[B-Greek] John 8:58 PPA???
furuli at online.no
Wed Feb 2 05:27:04 EST 2005
In order to review translation alternatives it is much better to
*describe* the syntactical and contextual situations than to tie the
case to technical terms, such as PPA. One person (expressed by "I")
existed before a point of time in the past (PRIN ABRAAAM), and because
he (Jesus) is the one uttering the words, he still exists at the deictic
center (speech time). Because EIMI does not have a perfect, this is in
Greek expressed by the present of EIMI. What is described is a state,
and this states has lasted from before a certain point in the past and
still lasts at present (the deictic center). John 9:9 is a completely
The problem with English as a target laguage is that neiter simple
present nor the the imperfective aspect (the present participle) can
express the mentioned situation (a state existing before a poit in the
past and is still existing). Thus, the NIV rendering "Before Abraham
was born, I am" simply is ungrammatical! The only way to defend such a
rendering in my view is to say that here we have an expression that
transcends human understanding, so we must use an ungrammatical
expression to catch it. But the problem with this is that we do not let
language an grammar be the basis of our theology, but we let our
theology in a way set language and grammar aside. McKay's rendering "I
have been in existence since before Abraham was born" is both
grammatical and accounts perfectly for the syntax and the context. We
need not connect this translation with a technical term to realize that.
University of Oslo
MAKARIOIOIPRAEIS at aol.com wrote:
>At any rate the quote from the The Watchman Expositor was meant as an example
>of arguing Jn 8:58 as a present tense by the fact that it by itself is a
>"predicate absolute" and therefore needs to be rendered in the simple English
>(unless this rule of thumb is open for debate)???
>I would say that I it would be very poor English to translate the blind man's
>response in John 9:9 EGO EIMI as "I have been". This statement is also a
>"predicate absolute" like John 8:58, and therefore makes the most sense as "I am"
> ".....Some said 'This is he' others 'he is like him' (the blind man) was
>saying "I am.."
>Makes no sense to me at least to see this as "I have been" or "I was 'him' "
>or as a progressive, or historical present, but I'm not exactly sure what
>Jason Beduhn's argument for the PPA in John 8:58 actually was.
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