However,doesthe Hebrew itself reveal a change from the “I am” interpretation so that wemay narrow the understandings of John 8:58 somewhat?**I am** (comic relief :+) aware that Hebrew has (pardon my ignorance if I’mincorrect) two conditions of verbs rather than tenses– the perfect andimperfect condition of a verb. Simply (if that’s possible), what tense wasExodus 3:14 mentioned? New approach?grant polleUSA

 

John 8:58 (I am, I have been, I was?)God bless you

John 8:58 Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Fri Dec 24 09:04:16 EST 1999

 

Luke 2:2 John 8:58 To: George Goolde,<< The passage *at least* means that “before Abraham was, I am” >>I personally think it should be translated as “before Abraham was, I am he”SCM: << One could just as easily interpret this passage to mean (something like): “before Abraham was, I was appointed to this task” … >>GG: << But the context is not discussing “this task.” The context is discussing the relative age of Abraham and Jesus. This is explicit in verse 57. It seems to me that to change this thrust requires reading into the text. To supply an implied predicate requires that the predicate has been previously introduced in the context. No such predicate appears in this context, only the discussion of the time. >>You seem to be suggesting that the conflict between Jesus and his opponents in John is no longer about Jesus’ religious mission, but rather the conflict is merely a discussion about his age. One can almost hear them saying: “Well, Jesus, you sure do look fit for someone over two thousand years of age. How do you keep yourself looking so young?”GG: << Of course, as I said before, our interpretations at this point are undoubtedly influenced by theological presuppositions, but looking at the Greek text alone I think Carl hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that there is a certain paradoxical sense that is being clearly portrayed here. The translation “My existence antedates the birth of Abraham” seems to be the simple, and dare I say the obvious, point of the passage. >>How could “my existence antedates the birth of Abraham” be the obvious understanding of this passage? Why, they could just look at Jesus and see that he wasn’t that old, yes? (To echo your own words: “This is explicit in verse 57. It seems to me that to change this thrust requires reading into the text.”)When I read scripture I try to visualize the situation of the story. What we have here is a Galilean preacher, a religious leader with disciples, and he is confronted by a hostile religious opposition. They claim that Jesus is a “Samaritan” and demon possessed (Jn 8:48). Jesus denies that he is demon possessed, and claims (like the “Blues Brothers”) that he is on a mission from God and that whoever “keeps his word” will not die. And then they ask Jesus: “Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” (Jn 8:53 NRSV). Jesus goes on to claim (a claim which no doubt appeared to them as a boast) that “Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad” (Jn 8:56 NRSV). Jesus’ opponents retort: (I paraphrase) “You don’t even look fifty years old, how do you know what Abraham thought?” And this is when the Johannine Jesus utters this famous line: AMHN AMHN LEGW hUMIN, PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAE EGW EIMI “Amen amen, I say to you, before Abraham was, I was he” (Jn 8:58 MOT).My suggestion here is that the whole debate is about Jesus’ religious mission. Now you seem to want to suggest that the whole debate is about nothing more than his age.<< Theology aside, I have difficulty finding such an “equal weight” in this passage. I would personally estimate that to set aside what appears to be a “heavy weight on one side” of the Greek text would require a theological imposition. >>I would totally agree with that, perhaps not with the conclusion you had in mind, but nonetheless I feel the same way. If one tries to look at this Greek text without importing one’s theological presuppositions (as much as possible) and tries to understand the Greek grammar of this text within the context of the story which John is telling, it seems to me that the most obvious interpretation of this passage is that Jesus is claiming “I am he,” that is, that Jesus was appointed for this task even before Abraham was born.You appear to suggest that these words “EGW EIMI” would imply that Jesus was over two thousand years of age. And yet the context of the story clearly shows that Jesus didn’t look to be fifty years old. Put yourself in the sandals of Jesus’ opponents for a moment. They are hearing these words for the first time. It seems to me that the most natural interpretation is that these words merely claim that Jesus had been appointed for this religious task.Of course, a historical visualization of this story might be further complicated by the fact that the historical Jesus most likely spoke in Aramaic and not Greek, so that if one assumes historicity, these words EGW EIMI might be merely a translation from what Jesus was thought to have said. But no matter how one looks at it, surely the author of this Johannine gospel is trying to tell us something about Jesus. (I would assume that at least that much we both would agree to be correct.) Then the question is: What is John trying to tell us about Jesus? Your suggestion seems to be that this author wanted us to believe that Jesus was over 2,000 years old (although he didn’t look even 50 years old). If this is so, why is the tense of EIMI present tense? Surely that is not the most natural way in Greek to express such an idea. From my point of view, there is only one natural interpretation of the Greek grammar of this passage. The phrase EGW EIMI is a common Greek phrase, in both classical Greek (for example one can find it in Plato’s dialogues) and in the NT (as well as the LXX) as simply meaning “I am he” (assuming a male speaker, or “I am she” for a female speaker, or one could translate it as “I am the one”). Given this fundamental grammatical fact, this Greek passage should be translated as: “before Abraham was, I am he.” And the most natural interpretation of this passage IMO is that the Johannine Jesus was simply claiming that before Abraham was, Jesus had been appointed to his religious task and thus (Jesus says) “I am he”!After Jesus says these words, the Johannine gospels tells us that his opponents wanted to kill Jesus. Why? Could they want to kill Jesus merely because Jesus thought he was over 2,000 years old? I think not, if anything that would probably make them fall down laughing. But that Jesus thought that he was on a mission from God, that Jesus was claiming that he had been appointed for this task even before Abraham, that Jesus was claiming to usurp their own authority, that might have motivated them to want to kill Jesus, because religious authority was an important issue in 1st century Judaism. That Jesus was merely claiming to be over twice as old as Methuselah is hardly an issue worth fighting over.-Steven Craig MillerAlton, Illinois (USA)scmiller at www.plantnet.comDisclaimer: “I’m just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree), what do I know?”

 

Luke 2:2John 8:58

John 8:58 Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Fri Dec 24 09:27:35 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 Jn 8:57b The following line contains a typo:SCM: << And this is when the Johannine Jesus utters this famous line: AMHN AMHN LEGW hUMIN, PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAE EGW EIMI “Amen amen, I say to you, before Abraham was, I was he” (Jn 8:58 MOT). >>It should have read: “Amen amen, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am he” (Jn 8:58 MOT).-Steven Craig Miller

 

John 8:58Jn 8:57b

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Fri Dec 24 11:19:36 EST 1999

 

Jn 8:57b Hittite-Less Commonly Taught Languages To: Grant Polle,<< I think that a small degree of the “problem” lies in the connection with Exodus 3:14 which is rather self evident. … Of course, we know what the LXX reveals, namely, hO WN. However, does the Hebrew itself reveal a change from the “I am” interpretation so that we may narrow the understandings of John 8:58 somewhat? >>As already noted, I think that it is impossible for there to be any literary connection between Ex 3:14 and John 8:58. In addition, I believe an answer to your question will make this evident.I quote from “Notes on the Greek Text of Exodus” by John William Wevers (Scholars Press, 1990). (In the following quotation, I have made transliterations from Hebrew and Greek characters. All Hebrew transliterations are prefaced with “[reading right to left].”)Wevers writes: << Exod in translating the reply [reading right to left] HYH’ RS’ HYH’ is faced with making sense out of a sentence which would be a tuatology if rendered literally. >>Wevers then notes in a footnote: “Notice how Aq followed by Theod rendered it: ESOMAI hOS ESOMAI! A Greek reader would find this an absurd tautology. >>Then Wevers continues: << Furthermore Moses is commanded to tell the Israelites [reading right to left] “HYH’ has sent me.” Exod realizes that the verb can be rendered by EIMI or GINOMAI; only the first would be applicable to God. But a first person verb as the subject of APESTALKEN would be a grammatical absurdity. So Exod is driven to a participle form hO WN “the one who is.” … the first [reading right to left] HYH’ can be translated by EGW EIMI and the relative clause [reading from right to left] HYH’ RS’ becomes hO WN. Exod thus has “I am the one who is.” It is only in v.15 that is becomes clear that this is the explanation of KURIOS; KURIOS is the one who is. >>What is clear here is that the words hO WN (“the one who is”) are the key words here. It is the phrase hO WN which is repeated and which stand for the name of Yahweh, and not the words EGW EIMI. This is absolutely clear in the LXX:KAI EIPEN hO QEOS PROS MWUSHN EGW EIMI hO WN: KAI EIPEN hOUTWS EREIS TOIS hUIOIS ISRAHL hO WN APESTALKEN ME PROS hUMAS — And God said to Moses: I am the One Who Is. And he said: You will say thus to the children of Israel: “The One Who Is sends me to you.”Note that the second time hO WN is used that EGW EIMI is not! That is because the key words here are hO WN and not EGW EIMI, the phrase EGW EIMI were used only to introduce hO WN. Thus if Jesus had wanted to allude back to Ex 3:14 he would have needed to have uttered the words hO WN. To suggest that the common phrase EGW EIMI could be a clear allusion to Ex 3:14 does not make any more sense than to say the common phrase KAI EIPEN could be an allusion to Ex 3:14.Now here is where confusion has crept into many studies of this passage. The Hebrew text [reading right to left] HYH’ RS’ HYH’ uses the same Hebrew verb twice here. So that the LXX has: EGW EIMI hO WN for [reading right to left] HYH’ RS’ HYH’ . Some have seemed to assume that EGW EIMI refers the first [reading right to left] HYH’ and hO WN refers to the second. So that both EGW EIMI and hO WN are to be taken as referring to Yahweh. But this is unfortunately and logically incorrect. It is hO WN and not EGW EIMI which is being used in the LXX to refer to Yahweh.-Steven Craig MillerAlton, Illinois (USA)scmiller at www.plantnet.comDisclaimer: “I’m just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree), what do I know?”

 

Jn 8:57bHittite-Less Commonly Taught Languages

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) Bill Ross wross at farmerstel.com
Fri Dec 24 12:58:56 EST 1999

 

Hittite-Less Commonly Taught Languages John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) <Steven>What is clear here is that the words hO WN (“the one who is”) are the keywords here. It is the phrase hO WN which is repeated and which stand forthe name of Yahweh, and not the words EGW EIMI. This is absolutely clear inthe LXX:<Bill>In English, when we want to know someone’s appellation, we say “what is yourname” and receive an answer like “Fred.” But in the Hebrew mindset, one’sname is indicative of your character asking one’s “name” can result in alaundry list of characteristics, as in Ex 33:19.The significance of God’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus 3 is not thatHe supplied his Hebrew name, so we would know what to embroider on HisT-Shirt, but rather it was *descriptive* of Him. In amazing brevity Herevealed that His the “One that Is, the One the Was, and the One Who WillBe.”When Jesus said “I AM,” although He was not using the Septuagint phrase, theName that is still unspoken by Jews except in prayer, He did wonderfully andpoetically declare that He “IS” in a timeless sense.Do these verses declare the same God even though the appellation is longer?Revelations1:8EGW EIMI TO ALFA KAI TO W LEGEI KURIOS O QEOS ***O WN KAI OHN KAI O ERCOMENOS*** O PANTOKRATWRRevelations4:8KAI TA TESSARA ZWA EN KAQ EN AUTWN ECWN ANA PTERUGAS EXKUKLOQEN KAI ESWQEN GEMOUSIN OFQALMWN KAI ANAPAUSIN OUK ECOUSIN HMERAS KAINUKTOS LEGONTES AGIOS AGIOS AGIOS KURIOS O QEOS O PANTOKRATWR ****O HN KAI OWN KAI O ERCOMENOS****Revelations4:9KAI OTAN DWSOUSIN TA ZWA DOXAN KAI TIMHN KAI EUCARISTIAN TWKAQHMENW EPI TW QRONW ****TW ZWNTI EIS TOUS AIWNAS TWN AIWNWN****Revelations4:10PESOUNTAI OI EIKOSI TESSARES PRESBUTEROI ENWPION TOUKAQHMENOU EPI TOU QRONOU KAI PROSKUNHSOUSIN ***TW ZWNTI EIS TOUS AIWNAS TWNAIWNWN**** KAI BALOUSIN TOUS STEFANOUS AUTWN ENWPION TOU QRONOU LEGONTESRevelations4:11AXIOS EI O KURIOS KAI O QEOS HMWN LABEIN THN DOXAN KAI THNTIMHN KAI THN DUNAMIN OTI SU EKTISAS TA PANTA KAI DIA TO QELHMA SOU HSAN KAIEKTISQHSANThe point being, Jesus didn’t merely denote that He “was” in Abraham’s time(by saying “I already was”), and hence (as the Jews were comprehending it)”really, really, really old” but rather that He was timeless, eternal anddivine.

 

Hittite-Less Commonly Taught LanguagesJohn 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?)

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Fri Dec 24 13:07:59 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) THEOS HGAPHSEN The thread on John 8:58 has been a very interesting one, gratifying in (a)some new material brought to bear upon it that’s been missing from someprevious even longer discussions of the passage, and (b) the amicability ofthe exchanges. It does appear to me, however, that the messages are gettingrepetitious of arguments already stated pretty clearly already. I don’t seeany reason to shut down the thread if someone has something NEW tocontribute to the argument, but there seems little point in reiteration ofarguments already offered in response to objections that have also alreadybeen offered.Carl W. ConradDepartment of Classics/Washington UniversityOne Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649cwconrad at artsci.wustl.eduWWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

 

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?)THEOS HGAPHSEN

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Fri Dec 24 13:35:06 EST 1999

 

Cross Gk. stauros background Pronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1-4 To: Bill Ross,SCM: << What is clear here is that the words hO WN (“the one who is”) are the key words here. It is the phrase hO WN which is repeated and which stand for the name of Yahweh, and not the words EGW EIMI. This is absolutely clear in the LXX: >>BR: << In amazing brevity [at Ex 3:14] He revealed that He is the “One that Is, the One the Was, and the One Who Will Be.” When Jesus said “I AM,” although He was not using the Septuagint phrase, theName that is still unspoken by Jews except in prayer, He did wonderfully and poetically declare that He “IS” in a timeless sense. >>In my opinion, there is absolutely no grammatical justification for assuming that the Greek words EGW EIMI can << wonderfully and poetically declare that He “IS” in a timeless sense. >> That seems to me to be a grammatical fallacy. But rather than merely stating that I disagree with your assertion. Let me ask, where did you pick up this notion? I would be curious to learn, what grammarians or biblical scholars hold this position which you have just presented?-Steven Craig MillerAlton, Illinois (USA)scmiller at www.plantnet.comDisclaimer: “I’m just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree), what do I know?”

 

Cross Gk. stauros backgroundPronouns in John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1-4

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) Bill Ross wross at farmerstel.com
Fri Dec 24 14:37:26 EST 1999

 

to Conrad John’s Logos <Steven>That seems to me to be a grammatical fallacy. But rather than merely statingthat I disagree with your assertion. Let me ask, where did you pick up thisnotion? I would be curious to learn, what grammarians or biblical scholarshold this position which you have just presented?<Bill>Jesus’ usage is without precedent. To my knowledge, there is not a singleother occurrence of this type of juxtaposition:PRIN…EIMII am not aware of this construct being used in English, either, so it is, tomy knowledge, without precedent as well. The most widely recognizedauthorities that I would appeal to are:* the translators of the most widely used English translations do nottranlate EGW EIMI as “I was already” or “I am he” but rather…NIV”I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”RSVJesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”KJVJesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, Iam.DBYJesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, Iam.YLTJesus said to them, `Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham’scoming — I am;’But in a sense, there is no authority on the subject other than the Bible’stext itself.To this I have appealed by showing that, other things being equal, the waythat John’s gospel says “I already was” is *not* with the present tense butwith the imperfect:John11EN ARCH HN O LOGOS KAI O LOGOS HN PROS TON QEON KAI QEOS HN O LOGOSJohn12OUTOS HN EN ARCH PROS TON QEONJohn130OUTOS ESTIN UPER OU EGW EIPON OPISW MOU ERCETAI ANHR OS EMPROSQENMOU GEGONEN OTI PRWTOS MOU HNThe *evidence* I appeal to:* historical/grammarian support: (Bible translators)* grammar: (after all, it *is* the present tense, is it not?! The *only*aspect that is both already begun, presently going, and expected tocontinue…)* immediate context: (PRIN..EIMI)/the reaction of the Jews* book and author level context: John’s usage of the imperfect in the samebook for “already was”* unsatisfying alternative explanations: implied predicate nominative??* John’s stage-setting prologue, epilogue and the whole of his text!: “Inthe beginning was the Word” “that you might believe” “1:30 This is he ofwhom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he wasbefore me.”* the identical impact of the words and rejoicing in my spirit when I readthem in English or Koine: John 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said untohim, My Lord and my God.”* the wider context of Scripture that identifies such timelessness with boththe Father and the Son* a little Birdy told me :->In other words, this is not wishful thinking, but the *only* explanationthat fits the grammar, the context, the “meaning of the words” and it justhappens to be the most common translation since English Bibles.I rest my case.Bill Ross6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the governmentshall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, uponthe throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish itwith judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal ofthe LORD of hosts will perform this.- Merry Christmas from Isaiah

 

to ConradJohn’s Logos

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) David C. Hindley dhindley at compuserve.com
Sat Dec 25 06:14:58 EST 1999

 

Romans 12:20 (Prov 25:21&22) John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) Carl & All,Hopefully this will put a new twist on this issue. <g>So far, the question seems to be revolving around the topic of impliedpredicates. The posts that were of interest to me were Charles’ suggestionthat EGW EIMI implies a claim to identity with the speaker in Exodus 3:14(i.e., EGW EIMI implies hO WN as a predicate), and Steven’s response thatthere is in reality no implied predicate here but rather a common Greekgrammatical construction meaning “I am (he)” (in other words, a straightanswer).Steven and I have already had a discussion about this some while ago (inhis CompuServe moderator days), and while neither of our positions havechanged, I thought it might be a good idea to interject another pericopewhere the phrase EGW EIMI prompted a strong reaction from the hearers.Grant already brought into the discussion Mark 14:62, which he interpretedas a case where “the Christ the Son of the Blessed One” was the impliedpredicate of Jesus’ statement “EGW EIMI.”This is part of an interesting passage, Mark 14:62a, 63-64a …14:62a O DE IHSOUS EIPEN EGW EIMI … 63 O DE ARCIEREUS DIARRHXAS TOUSCITWNAS AUTOU LEGEI TI ETI CREIAN ECOMEN MARTURWN 64a HKOUSATE THSBLASFHMIA (NA26)62a And Jesus said, “I am … 63 And the high priest tore his garments,and said, “Why dowe still need witnesses? 64a You have heard his blasphemy.If “the Christ the Son of the Blessed One” was the implied predicate inthis passage, it does not closely fit the definition of “blasphemy”.Neither does Mark 14:62b “… and you will see the Son of man seated atthe right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” The HighPriest used a circumlocution for the divine name, “the Blessed One,” andit seems as if Jesus replied with another circumlocution, “I am”. I cannotplace whether Jesus is answering the High Priest tit for tat or utteredthe divine name in some intended demonstration of power.Luke, in the parallel passage, almost seems to have Jesus correct the HighPriest:Luke 22:70-71 …22:70 EIPAN DE PANTES SU OUN EI O UIOS TOU QEOU O DE PROS AUTOUS EFH UMEISLEGETE OTI EGW EIMI 71 OI DE EIPAN TI ETI ECOMEN MARTURIAS CREIAN AUTOIGAR HKOUSAMEN APO TOU STOMATOS AUTOU70 And they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them,”You say that I am.” 71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need?We have heard it ourselves from hisown lips.”In other words, to the question “are you the Son of God?”, Jesus impliesthat “you are the one who says that “I am” (i.e., utters the divine name,represented as a circumlocution, on the Day of Atonement), you should knowbetter” (or something along this line).In our previous discussions, Steven had responded to my suggestion thatEGW EIMI is intended to be a circumlocution for the Divine Name bysuggesting that the author of Mark (and Luke, in the parallel passage) wasperhaps ignorant of actual Jewish practices, and merely thought thatclaiming to be “the Christ the Son of the Blessed One,” or that he wouldcome “seated at the right hand of Power,” was grounds for the charge ofblasphemy by the High Priest.Steven’s current line of reasoning that we have no good reason to assumethat Ex 3:14 (LXX) served as the basis for such a circumlocution does notring true to me, because it seems that a circumlocution has to be based onsome specific reference. It should not matter whether the sameconstruction is used 1,000 times in other contexts if a specific incidence(where it IS used in connection with a rendering of the divine name)actually served as the basis for the circumlocution.I cannot shake my impression that somewhere behind the story of theSanhedrin trial lays a source that had Jesus utter the Divine Name,however transformed the present passages are due to the tendencies of theauthors of Mark or Luke. As for the relationship of this to the originaltopic of this thread (John 8:58), note that vs 59 speaks of stoning, whichwas the penalty for blasphemy. FWIW, the idea that Jesus uttered theDivine Name is supported, in part, by Jewish Toledoth stories about him,and traditions in the Talmud which link his death to stoning.Regards,Dave HindleyCleveland, Ohio, USA==========Original posts ================Grant Polle said:>>Edgar, quoting an article, wrote:>>> He [quoted Author of book] repeatedly demonstrates how a predicatecould be supplied each time EGW EIMI appears in the Gospel of John <<<So are you here referring to a predicateless sentence where it was impliedaccording to the context?[…]Mark 14:61: “Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One?”Mark 14:62 “I am” [the Christ the Son of the Blessed One].Is this what you mean?? <<———Charles C. Stevens said:<< It thus seems to me extremely likely that the implied predicate issupplied by “common knowledge” between Jesus and the inquisitors, inparticular to the likes of LXX Exodus 3:14 “EGW EIMI hO WN” (IMHO echoedseveral times in LXX Isaiah, for example 43:25, 45:18, 45:19, 46:4,48:12).The implied predicate in this case would be “hO WN”, and the audienceknowing that reference would *reasonably* respond in the manner described.In other words, ISTM the most probable explanation for the reaction of thescribes and pharisees to Jesus’ ambiguous statement is that *they* tooktheimplied predicate as “hO WN”, and were outraged at the implications (aclaim to identity with the speaker in Exodus 3:14), whether Jesus could bedemonstrated to have meant it that way or not! >>————-Steven C. Miller said:>> IMO your suggestion here is simply impossible. First of all, you seemtoassume that there is a predicate missing from the phrase EGW EIMI. That issimply incorrect, the phrase EGW EIMI is a common Greek idiom meaning “Iamhe” (assuming a male speaker, or “I am she” for a female speaker). One canfind this phrase used this way without any predicate in both ClassicalGreek texts as well as the NT and LXX. Second, you seem to suppose thatthese two words EGW EIMI could serve as an allusion to the LXX text whichreads: EGW EIMI hO WN (Ex 3:14 LXX). But this is simply impossible for anumber of reasons. The main reason is that the phrase EGW EIMI is just toocommon for it to serve as a reminder for that particular passage. Even inthe LXX the phrase EGW EIMI is common. Why should Ex 3:14 pop into theirmind any more than lets say Judges 11:27: EGW EIMI OUC hHMARTON SOI “Ihavenot sinned against you” (2 Kgs 11:5 LXX)? I would guess that given thatJesus was male, the phrase EGW EIMI EN GASTRI ECW “I am pregnant” wouldnotpop to mind. But why not: EGW EIMI HDIKHSA “I am unjust” (2 Kgs 24:17LXX)?Or why shouldn’t it bring to mind: EGW EIMI SUNESTRAFHN EPI TON KURION MOU”I conspire against my lord” (4 Kgs 10:9 LXX)? These last two passagecouldthen been seen as confessions of Jesus’ guilt, and thus give ample reasonthat he should be stoned. But given how common the phrase EGW EIMI is, itis simply impossible for these two words by themselves to call to mind anyone passage in the LXX. Then there is the further problem, that if oneassumes that John 8:58 is historical, it is very likely that Jesus wasspeaking in Aramaic and not Greek. It is hardly likely that Jesus’opponents, or even Jesus, would be familiar with the LXX. <<————

 

Romans 12:20 (Prov 25:21&22)John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?)

John 8:58 (I am; Does the Hebrew reveal?) Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sat Dec 25 08:12:28 EST 1999

 

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) John 14:9 EIMI (was John 8:58) Bill Ross wrote:><Steven>>What is clear here is that the words hO WN (“the one who is”) are the key>words here. It is the phrase hO WN which is repeated and which stand for>the name of Yahweh, and not the words EGW EIMI. This is absolutely clear in>the LXX:> ><Bill>>In English, when we want to know someone’s appellation, we say “what is your>name” and receive an answer like “Fred.” But in the Hebrew mindset, one’s>name is indicative of your character asking one’s “name” can result in a>laundry list of characteristics, as in Ex 33:19.> >The significance of God’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus 3 is not that>He supplied his Hebrew name, so we would know what to embroider on His>T-Shirt, but rather it was *descriptive* of Him. In amazing brevity He>revealed that His the “One that Is, the One the Was, and the One Who Will>Be.”> >When Jesus said “I AM,” although He was not using the Septuagint phrase, the>Name that is still unspoken by Jews except in prayer, He did wonderfully and>poetically declare that He “IS” in a timeless sense.> >Do these verses declare the same God even though the appellation is longer?> >Revelations1:8EGW EIMI TO ALFA KAI TO W LEGEI KURIOS O QEOS ***O>WN KAI O> > > Dear Bill,Revelation 1:8 describes God as O WN KAI O HN KAI O ERCOMENOS, but this canhardly be construed on the basis of the Hebrew words of Exodus 3:15, onlyfrom English translations of these words. The rendering “I AM THAT I AM”which is found in most modern translations is based on tradition ratherthan on Hebrew idiom. The rendring of Rotherham’s “The Emphasized Bible” ismuch better: “I Will Become whatsoever I please.”. In a note Rotherhamwrote: “Hayah (the word rendered above “become”) does not mean ‘to be’essentially or ontologically, but phenomenally.” This is the reason why theimperfect of HYH always (except possibly three instances) refers to thefuture; a present reference is expressed by Hebrew perfect (See C.Gianotti,”The Meaning of the Divine Name YHWH”, BSac January-March 1985) Agood example is Exodus 3:12 where HYH use to be translated as “I will bewith you” and not “I am with you.”. But tradition is strong and oftenoverpowers knowledge. A literal rendition of Exodus 3:14 would be. “I willbecome what I will become.”; the words do not point to existence but topurpose and action. Remember also that EIMI is very different in meaningfrom HYH.The verb EIMI basically serves as copula while HYH indicates”phenomenally existence” (For example,LXX has 13 times as many occurrencesof EIMI as the Hebrew text has HYH, 6469 versus 493. I therefore agreewith Steven and his sound arguments that Exodus 3:14 has nothing to do withJohn 8:58.Let me also add some comments on John 8.58 as a response to you, Steven.The mission of Jesus was evidently in question, but this does not excludethe time element to the effect that it was his mission and not his personthat existed before Abraham. If we accept that 8.58 represents a genuinesaying of Jesus, the words he used were either Aramaic or Hebrew. To takethis into account is just as important as to look at the circumstances. Isee three possible expressions (in Hebrew) (1) Before Abraham was born,’ANI (“I”), (2) Before Abraham was born, ‘ANI HU (“I” and “he” – “HU” usedas copula or for emphasis).” and (3) “Before Abraham was born” HAYITI(Perfect 1. p s. of HYH).In my view (1) is the more likely expression. None of the examples have anyimplicit time element, and all three would explicitly say that Jesusexisted from before Abraham and up to speech time: All three can betranslated: “From before Abraham was born, I have been (existed).” Example(2) can also be translated: “Before Abraham was born, it is I (or:I am theone).” but this does not seem to make good sense. The reason why it is sodifficult to find a parallel expression with PRIN and EIMI, probably isbecause the original words were Aramaic or Hebrew. Many. or most Englishtranslations render the passage: “Before Abraham was born, I am” (orsimilar). But this rendering is ungrammatical in English and can only bedefended if an element of “mysticism” is added, but there is no evidencefor such an element either in a Hebrew original or in the Greek words. Iconclude that we have two passages (Exodus 3:14, John 8:58) with strangerenderings in modern translations, one being translated contrary to Hebrewidiom and the other in an ungrammatical way, and this is done because ofparticular presuppositions.RegardsRolfRolf FuruliUniversity of Oslo

 

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?)John 14:9 EIMI (was John 8:58)

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) Numberup at worldnet.att.net Numberup at worldnet.att.net
Sat Dec 25 10:13:25 EST 1999

 

John 14:9 EIMI (was John 8:58) Euphony Of Vowels But does not all of this imply that Jesus and the head religious leaders of the Jewsin Jerusalem were speaking Greek, or thinking in Greek? And how likely is that?The Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 does not translate literally into EGO EIMI hO WN, thatwould be “Ani Hawayah.” Rather, it says “Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, “I will be who I willbe,” (Botterweck, TDOT, vol. 3, p. 381; Propp, The Anchor Bible, p. 204) which issomething else.In addition, the divine name YHWH was not uttered as a “circumlocution” on the Day ofAtonement. That was the one day it was uttered as a “shem hammeforash,” ordistinctive name in its true letters, by the high priest in the temple, according tothe Mishnah and Talmud.Solomon LandersMemra Institute for Biblical Researchhttp://www.memrain.org”David C. Hindley” wrote:> Carl & All,> > Hopefully this will put a new twist on this issue. <g>> > So far, the question seems to be revolving around the topic of implied> predicates. The posts that were of interest to me were Charles’ suggestion> that EGW EIMI implies a claim to identity with the speaker in Exodus 3:14> (i.e., EGW EIMI implies hO WN as a predicate), and Steven’s response that> there is in reality no implied predicate here but rather a common Greek> grammatical construction meaning “I am (he)” (in other words, a straight> answer).> <snip>

 

John 14:9 EIMI (was John 8:58)Euphony Of Vowels

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) David Hindley DHindley at compuserve.com
Sat Dec 25 10:42:54 EST 1999

 

Euphony Of Vowels Euphony Of Vowels Solomon Landers said:>>But does not all of this imply that Jesus and the head religious leaders of the Jews in Jerusalem were speaking Greek, or thinking in Greek? And how likely is that? The Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 does not translate literally into EGO EIMI hO WN, that would be “Ani Hawayah.” Rather, it says “Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, “I will be who I will be,” (Botterweck, TDOT, vol. 3, p. 381; Propp, The Anchor Bible, p. 204) which is something else.<<If the account used by the author of Mark (or Luke) was circulated in the Jewish diaspora, it would more than likely reflect influence from the LXX over that of the Hebrew when it comes to a choice of circumlocution for the Name. I am not trying to make any assumptions about the provinence of the source, only that it could be construed, like the LXX, render a *form* of the Name by means of the phrase EGW EIMI hO WN. That is why I said “however transformed the present passages are due to the tendencies of the authors of Mark or Luke.” Perhaps I should have said “however transformed the present passages *may be* due to the tendencies of the authors of Mark or Luke”.>>In addition, the divine name YHWH was not uttered as a “circumlocution” on the Day of Atonement. That was the one day it was uttered as a “shem hammeforash,” or distinctive name in its true letters, by the high priest in the temple, according to the Mishnah and Talmud.<<I am not saying that a circumlocution was substituted for the Divine Name when the HP utters the name on the day of Atonement, only that the source used by the author of Mark (and/or Luke) recorded an utterance, by Jesus, of the Divine Name by means of a circumlocution. It is what I would expect from a 1st century Jewish source, whether composed in Judea (in Hebrew or Aramaic) or the Diaspora (in Greek).In Luke the HP may have uttered an indirect circumlocution when asking his question of Jesus, and Jesus (in either account) may then have uttered the actual Name in his response. The author of the hypothetical source (a court transcriptionist if this represents a historical event, or a Jewish author of a tract making charges against Jesus) used by the author of Mark chose to represent by a more direct circumlocution.That my suggested meaning of the phrase EGW EIMI as used by the author of Mark (and/or Luke) is problemetic is not necessarily fatal. If we were to exclude from consideration all interpretations that are problemetic, we’d be forced to throw out a good part of Christian dogma! However, let’s not take a theological detour here. I only offered “circumlocution for the Divine Name” as an alternative to the positions outlined in my initial post. No challenge to Christian doctrine is intended.Regards,Dave Hindley

 

Euphony Of VowelsEuphony Of Vowels

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sat Dec 25 14:07:11 EST 1999

 

Cases THEOS HGAPHSEN Dave Hindley wrote:Solomon Landers said:>>But does not all of this imply that Jesus and the head religious leadersof the Jews in Jerusalem were speaking Greek, or thinking in Greek? And howlikely is that? The Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 does not translate literally intoEGO EIMI hO WN, that would be “Ani Hawayah.” Rather, it says “Ehyeh asherEhyeh, “I will be who I will be,” (Botterweck, TDOT, vol. 3, p. 381; Propp,The Anchor Bible, p. 204) which is something else.<<If the account used by the author of Mark (or Luke) was circulated in theJewish diaspora, it would more than likely reflect influence from the LXXover that of the Hebrew when it comes to a choice of circumlocution for theName. I am not trying to make any assumptions about the provinence of thesource, only that it could be construed, like the LXX, render a *form* ofthe Name by means of the phrase EGW EIMI hO WN. That is why I said “howevertransformed the present passages are due to the tendencies of the authorsof Mark or Luke.” Perhaps I should have said “however transformed thepresent passages *may be* due to the tendencies of the authors of Mark orLuke”.>>In addition, the divine name YHWH was not uttered as a “circumlocution”on the Day of Atonement. That was the one day it was uttered as a “shemhammeforash,” or distinctive name in its true letters, by the high priestin the temple, according to the Mishnah and Talmud.<<I am not saying that a circumlocution was substituted for the Divine Namewhen the HP utters the name on the day of Atonement, only that the sourceused by the author of Mark (and/or Luke) recorded an utterance, by Jesus,of the Divine Name by means of a circumlocution. It is what I would expectfrom a 1st century Jewish source, whether composed in Judea (in Hebrew orAramaic) or the Diaspora (in Greek).In Luke the HP may have uttered an indirect circumlocution when asking hisquestion of Jesus, and Jesus (in either account) may then have uttered theactual Name in his response. The author of the hypothetical source (a courttranscriptionist if this represents a historical event, or a Jewish authorof a tract making charges against Jesus) used by the author of Mark choseto represent by a more direct circumlocution.That my suggested meaning of the phrase EGW EIMI as used by the author ofMark (and/or Luke) is problemetic is not necessarily fatal. If we were toexclude from consideration all interpretations that are problemetic, we’dbe forced to throw out a good part of Christian dogma! However, let’s nottake a theological detour here. I only offered “circumlocution for theDivine Name” as an alternative to the positions outlined in my initialpost. No challenge to Christian doctrine is intended.Dear Dave,Some information regarding the “use” of the divine name in the days ofJesus may be important when circumlocutions are discussed:(1) All fragments of the LXX from the second and first centuries BCE andfirst century CE (the last from 50 CE) of portions where the tetragrammatonis found in the Hebrew text, has one of three forms of the name. It iswritten either as YHWH in old Hebrew characters, in square Aramaiccharacters, or as the Greek phonetic transcription IAW. The first LXXmanuscript with KURIOS is from c. 150 CE.(2) There are no *proofs* that the divine name generally was viewed asineffable in the days of Jesus, or that pronunciation of it was punished bystoning, although it is likely that a fear against pronnouncing it wasspreading. The rabbinic material and the Talmud is ambiguous and do notgive any dates. The Qumran sect did not pronounce the name (see The Ruleof the Community, VI,27-VII,2) but the Pharisees and the Hemerobapstistaeevidently used the name when the Qumran sect did not.This should give us reason for caution when a phrase in the NT is suggestedto be a circumlocution for the divine name (if we by this mean that a wordis used *instead* of the tetragrammaton). For example, “heaven” is used inMatt 21:25. Luke 15:18,21; 20:4 where we would have expected YHWH or’EHOHIM. However, we find “heaven” in the book of Daniel (4:25,26) as well,a book that also has several examples of the use of the tetragrammaton. Sowhat is viewed as a circumlocution could have been used *together* with thedivine name. When the best “circumlocutions” can be doubted,how much morepassages such as John 8:58 where there is no clear reference to God oranything connected with him!RegardsRolfRolf FuruliUniversity of Oslo

 

CasesTHEOS HGAPHSEN

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) Rod Whitacre rodwhitacre at home.com
Tue Dec 28 17:12:45 EST 1999

 

Wever’s Note’s on Greek text of Genesis Wever’s Note’s on Greek text of Genesis I haven’t noticed reference to Bultmann’s analysis of EGW EIMI (forgive meif I have missed it) and it is perhaps worthy of consideration.He says, “We must distinguish various forms of the EGW-EIMI formula,although of course there are transitions between them: 1. The‘presentation formula’, which replies to the question: ‘Who are you?’ Bythe use of EGW EIMI the speaker introduces himself as so and so; here EGW isthe subject…. 2. The ‘qualificatory formula’, which answers thequestion: ‘What are you?’, to which the reply is, “I am that and that’, or‘I am the sort of man who…’. Here too EGW is subject…. 3. The‘identification formula’, with which the speaker indentifies himself withanother person or object. Here too EGW is subject…. 4. The ‘recognitionformula’, which is to be distinguished from the others by the fact that hereEGW is the predicate. For it answers the question: ‘Who is the one who isexpected, asked for, spoken to?’, to which the reply is: ‘I am he.’” (TheGospel of John, pgs. 225-26, n. 3). Bultmann supplies a number of examplesfrom Jewish and non-Jewish literature for each use and analyzes many of theexamples in John’s Gospel.In my view, while some on the list have suggested we have here an example ofwhat Bultmann calls a ‘recognition formula’ (“I am he”), the context doesnot suggest as much since there has not been reference to one who isexpected, asked for or spoken to (for a good example of this use see Mt.14.27 and par.).While the LXX of Ex. 3.14 does not use EGW EIMI, as others have noted inthis list, the phrase is used of God in Dt. 32.39; Isa. 41.4; 43.10; 46.4;and 48.12. In commenting on the passage under discussion in this string,Jn. 8.58, Bultmann rejects such an association since then the phrase wouldmean, “I am the ‘I-am,’” which is impossible since then EGW “would have tobe both subject and predicate!” (ibid.. 328, n. 5). If, however, the phrasecould be a form of the Divine Name then Bultmann’s analysis in terms ofsubject and predicate does not apply.As Chuck Stevens has pointed out, the context in the Gospel suggestssomething worthy of death has just been spoken. I think the rest of John’sGospel uses agent language and prophet language to bear witness to Jesus’identity as transcending all such categories to the extent that he isassociated with God in a unique way. Thus, a reference to the Divine Nameis quite in keeping with this passage’s context and John’s Gospel ingeneral. Such discussion, however, goes beyond the limits of this list.RodThe Rev. Dr. Rodney A. WhitacreProfessor of Biblical StudiesTrinity Episcopal School for Ministry311 Eleventh StreetAmbridge, PA 15143USA

 

Wever’s Note’s on Greek text of GenesisWever’s Note’s on Greek text of Genesis

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) Dan Parker stoixein at sdf.lonestar.org
Tue Dec 28 18:02:07 EST 1999

 

Wever’s Note’s on Greek text of Genesis Acts 2:6 A non-text attachment was scrubbed…Name: not availableType: textSize: 3463 bytesDesc: not availableUrl : http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail//attachments/19991228/df439de1/attachment.pl

 

Wever’s Note’s on Greek text of GenesisActs 2:6

John 8:58 (Does anybody have anything NEW to say?) Rod Whitacre rodwhitacre at home.com
Wed Dec 29 11:25:02 EST 1999

 

OIKODOMHQH in John 2:20 Off Topic: Bible Restoration >I have always considered the phrase PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI to be an>adverbial subordinate clause which modifies the principal clause of>EGW EIMI. I tag this as a adverbial clause because PRIN is the>subordinating conjunction. To me this means that the question>being answered is a temporal one, that of “when,” not “who” or>“what.”> >This seems to be in line with the question asked in verse 57 as>to how someone not yet 50 years old could have seen Abraham.> >I am interested in your comment that EGW EIMI is a form of the>divine name. Where is EGW EIMI used in this fashion?> >Sincerely,>Dan> > >>Dan Parker stoixein at sdf.lonestar.orgDan,I agree that the context suggests that PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI refers to time,but if it were simply an adverbial clause modifying EGW EIMI, or simply apredicate complement, I would expect not “I am” (EIMI), but “I was” or “Ihave been” (EGW HMHN, EGW EGENOMHN, EGW GEGONA, or some equivalent).Regarding EGW EIMI as a reference to the Divine Name, the texts I listed(Dt. 32.39; Isa. 41.4; 43.10; 46.4 and 48.12) are the main ones I know ofwhich might provide background, though there is still a jump between themand the usage in Jn 8.58. Still of value, I think, is the study by PhilipB. Harner, The ‘I Am’ of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Johnannine Usage andThought. Facet Books, Biblical Series 26. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970.Since this particular aspect of the question is not about the Greek as suchI suppose further discussion should take place off the list.Cheers.RodThe Rev. Dr. Rodney A. WhitacreProfessor of Biblical StudiesTrinity Episcopal School for Ministry311 Eleventh StreetAmbridge, PA 15143USARodWhitacre at TESM.edu

 

OIKODOMHQH in John 2:20Off Topic: Bible Restoration

I have come across a reference to EIMI as being a “perfective present
indicative.” I confess that it is a new term to me, and I wonder if this is
actually something from a grammar somewhere, or a term used by a commentator
to try to explain the difference in tenses at the end of John 8:58. I’m not
wanting to resurrect old debates, just wanting to find out something about
the “perfective present indicative.” It doesn’t show up in any of the
indices of my grammars (which are not many).

TIA

Gene Baker

Sterling, IL

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