This week I uploaded to You Tube a new episode in the New Testament course. Episode 32 picks up where Episode 31 left off, in the middle of the dialogue which followed the “I Am the Light of the World” saying in John 8:12. The encounter described by St. John takes place in the Treasury in the Second Temple (built after the return from Babylon; greatly expanded, or built over or built upon, by Herod; destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Famous phrases in this encounter are “I Am from above” (8:23) and “Who are You?” (8:25) and “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (8:44). To keep each Episode under 22 minutes, I stop with Jesus’ accusation of their disbelief in 8:44.
As in earlier episodes I have stressed the strange avoidance of the true meaning of ego eimi (I Am) in the Western Church. In this episode I demonstrate that in the 1st Millenium, in both the Eastern and Western Church, there was agreement that ego eimi was the Greek equivalent of God’s words to Moses in Exodus 3:14, 15: in Hebrew ehyeh asher ehyeh, or I Am the Existing One (SAAS Septuagint
I cite three early Bishops or scholars. The first is St. Ambrose of Milan (4th Century) (Exposition on the Christian Faith), shown in a mosaic thought have been made during his lifetime.
The second is our patron saint, John Chrysostom, Bishop of Antioch and Constantinople (late 4th, early 5th Century) (55th Homily on the Gospel of St. John), shown in a modern Eastern Orthodox icon.
The third is The Venerable Bede, author of the first history of the Church in England and composer of the Ascension Day hymn, A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing, in the 8th Century. Bede is shown in a 1902 painting by J. D. Penrose now in the British Musuem collection.
All three argued that the Pharisees and scribes who were the audience in the Treasury could not possibly have misunderstood the connection between “I Am the Light of the world” and “I Am from above” and the Old Testament identification of the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.
In Episode Thirty-three I will repeat 8:44, 45 and carry the dialogue, according to St. John’s first hand witness, to its natural conclusion: Before Abraham was, I Am” (8:58) and on to ” I Am the Door” and I Am the Good Shepherd.