κολασις vs κολαζω

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
Post Reply
Rob Campanaro
Posts: 20
Joined: August 10th, 2013, 5:03 pm

κολασις vs κολαζω

Post by Rob Campanaro » January 31st, 2014, 2:39 pm

For the word κολάζω, both BDAG and Kittel's give the meaning of "to punish" although Kittel's gives this as the figurative meaning, the literal being "to lop off." For κολασις, both give the meaning of "punishment" but unlike κολάζω, Kittel's gives no other meaning. This seems to suggest that although the verb has both a literal and figurative meaning, the noun is restricted to the meaning of "punishment." Is this possible?

Thanks.
Robert Campanaro
Coatesville, PA
0 x


Robert Campanaro
Coatesville, PA

Hefin J. Jones
Posts: 55
Joined: July 3rd, 2013, 1:41 am
Location: Davao, Philippines

Re: κολασις vs κολαζω

Post by Hefin J. Jones » January 31st, 2014, 5:44 pm

There is no linguistic necessity for the semantic range of a cognate noun to fully reflect the semantic range of the verb it is cognate with.

We're much better off looking at the usage of the verb and the usage of the noun.
0 x
Hefin Jones

instructor in New Testament - Koinonia Theological Seminary, Davao

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

The Lost Generation English

Post by Stephen Hughes » January 31st, 2014, 10:45 pm

BDAG is foreign language dictionary of a very small number of works in Greek, and in a very limited number of senses. Let me explore an analogy to help you contextualise your thinking.

Imagine by analogy an English - Greek dictionary of The Lost Generation (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Waldo Pierce) - Why would you make one? Perhaps someone who spoke Greek was only interested in The Lost Generation, rather than in the English language as a whole, or perhaps that is what they were studying.
The last line of [i][u]The Great Gatsby[/u][/i], F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
"Διὸ κωπῆς ῥοθιάδος συνεμβολῇ, ἀνὰ ῥέον ἀναπλέοντες, ἀδιαλείπτως καταφερόμεθα εἰς τὸ παρελθόν"
I'm not sure if its true, but just say for example the word, "ceaselessly" was used in that corpus, but "ceaseless" was not. An intermediate level learner of Lost Generation English would look at "ceaselessly" (ἀδιαλείπτως) and think, well, that's the adverb, so the adjective ought to be "ceaseless" (ἀδιάλειπτος), so they would look in the dictionary for that form and then perhaps not find it. What conclusion should they make in that situation?

If they looked at another dictionary of the whole of the English language they would find it there, but where does that leave the definition of Lost Generation English? Is the word "ceaseless" in Lost Generation English? Should a learner of Lost Generation English learn the word "ceaseless", or should they learn only "ceaselessly"? Would they actually be learning English? What changes when a learner chooses a corpus to learn instead of a language? How does that change the learning process and learning goals?

A dictionary of The Lost Generation English would by its very purpose of presenting a sub-set of the language of the time that The Lost Generation lived seems to cut them off from their context. Additional, what were F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Waldo Pierce's ways of relating to the past? Were they illiterates who never read anything and only picked up their expressions on the streets and then recorded them? Was their literature created afresh from the living speech of the world they lived in, or was it bookish? The assumption in putting together a dictionary of The Lost Generation English would be that the sources of inspiration were contemporary. But would that be true? Not including the words of works that it is known that F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Waldo Pierce read and treasured is a choice which leads to cutting off The Lost Generation from their literary heritage. A student of the wider English language would be surprised at such an editorial choice.

I'll leave you to extend this thinking to word meanings.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Rolf Furuli
Posts: 7
Joined: January 7th, 2014, 11:01 am

Re: κολασις vs κολαζω

Post by Rolf Furuli » February 1st, 2014, 8:00 am

Dear Robert,

It is correct as Stephen says that a lexicon uses a small number of works; some use more works and others less. Moreover, lexicons do not give the lexical meaning of a word but rather glosses which show how the word is used and translated. To make a personal study of Greek works may give good results, and while doing this, we should keep in mind that the meaning and references of a word may change through time.

We may use Matthew 25:46 as an example. We can make two observations, 1) Jesus probably spoke Hebrew (or less likely Aramaic), so κολασις is a translation of a Hebrew word, and 2) Hebrew verbs and substantives of the same root are semantically closely related. One older use of the substantive κολασις is “lopping of; cutting off; pruning,” and another use is “punishment.” The word “punishment” is ambiguous; it can refer to torment, or it can refer to the death penalty.

Let us first look at Josephus. “In The Jewish War” 7:37 (7.3.1), κολασις is used two times. In the second instance it refers to people being slain. 2 Maccabees 4:38 shows that Andronicus was killed, and this was his κολασις. 4 Maccabees 8:9 seems to connect “punishment” with torture.

In the LXX text of the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible, κολασις occurs seven times. In five instances it is translated from the Hebrew word MK$L, which refers to a stumbling block. What is the meaning or reference of this word? The word is used in Ezekiel 18:30, and NIV says: “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall (κολασις). In the next verse, the parallel to “downfall” is to die. The Hebrew word MK$L is also used in Jeremiah 6:21. God will put stumbling blocks before the people, and they will stumble and perish. The LXX introduces the idea of weakness and of becoming weak instead of “stumbling block/stumble”, but the result is the same, the people will perish.

If Jesus spoke Hebrew in Matthew 25:46, he would hardly have used MK$L, because this is the device by which people stumble and perish, and κολασις in this verse is qualified by and adjective and refers to the everlasting destiny of the goats. A Hebrew word that conceptually signals the idea of “cutting off” is KRT. Of the 290 times it occurs in the OT, 119 refers to making (cutting) a covenant, and 171 refers to the cutting off of different things, including cutting persons off from life. One example of being cut off from life is Acts 3:23 where the Hebrew word probably was used. The word KRT is a very good candidate for the Hebrew word that was translated as κολασις in Matthew 25:46. Corroborating this is the fact that κολασις in the verse is the opposite of life —everlasting life in contrast with with everlasting κολασις.

The conclusion must be that κολασις can refer to torture as punishment, death as punishment, and to the cutting off of something, including being cut off from life.


Rob Campanaro wrote:For the word κολάζω, both BDAG and Kittel's give the meaning of "to punish" although Kittel's gives this as the figurative meaning, the literal being "to lop off." For κολασις, both give the meaning of "punishment" but unlike κολάζω, Kittel's gives no other meaning. This seems to suggest that although the verb has both a literal and figurative meaning, the noun is restricted to the meaning of "punishment." Is this possible?

Thanks.
Robert Campanaro
Coatesville, PA

Best regards,


Rolf Furuli
Stavern
Norway
0 x

RandallButh
Posts: 1025
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: κολασις and κολαζω

Post by RandallButh » February 2nd, 2014, 3:29 am

Rolf Furuli wrote:1) Jesus probably spoke Hebrew (or less likely Aramaic), so κολασις is a translation of a Hebrew word, and 2) Hebrew verbs and substantives of the same root are semantically closely related.
...
The word KRT is a very good candidate for the Hebrew word that was translated as κολασις in Matthew 25:46. Corroborating this is the fact that κολασις in the verse is the opposite of life —everlasting life in contrast with with everlasting κολασις.
First of all, it is a breath of fresh air to have a gospel discussion start with Hebrew as a point of reference. That is where everyone starts when they discuss, Hanina ben Dosa, Yochanan ben Zakkai, Gamliel, or Hillel (the Babylonian). So, yes, Yeshua needs to be put in a Jewish, first century teaching context.

On the other hand, roots are not words in Hebrew, and it is insufficient to list KRT as if it were a word. For example, a mishnaic Hebrew noun koret refers to a tree trunk. Yet there is a fairly nice word that fits "KRT" in (post-bibilcally attested) karet, kretot. It is a rabbinic technical term that refers to a divine death penalty, based on verses where the verb ונכרת "and he will be cut off" is used. It specifically refers to a divine judgement in this life. A more literal background to κόλασις αἰώνιος might be עונש עולם 'eternal punishment'. However, Matthew is in Greek and things can shift a bit when going from one language into another, and then edited into a third document. A similar concept could be generated from חרפת עולם 'eternal shame,' cf. Dan 12.2. Such a phrase could easily generate κόλασις αἰώνιος in writing for a Greek audience.

The above illlustrates some of the indecision in comparing a gospel text with what might have happened 'on the ground.' For Matthew, one must interpret the Greek, and 'punishment' in various forms is the synchronic use of the term.
0 x

Rolf Furuli
Posts: 7
Joined: January 7th, 2014, 11:01 am

Re: κολασις and κολαζω

Post by Rolf Furuli » February 2nd, 2014, 6:33 am

Dear Randall,

As you suggest, there are many uncertainties when we try to find the Hebrew word from which a Greek word has been translated. The issue is whether κόλασις only can refer to punishment. I showed that in the Greek literature the word could refer to torture, to death, and to be cut off from something. To be certain what "the synchronic use" of κόλασις was in the middle of the first century CE is very difficult for several reasons, 1) The substantive and verb are only used a few times in the NT, 2) several Greek words in the NT are used in a sense differing from the classical use, and 3) different areas of the concepts signaled by the words are made visible in different contexts, so the sense "punishment" in one context need not work in another context. On the basis of these uncertainties, the possible references of a word should be listed, so the Bible student can try to find which reference seems to be the best fit in a certain context. We should not interpret a word on the part of the Bible reader, but we should list the possibilities and let the reader decide.

BTW, the word "punishment" is ambiguous, so when you have chosen this English word as "the synchronic use," can it also include death?


First of all, it is a breath of fresh air to have a gospel discussion start with Hebrew as a point of reference. That is where everyone starts when they discuss, Hanina ben Dosa, Yochanan ben Zakkai, Gamliel, or Hillel (the Babylonian). So, yes, Yeshua needs to be put in a Jewish, first century teaching context.

On the other hand, roots are not words in Hebrew, and it is insufficient to list KRT as if it were a word. For example, a mishnaic Hebrew noun koret refers to a tree trunk. Yet there is a fairly nice word that fits "KRT" in (post-bibilcally attested) karet, kretot. It is a rabbinic technical term that refers to a divine death penalty, based on verses where the verb ונכרת "and he will be cut off" is used. It specifically refers to a divine judgement in this life. A more literal background to κόλασις αἰώνιος might be עונש עולם 'eternal punishment'. However, Matthew is in Greek and things can shift a bit when going from one language into another, and then edited into a third document. A similar concept could be generated from חרפת עולם 'eternal shame,' cf. Dan 12.2. Such a phrase could easily generate κόλασις αἰώνιος in writing for a Greek audience.

The above illlustrates some of the indecision in comparing a gospel text with what might have happened 'on the ground.' For Matthew, one must interpret the Greek, and 'punishment' in various forms is the synchronic use of the term.[/quote]



Best regards,



Rolf Furuli
Stavern
Norway
0 x

RandallButh
Posts: 1025
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: κολασις vs κολαζω

Post by RandallButh » February 2nd, 2014, 8:35 am

BTW, the word "punishment" is ambiguous, so when you have chosen this English word as "the synchronic use," can it also include death?
Of course.

I only commented on the thread so that "krt" would be a word.
0 x

Post Reply

Return to “Word Meanings”