Re: Pronoun Emphasis

From: Ronald Wong (
Date: Tue Mar 11 1997 - 09:07:02 EST

I certain agree that the construction is strange...yet, I believe that
there is a historical purpose that Jesus and the way John recorded it to
mean "I, I am." There is an OT pararallel. When Moses was sent back to
the hebrews in Egypt, he asked the question: "If they ask who sent me,
whom should I say?" and it says that God answered "I am."
I think it would be possible to say that John and Jesus are emphasizing
(if I can be allowed to use the word :) ) Jesus' claim of being God,
which is a major theme in the fourth Gospel.

Ronald Wong
O'Brien, FL.
Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> 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
> >misunderstanding.
> 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
> WWW:

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