Wednesday, January 19, 2005

JB16629 - Jason #26: Re: John 8:58 

(16629) Jason BeDuhn [Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:27 pm] (Jason #26)


You have now completed your replies to my post #17, so I would just like to refer our readers back to that post to review what I said there, none of which has been set aside by your replies to a handful of isolated comments. The bulk of my criticisms were passed over with neither acknowledgment nor attempted rebuttal, and so we can consider that we both feel enough has been said on those topics.

As for your post #25, I also feel that I have little to add to what I said in my post #18 to which your comments are intended to reply. Thank you for explaining Wallace's usage of "broad-band" and "narrow-band." In my post #18 I questioned why you were using Wallace as your primary source for your discussion of these issues, when he seems to phrase things in problematic ways even for you. I have since been forwarded other passages from Wallace from one of our readers which show him mixing theological and linguistic analysis in a way which shows him not to be adhering to strictly grammatical principles in his grammar.

You say:
"I have simply argued that on the broader definitions of the PPA, one cannot claim that all PPA verbs *must* be translated using a form of the past tense. That's it!"

And I have shown that the way you arrive at that conclusion is fallacious. That's it.

You say:
"I didn't advocate lumping the PPA with those other usages in the sense of claiming that they can all be translated in the same way. You are missing the point still."

Rob, that is precisely what you were claiming, precisely what you were aiming to show, that John 8:58 can be translated in the same way as those other usages. We all have been watching you make that claim.

I had asked:
Do you dispute that EIMI is temporally modified in John 8:58? Think carefully before you answer, because it has serious consequences for your position.

To which you replied:
"In the sense that you mean by "temporally modified," yes, I do dispute it. You mean modified to denote existence in one specific temporal aspect (from the past into the present). (I am not here using "aspect" in the modern technical linguistic sense.) The wording of John 8:58 goes beyond that temporal aspect. Of course, I do not dispute the claim that the dependent clause is meaningfully related to the main clause."

Either it is modified or it is not. If it is modified, it is modified in the direction indicated by the temporal clause. If it is not modified, then it has no other significance than the simple present. Take your pick.

You say:
"On the broader definitions of the PPA, any present-tense verb that expresses a state that obtained in the past and continues to obtain in the present is a PPA. But not all such verbs are justifiably translated using an English past tense verb. The sentence hO QEOS AGAPH ESTIN fits this definition, because what it says that God "is" obtained in the past and continues in the present, but it would be unjustifiable to translate this sentence "God has been love."

Who has ever defined the PPA as you do here? Who has ever cited 1 John 4:8 as a PPA? You are creating a straw man here.

You say:
"I have argued that renderings like those found in the LB or NWT, particularly in the context of a simplified English paraphrase or idiomatic version, are *possible* options but lose something important in the translation and are not *the best* rendering in a "literal" or primarily word-for-word kind of translation, such as the NWT purports to be."

You have failed to demonstrate this claim.

You say:
"I am arguing for a translation of the text that preserves the connections between this and other sayings of Jesus utilizing the unpredicated EGW EIMI. I am arguing for a translation of the text that conveys the Old Testament allusions of this and other EGW EIMI sayings of Jesus, especially those in Isaiah."

In other words, you are arguing for an interpretation, a hypothesized doctrinal connection between passages, while bisecting the sentence right in front of you into unrelated segments. This is scarcely a legitimate procedure in translation.

You say:
"Besides, most people who read Greek simply disagree with your claim that rendering EIMI in John 8:58 as "am" rather than "have been" is somehow interpretive to the point of being suspect as evidence of bias."

A lovely bit of completely hollow rhetoric there, Rob. Yes, please do compile statistics on what "most people who read Greek" think about this sentence.

You say:
"And while obviousness can be a matter of some subjectivity and disagreement (calling into question your own statement), I think it fair to say that it would be quite a stretch to argue that "I am" is not at least *an* obvious choice for translating EGW EIMI."

There you go again, dissing poor old Abraham. Rob, please pay attention: the rest of the sentence! So now, if as appears obvious by you continually falling back to it, you are saying that EGW EIMI is a self-standing, independent, absolute clause, then you MUST do two things: (1) accept that the verb here is a simple present, with no temporal modification, and so no reference to "eternality" -- Jesus is simply saying "I exist" at the moment. Great news!

(2) find an alternative way to complete the syntax of the "before" clause, which you will have to combine with the previous clause, I suppose: "Truly, truly, I have been saying (LEGW as a PPA) to you since before Abraham was born, 'I exist.'" Hey, Rob, that's not bad. You might like that. Think about it. It's still not what the traditional translation has done.

best wishes,
Jason B.

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