Re: John 8:58 (longish)
Alan Repurk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 08 Aug 1996 12:12:14 -0700
> email@example.com writes on 8/8/96:
> > firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> > > It's an interlingual pun for a bilingual audience, "Before Abraham
> > > was born, YHWH."
> > In all my other excercises I am able to substitute nouns for nouns,
> > adjectives for adjectives and verbs for verbs, etc. This is one
> > of the ways I check my translations.
> This mechanical procedure will not hold up in all situations. For example,
> translating "It's raining cats and dogs" into other languages word for
> word doesn't work: it's usually nonsense in the target language. But,
> the main difficulty is that languages express many things at different
> semantic levels. Even translations which have a good correspondence
> with the original and make "sense" in the source and target languages
> do not reproduce the original. This is one reason why many people see
> translation as either a doomed, flawed, or creative enterprise.
> > But I have a real problem with John 8:58 :
> > Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
> > Before Abraham was, 'Fred'.
> > If 'I AM' is a proper name, should not this make sense.
> Does Ex 3:14 make such sense ? "I AM has sent me to you." Only in a
> double sense, as when Cyclops bewails "NO MAN has put out my eye."
> The "pun" does not depend on EGW EIMI being a proper name, but on
> *both* the fact that it means "I am" in Greek and the fact that YHWH
> was translated "I am" in Greek.
> > It seems to me that what does not make good English also does not
> > make good Greek.
> A more popular rule of thumb is "What does not make good theology
> also does not make good Greek." (Who says we're reading "good Greek"?)
> A more telling one might be "What does not make good Greek also does
> not make good Hebrew."
> Will Wagers "Reality is the best metaphor."
I do not have the same problem with Exodus 3:14 as expressed in the LXX.
My Hebrew is nonexistent, though :(
Ex 3:14 KAI EIPEN O QEOJ PROJ MWUSHN
EGW EIMI O WN
KAI EIPEN OUTWJ EREIJ TOIJ UIOIJ ISRAHL
O WN APESTALKEN ME PROJ UMAJ (LXX)
I am THE BEING.
I am Fred.
I am intrigued, however, in the concept that there are puns in Greek and
that this can justify abnormalities in syntax. Do you know of any other
examples in the cannon of scripture ?