Re: Pronoun Emphasis

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Mar 11 1997 - 08:26:20 EST

At 11:53 AM -0600 3/10/97, S. M. Baugh wrote:
>(6) No Emphasis. It is hard to see any emphasis in all nominative
>personal pronouns in copulative statements (particularly with EIMI) in
>some authors. The pronoun was probably felt to be semi-required to avoid

I have deleted the most interesting parts of the message; I think this is a
worthwhile investigation and i think that the five categories indicated
(the ones I have deleted!) have all been properly identified. I'd like a
bit of clarification on (6) to be certain that I've understood you rightly.
What are you saying about the EGW EIMI statements in John's gospel, for
instance. It occurs to me that I haven't ever thought this construction
through carefully: in John 8:58 (about which there has been a horrendous
amount of correspondence in this forum), the UBS3-4 editors print the text
as )EGW\ )EIMI/, by which I understand that they understand this instance
of EIMI as existential and this EGW as subject. But when one expresses the
notion, "It is I" (which, of course, nobody ever says anymore, unless
he/she wants to be laughed at; it's rather "It's me"), I think the editor
will print the text as )EGW/ )EIMI--i.e. with EIMI as an enclitic; that's
the way Jesus' response to the Samaritan woman at the well is printed in Jn
4:26: )EGW/ )EIMI, hO LALW=N SOI. If I've understood you correctly, Jn 4:26
is an example of your #6 above, where "the pronoun was probably felt to be
semi-required to avoid misunderstanding." It strikes me that this is a
situation where the Greek accent actually becomes very important: without
the EGW, EIMI will have to be written (and presumably would thus have been
pronounced) as EIMI/, which might well be understood to have an existential
meaning, "I exist, I have being." Should we say, however, that in Jn 4:26
the EGW is not subject but predicate nominative for "It's I/it's me"? If
so, it may be required for precisely that reason, and certainly it is
normal for a predicate word to precede the copula, as KALO/N )ESTIN TO\
hI/ERON. Or should it better be understood (i.e. )EGW/ )EIMI ) as "I'm the
one" where "I" is emphatic.

This may be a bag of worms; it certainly has some bearing upon the question
of the Johannine EGW EIMI passages, and I must admit I haven't read the
massive scholarship on that subject, but it strikes me that there's a
pretty little problem of understanding this Greek construction. What do
others think.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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