From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Thu Mar 13 1997 - 08:02:50 EST

Dear friends,

A cursory look at the posts in the previous discussion did
not reveal the following important point: To get a better
understanding of John 8:58 we must systematically portray
the aspectual and temporal differences between the verbal
systems of three languages: Hebrew (or Aramaic), Greek and
English. Here I will just note a small point

S.M. Baugh wrote:
<The Exodus passage Ronald Wong brought up is: EGW EIMI hO
<WN (Exod.3:14), yet hO WN, not EGW EIMI corresponds to
<Yahweh here. (hO WN [+ KAI O HN KAI O ERCOMENOS] is found
<in the Apocalypse in some structurally important passages
as a title of God.)

The observation about 3:14 i correct, and let me give some
statistics to illustrate it: If we dont count consecutive
forms which are special discourse constructions,the Hebrew
verb HAYA occurs only 493 times in the OT while EIMI occurs
6469 times in LXX and 2462 times in the NT. Why this
discrepancy? Because the two verbs have different meanings.
HAYA is almost never used as a copulative (linking) verb
while this is an important use of EIMI. HAYA may have the
meaning exist, be present, happen. The translators of LXX
therefore captured some of the force of the verb, but not
its time.

Regarding time, sent a very interesting
post (11/3) where Gianotti is quoted. He shows that EHYE in
Ex 3:14 refers to the future. The imperfect of HAYA allways
refers to the future, save a few exceptions in the book of
Job. TDOT III,381 renders the verse: `I will be who I will
be`. This small point alone shows it is very difficult to
draw any parallel whatsoever between Ex 3:14 and John 8:58.

S.M. Baugh also wrote:

<Now to your interesting points. I personally (along with
<most NT scholars it seems) <think of those EGW EIMI's in
<John as formulaic and allusive to the OT as Ronald <Wong
<mentioned (but see below). There is an interesting LXX
45:19; sic!). The second EGW <EIMI (EGW/ EIMI in <Raulf's by
the way) corresponds to Hebrew "Yahweh," hence <the LXX
means: "I am 'EGW EIMI'(=YHWH) who speaks <righteousness."

Here I have problems in understanding your point. Look at
the versions:
Hebrew: ANI YHWH DOVER TSEDEQ (=I(am) YHWH, speaking
Targum Jonathan: `ANA YWY MEMALLEL QESHOT (= I (am) YWH,
speaking righteousness)
edition of LXX translates: `I, even I, am the Lord,speaking
Peshitta: (WE`ENA` `ENA` MARJA` DEMEMALLEL (= (Word for
word: `and I I the Lord who is speaking` Translation: And
(it is) I, (yes) I who is speaking.)

It seems to me that the difference between the Hebrew/Targum
on one hand and LXX/Peshitta on the other, is one of stress,
not one involving the divine name.


Rolf Furuli
Ph.D candidate in Semitic languages
University of Oslo

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