John 8:58

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Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

The use of the present tense form γεννα to translate a Hebrew perfect may give support to my hypothesis that the present tense form was viewed as a suitable substitute for the perfect. However my hypothesis also posits that it’s only when a perfect tense form isn’t available and γεγέννηκα is available. But maybe that is only a feature of state verbs.
Scott Lawson
Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

Perhaps state verbs or more specifically the Greek to be verb can have a telic force when used in the sense of existence. So that the force of the present state of existence is the focus. The beginning of existence isn’t in view but the graduation to the present state of existence is. This may explain the absence of a word for “since” (απο is sometimes used for since in certain circumstances) because it is included in the telic aspect of the be verb used to denote existence. That is graduation of existence is emphasized by the stressed sense of the ultimate state of existence at the time of the speaker.
Scott Lawson
Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

I meant to say gradation not graduation.
Scott Lawson
Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen »

Jonathan Robie wrote: August 5th, 2021, 8:55 am Poetry and prophetic speech do this kind of thing. We need to avoid forcing it into something else.
I agree. But if I handle it in a different way than other passages, saying that it's not a parallel for John 8:58, I could be accused of arbitrarily rejecting parallels which are uncomfortable to me and unfairly limiting the possibility to find parallels.

This makes finding parallels from extrabiblical literature even more important. It's of course possible that there are no parallels elsewhere, these LXX instances are peculiarities of the translation and the genre, and in John it's a conscious grammatical allusion.
Jonathan Robie
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Jonathan Robie »

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: August 5th, 2021, 5:49 pm
Jonathan Robie wrote: August 5th, 2021, 8:55 am Poetry and prophetic speech do this kind of thing. We need to avoid forcing it into something else.
I agree. But if I handle it in a different way than other passages, saying that it's not a parallel for John 8:58, I could be accused of arbitrarily rejecting parallels which are uncomfortable to me and unfairly limiting the possibility to find parallels.

This makes finding parallels from extrabiblical literature even more important. It's of course possible that there are no parallels elsewhere, these LXX instances are peculiarities of the translation and the genre, and in John it's a conscious grammatical allusion.
To understand how people play with language, you need to thoroughly understand how it is used in the normal case. Today, when my wife and I were each looking at the last bit of desert on a plate, I pointed to the sky behind her and said, "Look! A flock of turtles!" I'm not sure I would recommend that as the basis for writing a grammar of the English language, but English speakers can read and understand the intent of that statement. They may or may not find it funny, but at least nobody tried to stone me.

That kind of sentence may be useful for determining boundary conditions, but it's not the place to start to understand how the language works.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/
Daniel Semler
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Daniel Semler »

Jonathan Robie wrote: August 5th, 2021, 8:00 am I want to focus on the meaning of the Greek text, but one remark here - the English you propose also creates a time clash, just as the Greek does. And I don't see anything wrong with the word order, I can say "Before I drive to work, I get coffee". In Greek or in English, there is a time clash between the two clauses. That's the whole point.
I would argue this example doesn't quite replicate the sense we have in the Greek. This just sounds gnomic, like every day you do this, and it thus feels very natural.

Closer would be something like : "Before I went to work, I get coffee."

But that's not adequate either because it's not really stative - "Before I went to work, I exist". The tense clash here is very obvious because English doesn't normally do this but this is very intelligible though stating the obvious rather.

But there are plenty of these sorts of things we can set up in English just as in Greek I'm sure.

"Yesterday I will get coffee" which makes perfect sense in a time travel movie, but is otherwise a bit perplexing.
Or having returned from next week, "Next Tuesday I got coffee".
Context is everything.

Anyhow enough from me on English. As you say, back to the Greek.

Thx
D
Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen »

Be it surprising or not, one should always consult Wikipedia first :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_eimi

For example, it looks like the possibility of ειμι being a copula has been considered.

As for the possibility of an imperfect form:
John Chrysostom (ca. 349-407) attached more theological significance to ego eimi, In his 55th Homily on John: "But wherefore said He not, Before Abraham was, "I was" (εγω ἦν), instead of "I Am" (εγω ειμι)? As the Father uses this expression, I Am (εγω ειμι), so also does Christ; for it signifies continuous Being, irrespective of all time. On which account the expression seemed to them to be blasphemous."[6]
Chrysostom being a Greek speaker, the case of the possibility of using the imperfect form seems to be closed: he saw it as natural. ("Why he didn't say εγω ἦν?")
Jonathan Robie
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Jonathan Robie »

Daniel Semler wrote: August 5th, 2021, 9:10 pm
Jonathan Robie wrote: August 5th, 2021, 8:00 am I want to focus on the meaning of the Greek text, but one remark here - the English you propose also creates a time clash, just as the Greek does. And I don't see anything wrong with the word order, I can say "Before I drive to work, I get coffee". In Greek or in English, there is a time clash between the two clauses. That's the whole point.
I would argue this example doesn't quite replicate the sense we have in the Greek. This just sounds gnomic, like every day you do this, and it thus feels very natural.

Closer would be something like : "Before I went to work, I get coffee."

But that's not adequate either because it's not really stative - "Before I went to work, I exist". The tense clash here is very obvious because English doesn't normally do this but this is very intelligible though stating the obvious rather.
Yes. Or perhaps, "Before I went to work, I am". It's an unusual thing to say. I think that's true of the Greek sentence we are discussing too. The time clash is obvious and important. We shouldn't try to explain it away.

But the word order is not what makes it surprising. A temporal clause before a main clause is normal in English or in Greek.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/
Jonathan Robie
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Jonathan Robie »

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: August 6th, 2021, 4:21 am Be it surprising or not, one should always consult Wikipedia first :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_eimi

For example, it looks like the possibility of ειμι being a copula has been considered.

As for the possibility of an imperfect form:
John Chrysostom (ca. 349-407) attached more theological significance to ego eimi, In his 55th Homily on John: "But wherefore said He not, Before Abraham was, "I was" (εγω ἦν), instead of "I Am" (εγω ειμι)? As the Father uses this expression, I Am (εγω ειμι), so also does Christ; for it signifies continuous Being, irrespective of all time. On which account the expression seemed to them to be blasphemous."[6]
Chrysostom being a Greek speaker, the case of the possibility of using the imperfect form seems to be closed: he saw it as natural. ("Why he didn't say εγω ἦν?")
Does anyone have the Greek text to that Chrysostom quote handy? I'd like to read exactly what he said, his exact choice of Greek words seems important here.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/
Daniel Semler
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Daniel Semler »

Jonathan Robie wrote: August 6th, 2021, 7:55 am
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: August 6th, 2021, 4:21 am Be it surprising or not, one should always consult Wikipedia first :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_eimi

For example, it looks like the possibility of ειμι being a copula has been considered.

As for the possibility of an imperfect form:
John Chrysostom (ca. 349-407) attached more theological significance to ego eimi, In his 55th Homily on John: "But wherefore said He not, Before Abraham was, "I was" (εγω ἦν), instead of "I Am" (εγω ειμι)? As the Father uses this expression, I Am (εγω ειμι), so also does Christ; for it signifies continuous Being, irrespective of all time. On which account the expression seemed to them to be blasphemous."[6]
Chrysostom being a Greek speaker, the case of the possibility of using the imperfect form seems to be closed: he saw it as natural. ("Why he didn't say εγω ἦν?")
Does anyone have the Greek text to that Chrysostom quote handy? I'd like to read exactly what he said, his exact choice of Greek words seems important here.
I had a poke about and TLG has a lot of Chrysostom but not apparently this. I don't have it in anything I have either. Simple google searches don't turn it up as I expect you already know.

Thx
D
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