EGW EIMI in Isaiah 47:8,10
Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Mar 12 13:30:00 EST 2001
At 6:05 PM +0000 3/12/01, Dan Parker wrote:
>> At 1:33 AM -0600 3/12/01, John Wilking wrote:
>> > What does EGW EIMI mean in these verses? It appears to be idiomatic.
>> 8 NUN DE AKOUSON TAUTA hH TRUFERA hH KAQHMENH PEPOIQUIA hH LEGOUSA EN THi
>> KARDIAi AUTHS, "EGW EIMI KAI OUK ESTIN hETERA." 9 NUN DE hHXEI EXAIFNHS EPI
>> SE TA DUA TAUTA EN MIAi hHMERAi CHREIA KAI ATEKNIA hHXEI EXAIFNHS EPI SE EN
>> THi FARMAKEIAi SOU EN THi ISCUI TWN EPAOIDWN SOU SFODRA. 10 THi ELPIDI THS
>> PONHRIAS SU SU GAR EIPAS "EGW EIMI KAI OUK ESTIN hETERA" ...
>> I think what we have here is mockery of Babylon as idolatrously claiming
>> divine status in the same language used by Yahweh particularly in the
>> oracles of Second Isaiah; note especially 45:18 hOUTWS LEGEI KURIOS ... EGW
>> EIMI KAI OUK ESTIN ETI; 45:22 EPISTRAFHTE PROS ME KAI SWQHSESQE hOI AP'
>> ESCATOU THS GHS, EGW EIMI hO QEOS KAI OUK ESTIN ALLOS; 46:9 KAI MNHSQHTE TA
>> PROTERA APO TOU AIWNOS hOTI EGW EIMI hO QEOS KAI OUK ESTIN ETI PLHN EMOU.
>> This would certainly seem to be with cognizance of the language of Exodus
>> Carl W. Conrad
>Carl, I can understand why one's theology might cause one to have
>this view, but is there really a grammatical link between this and
>The Hebrew text of Isaiah employs simply ani without even the hu as
>found in the ani hu expressions that would normally be translated into
>Greek as EGW EIMI.
>The Hebrew text of Exodus 3:14 does not use ani or ani hu at all, but
>Do you posit that Semitic Babylonians considered that if one used only
>the first person pronoun they considered that a claim to divinity?
>It is a certainty they did not say EGW or EGW EIMI!
>In addition, if the Babylonians were aware of the language of Exodus
>3:14 and intended to invoke this language, why did they not use Eheyeh
>or Eheyeh Asher Eheyeh? And if the LXX translators understood it this
>way why did they not translate the expression as found at Exodus 3:14
>in the LXX, not merely EGW EIMI, but EGW EIMI hO WN?
>As you are no doubt aware, EGW EIMI is used copulatively with the actual
>predicate as hO WN (the being.)
>Perhaps I have missed something in all of this that I should understand.
No, I think rather you may be making some assumptions that I'm not. I don't
really KNOW that there's an intended linkage between what 2 Isaiah's saying
and Exodus 3:14, and I certainly don't suppose that the Babylonians have
said in so many words the phrase attributed to them by Isaiah, "I am, and
there is no other." What I AM assuming is that this is a claim of
supernatural and unique status by Babylon, and that 2 Isaiah is disputing
that claim inasmuch as he uses this phrase pretty clearly to refer to hO
KURIOS. And I'm thinking solely in terms of the LXX, not of a Hebrew text
that might have a meaning for Semitic Babylonians. And I'm well aware that
Exodus 3:14 doesn't say in the LXX simply EGW EIMI. So: I don't know or
claim any assurance that Exodus 3:14 is alluded to here, but I certainly
think there's a possibility of it.
Carl W. Conrad (retired)
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
More information about the B-Greek