Re: Present tence copulative verbs

Date: Tue Sep 01 1998 - 12:51:32 EDT

In a message dated 9/1/98 7:35:36 AM Pacific Daylight Time,

<< The context, which is also fair game on B-Greek, tells us a little more.
 Jews attempted to stone him when he said this, which is an indication of
 the strength of his statement. Just before 8:58, Jesus claims to know that
 Abraham rejoiced to see his coming (the coming of Jesus), and the Jews say,
 "you aren't even 50 years old, and have you seen Abraham?" In other words,
 if you haven't seen Abraham, how do you know what he rejoiced to see? So
 Jesus claims to have known the mind of Abraham, and when the Jews call him
 on it, far from backing down on his claim, he says that he has existed
 continuously from before the time of Abraham! In context, this implies also
 the claim that he knows full well what Abraham thought. >>

Abraham's expressions of faith in the Messiah could have been observed
visually or discerned by reading the mind/heart. Who knows? As for the
reaction of the Jews, it is the same as when Jesus appeared before the high
priest in Mark 14:60-64. In response to the high priest's question about
whether or not he was the Christ, Jesus answered EGW EIMI. This was considered
blasphemous and they condemned him to death. In other words, in view of the
position Jesus had taken, they rejected his claim to messiahship, and they
considered it blasphemy for this alleged "sinner" to be claiming the right to
such a consecrated office.

Additionally, in John 8:58 Jesus claims to have existed before the Jews'
"father," Abraham, which they likely took as an insult, particularly in view
of the fact that they perceived Jesus to be nothing but a man not yet fifty
years old. Given their view of Abraham and their religious fanaticism, their
response is entirely predictable, given Jesus' claim to preexistence and

>Again, as I have told you several times already, the first option you give
>does not emphasize the present aspect the way the PPA does, and the use of
>"since" adds nothing to the expression that would make it any more "correct"
>than what the text does say. Tell me, what does PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI modify?
<< Please remember in these discussions that the characteristics of the PPA
 refer to someone's conclusions about the grammar - if we are discussing
 whether a grammatical construct has a particular property, it may be useful
 to cite the evidence that someone else found to support a given view, but
 citing their conclusions as some kind of final law is rather silly, since
 (1) this is the very point that is under discussion, (2) other grammars
 will disagree, and (3) there are people here (not me!) who are just as
 authoritative as the grammars, but they claim no special authority either.>>

I agree. When Kyle cites his support for his claim regarding the adverbial
clause, which is what my comments are in reference to, then I will discuss it.
I know of no grammar that takes the position he does on adverbial clauses in
the PPA idiom. That is why I asked him for the said support.

Also, citing grammars or persons as "authoritative as the grammars" proves
nothing either, unless they give evidence to support their position. I have
given several examples to illustrate what I am saying, and Dan has also given
credible examples for his view. Neither Kyle nor George have given examples
illustrating their view.

<< If we can all agree on the One True Grammar or some other way to determine
 which grammatical points may be quoted as holy law, then we can do this,
 but until that unlikely day, I'm afraid we have to rely on primary evidence
 rather than secondary authority.>>

And that was my whole point. If he cannot give examples, then perhaps a
grammar he is reading can provide some. As I told him, cite the grammar and I
will consider what it has to say. Until then, his point has not been supported
by a grammar or by examples.

>> The sentence PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI EGW EIMI suggests, as some have said,
omnitemporality, being an allusion to Exodus 3:14. >>
 <<Is it an allusion to Exodus 3:14? I'm not completely certain, but on
 balance I think not. >>

This is not my point. This is Kyle's position.

<< On the one hand, both Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58 have reference to Abraham.

As do a great many passages.

<< In the John passage, Jesus is referring to Abraham as the father of Israel,
 and talking about the God of Abraham. In the Exodus passage, God is telling
 Moses that he is the God of Abraham and the other forefathers, and calls
 himself "I Am". >>

God does not call himself "I Am" in this passage. Not even in the LXX. The
Hebrew imperfects refer to what God will "become." Compare the use of the same
verb in 3:12.

<< However, if this were a reference to Exodus 3:14, I would expect it to
 quote the entire phrase: EGW EIMI hO WN, "I Am who I Am". >>

That is an interesting translation of this text. How did you come up with it?
It seems to me that "I am the existing one," "I am the one who is" or "I am
the Being" is much more in line with the grammar of the LXX.

<<If it were a reference to the second part of Exodus 3:14, where God says
"tell them I Am sent me to you", then it has the wrong form of the verb,
because the

I don't see any reference to the second part of Exodus 3:14 in John 8:58.
Again, this is Kyle's view.

<<If John 8:58 said PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI EGW EIMI hO WN, it would
 be a clear referent to Exodus 3:14, but it doesn't say that. I'm inclined
 to think that a reference to Exodus 3:14 would use the phrase hO WN rather
 than EGW EIMI. >>

I agree with you.

<< So I'm inclined to say it is not a reference to Exodus 3:14, but I do think
 it is a clear reference to continuous existence since at least before the
 time of Abraham, that he has existed and has continued to exist and now
 exists. >>

Again, I agree with you.

<<Although I don't think it is a reference to Exodus 3:14, I can
 certainly see why this reminds people of the phrase EGW EIMI hO WN, because
 the statements are very similar. The phrase in Exodus 3:14 does not refer
 to a specific beginning or lack of a beginning either, it merely points to
 a continuous existence. The same phrase is expanded in Revelation 1:4,
 etc., as hO WN, hO HN, KAI hO ERCOMENOS, "who is, who was, and who is
 coming", a phrase which seems to refer to the Lord God Almighty, and not to
 Jesus, who appears separately in these phrases.>>

I don't seen any similarities between John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14, other than
the use of EGO EIMI, and that does not ipso facto make the statements "very

>John 8:58 does not allude to Exodus 3:14. Exodus 3:14 points *forward* to
>God will become, and John 8:58 points backward to a time before Abraham with
>the adverbial clause, and brings Jesus' existence to the present by the
 use of
<< I'm afraid I have no idea what you mean by Exodus 3:14 pointing forward.
 Nothing about the verb forms indicates pointing forward, and the context
 points both backward and forward. >>

First, the Hebrew verbs are imperfect and denote action that is incomplete,
and therefore ongoing. Second, the context of the text has to do with what
Moses will tell the Israelites about God. Gianotti puts the matter succinctly:

"God's manifestation to Israel is yet future at the time of the burning bush
incident. This EHYEH is God's promise that He will redeem the children of
Israel. The people were in great need. They needed not so much to know the
facts about God's character or that He was simply a covenant God present in
their time of need, but to be reassured that this God would meet them in their
time of need, proving true His character and promises. This in fact
constitutes what God promised Moses in Exodus 3:12, namely, that God would be
present and working on Moses' behalf in the difficult task ahead. Surely
nothing less would have encouraged Moses to go. . . . Whatever the situation
or need (in particular, the redemption from Egypt, but also future needs.) God
will "become" the solution to that need.---Gianotti, "The Meaning of the
Divine Name YHWH," BSac 39 (1985), 46.

 <<See, for instance, verse 15: "God,
 furthermore, said to Moses, 'Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `The
 Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and
 the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is
 My memorial-name to all generations. 'Go and gather the elders of Israel
 together...'" >>

How does this make the verbs in 3:14 "point backward"? God fulfilled His
promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and would continue to do so in reference
to their seed, further fulfilling His promise to them. I fail to see your
point about how verse 15 somehow modifies the action of the verbs in verse 14.

>Again, you are simply making this qualification up. Nothing requires such a
>view. The use of EIMI brings Jesus' existence from a period prior to the
>of Abraham, to the present. That is all this text says, and THAT is a very
>powerful theological statement!

<< Powerful enough to get stoned! >>

Indeed! See above.

Greg Stafford

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