[B-Greek] Questions about Col 2:16+17

Steven Lo Vullo slovullo at mac.com
Mon Jul 28 22:23:01 EDT 2003

On Monday, July 28, 2003, at 07:32  PM, waldo slusher wrote:

> Concerning this...
>> I think, though, that there is a third possibility
>> that cannot be ruled
>> out, and that is that TWN MELLONTWN refers not only
>> to the things that
>> were anticipated in the past and already fulfilled
>> in Christ at the
>> time of writing, but the things anticipated in the
>> past, many of which
>> were fulfilled in Christ at the time of writing, as
>> well as other
>> things which would be fulfilled in Christ in the
>> future from the
>> perspective of the time of writing. Both the things
>> already fulfilled
>> at the time of writing, as well as future
>> fulfillments, could have been
>> what Paul understood as being anticipated in the
>> time of the "shadow."
>> In this case both NAS95 **and** NIV are partially
>> correct, but a
>> combination of the two is needed to fill out TWN
> I think this reverses Paul's words and point. The
> issue is centered on the SKIA and what to make of
> THEM. And here, the SKIA are itemized. hA ESTIN SKIA
> is not looking forward but backward to the list Paul
> just addressed. TWN MELLONTWN describes SKIA; it's
> adjectival to the nominative SKIA/hA. If it were
> substantival, would we not expect the nominative?

Hi Waldo:

Let me take your second point, which appears to be a grammatical and 
syntactical one, and for that reason more relevant to the purpose of 

It is quite impossible to take TWN MELLONTWN as grammatically--if this 
is what you meant--adjectival to SKIA, since SKIA is feminine singular 
nominative, while TWN MELLONTWN is neuter plural genitive. And it 
cannot be construed as a direct modifier of both SKIA and hA, since hA 
is the subject of ESTIN and SKIA is the predicate. Grammatically 
speaking, it must be construed with one or the other. It is clear that 
it is to be taken with SKIA, since both word order and common sense 
demand it. Now the question becomes one of how this genitive 
participial phrase functions in relation to SKIA. As I already 
mentioned, it cannot be construed adjectivally, at least not in a 
grammatical sense. So your question at the end of your post gets things 
backwards: we would actually expect the nominative if TWN MELLONTWN 
were ADJECTIVAL, not SUBSTANTIVAL, for then it would at least agree 
with SKIA in case. But even if we had the nominative, it still would 
not agree in gender or number, and for that reason still could not be 
adjectival. And I'm not exactly sure why you would expect that a 
substantival participle would necessarily be nominative, since a 
substantival participle may take any case, depending on its function. 
On top of all this, construing TWN MELLONTWN as adjectival yields a 
sense foreign to the context, for in this case we would have something 
like "the coming shadow." None of this makes sense grammatically, 
syntactically, or semantically.

If what you meant was that TWN MELLONTWN functions attributively in a 
semantic, rather than grammatical, sense, as genitives sometimes do, 
you still have similar problems, not the least of which is that a 
genitive used attributively is similar to an attributive adjective 
proper. So how could you explain the sense it would yield, namely, "the 
coming shadow"? The shadow ("food and drink ... festival or a new moon 
or a Sabbath," v. 16) is not coming; it is rather an adumbration of the 
things to come.

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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