Stevens, Charles C
Charles.Stevens at unisys.com
Wed Dec 22 18:47:58 EST 1999
On 22 December 1999 at 2:41PM, Edgar Foster wrote:
<<The article I was quoting from is "Ego Eimi in John 1:20 and 4:25." Edwin
D. Freed. CBQ 41, 1979.>>
Don't have access to the article.
<<And yes, when I speak of an implied predicate, I am saying that the
predicate has to be supplied from the context. E.g., I am [the Messiah].>>
I agree that the predicate has to be supplied from context, but the
*immediate* context is the question asked in John 8:57 and the reaction to
the response to that question as described in John 8:59, and I would contend
that there is no *explicit* predicate to be found in that immediate context.
In particular, I don't see evidence specifically for a *messianic* claim
here, certainly as it would have been understood in Judaism at the time.
Absent such an obvious predicative reference, I have to give considerable
weight to the extreme reaction to the answer to the question asked. The
inquisitors found it *really* offensive, based on their actions as described
It thus seems to me extremely likely that the implied predicate is supplied
by "common knowledge" between Jesus and the inquisitors, in particular to
the likes of LXX Exodus 3:14 "EGW EIMI hO WN" (IMHO echoed several times in
LXX Isaiah, for example 43:25, 45:18, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12). The implied
predicate in this case would be "hO WN", and the audience knowing that
reference would *reasonably* respond in the manner described.
In other words, ISTM the most probable explanation for the reaction of the
scribes and pharisees to Jesus' ambiguous statement is that *they* took the
implied predicate as "hO WN", and were outraged at the implications (a claim
to identity with the speaker in Exodus 3:14), whether Jesus could be
demonstrated to have meant it that way or not!
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