Col 2:16-17 translation

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William Lim
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Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by William Lim » March 18th, 2015, 5:09 am

Was curious about the KJV translation of Col 2:16-17
16. Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων,
17. ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. (SBL Greek New Testament 2010)
16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (KJV, underline mine)

The word ‘is’ was added because it seems that translators thought that a verb was missing. But if the initial phrase of verse 17 was placed in parentheses and the latter phrase was simply seen as a part of the main clause in verse 16 then the ‘missing’ verb can be ‘judge’. Thus the verb ‘is’ is not required.

Furthermore, if the word ‘is’ was removed, we get the phrase ‘body of Christ’; which is a known phrase which Paul uses to refer to the Church. This seems to be another indication that the word ‘is’ was not required and should not have been added.

The Greek word for ‘body’ (σῶμα) is in the nominative case reasonably implying that the ‘Body of Christ’ is the subject and if connected to the verb ‘judge’, it seems to imply that Paul was saying that the Church should not be judged by outsiders regarding Jewish festivals but that the Church should judge itself regarding them.

So I was wondering if the following would be an acceptable translation (only punctuation was changed and ‘is’ removed)?

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (Which are a shadow of things to come) but the body of Christ.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 19th, 2015, 6:17 am

William Lim wrote:Was curious about the KJV translation of Col 2:16-17
16. Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων,
17. ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. (SBL Greek New Testament 2010)
16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (KJV, underline mine)
We don't discuss translations on B-Greek, let's focus on what the Greek means.
William Lim wrote:The word ‘is’ was added because it seems that translators thought that a verb was missing. But if the initial phrase of verse 17 was placed in parentheses and the latter phrase was simply seen as a part of the main clause in verse 16 then the ‘missing’ verb can be ‘judge’. Thus the verb ‘is’ is not required.
I think τὸ δὲ introduces a new clause. This clause does not have a verb, but that's common in Greek. The verb isn't missing, it just isn't needed. Mike Aubrey explained this well in Greek Non-Verbal Predicates:
Mike Aubrey wrote:Hellenistic Greek (and I’m guessing Classical as well) allows for two types of non-verbal predicates.* In English grammar, non-verbal predicates are expressed by means of the linking verb, “to be.” English non-verbal predicates tend to express, existential (“I am a man.”), attributive (“I am short.”), or locative meaning (“I am in Canada.”).

In Greek, non-verbal predicates are expressed in two different ways. One of these uses the copula, εἴμι, while the other lack a verb entirely. The other does not use a verb at all. For example, in Mark 12:26, we see: “Ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ” (I [am] the God of Abraham).
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William Lim
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by William Lim » March 20th, 2015, 5:28 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
I think τὸ δὲ introduces a new clause. This clause does not have a verb, but that's common in Greek. The verb isn't missing, it just isn't needed. Mike Aubrey explained this well in Greek Non-Verbal Predicates:
Mike Aubrey wrote:Hellenistic Greek (and I’m guessing Classical as well) allows for two types of non-verbal predicates.* In English grammar, non-verbal predicates are expressed by means of the linking verb, “to be.” English non-verbal predicates tend to express, existential (“I am a man.”), attributive (“I am short.”), or locative meaning (“I am in Canada.”).

In Greek, non-verbal predicates are expressed in two different ways. One of these uses the copula, εἴμι, while the other lack a verb entirely. The other does not use a verb at all. For example, in Mark 12:26, we see: “Ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ” (I [am] the God of Abraham).
Thanks Jonathan,

Yes, I can see how the latter half of v17 can be seen as a new sentence (δὲ shifting past the def. art. reflects that a new clause has begun as postpositive/timid words do in such an instance) and that ‘ἐστιν’ could have been implied (Although, I think that having a predicate/compliment in a different case to the subject (nom. subject)(gen. compliment) is rarer than the more common (nom. subject)(nom. compliment). So far, in the Aubrey’s greek example and in the examples that I’ve seen in Duff’s textbook, predicative statements omitting εἴμι, are made have the compliment agreeing with the subject in case. Though, I think 1Cor 3:23 is a good example of a different case(gen.) complement).

However, I think my question still holds. Is the greek ambiguous and hence, could the greek possibly mean something else?

There are at least a few reasons why I think it does (I think I’ve expressed some of them in my 1st post but I’ll elaborate and add a few more):

1)Without ‘δὲ’, the end of v17 gives τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. As far as I know, every other instance when Paul uses these two words together (in all their variations, but Χριστοῦ always being in the gen. case) it has always meant the body of Christ (literally or figuratively for the Church):

Rom 7:4: τοῦ σώματος (gen.) τοῦ Χριστοῦ(gen.)– literally Christ’s body
Eph 4:12: τοῦ σώματος (gen.)τοῦ Χριστοῦ(gen.)– the Church
1Cor 10:16: τοῦ σώματος (gen.)τοῦ Χριστοῦ(gen.)– literally Christ’s body
1Cor 12:27: σῶμα(nom.) Χριστοῦ (gen.)– the Church

Shouldn’t the fact that Paul consistently uses τοῦ Χριστοῦ not as a predicate, but as a phrase, be sufficient evidence to think that its highly probable that Paul meant to say ‘but the body of Christ’ rather than ‘but the body is of Christ’?

2) Duff gave at least two conditions for when ‘εἴμι’ should be regarded as implied. From 'The Elements of New Testament Greek':
- If the sentence does not appear to have a verb in it.
- If an adjective was used, the adjective will be in the predicative position.


It’s been argued that τοῦ Χριστοῦ is used as a predicate, however, if its not a predicate then the only other reason for thinking that ‘εἴμι’ was implied was if there is no other verb in the sentence.

However, shouldn’t the fact that there is a logically and grammatically appropriate verb, κρινέτω (judge, 3.Sg.), in the preceding verse indicate that it could possibly be the verb of the subject in v17 (body of Christ, nom.Sg.)?

There are examples where ‘δὲ’ introduces a new clause (as a postpositive) but where ‘δὲ’ also acts as a coordinating conjunction with the preceding clause, such that, because of tautology, the verb in the 2nd clause was not necessary and omitted.

In 2Cor 4:12 ἐνεργεῖται (it works, 3.Sg.) was omitted in the 2nd clause.
ὥστε ὁ θάνατος ἐν ἡμῖν ἐνεργεῖται, ἡ δὲ ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν. (Nestle GNT 1904)
So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (NIV)


We should not see the greek as saying ‘but life is in you.’ Where ἐν ὑμῖν becomes a predicate.

In Rom 7:25b δουλεύω (I serve, 1.Sg.) was omitted in the 2nd clause.
ἄρα οὖν αὐτὸς ἐγὼ τῷ μὲν νοῒ δουλεύω νόμῳ Θεοῦ, τῇ δὲ σαρκὶ νόμῳ ἁμαρτίας. (Nestle GNT 1904)
So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (ESV)


Not 'but with the flesh is for the law of sin'

In 1Cor 9:25b λάβωσιν (they receive, 3.pl) was omitted in the 2nd clause.
ἐκεῖνοι μὲν οὖν ἵνα φθαρτὸν στέφανον λάβωσιν, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἄφθαρτον. (Nestle GNT 1904)
They do it to win a wreath that withers away, but we run to win a prize that never fades.(ISV)


In Rev 10:2b ἔθηκεν (he placed, 3.Sg.) and πόδα αὐτοῦ (his foot) was omitted in the 2nd clause.
καὶ ἔθηκεν τὸν πόδα αὐτοῦ τὸν δεξιὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης, τὸν δὲ εὐώνυμον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (Nestle GNT 1904)
and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, (KJV)


Likewise, can’t the ‘Body of Christ’ in v17 be doing the ‘judging’ in v16? In this way ‘δὲ’ is a coordinating conjunction with the preceding verse.
I suppose the stronger ‘but’ (ἀλλὰ) was not used (like Rom 11:18) because Paul wanted to show that the latter half of v17 is a separated idea from the former half of the same verse (Hence, the suggestion for parenthesis punctuation).

3) ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων seems to clash with the latter half of v17 if τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ was to refer back to τῶν μελλόντων.

If we accepted that ‘is’ was implied, we would arrive at the popular interpretation that ‘the body casting the shadow belongs to Christ’ (or that the Jewish festivals foretell of Jesus’ coming and hence are fulfilled by His 1st coming, at least).

However, Paul was clear that it is 'things to come' that is casting the shadow. The greek τῶν μελλόντων, which can mean ‘of the coming (things)’ (participle, substantive use, gen. Pl.), was plural. Wouldn’t this be a grammatical clash, if Paul truly intended to say that Christ (singular object) was the body (another singular object) casting the shadow? i.e. shouldn't Paul have said 'which are a shadow of a/the thing to come'?

Additionally, there seems to be good theological reasons why τῶν μελλόντων should be plural and also why ἐστιν (present tense) was used and not ‘ἠν’ (past tense) when Paul said that the Jewish festivals are a shadow (ἐστιν σκιὰ).

In Heb 4:9 it says:
ἄρα ἀπολείπεται σαββατισμὸς τῷ λαῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ. (Nestle GNT 1904)
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; (NIV)


Greek word for ‘Sabbath-rest’ was sabbatismos. Additionally, from the previous verses (esp.v4) the author was clearly trying to connect the future rest that Christians have in Christ, the eternal life which God promises, to the 7th day weekly sabbath. This future Sabbath-rest is one good example that not everything about the Jewish festivals has been fulfilled by the 1st coming of Christ. Doesn't Heb 4:1-11 suggest that, yes, part of the 'things to come' prophesied of by the Jewish festivals is Christ, but also other things such as the eternal rest (sabbatismos)? Hence, τῶν μελλόντων is plural and ἐστιν (present) was used not ‘ἠν’ (past). Which seems to indicate that τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ refering back to τῶν μελλόντων is not what Paul intended to mean.

4) If Paul truly intended to say that Christ is the one who casts the shadow, aren't there more straightforward ways to say it? e.g. “which are a shadow of Christ” or “which are a shadow of things to come, which is Christ” or “…, the body is Christ ('Christ' being in the nominative case as it is used as a compliment of 'body'. i.e. τὸ δὲ σῶμα ὁ Χριστὸς)” etc.

I think I’ve given 4 good reasons why τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ could/should possibly mean ‘but the body of Christ’ rather than ‘but the body is of Christ’. May I please have feedback as to whether these reasons are valid (whether or not one agrees/disagrees with it's interpretation or implications) and if the greek could possibly mean:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (Which are a shadow of things to come) but the Body of Christ.

Thanks,
Will
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Andrew Chapman
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Andrew Chapman » March 20th, 2015, 4:15 pm

Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων, ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (Which are a shadow of things to come) but the body of Christ.
In this sentence, if I understand you correctly, 'but' means something like 'except', and I don't think δέ can carry that sort of concessive sense.

I think I might have expected εἰ μή, as in, say,

καὶ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδὲν αἴρωσιν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰ μὴ ῥάβδον μόνον, (Mark 6.8)

Andrew
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 20th, 2015, 4:53 pm

William Lim wrote:I think I’ve given 4 good reasons why τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ could/should possibly mean ‘but the body of Christ’ rather than ‘but the body is of Christ’. May I please have feedback as to whether these reasons are valid (whether or not one agrees/disagrees with it's interpretation or implications) and if the greek could possibly mean:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (Which are a shadow of things to come) but the Body of Christ.
I may be missing something, but I'm having a hard time reading it the way you read it, and the role of δὲ is pretty important here. I think Andrew Chapman has it right - and perhaps it's clearer if we simplify the sentence in both Greek and English.

* Let no one therefore judge you but the Body of Christ
* Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ (ungrammatical)

I don't think the Greek is grammatical. I don't think this is the way δὲ is used in Greek. If this were intended, I think he could have used εἰ μὴ, e.g.

Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω εἰ μὴ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

As written in Colossians 2:16-17, I think δὲ contrasts σκιὰ and σῶμα.

ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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William Lim
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by William Lim » March 22nd, 2015, 7:46 am

Andrew Chapman wrote: ..., 'but' means something like 'except', and I don't think δέ can carry that sort of concessive sense.
Jonathan Robie wrote: * Let no one therefore judge you but the Body of Christ
* Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ (ungrammatical)
I don't think the Greek is grammatical. I don't think this is the way δὲ is used in Greek.
Thanks Andrew and Jonathan,

1) ‘δὲ’ can carry concessive meaning:
Matt 12:31 wrote: Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πᾶσα ἁμαρτία καὶ βλασφημία ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἡ δὲ τοῦ Πνεύματος βλασφημία οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται. (Nestle GNT 1904)
"So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven--except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. (NLT)
I think in general (most languages), adversative conjunctions ('but' equivalents) can/may be used to construct concessive relationships (although-, despite-, except-type meaning). As fundamentally, a word with contrast meaning is all that is required to make a sentence with a concessive idea. Also:

From 'The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect, and Modality in the Languages of the World' by Joan Bybee, Revere Perkins and William Pagliuca:
Konig notes that not all languages have specific concessive conjunctions or verb forms. Instead, many languages have only the adversative conjunction ‘but’, which can be interpreted as expressing the concessive relation.
It would make sense, then, that even if a language had a concessive conjunction (like Greek and English), that adversative conjunctions ('δὲ', 'but') could still be used to express 'εἰ μή'/'except'-like meanings.

So, I think Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ (Let no one therefore judge you but the Body of Christ) should actually be grammatically correct.

2)
Andrew Chapman wrote: I think I might have expected εἰ μή, as in, say,
καὶ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδὲν αἴρωσιν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰ μὴ ῥάβδον μόνον, (Mark 6.8)
Jonathan Robie wrote: ...and the role of δὲ is pretty important here...
... and perhaps it's clearer if we simplify the sentence in both Greek and English.
* Let no one therefore judge you but the Body of Christ
* Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ (ungrammatical)
... If this were intended, I think he could have used εἰ μὴ, e.g.
Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω εἰ μὴ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Even if εἰ μή is stylistically preferable, I think Paul could not use it in the sentence structure that he chose to communicate with (which he used for emphasis) [So, when the sentence was simplified above, it removed the problem]:

(idea A: Let no one judge you regarding food, drink and God's festivals)(idea B: which are a shadow of future things)(idea C: but rather let the Church judge you regarding them)

As far as I know, εἰ μή is not a postpositive word like δὲ and if it was substituted into v17, Paul’s last clause (idea C) would not be a new clause and, hence, could easily be read as part of the previous relative clause (idea B). The result seems to be much less cogent:

(idea A: Let no one judge you regarding...)(idea B: which are a shadow of future things except the body of Christ).

So, yes, δὲ is really important here. However, I think as an adversative conjunction it contrast the two subjects 'τις' (anyone) and 'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ' (the Body of Christ (Church)).

Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων, ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.


3) Also, it may be possible that Paul did want to emphasis contrast rather than concession.

4)
Jonathan Robie wrote: I may be missing something, but I'm having a hard time reading it the way you read it....
Perhaps the following renditions may more clearly express what, I think, Paul intended to say:
- Therefore, let no one judge you in regard to food, drink, and God's holy days (…), nevertheless let the Church judge you concerning food, drink, and God's holy days.
- Therefore, let no one judge you in regard to … (…), rather/but rather let the Church judge you regarding them.
- Therefore, let no one judge you in regard to … (…), but on the other hand let the Body of Christ judge you regarding these things.
- Therefore, let no one judge you in regard to … (…), instead let the Body of Christ judge you in regard to .....
- Therefore, let no one judge you in regard to … (…), except the Church.


5)
Jonathan Robie wrote: As written in Colossians 2:16-17, I think δὲ contrasts σκιὰ and σῶμα.
ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Saying that δὲ contrasts σκιὰ and σῶμα simply reasserts that Paul intended τοῦ Χριστοῦ to be a predicate (the body is of Christ) and not a possessive phrase (the body of Christ). While, arguing that ‘δὲ’'s semantic range does not include those of ‘εἰ μή’ may address points (1 – to some extent) and (2) in my 2nd previous post, by just reasserting that τοῦ Χριστοῦ should be seen as a predicate fails to address points (the rest of 1), (3) and (4) of my 2nd post.

To rehash:
(post2-1) Paul used σῶμα with τοῦ Χριστοῦ (gen. case) to make a possessive phrase (body of Christ) every other time in his writing (how much more would he have done it in his lectures?). Christians at the time would have accepted this as a known phrase and I think that Paul would have recognised that to use σῶμα with τοῦ Χριστοῦ (gen. case) as a predicate phrase would invite confusion. So if Paul used σῶμα with τοῦ Χριστοῦ (gen. case), its highly probable that he intended them to mean the possessive phrase (body of Christ) not the predicate phrase (body is of Christ). This leads to point (post2-4).

(post2-4) If a contrast between shadow (σκιὰ) and body/substance/reality (σῶμα) was intended (although I question if σῶμα should really be used to mean substance/reality, why not ὑπόστασις (substance – as in Heb 11:1)), then we should expect Paul to say ‘τὸ δὲ σῶμα ὁ Χριστὸς’ (but the body/substance/reality is Christ - 'Christ' being in the nominative case as it is used as a compliment of 'body') as some translations have forced it to become in their renditions. (NLT, HCSB)

(post2-3). Paul clearly said in the 2nd clause that the shadow is related to multiple ‘things to come’ (τῶν μελλόντων - plural), if σῶμα referred back to σκιὰ in the 2nd (relative) clause, the new clause would clash grammatically in number with the previous relative clause. As the new clause suggests that the shadow of the holy days point only to Christ (singular object), but Paul clearly intended to say that they point to multiple ‘things to come’ (including Christ).

Additionally, theologically, everything related to eschatology would definite include Jesus the Christ (God) at the centre (or even that He sustains every bit of it). Christ is already implied to be part of the final true reality in the 2nd (relative) clause. Doesn't it seem unnecessary to repeat the idea that ‘(part of) the reality is Christ’ in the next clause(tautology)?

Your thoughts?
Thanks,
Will
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 22nd, 2015, 8:30 am

I'm not at all convinced that it can be read the way you want to read it. I really think you are misreading δε here, but I don't have the energy or time to debate each point you make in your posts.

Apart from the grammar, I don't think your interpretation fits the context - in the passage as a whole, I don't think that Paul is inviting people to submit themselves to be judged by Body of Christ ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων.

Does any translation interpret it the way you do?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Andrew Chapman
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Andrew Chapman » March 22nd, 2015, 9:38 am

1) ‘δὲ’ can carry concessive meaning:

Matt 12:31 wrote:Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πᾶσα ἁμαρτία καὶ βλασφημία ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἡ δὲ τοῦ Πνεύματος βλασφημία οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται. (Nestle GNT 1904)
"So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven--except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. (NLT)



I think in general (most languages), adversative conjunctions ('but' equivalents) can/may be used to construct concessive relationships (although-, despite-, except-type meaning). As fundamentally, a word with contrast meaning is all that is required to make a sentence with a concessive idea.
The NLT translation is a paraphrase - they have added a relative clause which is not in the original. δέ has its usual force here.

I think it is probably wrong to describe δέ as "a 'but' equivalent"; I have the impression that it is generally considered to introduce something new, with or without contrast - see eg Robertson. In any case, you would have to find some actual usage from koine Greek to make a case.

Andrew
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 22nd, 2015, 11:52 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:
1) ‘δὲ’ can carry concessive meaning:

Matt 12:31 wrote:Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πᾶσα ἁμαρτία καὶ βλασφημία ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἡ δὲ τοῦ Πνεύματος βλασφημία οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται. (Nestle GNT 1904)
"So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven--except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. (NLT)
The NLT translation is a paraphrase - they have added a relative clause which is not in the original. δέ has its usual force here.

I think it is probably wrong to describe δέ as "a 'but' equivalent"; I have the impression that it is generally considered to introduce something new, with or without contrast - see eg Robertson. In any case, you would have to find some actual usage from koine Greek to make a case.
Precisely.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

William Lim
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by William Lim » January 14th, 2016, 11:10 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:I'm not at all convinced that it can be read the way you want to read it. I really think you are misreading δε here, but I don't have the energy or time to debate each point you make in your posts.

Apart from the grammar, I don't think your interpretation fits the context - in the passage as a whole, I don't think that Paul is inviting people to submit themselves to be judged by Body of Christ ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων.

Does any translation interpret it the way you do?
Dear Jonanthan,
I think that a discussion on whether the suggested translation fits the context would be another lengthy debate. So at the moment it might be best if we stay focused on resolving the initial question (if the suggested verse rendition is grammatically plausible). However, I did want to talk about what Paul might have meant regarding 'judge'.

I think the word 'judge' (even though an appropriate translation) might be misleading. It seems possible that some might infer only the meaning of condemnation. While matters of right and wrong certainly have elements retribution, the greek word here is κρινέτω (3.Sg. Pres, ImpV, active) which has a semantic range that includes distinguish/decide/think/determine.

Perhaps a clearer translation might be:
- Therefore, let no one make decisions about/make judgment calls about you in regard to food, drink, and God's holy days (…), but rather let the Church make decisions about/make judgment calls about you concerning food, drink, and God's holy days.

Even though moral decisions/judgments have an aspect of reprisal/reproach, I think Paul is simply giving permission to the Church to make thoughtful decisions regarding matters related to Jewish food/drink laws(dietary laws, food offered to idols, and festival food conditions (e.g. no yeast during Passover) and Jewish holy days laws.

I think this interpretation should be balanced by Gal 4:10 where Paul critically reprimands the Galatian Church for strictly observing days, and months, and times, and years related to the Jewish laws (which quite reasonably implies Jewish holy days and other calendar related practices (circumcision on 8th day), notice that Paul didn't use the same OT idiom/phrase as in Col 2:16, possibly because he was referring to a broader category of things) because they believed it would justify/save them. The word used was παρατηρεῖσθε and suggests observing scrupulously/strictly. So taking the two verses together it seems that Paul was not against any observance of Jewish food/drink/holy day laws but rather he was against legalistic/strict observance of these laws to gain salvation by 'the works of the law'.

Regarding translations, as mentioned before I think the currently accepted translation is the historically and traditionally accepted translation. So I think its hard for people to see it differently without solid evidence.

Hope that clarifies things.
Thanks,
Will
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