Re: John 8:58

Travis asked:
>>I'm about to show my ignorance here, maybe someone can help set me 
straight.  My understanding is that it is generally accepted that Jesus 
spoke Aramaic, language related to Hebrew.  Assuming that John is 
recording a translation of an accurate story about what Jesus said and not 
just making up the story or writing some later myth, can we assert that 
the listeners could pick up the pun?<<

We must remember that John is writing for a Greek-speaking audience.  
That audience may well have been familiar with the Hebrew Bible in 
Greek, not Hebrew.  And what does God say in Exod 3.14?  Ego eimi ho 

My personal preference is to read John in light of his likely 
audience, not in terms of an Aramaic tradition, or even of John's 
probable fund of knowledge.  All texts are written to communicate, 
and must take their audience into account.

Greg Carey
Graduate Department of Religion
Vanderbilt University