John 8:58

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Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

Eeli,

Thank you for your gentle words. But please note that Stephen has opined that εγω ειμι is a name. What that leads to is that εγω ειμι is not grammatically/syntactically connected to the adverbial dependent clause πριν Αβρααμ γενεσθαι.

Dependent clauses get their completed thought from the main clause. Viewing εγω ειμι as a name eliminates it as the main clause. So again how can an adverbial dependent clause stand alone? What verb does the adverbial clause modify? That’s the way adverbs work…right?

Eeli these are basic points of grammar that Stephen has refused to answer. The answer to these basic points of grammar will show that his view is wrong.


Now the reason I posted Robertson’s comments on the absolute infinitive is because it is absolute because the verb that it is supposed to be connected to syntactically is in ellipsis. His comments are important to show the relationship between infinitives and their verbs. Basic grammar.

k) The Absolute Infinitive. This idiom is very common in Homer, especially as an imperative and in the midst of imperatives.1 R. Wagner2 notes that in Homer this use of the inf. occurs with the nom. The papyri still show examples like ὁ δεῖνα τῷ δεῖνα χαίρειν.3 Gerhard4 holds that in such cases there is ellipsis of λέγει.

Eeli, infinitives have verbs that they complete in some way. That is their basic function. And I’ve stuck with Wallace’s term “controlling verb” because it may be that an infinitive’s controlling verb is not necessarily the main verb of a sentence.


So again please answer these questions:

How can an adverbial dependent clause stand alone? If it can’t and you see πριν Αβρααμ γενεσθαι as an adverbial dependent clause as I do then what verb does it modify?

My questions are designed to show that εγω ειμι as a name is untenable.

Once that option is discarded then we can start asking and looking for how a present tense verb can be modified by a past referring adverbial dependent clause.

This gets us back on track after Stephen weighed in with his εγω ειμι as a name proposition.
Scott Lawson
Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

Eeli,
You said that you think I’m reading Wallace incorrectly on the controlling verbs for infinitives. I request that you make sure that I’m reading Wallace wrong and explain to me where I am wrong.
Scott Lawson
Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen »

Sean Kasabuske wrote: August 4th, 2021, 10:58 am
Wallace's argument against the PPA is that the adverbial modifier always appears in the same clause in the undisputed examples. However, unless one can demonstrate that the modifier must be in the same clause, I would categorize that is an indeterminate statistic.
I wouldn't buy that argument, either.
It seems pretty clear to me that πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι is functioning as an adverbial phrase modifying εἰμί.
I agree with this.
and this naturally suggests that εἰμί is functioning as a PPA.
But not with this. Whether the modifier needs to be in the same clause or not, it doesn't affect the problem which is the "incompatible topic/reference time" (quoted from Stephen's post).
It seems pretty clear that folks like G.B. Winer, Nigel Turner, Blass & Debrunner, Kenneth McKay, etc., would agree, and I would assume that they were aware of the sorts of objections that have been raised here.
I doubt this. I haven't seen this handled anywhere. But part of my incompetence is that I haven't read all of them. I have Turner, I'm aware of what McKay has to say. But they wrote in the time when modern linguistics wasn't so popular amongst NT Greek circles, and those who were familiar with their contemporary linguistics, didn't of course know our modern linguistics. McKay is probably the closest one to modern linguistics, but as far as I know, he didn't actually argue anything about this, he only had an opinion. Notice that Stephen (with whom I seem to totally agree here) is pretty familiar with linguistics and hits the nail in the head, putting it in linguistically and academically rigorous language.

When I read about PPA from grammars I got a feeling that there's no common ground to deeply understand how PPA works or even what it is. To put it bluntly, they don't seem to know exactly what it is. There are conflicting claims. I was frustrated and therefore wanted to do some research.
Jesus replied using words that some highly qualified grammarians see or have seen as forming a known idiom that we refer to today as a PPA; an English translation that captures the sense of that idiom provides a direct affirmative answer to the question asked.

That's fair enough, but some highly qualified grammarians have seen it differently. And I'm trying to go further than what has been said before.
P.S. About the lack of comparable examples, I'll repeat what I've offered on other forums: How many examples can we expect to find that are grammatically parallel to a text in which a man claims to have been in existence since before some ancient ancestor was born?
This sounds sarcastic and gives a feeling that you haven't read what I have written. From my previous posts:
For this explanation to work, we would need parallels where either 1) πριν would mean "since before", which is very improbable; or 2) the present tense, at least that of εἰμι, can be without difficulties used in the context where the time we are talking about is limited to past by some explicit syntactical/grammatical expression so that the present tense would act like in PPA.
And:
Nobody has yet given me examples where an expression which limits the time we are talking about to past is combined with the present tense main verb. (This is the most generic and generous requirement I can think about when I'm requesting parallels or similar examples.)
(Note: two parallels from the Septuagint have been given, but they don't still remove my doubt because of their theological content.)

Are these requirements too much for you? Are they unfair? Notice that I didn't say anything about the subject matter or semantic message of the examples. You seem to assume that I or someone else creates artificial limits for possible parallels to avoid seeing this as PPA. On the contrary; The problem I see with the PPA explanation is the clashing time references, and I told how I would be satisfied with the PPA explanation. Therefore I limited the examples to the exact problem so that I could know if it's a problem at all. On the other hand I want to research PPA further by analyzing uncontested or even contested examples of PPA from extrabiblical literature, but unfortunately doing a database search for that may be nearly impossible. Searching for πριν and προ του should be simple, therefore it shouldn't be impossible to prove me wrong.

To make it clear, I am interested in two kinds of examples:
* grammatical parallels for this passage
* all PPA examples.
And they are for different purposes.

Part of the weakness of my mentioned treatise is that the amount of PPAs in the NT is small, not nearly enough to conclude anything, enough only for preliminary analysis and hypothesis. Your question (if it was serious at all), "how many examples are needed" is extremely important. But may I throw it back to you: how many examples of uncontested PPA would you need to say that this passage isn't one, if
* all examples have properties which this passage doesn't, and/or
* this passage has properties which the examples don't have?

Then the crucial question is of course what those properties would be. As I have implied, the most important is the clashing time reference.

_____________________

I'm very self-critical person. I doubt even my doubt. Therefore I don't want to go for any solution which feels weak. That's why I'm writing this. If I find more grammatical parallels for this passage I will be satisfied and gladly admit this is a normal grammatical phenomenon, close to PPA, although not quite. But at the moment it looks to me that the "PPA or close to it" explanation is weaker.
Sean Kasabuske
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Sean Kasabuske »

P.S. About the lack of comparable examples, I'll repeat what I've offered on other forums: How many examples can we expect to find that are grammatically parallel to a text in which a man claims to have been in existence since before some ancient ancestor was born?
This sounds sarcastic and gives a feeling that you haven't read what I have written.
It's not sarcastic at all, and I didn't even have you in mind, as I've offered that observation elsewhere, as I noted. It is my response to Wallace's view that precisely corresponding supporting examples must be found before understanding the text as an example of a PPA would be justified. I see no reason to agree with him on that point.

~Sean
Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: August 4th, 2021, 1:37 pm
I'm very self-critical person. I doubt even my doubt. Therefore I don't want to go for any solution which feels weak. That's why I'm writing this. If I find more grammatical parallels for this passage I will be satisfied and gladly admit this is a normal grammatical phenomenon, close to PPA, although not quite. But at the moment it looks to me that the "PPA or close to it" explanation is weaker.
That, Eeli, is the best prerequisite for being the best type of scholar possible.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter, M.A., Th.M.
Ph.D. Student U of FL
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

Eeli,

If I’m being dumb about my view of the infinitive and its controlling verb then so is Barry. What he said is exactly the point I’ve been making.

Barry said:

“I see this migrated over from the Facebook discussion. I'm still stuck on πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι. πρίν is really the key word here, before. It's hard to get around that. As for the use of the aorist infinitive, which is relative to the tense of the "controlling verb" (which is just another way of saying the main verb), well, the syntax of the infinitive is a big subject. When used in clauses like this or in indirect statement (though the accusative and infinitive construction is rare in the NT, we mostly get ὅτι clauses instead), the aspect of the infinitive follows essentially the same rule as participles -- an aorist infinitive would then show action prior to that of the main verb. This is practically how everyone since ancient times has understood it including my favorite go-to translator, Jerome (because, you know, Latin):”
Scott Lawson
Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

Scott Lawson wrote: August 4th, 2021, 3:57 pm Eeli,

If I’m being dumb about my view of the infinitive and its controlling verb then so is Barry. What he said is exactly the point I’ve been making.

Barry said:

“I see this migrated over from the Facebook discussion. I'm still stuck on πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι. πρίν is really the key word here, before. It's hard to get around that. As for the use of the aorist infinitive, which is relative to the tense of the "controlling verb" (which is just another way of saying the main verb), well, the syntax of the infinitive is a big subject. When used in clauses like this or in indirect statement (though the accusative and infinitive construction is rare in the NT, we mostly get ὅτι clauses instead), the aspect of the infinitive follows essentially the same rule as participles -- an aorist infinitive would then show action prior to that of the main verb. This is practically how everyone since ancient times has understood it including my favorite go-to translator, Jerome (because, you know, Latin):”
I don't feel dumb about it at all. I'm sure I understand these things. I"m not so sure, from you many posts, that you do.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter, M.A., Th.M.
Ph.D. Student U of FL
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

That’s good to hear! Somehow I’ve evidently muddled up my point. But your comments are what I’ve been saying all along.
Scott Lawson
Stephen Carlson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Stephen Carlson »

Scott Lawson wrote: August 4th, 2021, 11:17 am But please note that Stephen has opined that εγω ειμι is a name.
Uh, no, I have not. With all due respect, I think you need to read more carefully.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
Scott Lawson
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Re: John 8:58

Post by Scott Lawson »

Ok…then what is it? I asked you for a translation and you pointed me to the standard translations.
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