Col 2:16-17 translation

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William Lim
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by William Lim » January 14th, 2016, 1:04 pm

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)



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

Dear Andrew,
I’ve finally found the time to find more NT usage of δέ that’s similar to the one that I think Paul uses here in Col 2:17. Matt 12:31(also found in Mark & Luke) is still one of them and I wanted to discuss it a bit more.

1) Matt 12:31
Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πᾶσα ἁμαρτία καὶ βλασφημία ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἡ δὲ τοῦ Πνεύματος βλασφημία οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται. (Nestle GNT 1904)
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (KJV)
"So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven--except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. (NLT)


I only used the NLT to highlight how the meaning of δέ in this instance, even when translated as 'but', does give the sense of ‘except’ and this meaning has been used in, at least, one Bible translation. I wasn't very sure what you meant by 'δέ has its usual force'. Yes it does, and as you said, it introduces a new idea with contrast (in this instance). However, logically the two sentences produces an ‘except’ meaning by implication due to the quantifying determiner ‘all’. As blasphemy of the Holy Ghost is also a sin, the notion that it shall not be forgiven, would be an exception to the idea that all sins shall be forgiven. Do you not agree with this? I guess a reasonable question at this point is: could εἰ μή have been used instead of δέ either directly substituted or with very minor rephrasing? If yes, then why was it not used here?

To help with this question here’s Mark 6:5 for contrast where εἰ μή is used with a more elaborate clause (many uses of εἰ μή simply end with noun(s) (and with an optional relative clause). This example has verbs in the concessive clause.
καὶ οὐκ ἐδύνατο ἐκεῖ ποιῆσαι οὐδεμίαν δύναμιν, εἰ μὴ ὀλίγοις ἀρρώστοις ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας ἐθεράπευσεν· (SBL)
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. (KJV)


So it looks like εἰ μή could have been used in Matt 12:31 but perhaps the intended emphasis was contrast rather than concession (‘but’ seems stronger than ‘except’).

Here are some more cases where it looks like εἰ μή could possibly have been used (due to a quantifying determiner (every, all, no, whole, etc.) but wasn’t.

2) 1Cor6:18b
πᾶν ἁμάρτημα ὃ ἐὰν ποιήσῃ ἄνθρωπος ἐκτὸς τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν, ὁ δὲ πορνεύων εἰς τὸ ἴδιον σῶμα ἁμαρτάνει. (SBL)
Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. (KJV)


Every sin that a man does is outside the body except he that commit fornication sins against his own body. (Possible rendition)

3 )Matt 6:31-33
μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες· Τί φάγωμεν; ἤ· Τί πίωμεν; ἤ· Τί περιβαλώμεθα; (SBL)
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (KJV)


πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων. (SBL)
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (KJV)


ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν. (SBL)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)


Therefore take no thought, except seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (simplified rendition)

4) Mark 12:44
πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν, ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς. (SBL)
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (KJV)


For all they did cast in of their abundance, except her, even though she lacked, did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (possible rendition)

5) Luke 7:29-30
(καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ἀκούσας καὶ οἱ τελῶναι ἐδικαίωσαν τὸν θεόν, βαπτισθέντες τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάννου· (SBL)
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. (KJV)

οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ νομικοὶ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ἠθέτησαν εἰς ἑαυτούς, μὴ βαπτισθέντες ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ. ) (SBL)
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. (KJV)


And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John, except the Pharisees and lawyers who rejected the counsel of God against themselves, not being baptized of him. (Possible rendition)

6) Philippians 3:13
ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν οὐ λογίζομαι κατειληφέναι· ἓν δέ, (SBL)
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, (KJV)


Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended except in one thing, (possible rendition)

7)Luke 9:25
τί γὰρ ὠφελεῖται ἄνθρωπος κερδήσας τὸν κόσμον ὅλον ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἀπολέσας ἢ ζημιωθείς; (SBL)
What profit will a person have if he gains the whole world, but destroys himself or is lost? (ISV)


What profit will a person have if he gains the whole world, except having himself destroyed or is lost? (possible rendition)

I guess at this point I had a few questions:
1) Is it possible for εἰ μή to be somehow used in any of the verses mentioned? if not, why not?

E.g. in 3) Matt 6:31-33, I can see that a complex sentence structure was used. εἰ μή might have been usable in the simplified rendition but in the original text, it would be much less cogent if εἰ μή was directly substituted with δέ. The reader might read:

...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things except seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

δέ as a postpositive signals the end of the previous clause and introduces a new idea but at the same time contrast the new idea with a previous main idea in v31 (take no thought). Is this reasonable?
Additionally, can εἰ μή or ἐὰν μή do something similar and be used here instead of δέ while keeping the same sentence structure intact (this leads to the next question)?

2) Are there any NT instances where εἰ μή was used as part of a complex sentence? e.g. (Idea A)(Tangent Idea B)(εἰ μή/except noun(s) - Idea C)
This relates to post 3, point 2 where it seems that the complex sentence structure of Col 2:16-17 is as follows:
(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)

In such a case, is there evidence that εἰ μή should still be used rather than δέ if an author wanted to create a concessive meaning sentence, not with the previous sentence, but with the sentence that is two or three sentences before itself?

Thanks,
Much appreciated,
Will
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 15th, 2016, 9:33 am

Hi Will,

I think it's really hard to reason about things like this by demonstrating various ways that the Greek can be rendered into English. Perhaps the best starting point would be to look at papers on the discourse function of δὲ, and that's a thread-worthy topic on its own.

But let me try to apply your approach to English to see if it works. Does the word 'but' mean 'except'?
Birds fly, but not penguins.
Maybe it does, but I can also leave out the word 'but':
Birds fly, penguins do not.
So exactly what part of that sentence tells you that birds is a broader class, and penguins are an exception within that class? I suspect that's semantics rather than syntax, it depends on what we know about the relationship between birds and penguins rather than a clear syntactic signal. And I suspect that's true of most of the Greek sentences you provided too.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 15th, 2016, 1:23 pm

William, I think that the interpretation you are suggesting is nearly impossible, both from normal Greek usage and context. The δέ here, without a preceding example of the word in the context, certainly implies a contrast with the previous clause. You argue that we do not have to supply ἐστί from context, but in general when there is an ellipsis, one draws from the previous clause, and the verb "to be" is the most common verb supplied in such contexts. Finally you have the σκία/σῶμα contrast, best understood as shadow/substance (the body being that which casts the shadow). I also think if you study the history of interpretation on this verse, you'll find no one adopting your view.
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William Lim
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by William Lim » January 16th, 2016, 10:46 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Hi Will,

I think it's really hard to reason about things like this by demonstrating various ways that the Greek can be rendered into English. Perhaps the best starting point would be to look at papers on the discourse function of δὲ, and that's a thread-worthy topic on its own.

But let me try to apply your approach to English to see if it works. Does the word 'but' mean 'except'?
Birds fly, but not penguins.
Maybe it does, but I can also leave out the word 'but':
Birds fly, penguins do not.
So exactly what part of that sentence tells you that birds is a broader class, and penguins are an exception within that class? I suspect that's semantics rather than syntax, it depends on what we know about the relationship between birds and penguins rather than a clear syntactic signal. And I suspect that's true of most of the Greek sentences you provided too.
Hi Jonathan,

Yes, I would agree that whether we expect εἰ μή (except) or not depends on what we and/or the author knows about the relationship between the objects in question. So with Col 2:16-17 it's been suggested that based on the context, our's and Paul's understanding that we should expect Paul to use εἰ μή (except) because he should have known and wanted to communicate that 'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ' (the Body of Christ) is the exception to 'τις' (anyone).

So going to the bird/penguins example, because it's general knowledge that penguins are a type of bird, I would say yes, although the word 'but' is technically not 'except', in this case it does allow the meaning of except. If someone knew the fact that penguins are birds, I would think that 'but' implies/means 'except' whether or not the author realised the fact. Also, we might expect someone who wanted to write 'Birds fly, penguins do not' to have at least considered using the word 'except' (e.g. birds fly, except penguins). Although, they are not required to (in English) even if there was no reason to write the idea differently. I actually think that what you've done John helps my case. You have clearly illustrated that we don't need the word 'except' or even the word 'but' to communicate the sense of 'except', although, in English and not in Koine Greek.

However, coming back to Koine Greek, it was suggested that because we expect εἰ μή (except), the author would have used it if he/she really wanted to communicate it (because they must), and if the author did not, not using the word εἰ μή (except) is evidence that it's meaning was not what the author wanted to say. To this, I'm simply arguing that no that is not the case, Koine Greek authors don't have to use εἰ μή (except) if there was good reason not to. Possibly even if there was no reason (although I suspect this would have been considered crude and so avoided for style). Just as in English (as you have illustrated), Koine Greek writers could have expressed such concessive ideas without εἰ μή (except). Hence, the list of NT examples where we could/should expect εἰ μή (except) based on our understanding (as you said, this could be debatable). But, I'm looking at the list provided and I think that most reasonable people would probably agree that in at least a few of the examples, we really should expect εἰ μή (except) but instead the author used δὲ(but) for whatever reason.

As you said, its a semantics issue. Is one object part of the previously mentioned object class? Even if we might consider it so, perhaps the author did not and so chose δὲ(but) and not εἰ μή (except). However, like I said before, I'm looking at the list of examples, and based on the context, I think most people would agree that its reasonable to assume that the author would have considered the contrasted items as exceptions to the former category.

Col 2;16-17: Anyone vs. Body of Christ

1) Matt 12:31: All manner of sin and blasphemy vs. blasphemy against the Holy Ghost

2) 1Cor6:18b: Every sin vs. fornication

3 )Matt 6:31-33: take no thought, vs. seek ye first the kingdom of God

4) Mark 12:44: all vs. she

5) Luke 7:29-30: all the people vs. the Pharisees and lawyers

6) Philippians 3:13: not to have apprehended vs. one thing apprehended

7)Luke 9:25: the whole world vs. himself

If we were to question the relationships such that we question whether we should expect the author to use εἰ μή (except), why can't the same scepticism be applied to Col 2:16-17? Why should we expect Paul to consider 'Body of Christ' as part of 'anyone'?
Maybe he could have reasoned that the Church are an elected/saved/special group of people that should not be considered to be part of 'anyone else'/the world and so he didn't want to use εἰ μή (except) and preferred δὲ(but). As God's people should be in contrast with the world rather than seen as part of the world. Or some other similar rationalisation.

But is such an argument intellectually credible? Isn't it more reasonable to think that Paul and others would have considered the above mentioned items in question to be exceptions?

From my perspective, it doesn't hurt my case either way.

Thoughts?
Thanks,
Will
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 16th, 2016, 11:08 am

William Lim wrote:However, I think my question still holds. Is the greek ambiguous and hence, could the greek possibly mean something else?
I really don't think it can take the meaning you propose, and I don't think you've given good evidence that your interpretation is plausible. I find myself wondering if you have a doctrinal disagreement with the normal understanding that is leading you to try to reinterpret it.
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by William Lim » January 19th, 2016, 12:30 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:William, I think that the interpretation you are suggesting is nearly impossible, both from normal Greek usage and context. The δέ here, without a preceding example of the word in the context, certainly implies a contrast with the previous clause. You argue that we do not have to supply ἐστί from context, but in general when there is an ellipsis, one draws from the previous clause, and the verb "to be" is the most common verb supplied in such contexts. Finally you have the σκία/σῶμα contrast, best understood as shadow/substance (the body being that which casts the shadow). I also think if you study the history of interpretation on this verse, you'll find no one adopting your view.
Dear Barry,

To recap, you’ve argued that the suggested translation is not plausible for 4 reasons. However, your first reason wasn’t clear to me (my apologies). By ‘preceding example of the word’ were you referring to expecting 'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ' in the previous sentence? or another reference word in the preceding sentence that informs us of what is being contrasted? Anyway, here’s the four reasons you outlined:
- Without an example reference word 'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ' or another in the preceding sentence, the contrast of the phrase must be with the previous clause.
- When there is an ellipsis (I assume you mean ‘…’ or omission of word(s)) then in general δέ draws the contrast from the previous clause.
- Also, when there is an ellipsis, and the verb "to be" is the most common verb supplied.
- No one in history has adopted my view. (Even though you said that I had σκία/σῶμα contrasted (so this is the popular view which I’m actually questioning), I’ll assume you meant 'τις'/'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ' (so I think this should be contrasted))

Please let me know if I’ve misunderstood any of your points.

Now, I’ll try to address each of your points in sequence.
Barry Hofstetter wrote: The δέ here, without a preceding example of the word in the context, certainly implies a contrast with the previous clause.
I’ve actually taken up Jonathan’s suggestion to read some papers on the use δέ. I’ve also looked a few on ei me.

I found this one on δέ:
Poythress, Vern S. "The Use of the Intersentence Conjunctions de, oun, kai, and Asyndeton in the Gospel of John." Novum Testamentum (1984): 312-340.
http://frame-poythress.org/the-use-of-t ... l-of-john/

According to Poythress(p322),
Poythress wrote: The over-all rule, then, is that de is used between successive sentences whenever the writer wishes to indicate that two elements in the two sentences are in contrast.
The above rule was for expository (explanatory, argumentative) discourse (the only other type of discourse which Poythress defines was narrative) Poythress does note that in the Gospel of John δέ mostly acts to contrast (translates to ‘but’) but, outside of the book of John, the contrast can be so weak or ‘nearly invisible’ that δέ simply serves to connect two sentences (translates to ‘and’)

So Poythress calls δέ an intersentence conjunction where δέ ‘s range of contrast extends along the entire sentence for both sentences it connects.

Perhaps it’s useful to note that Poythress defines a sentence as ‘A sentence is simply a “maximal” clause, that is a clause not embedded in or modifying a still larger clause, together with the intersentence conjunction at its beginning.’ (p.316).

While Poythress notes that δέ occasionally connects two clauses within a sentence (p. 317), as far as I’m aware Poythress does not state any conditions where δέ’s range of contrast in the previous sentence is limited to just the previous clause.

However, I will concede that based on Poythress paper that δέ seems to only connect two sentences and so it contrast range would not extend past the previous sentence.

Anyway, just based on Poythress paper, I’m sceptical that your first two reasons hold (because he doesn't mention such conditions which you claimed). May you please show me a paper demonstrating your first two reasons?

Secondly, 'Body of Christ' as the Church was define earlier in the Colossians letter:
Col 1:24
Νῦν χαίρω ἐν τοῖς παθήμασιν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, καὶ ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου ὑπὲρ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἡ ἐκκλησία,
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church

So, the context of the Colossians letter has already defined 'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ' to be the Church. An entity capable of doing verb-like words.

Additionally, for 'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ' to be in the nominative case gives sufficient context information for us to reference a verb in the previous sentence.

Barry Hofstetter wrote:... in general when there is an ellipsis, one draws from the previous clause,
Here are a few verses which I think go against your claim. They all have ellipses/omitted words but yet, at least to me, δὲ’s contrast extends beyond the previous clause.

2 Cor 12:19
Πάλαι δοκεῖτε ὅτι ὑμῖν ἀπολογούμεθα; κατέναντι θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ λαλοῦμεν. τὰ δὲ πάντα, ἀγαπητοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν οἰκοδομῆς, (SBL)
Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. (KJV)

Contrast: excuse ourselves (1st clause)/we do all things

Heb 7:28
ὁ νόμος γὰρ ἀνθρώπους καθίστησιν ἀρχιερεῖς ἔχοντας ἀσθένειαν, ὁ λόγος δὲ τῆς ὁρκωμοσίας τῆς μετὰ τὸν νόμον υἱόν, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τετελειωμένον. (SBL)
For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (KJV)

Contrast: men (1st clause)/the Son

Rom 11:6
εἰ δὲ χάριτι, οὐκέτι ἐξ ἔργων, ἐπεὶ ἡ χάρις οὐκέτι γίνεται χάρις.(SBL)
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (KJV)

Contrast: if by grace(1st clause)/ if it be of works

2 Cor 12:6
ἐὰν γὰρ θελήσω καυχήσασθαι, οὐκ ἔσομαι ἄφρων, ἀλήθειαν γὰρ ἐρῶ· φείδομαι δέ, μή τις εἰς ἐμὲ λογίσηται ὑπὲρ ὃ βλέπει με ἢ ἀκούει τι ἐξ ἐμοῦ, (SBL)
For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. (KJV)

Contrast: desire to glory(1st clause)/I forbear

Now, my understanding is that word and clause position in greek is relatively flexible (although order does reflect emphasis) compared to other languages. This again causes me to question your 1st and 2nd points about conditions which limit the contrast range of δέ because it would mean that when people use δέ they would have to be careful about clause order. However, as shown in the above examples, NT authors do have δέ contrast elements in the 1st clause even when there is an omitted word.

However, I think your 2nd and 3rd points Barry, were more about improbabilities and implausibility. So, I did try to find verses for and against your claims in Matt/Mark/Paul’s letters/Hebrew (thought it was sufficient, could look at all NT if requested), not just for direct evidence either way but also for a rough estimate of probabilities.

These verses included:
1) δέ which was translated as ‘but’ in KJV (this meant that the translators were confident that a contrast was intended).
2) They had significant ‘added’ words (verbs, pronouns, etc.) because of omission/ellipsis. I considered less significant words as those added for just clarity (e.g. and).

Here are the finalised tabulated results, (Sorry, I couldn't attach the file)

___________Not Previous Clause ______Previous Clause
Verbs total_________9___________________10
ratio______________1___________________1.1
Percent (%)________47.4_______________52.6

This result were for verses with omitted verbs (if omitted pronouns were included, the percentage of contrast with the previous clause increased slightly to 57.6%).

The point was that looking at Paul's epistles and a few gospels, even if there was an ellipsis(omitted word), there's still about a 40-47% chance that δέ does not contrast with the previous clause. So while you are sort of right in saying that 'in general' or in the majority of cases, the contrast would be with the previous clause, there's still a good chance otherwise.

However, as I mentioned back in post 2 point 1, τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ (in their various cases, outside of Col 2:17) meant to say 'the body of Christ' 100% of the time. As far as I'm aware, you will not be able to point me to a single instance outside Colossians where τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ was not translated as 'the body of Christ'.

Furthermore, I gave a few other context challenges (in the same post) to the current 'the body is of Christ' translation which has not been addressed by anyone.
To reiterate:
1) 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). I'm aware of only 1 other instance apart from Col 2:17.
2) I would have expected perhaps τὸ δὲ σῶμα ὁ Χριστὸς (The body is Christ), if Paul wanted to say what has generally been accepted, to avoid ambiguity with τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ (the body of Christ).
3) There's a actually logical number clash. As the shadow is of multiple things to come but Christ is only 1 'thing'.
4) I would have expected the word ὑπόστασις (substance – as in Heb 11:1)) instead of τὸ σῶμα if 'the substance is of Christ' was truly intended. This again would have avoided ambiguity with 'the body of Christ.

For the reasons mentioned above, its seems that the current translation is more 'impossible'/improbable due to context then the suggested rendering.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:...and the verb "to be" is the most common verb supplied in such contexts
Yes, also about 60% of the time from above mentioned sample. However, again that there's still a significant ~40% chance that it's something else. So we have to look at the context to see what makes the most sense, and as argued above the current translation actually seems less likely, and less reasonable.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Finally you have the σκία/σῶμα contrast, best understood as shadow/substance (the body being that which casts the shadow). I also think if you study the history of interpretation on this verse, you'll find no one adopting your view.
Ok, so I think you meant that no one in history agrees that the contrast should be between 'τις' (anyone)/'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ'(body of Christ) .

However, just to be sure Protestants (~1500s onwards) and Catholics (going all the way back past the dark ages) have held the view that v17 means that Christ is the body or substance (antitype) which the Jewish festivals and other types as one shadow points to.
E.g.
Wesley's Explanatory Notes
“Which are but a lifeless shadow; but the body, the substance, is of Christ.”
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
“the body is of Christ—The real substance (of the blessings typified by the law) belongs to Christ (Heb 8:5; 10:1).”
Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition
"...but the body is of Christ, (ver. 17.) i.e. was the body, the truth, the substance signified by these shadows and types. (Witham)"

However, the suggested translation is now accepted today by various Church of God denominations and I suspect various Messianic Jewish Congregations as well. Going back in history, I think that the Quartodecimans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartodecimanism) and the Waldensians (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians - whose origins seem to go back to the apostolic age) might have read Col 2:16-17 with δὲ contrasting between 'τις' (anyone)/'τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ'(body of Christ) as well. This would explain why they were still keeping Passover and Sabbath (on Saturday).

However, I think that the protestant reformation has taught us that even if a theological doctrine has lasted for more than a millennia, we should still double check it.

Thoughts or comments welcomed,
Thanks,
Will
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Col 2:16-17 translation

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 19th, 2016, 12:56 pm

I think it's time to recognize that this is the beginner's forum, and to remember our policy:
In the Beginner's Forum, we welcome beginners who do not yet have a working knowledge of Biblical Greek, and are actively working to learn the language. We want to help. Even basic questions about the meaning of the Greek text are welcome in the Beginner's Forum, and there's no shame in mistakes. Beginners will be gently pushed toward learning these structures over time, pointed to textbooks and other aids that will help them, and coached in how to see these structures in a text. Learning a language is all about learning the structure signals, so we will try to help you learn what these signals are and how to recognize them in a text.

Even in the Beginner's forum, general questions or opinions about doctrine or the meaning of the English text are not welcome. Sometimes we may encourage beginners to postpone questions that are over their head at their current level of understanding.
William, I really do think this is a little over your head right now, so I'm going to lock this thread and ask you to wait until you're able to work through this kind of thing on a higher level. Maybe some day you can revolutionize our understanding of the Greek language, but I don't think you are there yet. I really don't think that the sentence can be read as you would like to read it.
William Lim wrote:However, I think that the protestant reformation has taught us that even if a theological doctrine has lasted for more than a millennia, we should still double check it.
Sure, but theological doctrine isn't what B-Greek is about. Here, the only question is how the Greek text can be understood.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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