What EGW EIMI in John 8:58 Meant to "John"

From: G. Ross (gfross@dnai.com)
Date: Sun Sep 13 1998 - 04:11:45 EDT

With regard to Lemuel's comments and question "Why would Jesus use this
phrase (EGW EIMI) (see his message below), I wanted to share with you all
some thoughts that came to mind as I read through what he said.

What strikes me first of all -- and I recall someone else on the b-greek
list having made this same point -- is that Jesus was almost certainly not
speaking in Greek to his Jewish audience, but in Aramaic or possibly Hebrew.

Secondly, it is the author of John 8:58 who presents Jesus as speaking Greek
and saying EGW EIMI.

Thirdly, it is debatable whether this scene took place historically or
whether it is a creation, either total or partial, by the author of John (or
a Johannine community) in order to present his (their) view of Jesus and
what significance he had for him (them). In other words, the modern reader
does not know whether this passage is memorized history, historicized
memory, or an example of myth-making (I use "myth" here in its traditional
sense, not in the sense of "falsehood").

In any case, whether this event took place or not, what Jesus's exact words
were (in Aramaic or Hebrew) is unknown.

In view of all this, it seems futile to draw theological conclusions about
the signficance to Jesus of EGW EIMI.

I think that the discussion of John 8:58 would be more fruitful if it
centered on what readers of the verse as it stands believe it meant to
"John" (i.e., the author(s)/editor(s) of the gospel according to John), that
is, why "John" would construct such a sentence and represent Jesus as having
said it in this situation.

Just some thoughts --

Gordon Ross
From: "Lemuel G. Abarte" <lemuel@bcd.weblinq.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 22:57:38 +0800
X-Message-Number: 18


What I am trying to point out is that in John 8, EGW EIMI seems to be a =
title. This is mentioned in John 8:24 in the HOTI clause. =20

Why would Jesus use this phrase? I don't think that it is merely a =
summary of what was explained in John 8:23: EGW EK TWN ANW EIMI... EGW =

EGW EIMI looks like a title applied to the origin and prior existence of =
the Person of Jesus Christ (John 8:23,24,58). But more so, it is likely =
a title that could only have references to the Old Testament Scriptures, =
since He is speaking to a Jewish crowd.

The culmination of the discourse in the temple is quite clear that He is =
applying the title with an understanding that the name is the =
Tetragrammaton of the Old Testament. It identifies Him with Deity.

I don't want to be theological here, but it looks like that the theology =
has to be considered. =20



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