Re: Jhn. 1:1 discussion
On Thu, 1 Dec 1994 Dvdmoore@aol.com wrote:
> Greeks who were familiar with the Jewish Scriptures in Greek ought to
> have been able to catch on to what Jesus was saying. Exodus 3:14 in the LXX
> reads, "KAI EIPEN O( QEOS PROS MWUSHN E*GW EIMI O( WN.
The God of the Burning Bush in the Septuagint calls himself _ho On_, as in
_ho On apestalken me pros humas_ (Ex. 3:14), not _egO eimi_, which is
used in its ordinary sense: _egO eimi ho On_. This implies that John was
not using the Septuagint: either a different Greek version, an Aramaic or
Hebrew version he was translating himself. I don't have a Targum on my
shelf to check whether or not it's a pun in Aramaic, but this is beside
my point. "Catching on to what Jesus was saying" is not automatically
made clearer by reference to the Exodus passage. The burning bush is in
fact _aggelos kuriou_ (Ex. 3:2), a messenger of YHWH, through whom YHWH
speaks (Ex, 3:4). Is the _malakh YHWH_ God? Moses must take off his
sandals, but so did Joshua before an "angel" of the LORD.
" The context following
> Jn. 8:58 (i.e. His hearers' wanting to stone Him) also points to Jesus'
> statement as a strong offense to the religious sensibilities of his enemies.
> This latter would certainly pique the interest of anyone who had not
> understood Jesus' idiom to find out just what he had meant.
In this passage, the Jews started out mocking Jesus as a demon-possessed
Samaritan (John 8:48). Jesus asserts his ability to give immortality
(8:31), and of course, immortality was a mark of _theos_ godhood/divinity
(but not God per se) in pagan Greek discourse. But Jewish discourse was
more accomodating: what of Enoch, Elijah, the resurrected righteous? All
would live forever and yet not be God.
Jesus clearly equates his father with the God (_theos_) of Israel
and the God who glorifies him (Jesus) (8:54). Jesus then claims to have
seen Abraham, which is most likely the "theophany" of the Messiah/angels
in Genesis 18: pious tradition forbade that any human could have actually
seen God and lived, even if one of the visitors is called YHWH in
Hebrew. Jesus's assertion, _prin Abraam genesthai egO eimi_ was not only
a reference to the theophany of the Burning Bush, it was also asserting
his priority over Abraham, which more than anything may have infuriated
his listeners: _mE su meizOn ei tou patros hEmOn Abraam?_ "Are you
greater than our father Abraham? (8:53). Here John has made his case:
Jesus was the son of God, but his enemies claimed to be sons of Abraham
(8:39), although they were actually sons of the Devil (8:44) and
worshippers of the Devil (8:54-55) because of their murderous hatred of
Jesus (8:44). The purpose of the passage is not to assert Jesus's
divinity: God glorifies Jesus (8:54); it is more to show how diabolical
and depraved Jesus's enemies are. The passage ends with them trying to
kill him, just as he said they would. The people who said _he_ was
a demon-possessed non-Jew were the real demon-possessed non-Jews.