From: Ben Crick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Sep 01 1998 - 16:35:15 EDT
On Tue 1 Sep 98 (09:35:20 +0200), email@example.com wrote:
> My mother tongue is not English, but it seems to me that the translation
> (RSV) "Before Abraham was, I am." is grammatically wrong, and the only
> way to defend it, is to introduce a mystical element (which of course is
> not based on grammar). The use of perfect would on the other hand be fine
> English. Is this view correct?
You raise some interesting points, Dan-Ake.
The retro-translation of John 8:58 into Hebrew by Franz Delitzsch uses
the phrase 'aNiY HuW' "I he". There is no verb; the present tense of "to
be" is understood, but not expressed. As far as English usage is concerned,
one would say e.g. "I have been in England since 1990"; whereas a German
would say "Ich bin in England seit dem Jahre 1990": using the Present where
English uses the Perfect. Both English and German understands "I have been
*and still am* here": "Ich bin *und bleibe noch* hier".
So the English "Since Abraham was, I am" is accurate in expressing PRIN
ABRAAM GENESQAI, EGW EIMI. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that
Norwegian and the Scandinavian languages follow the German usage of the
Present and Perfect tenses here.
-- Revd Ben Crick, BA CF <firstname.lastname@example.org> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK) http://www.cnetwork.co.uk/crick.htm
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