John 8:58, question to Ron Henzel

Robbert Veen (
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 13:50:24 -0400

Rob Henzel wrote:

By trying to
get the verse to fit their theology, they have rendered the story in
which it is contained completely unintelligible in its historical
context. The Jews would NOT have stoned somebody for claiming mere

How about this possibility:

by trying to fit Jesus' words into his own theology, John had to make up a
story about the Jews' indignation about Jesus' claim to be God.

The 'original' saying of Jesus (If that is at all what we have here.)
might be about his pre-existence as Messiah, or about his emphatic
identification with God, but that He, as a first-century jew, would
explicitly try to proclaim his divinity, seems to me be a 2nd century folly
of enormous magnitude (read into John) or a first century folly, by the
writer of the gospel of John. If He would have proclaimed his divinity,
they wouldn't have tried to stone him. Precisely in that case they would
have considered Him to be a lunatic. That He proclaimed Himself to be the
Messiah, by taking on the attribute of pre-existence, looks to me the be
the best way of understanding a possible jewish indignation. Perhaps others
can shed some light on this.

My 'assumptions' are based upon my studies of jewish literature, and my
unitarianist faith.

Robbert A. Veen, Lelystad, the Netherlands
Minister for the Mennonite Congregation of Enkhuizen