b-greek-digest V1 #509

b-greek-digest            Sunday, 11 December 1994      Volume 01 : Number 509

In this issue:

        Re: John 8:58 
        Re: Isaiah 40:11 


From: Dvdmoore@aol.com
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 12:02:10 -0500
Subject: Re: John 8:58 

jordan@chuma.cas.usf.edu (Gregory Jordan) wrote:

>    It also depends on what you think is going on in John 8:58.  In 
>John 8:58 no one asked the loaded question: who are you?/Who do you say 
>that you are?  The discussion was on whether or not Jesus was greater 
>than Abraham, and whether or not he had once seen Abraham, truly a 
>question of his own longevity.

     IMHO, the question about whether he was old enough to have seen Abraham
(Jn. 8:57) was just a stalking horse.  The real question was about Jesus'
authority, and in a real sense, they were asking Him, "Who do you think you
are?"  The answer He gave them blew their minds.  This is obvious from their
picking up stones with the intention of stoning Him.

>     This all brings us back to our John 1:1 problem.  Is John's Jesus 
>declaring himself to be the one and only God, YHWH?  I have already 
>indicated that it would have *not* have been declaring one's self God to 
>say that one existed before the creation of the world: this was the 
>messiah tradition within perfectly widespread Judaism at the time 
>(witness Book of Enoch, rabbinic sources, Qumran texts, etc.). 

     That these sources ascribed preexistence to the Messiah doesn't at all pr
eclude His diety.  Within the biblical cosmology, in general - including the
jewish cosmology - , all things may be placed in one of two classes, (1) the
created things, and (2) the uncreated.  In this cosmology only God is
uncreated.  Of course one would have to take a look at the other sources
mentioned above to be sure that they conformed to this view if one wanted to
base an argument on them, but it appears to be an unquestionable truth that
the Bible presents God as the only uncreated being.  (See Gen. 1:1; Neh. 9:6;
Acts 14:15; Rev. 4:11; etc.)  If we take into account the context of Jn. 1:1,
we find that the writer of the Fourth Gospel is making an *emphatic*
statement about the uncreated nature of the Logos.  See especially v. 3,
came to be through Him, and not [even] one thing came to be without Him.

>Jesus's audience was infuriated by what they heard, but were they hearing 
>him say he was God? Remember at his trial the officials only accused him 
>of "making himself the *son* of God" (huion theou heauton epoiEsen 19:7) 
>and king of the Jews (basileus tOn ioudaiOn 18:33). They already had 
>their reasons for why they considered it impossible for Jesus to be the 
>Messiah: that he was from Galilee, etc. (John 7:41, 52).  Surely if they 
>though he had said he was God himself, YHWH in person, they would have 
>charged him with that, not with being the son of God or king of the Jews, 
>a more political than religious concern (11:48, 19:12, etc.). 
>Interestingly, in John the Jewish leaders do not tear their clothes or 
>claim he is blaspheming, as in Matthew 26:65 etc., although even there, 
>they seem to think he is *blaspheming* even though he is clearly 
>distinguishing between himself and God: Matt. 26:64 _...ap arti opsesthe 
>ton huion tou anthrOpou kathEmenon ek deksiOn tEs dunameOs kai erkhomenon 
>epi tOn nephelOn tou ouranou_ "in the future you will see the son of man 
>sitting at the right hand of authority and coming on the clouds of 
>heaven."  Surely Dunamis is to be interpreted as a taboo-substitution for 
>God's name, and Huios tou AnthrOpou surely emphasizes his humanity.  It 
>is clearly emphasizing only his messiahship, not his divinity, and yet 
>the reaction is: that he has spoken blasphemy.

     In considering what Jesus said in Jn. 8:58, it is good to remember that
He had a way of saying things by which it was practically impossible for His
enemies to accuse Him, but that anyone who was tuned in to what He was
talking about was able to catch His meaning.  This, of course presents a
problem to the interpreter of the Scriptures.  But it seems certain, at
least, that Christ is talking of His preexistence in Jn. 8:58, and when one
understands this in terms of Jn. 1:1ff., it is not unreasonable to consider
that He was referring to His diety and also very probably was modeling his
statement on Ex. 3:14ff.

David Moore


From: Dvdmoore@aol.com
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 12:02:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Isaiah 40:11 

DSBARTOSH@delphi.com (Steven Bartosh) wrote to b-hebrew:

>     You are correct that the word  ( 'lot )  in Isiah 40:11 is
>a feminine plural participle.  It means 'to give suck'.
>The participle therefore is dealing with the mother of the
>young.  That part of the verse should read
>something like:  He will guide those suckling their young.  The
>fact that there is no article or relative
>pronoun is not that problematic. This is poetry.  And in poetry
>one tends to bend the rules a bit.

>     What I found interesting was the word (tale) 'lamb' or
>poss. 'youth' in this verse.  The same root in
>aramaic is 'boy/girl'.  Jesus used this when bringing the
>little girl back to life in Mark5:41.
>He said:"Talytha,cum".

     Yes, interesting.  Now I'm wondering, can +ALEH also mean "lamb" in
Aramaic?  Gesenius's lexicon (s.v. +ALEH [Hebrew section]) apparently
indicates that it can.

David L. Moore


End of b-greek-digest V1 #509


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