Re: John 8:58, <ego eimi> & <aiwnios>
Tue, 20 Aug 1996 17:33:33 -0500

Ron Henzel writes on 8/20/96:

> Oh, how I live in dread that people will discover some flaw in my
> logic!!! (N'yuk! N'yuk! N'yuk!) And I must admit, something
> involving the adjective <aiwnios> could have been about as clear as
> you could have gotten in NT Greek. (However, even in such a case as
> this you would probably find some who would speciously argue that
> since <aiwnios> derives from the word for "age," it only means
> something like "age-long," and thus stops somewhat short of our
> western concept of "eternity" (no apologies to Calvin Klein). This
> is a foolish argument, but I have seen it proposed. There will
> always be people who try to avoid the obvious, straining out
> grammatical gnats while swallowing exegetical camels!)

I would argue exactly that, and, I hope, not speciously. The concept of
an "aeon" is central to the development of all Hellenistic religions, and
especially those ushering in new ages under a new symbols. It is easily
argued that the the "gnostic" religions (under which I include Christianity)
were developed in response to the perception of the passing of an age.

We all would, I think, agree that there are grammatical gnats and
exegetical camels, but there seems to little agreement about who is
straining and who is swallowing (and what).

> But the point that I did not communicate all-too-clearly was that
> Jesus's simple words, <ego eimi>, were the most ideally suited to the
> context -- i.e., the context of a discussion among Jews about the
> Christ's relation to Abraham.

The whole idea of offering the idealness of statements as proof and
"what could be more perfect" as argument smacks to me of medieval
scholasticism (apologies to all medieval scholastics on the list).


Will Wagers "Reality is the best metaphor."