Re: [textualcriticism] Re: Jo 8:25 THN ARCHN/EGO EIMI
- Dear Wieland,
I am a little bit late, but time is lacking from time to time. Hereby I
give a summary of an article I wrote in the Dutch language some time
ago. Persons who want to get the article can send me an e-mail.
It is not difficult to read Dutch if you understand English and German
(like most theologians).
The discussion reported in John 8: 21-29 seems to lack unity. If we see
such a lack there is probably a discussion between Jesus and his
opponents by means of allusions. One person makes a statement using an
allusion to a verse of the Old Testament. The other answers by means of
another allusion taken from the same chapter of the Old Testament or
from a chapter with the same theme. If we find these chapters, we find
the unity of the discussion. This way of discussion was very normal
between Jewish theologians.
The theme behind John 8: 12-29 are the prophesies about the Servant of
the Lord in Isaiah (42: 1ss., 49: 1ss., 50: 4ss., 52: 13ss.). Jesus
claims to be that Servant.
Light of the world (vs. 12) can be found in Is 42: 6 and 49: 6. The Jews
don't accept the way Jesus presents Himself as the predicted Light (vs.
13), for Isaiah says that God Himself declares who is the Servant (see
Is 42: 5-6, 49: 6).
In vs. 14 gives Jesus an answer based on Is 49: 5 and 7, where is stated
that God knows the origin and the destination of the Servant. Jesus says
that He Himself knows about his origin and destination. His opponents
can conclude that Jesus means to say that He is God or that God had said
to Him that He should be the Servant.
Jesus says in vs. 15 that He does not judge anybody, according to Is 49: 4.
In vs. 17-18 says Jesus that there are two witnesses indeed: the Father
and Jesus. required
In vs. 19 Jesus says that his opponents don't know the Father, like is
stated in Is 50: 10.
Vs. 21 gives a paraphrasis of Is 53: 8. "I am going away" represents "he
was cut off from the land of the living" , " you will look for me" is
the compliment of " who of his generation considered that he was cut off
from the land of the living" and " you will die in your sin" is the
consequence of the fact that people did not realise that " he was cut
off from the land of the living for the transgression of my people".
If you don't see that Jesus is speaking about Is 53: 8, his words " you
will die in your sin" don't have any connection with the beginning of
the verse. So Is 53: 8 gives the unity in the sentence of Jesus.
Then we have in vs. 24 "that I am". I don't think that "I am" is
equivalent with God's name. We should understand "that I am the Servant
of the Lord".
For the moment I skip vs. 25 and then comes vs. 26. "What I have heard
from Him" comes from Is 50: 4.
From vs. 28 begins Jesus to quote more directly: He sees that his
opponents don't understand enough of the allusions. He calls Himself the
Son of Man and claims to be the fulfilment of Dan. 7. But He combines
that prophesy about his glorious future with Is 52: 13 ("lift up") about
the suffering Servant. At the end of the verse He nearly quotes Is 50: 4.
Vs. 29 contains a combination of Is 50: 7, 8, 9, 5.
And now vs. 25 with THN ARCHN.
R. Kühner B. Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache,
II. Teil Satzlehre, 1. Band, Hannover Leipzig 1898, third edition (=
Darmstadt 1966), p. 315, n. 15, tell us
ARCHN, THN ARCHN, zum Anfange, dann omnino (von vornherein), in den
letzteren Bdt. in der Regel in Verbindung m.e. Negat. .... cf.
Andocides, 3, 20 EXHN GAR AUTOIS KAI THN ARCHN EWSIN ORCOMENIOUS
AUTONOMOUS EIRHNHN AGEIN
Our sentence in John 8 does not contain a negation. So the meaning
"omnino" does not apply.
J. Humbert, Syntaxe grecque, Paris 1960, third edition, p. 264,
translates ARCHN with au début.
The sentence of Andocides quoted above has been translated by G.
Dalmeyda in his edition of the works of Andocides Andocide Discours,
Paris 1960, as "car ils pouvaient, dès le début, laisser l'autonomie à
Orchomène et vivre en paix".
So we have as translation of our sentence "what I am saying you from the
beginning". He points his opponents to a text of Isaiah in the
neighborhood of the prophesies about the Servant of the Lord (Is 48: 3-6a):
I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went
forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they
came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an
iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared
it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest
say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image,
hath commanded them. Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye