Re: More questions on Mark

From: Larry W. Hurtado (
Date: Fri Sep 29 1995 - 14:02:31 EDT

On Fri, 29 Sep 1995, Bruce Terry wrote:

> Jim, where were you and Larry in the discussion earlier this year? Thanks for
> the passages in Deut. and Isa. where EGW EIMI is used in the LXX of God;
> however, I note in my defense that in neither place does EGW EIMI translate
> )HYH (Hebrew for "I am" and probable cognate with YHWH "Yahweh"). And while I
> was wrong on EGW EIMI (although note that I pointed out that it once
> translates )HYH in Ex. 3:14), I still maintain that it is KURIOS (and
> sometimes QEOS) that translates YHWH in the LXX, not EGW EIMI.
> I have no quarrel with the idea that John 8:24 and 58 are references to the
> divinity of Jesus; certainly 8:58 is at the very least a claim for his
> pre-existence (cf. 1:1). I do have qualms about Jesus' saying "it's me" as he
> walks on the water being a claim for divinity. The same words in different
> contexts do not always mean the same things.

Bruce, My point in citing the passages in Isa 42-45 where the LXX has
"ego eimi" as a self-referential formula of God was that the formula is
such, and I never suggested it was a translation of YHWH. That's a
red-herring. The point is that the appearances of "ego eimi" in
theophanic contexts such as Mk 6 (storm-stilling miracle, just the sort
of thing God does e.g., in Ps 107, etc.) might well have been intended to
allude to the Greek of Isa 42-45 for lst cent. readers of the Greek of
Mark. (And part of the argument depends upon reading Mark in Greek, and
having as one's "bible" the Greek OT and being thus able to catch
allusions without having to ransack a concordance!).
        I quite applaud your emphasis that words and phrases have their
meaning in contexts, and can vary from one to another. Precisely.
It's the appearance of this "ego eimi" formula in a narrative episode
that seems theophanic, and in a larger narrative (Mark) that seems
intent on asserting for Jesus a divine-like transcendent significance
-- all this leads me to find in the particular "ego eimi" of Mark 6
something more than "It's me boys".

Larry Hurtado, Religion, Univ. of Manitoba

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