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John 8:58

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John 8:58

Postby Bert » Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:35 pm

Does the Greek text of John 8:58 sound strange to those of you who are very familiar with classical Greek but who have not had a whole lot of exposure to Biblical Greek?

[face=SPIonic]"ei=pen au)toi=j )Ihsou=j: a)mh\n a)mh\n le/gw u(mi=n, pri\n )Abraa\m gene/sqai e)gw\ ei)mi/.[/face]
I am talking about the tense of the ei)mi/. Does this tense only indicate aspect so that it could be replaced with an imperfect form, or is it written this way to draw our attention to an un-usual form?
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Postby Skylax » Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:28 pm

Hello, Bert !

Yes, id does sound strange. I would have expected something like [face=SPIonic]e)/fun[/face] "I was born" (from [face=SPIonic]fu/w[/face]. It is also the strangest way of using [face=SPIonic]pri/n[/face] that I found in Perseus' NT.

I see two possibilities : either [face=SPIonic]pri/n[/face] means here "since before" (what LSJ doesn't mention), or we have a strongly synthetic phrase for "Before Abraham did exist, I was already born and I do still exist."

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Postby Bert » Sun Feb 20, 2005 1:29 am

There is quite a controversy concerning this text.
Trinitarians say that in this text Jesus refers back to texts like Isaiah 43:25, 45:19 and 51:12.
In other words he is identifying himself with Yaweh.
( Jesus is answering to the question -Who are you?- and not -Since when did you exist-? This makes sense to me.)
Unitarians deny this.
This of course is exegesis and not for this board, but my original question was about the Greek of this text.
Thanks for your answer Skylax.
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