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I am a student of Buddhism and, naturally, have a 'mystical' or 'gnostic' bent. I have read some unconventional views on the internet about the renowned words attributed to Jesus:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

I have read the Bible in the past & obviously noticed the words: "I AM" in both the Old & New Testaments. Also, in the non-Biblical Gospel of Thomas, are the words:

Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone and you will find me there."

The unconventional view I mentioned refer to the Aramaic language & assert the words for "I am" are 'ena ena' and then assert these words have a mystical Biblical meaning that does not refer to the personal self of Jesus but to the totality or unity of God, a meaning related to the use of "I AM" in the Old Testament. I understand the Gospel of John was originally written in Greek rather than in Aramaic however these unconventional authors assert Jesus would have naturally spoken Aramaic.

My question is: do the assertions of these unconventional authors have any substance or merit? Or are the words "I am" and "but through me" just straightforward personal pronouns & not related to the "I AM" of the Old Testament?

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    Although the question is framed differently, I think this answer should provide most of what you're interested in. – Susan May 1 '16 at 0:37
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There is an esoteric sense to the 'I am' which includes the personal self of Jesus, being God incarnate, as well as the self-existent first reality.

The rabbis ask the question: Why does Genesis start with the second letter of the alphabet rather than the first. They have some answers which anthropomorphize the letters. We don't need to do that.

The letters have metaphoric meaning and they are all formed from yods and vavs which are both vowels. Yes! Hebrew has vowels. Every consonent is formed by interrupting vowels, so every consonant has embedded vowels within that don't need experessed separately. Yahweh is spelled with vowels from which we discern that God is Spirit. John 4:24

The aleph is composed of yod-vav-yod and the primary metaphor is "God spoke and created the heavens and the earth". It represents God as the creator as well as his act of creation.

It is a silent letter, and in Ge 1:1 it is also invisible. From this it is discerned that when God spoke and created the heavens and the earth, there was no one there to see or hear him do it. Job 38:4-7

His name Yahweh is usally spelled יהוה but it is also spelled יוי as in the name Joiada יוידע, meaning 'Yahweh knows'. To verify this אדע means "I am knowing". The aleph replaces the alternate spelling of Yahweh.

The aleph itself IS the silent name of Yahweh. There is not a law against saying his name, he told Moses to use it when speaking to others about him. But the most primal form of his name, the aleph, cannot be spoken because it is a silent letter.

Consider the first two letters of Genesis knowing that the aleph is there invisibly: אב ‘ab father.

From the beginning, no man has seen the ab-father because the aleph is invisible. The first two visible letters are בר bar Son. The son makes the father known when people ask why Ge 1:1 starts with the second letter. John 1:18

So Jesus is the alpha (Rev 1:8)... hmm in Hebrew he is the aleph, the God whose name cannot be pronounced, who took on flesh to die for us.

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