From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Wed Sep 02 1998 - 18:20:46 EDT

I found this a useful summary, and I agree with most of what is said here.
There are a few points I'd like to comment on.

At 04:07 PM 9/2/98 EDT, wrote:
>But when we come to John 8:58, the situation is not so simple, or is it?
>refers to Abraham and says that Abraham rejoiced at the prospect of "seeing
>his day." This does not sit well with the Jews, who object, PENTHKONTA ETH
>OUPW hECHEIS KAI ABRAAM hEWRAKAS; Jesus responds emphatically, PRIN ABRAAM
>GENESQAI EGW EIMI. There are two ways to understand this verse, that also
>relate to the question Jesus is answering: 1) Jesus is claiming to have
>existed before Abraham was born; or 2) he is claiming a title belonging to
>which would ipso facto identify him as God, and therefore explain how he has
>seen Abraham.

The two are not mutually exclusive - perhaps he was claiming both. I think
that all parties agree that at least (1) is the case.

>The best English translation might well be that given by McKay: "I have been
>in existence since before Abraham was born."

That's a good translation if only (1) is intended.

>Jonathan Robie asked about the doubling of EGW EIMI in the LXX of Isaiah, and
>I believe Ben Crick pointed out that this has to do with emphasis. I agree.
>This is a translation of the archaic ANOKI. The reason this doubling of ANOKI
>should not be viewed as an equivalent to the divine name is because the
>name would then have to be duplicated, not the verb. But ANOKI is translated,
>not by KURIOS (or THEOS), but by EGW EIMI. However, the tetragrammaton is
>translated in the LXX by KURIOS, not EGW EIMI. That is why the citation I
>from Davies is significant, because it points out that Brown's observation
>really begs the question, unless he can provide specific evidence supporting
>his position.

I would really like the opinions of some people who know Hebrew a lot
better than I do here, but it seems to me that ANOKI ANOKI is not exactly
equivalent to EGW EIMI EGW EIMI, regardless of how it is interpreted. ANOKI
ANOKI seems to mean "I, I", which is basically an emphatic way of saying
"I", if I understand what has been said so far. EGW EIMI EGW EIMI, if it
does not entail a divine referent, would have to mean something like "it is
I, it is I", e.g.


I think this could plausibly be translated in two ways, but neither is
quite equivalent to the Masoretic ANOKI ANOKI. The two options seem to be:

1. It is I, it is I, the one who wipes away your sins...
2. It is I, Yahweh, who wipes away your sins...

If I understand what has been said about ANOKI ANOKI, I would think that it
says something more like "I myself, the one who wipes away your sins...".

Is there a divine referent in EGW EIMI EGW EIMI? I'm not sure. But there
are some factors that make me think it very well might be:

1. This construction only occurs three times in the entire Bible, and each
time it is God talking about himself. It is a very unusual, marked

2. One time that it is used, in Isaiah 45:19, the Masoretic Hebrew text
says ANiY
YeWaH, which I think means "I, the Lord" or "I, Yahweh". (Will someone who
knows Hebrew better than I do please confirm this, since I'm not quite
positive this is true, and all these funny looking letters make me
nervous?) If so, it is interesting that the same text says "I, Yahweh" in
Hebrew and EGW EIMI EGW EIMI in Greek.

Of course, there are other passages where EGW EIMI may be a divine
referent, even when not doubled. It's not clear to me that it *is* a divine
referent, but it is clear to me that it very well could be.

And I guess I feel that same way about EGW EIMI in John 8:58. It's not
clear to me that it *is* a divine referent, but I think it very well could
be. There seems to be enough evidence for Raymond Brown's position that
dismissing it as "fanciful" is probably unwarranted. However, I wouldn't
regard what I say above as conclusive proof of either view.

I guess I'm running out of interesting questions to ask on this thread!

Texcel Research

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