John 8:58 – Not Listening, Not Understanding

Posted by David Barron February - 23 - 2010 - Tuesday

Reading the following I was shocked, and yet perhaps in another respect not so much.  I often wonder why some fail to realize the error in certain arguments, and it is perhaps because they do not listen to the points made against them.  Instead, it would seem as if they sometimes assume they know the counterpoint, assume they know the answer, but really have only created a straw man in their own mind.    Consider the following posted on one Yahoo group by Trinitarian Barry Hofstetter (ellipsis removes the Greek text as he also provided the transliteration):

Now, if John, as the author rendering Jesus semitic language into Greek, had wanted to express, “Before Abraham was born, I existed,” he could have written… PRIN ABRAHAM GENESQAI, EGW HMHN, (Before Abraham was born, I was) which would express much more precisely what the way the JW wants to read the text, and also accord much better with the usual sequence of tenses. Better yet, considering the JW theology that Jesus is the first created being.. PRIN ABRAHAM GENESQAI EGENOMHN, GEGONA, “Before Abraham was born, I came into existence…” These would be perfectly natural and expected ways of  saying it, but that’s not what we get. Instead we get that pesky present tense first person singular, used in an absolute way with no predicate.

I won’t bother to explain the error here, as it is well documented on this site and elsewhere, but being that I know Barry has been presented with the correct meaning, held by JWs and others, it is readily apparent that he simply does not listen.  Not only has he ignored those making the point in discussion, but also the Greek grammars and commentaries that have made the point as well.  One has to wonder if people only paid more attention how quickly many errors could be done away with.

2 Responses to “John 8:58 – Not Listening, Not Understanding”

  1. Mike Felker says:

    It seems that many Trinitarians have fallen into the same trap as Most JW’s in refusing to read arguments from the other side. It’s interesting how so many accuse others for being closed-minded, but they themselves being the epitome. Case in point: the Watchtower’s view on “apostate literature.”

    Thankfully, David, you are not one of these and I hope that more JW’s (and Trinitarians!) will learn from you example in evaluating the best that the other side has to offer.

  2. David Barron says:

    Thanks Mike. I can say much the same about you. I feel on those things we disagree we at least are willing to hear each other out, actually listening, and respect each other in doing so.

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