Re: John 8:58
I haven't lost interest in the subject, I've just been amazed by the high
quality of recent posts on it & have personally run out of things to say.
But now if I might venture out again, it seems as though there is a
possibilty that _egO eimi_ here should not be interpreted as an unusual
construction, by either its content or its tense.
My Syriac reads: Amar l'hon yeshu: aqdamma. d'adla' nihve' 'avraham 'ena'
'iytay. [sorry about the transliteration: I have no idea how to render it]
Hebrew: Amar lahem yeshua: amen amen omer ani lakhem, beterem hayah
avraham ani hu.
This still doesn't look strongly suggestive of the Exodus passage in the
Hebrew. My Vulgate similarly:
Dixiy eis Iesus: Amen, amen dico vobis, antequam Abraham fierit, ego sum.
& Ex. 3:14 Dixit Deus ad Moysen: EGO SUM QUI SUM. Ait: Sic dices filiis
Israel: QUI EST, misit me ad vos.
Jesus is clearly saying he existed before Abraham was born ... in the
days of the near-Flood Patriarchs? One might compare the supposed
visions of the Messiah that appeared to Enoch (Book of Enoch).
Jesus seems to go all the way only in private: John 17:5 he existed with
God (whom he distinguishes from himself in 17:3) before the universe
existed. I may be missing a public assertion of Jesus's along the same
lines elsewhere in John.
About the pre-existence of the Messiah, R. Patai in _The Messiah Texts_
cites 1 Enoch 46:1-3, 48:4-6, 62:7-9; as well as Rabbinic tradition
preserved in the Talmud: B. Pes. 54a; B. Ned. 39a; Gen. Rab. 1:4, 2:4;
Pes. Rab. ed. Friedmann p. 152b; Pes. Rab. ch. 35.