Re[3]: Aorist Use of EIMI
Tue, 20 Aug 96 14:28:28 MST

>At 1:29 PM -0500 8/20/96, wrote:
>> Of course, Carl is mistaken when he says 'The Greek verb EINAI is such
>> that it does not conceive of "being" as something transient but rather
>> as something permanent.' In John 15:27 Jesus said that the apostles
>> were the ones who ESTI with him from the beginning. ESTI does not
>> refer to eternity.

>Well, perhaps I "mis-spoke" in using that word "permanent;" I don't know
>that I ever said that it referred necessarily to "eternity." On the
>other hand, your choice of John 15:27 seems particularly interesting.
>The text:


>Of course the versions, such as NRSV, translate this ESTE as a progressive
>perfect, "You have been with me," but the real sense here is "You continue
>to be with me." It is AP' ARXHS that adds that qualifier suggesting "you
>have been with me ever since ..."

>But John's usage in this verse is not so easily dispensed with. In the
>Farewell Discourses there are easy shifts back and forth from such
>statements as that the believer will _be with_ Jesus and his Father where
>they are to such statements as that Jesus and the Father will come to the
>believer and _be with_ him/her wherever he is. Then the entire "High
>Priestly Prayer" of John 17 appears to be making an affirmation about the
>permanent mutual indwelling of Jesus, Father and "his own"--17:6 "I have
>made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were
>yours and you gave them to me." (NRSV). When did they _become_ Jesus'
>Father's? There is a specific relationship to this witnessing also--and I
>might say to a kind of enduring witness of these disciples. So that one may
>ask, "When did these disciples" come to be "His own?" Is it at some
>particular point in time that "His own" come to have ZWH AIWNIOS?

Carl, Your thoughts are deep on _be with_ and I read it several times
to make sure I understood. I agree with you as regards John 15:27 (and
I have mispoken so much myself!) As I see it, John 15:27 is a parallel
grammatical construction to John 8:58 PRIN ABRAAM GENESTHAI as an
expression of past time. Please do not misunderstand, I greatly honor
and respect Jesus as God's Son, but I am simply trying to compare
apples with apples here. I try to put on my "objective hat" and say
that if a translator can put the "have" in one spot then he can put
the "have" in another.

As for the expression _be with_, it does appear to be used with
various time contexts. The future "I will come and _be with_ him..."
as well as the past "AP' ARXHS" and the _being with_ at any time. I
see the discussion of foreordination coming up here as well, which I
will sidestep for now in the interests of time. But as far as
translating goes, I agree with the point made that the temporal bounds
of the _be with_ should be in the translation. Another example that
came up was John 14:9;

Tosoutw xronw meq umwn eimi kai ouk egnwkas me, Filippe;

Here EIMI is used with the expression of _being with_ them "so much
time." Phillip had only known Jesus for roughly three years, certainly
enough time to know someone in Jesus' mind. To maintain that Phillip
_was with_ Jesus earlier than that in a timeless sense, well, that
would certainly be something we could talk about sometime over a cup
of tea in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I trust your observation that Parmenides used EINAI in an absolute
sense even though I have not personally read him. But when a temporal
limitation is placed upon the duration, should not EIMI have a context
boundary restriction on it at John 8:58 as it also does at John 15:27
and as implied at John 14:9? I don't mind posting to the list but I
don't necessarily want to be flamed either or put anyone in a bad
light. And I also do not see how it detracts any from Jesus' nature.

My personal thoughts from reading John (and likely theologically
debateable) is that the believer would come to belong to Jesus when
the believer would put faith (pisteuw) in Jesus and would of course
persist in that course. The believer is property of the Father but the
Father has allowed the Son oversight over his belongings, thus the
expression "They were yours and you gave them to me." This is the
thought behind the "oneness" in the context of John 10:27-30 that the
Father gave the sheep to Jesus. It was at the point of "pistis" that
the believer qualified for (but had not yet obtained) ZWH AIWNIOS.

It appears to me that Time and Eternity are so curiously interlaced in
John's gospel that it is difficult to make unambiguous assertions about the
sense of the statements John's Jesus makes about them.

Agreed. I had no idea that this would be so debated! Perhaps it would
be best to leave it as is and say that the other points of view cannot
be easily criticized. Should we post our thoughts to this list or just
leave it as is? I have a feeling that some will just keep this one
going and going like the Energizer Bunny.