Re: Present tence copulative verbs

Date: Wed Sep 02 1998 - 11:43:45 EDT

dan-ake mattsson wrote:
> Ben Crick wrote:
> >On Tue 1 Sep 98 (09:35:20 +0200), 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)....

> My question therefore is: Can you quote any example from English prose of a
> construction similar to:
> "Before Abraham was (or, came into existence), I am."? If this is a normal
> (or possible) way of expression, I am wrong. If there are no examples of
> such constructions, the normal way of rendering John 8:58 in the versions
> is mystical rather than grammatical.

The grasmmar here is very mysterious, and properly so, imho. How
could it be otherwise? If I were to say to you, "Before yesterday
occurred, I am existing," I would expect you to look at me very
strangely and rather askance. The Jews were so askanced that they
threw rocks!

Is it so 'wrong' to simply allow mysterious grammar to speak
mysteriously of the mystery of Christ? Our efforts to 'nail the
grammar down' to material and physical standards of human cognitive
graspings seems to me to drag the sacred down into our profane level
of comprehension and thereby miss its truth. This grammatical
construction is enigmatic and mystical, and perhaps we, as grammarians
and translators, might do well to simply allow it to be so... It
really is not an engineering problem that needs 'fixing'.


Lisa Messmer..................ICQ# 5666415
George Blaisdell

Have you seen Dulcie? Look for her Heart!

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