Colossians 2:20-23

George Blaisdell maqhth at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 23 10:29:40 EST 2003




>From: "Carl W. Conrad"

>Let's get the whole relevant text in front of us:

>(21) EI APEQANETE SUN CRISTWi APO TWN STOICEIWN TOU KOSMOU, TI hWS ZWNTES 
>EN KOSMWi  DOGMATIZESQE? (21) MH hAYHi MHDE GEUSHi MHDE QIGHiS, (22) hA 
>ESTIN PANTA EIS FQORAN THi APOCRHSEI, KATA TA ENTALMATA KAI DIDASKALIAS TWN 
>ANQRWPWN, (23) hATINA ESTIN LOGON MEN ECONTA SOFIAS EN EQELOQRHSKEIAi KAI 
>TAPEINOFROSUNHi [KAI] AFEIDIAi SWMATOS, OUK EN TIMHi TINI PROS PLHSMOSUNHN 
>THS SARKOS.

> > So then why hATINA, and not hA?  What is that TINA doing?

>hATINA is a more indefinite form of hA; hA is the relative pronoun, hATINA 
>the indefinite relative; hA = "which things"; hATINA = "any which things";
>verse 22 characterizes the injunctions of verse 21 as belonging to the 
>perishing world age and conventional human teachings; verse 23 continues 
>that characterization with an antithesis, the general sense of which is:
>"such things seem valuable, but in fact they really don't help toward 
>controlling the body."

So that for a really literal English, we should translate it as "Whichever", 
and could put in parentheses [of these kinds of regulations]...

> > Does not ESTIN construe hATINA as being LOGON?

>hATINA is the subject of this clause, ESTIN is the governing verb; LOGON 
>MEN ECONTA SOFIAS is the predicate nominative phrase. LOGON here is acc.
>sg. masculine, object of ECONTA:

THAT is what I was missing!!!  Thank-you Carl!

>I would say that LOGOS is here used in a idiomatic sense of the 
>conventional LOGOS/ERGON (word/deed,
>appearance/reality) antithesis;

Chrysostom, agreeing, in his commentary remarks: LOGON, not ALHQEIA or 
reality...

>thus, LOGON MEN ECONTA SOFIAS is "having a
>reputed status of wisdom ...";

And in literal English: "...a report assuredly having of wisdom..."

>then follows EN and three dative expressions pointing to supposed ascetic 
>values. The Greek text is usually punctuated with a comma after SWMATOS;

And it is these, is it not, that "look like" wisdom, giving rise to the 
report of it, but are not it, yes?  For wisdom looks like these in certain 
respects, but these fall short, and it is that "will-worship" that makes the 
rest appear wise, for by will-power it is indeed possible to imitate the 
wisdom of the lives of the saints...

>then OUK EN TIMHi TINI PROS PLHSMOSUNHN THS
>SARKOS states the other aspect of the antithesis; there could have been a 
>DE corresponding to the earlier MEN, but it isn't there since the 
>author/Paul assumes it's sufficiently clear that now he's pointing to the 
>reality of such precepts: they don't really have any value (lit. "aren't in 
>any value") with respect to indulgence of the body.

I wonder, Carl, if the DE is omitted for rhetorical force, for a finality to 
the matter, that has no hesitance of the DE in a MEN-DE construction...  For 
withput the DE, the OUK is utterly dismissive.

"Not in any honor toward [matters of] fulfillment of the flesh."

> >Is the hATINA sarcastic?

>I wouldn't say so;

Nor would I at this point...

>it seems to me that the author/Paul is trying to explain more clearly why 
>the Colossians should not be teaching and carrying out ascetic regulations;

I would surmise that he is telling them that they are being fooled by the 
appearance of wisdom in body-only askesis that proceeds from the will alone 
of the doer, yet does not touch the heart...

>hATINA generalizes even further what was already said in verse 22 (that 
>these things are just worldly human conventions): these practices only SEEM 
>to make sense, but they really don't have any efficacy.

Yes - They have an appearance of wisdom, without the reality.

>It's not surprising that this passage should cause difficulty; it has been 
>understood in different ways by earlier exegetes but I gather that there's 
>now pretty much a consensus about its meaning.

That it is a wholesale rejection of askesis?  Or that the worldly dogmatics 
of "don't touch nor taste nor handle" [these sound surprisingly like 
regulations found in Judaic Law] are not Christian ones...  Even if they 
LOOK like one another in certain practices...

>I think that the Greek of Colossians is in general somewhat more 
>complex--and difficult--than the
>Greek of the Pauline corpus generally.

I flat out missed the acc LOGON as the object of ECOUNTA...

Thanks, Carl

My bacon is saved by your hands yet one more time!

geo


George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
[From the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, verse 1.]


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