Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβραβε

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » January 27th, 2013, 9:52 pm

Daniel Gregg wrote:The trouble is I cannot see except = δὲ.

You're correct. In Paul, at least, "except" is ει μη or εαν μη.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby David Lim » January 28th, 2013, 12:35 am

Iver Larsen wrote:If we agree that σῶμα refers to substance/reality rather than body, then we could ask why the sentence was not written:
ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα Χριστός (ἐστιν). Paul has just mentioned the old covenant ritual laws and laws about Jewish festivals. All these things are called a shadow. But they are not just a shadow of Christ, but a shadow of the new order of things that Christ brought with the new covenant. Since we could add "things" in the first clause, I suggest we can add the same in the second: "But the reality [is the things] of Christ" . .

I have a different interpretation from Iver:
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 Χριστοῦ.
Let not anyone judge you in ..., which are shadows of the things which are to be, but the reality is of Christ.

Iver's rendering suggests that "the reality" consists of only "the things of Christ", which I think would require "το σωμα τα χριστου [εστιν]". Whereas I take the original to mean that "the reality comes through Christ", in the same way that the sentence "true love is of God" means. I don't know what the term is for that kind of genitive though.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby Iver Larsen » January 28th, 2013, 2:48 am

David Lim wrote:
Iver Larsen wrote:If we agree that σῶμα refers to substance/reality rather than body, then we could ask why the sentence was not written:
ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα Χριστός (ἐστιν). Paul has just mentioned the old covenant ritual laws and laws about Jewish festivals. All these things are called a shadow. But they are not just a shadow of Christ, but a shadow of the new order of things that Christ brought with the new covenant. Since we could add "things" in the first clause, I suggest we can add the same in the second: "But the reality [is the things] of Christ" . .

I have a different interpretation from Iver:
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 Χριστοῦ.
Let not anyone judge you in ..., which are shadows of the things which are to be, but the reality is of Christ.

Iver's rendering suggests that "the reality" consists of only "the things of Christ", which I think would require "το σωμα τα χριστου [εστιν]". Whereas I take the original to mean that "the reality comes through Christ", in the same way that the sentence "true love is of God" means. I don't know what the term is for that kind of genitive though.


I have no problem with a genitive of source here. I was also suggesting an implicit τὰ as in
ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα [τὰ] τοῦ Χριστοῦ [ἐστιν].

The reason is that τὰ correlates with ἅ and can be seen as an expected, natural contrast. The shadow refers to things/behavior just mentioned, the reality refers to things/behavior related to Christ by way of source. The theological disagreement seems to be whether these things at the time of writing (and today?) have already come or not yet. In my view the context of the whole section 2:6-23 clarifies that. The translation problem seems to be introduced when the more or less timeless participle μελλόντων is translated by a present finite verb in English.

The suggested implicit τὰ is not crucial, only my way of trying to clarify the intended thought. I would not object to: But the reality is of/from Christ.

I do have a problem with your three dots, because ἅ refers back to what has been left out. A few manuscripts have ὅ rather than ἅ, and that would indicate a reference to the whole concept of judging, but that reading is probably not original.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby Marc Possoff » January 28th, 2013, 3:20 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
Marc Possoff wrote:First the shadows Paul is referring too is future tense.

How so?


According to Thayer's the μελλοντων is future tense, the idea of expectation.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby Jason Hare » January 28th, 2013, 11:54 pm

Marc Possoff wrote:The ritual laws and Jewish festivals are shadows which we agree on. But Perseus project has a definition that fits the context of the text which implies that Christ is the one casting the shadows. The shadows are the ritual laws and Jewish festivals being cast by Christ.

Shadows= ritual laws, Jewish festivals

Christ= the one that's casting the ritual laws, Jewish festivals

Now the trick is to tie in the shadows and the one casting the shadows.

Look at it this way. I'm standing and see my shadow on the wall. I'm the reality, the shadow is of myself the reality.

Apply this to Christ. Christ is standing and what his shadow is are the ritual laws and Jewish festivals. Once the shadow is gone, then you only have Christ. The text implies a future tense. The shadows that Christ is casting are stil present because Paul says 'shadows of good things to come'.

Thinking out loud here.


The language of "shadow" vs. "body" is analogous to "type" and "antitype."
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby Marc Possoff » January 29th, 2013, 7:56 am

Jason Hare wrote:
Marc Possoff wrote:The ritual laws and Jewish festivals are shadows which we agree on. But Perseus project has a definition that fits the context of the text which implies that Christ is the one casting the shadows. The shadows are the ritual laws and Jewish festivals being cast by Christ.

Shadows= ritual laws, Jewish festivals

Christ= the one that's casting the ritual laws, Jewish festivals

Now the trick is to tie in the shadows and the one casting the shadows.

Look at it this way. I'm standing and see my shadow on the wall. I'm the reality, the shadow is of myself the reality.

Apply this to Christ. Christ is standing and what his shadow is are the ritual laws and Jewish festivals. Once the shadow is gone, then you only have Christ. The text implies a future tense. The shadows that Christ is casting are stil present because Paul says 'shadows of good things to come'.

Thinking out loud here.


The language of "shadow" vs. "body" is analogous to "type" and "antitype."


Not according to the definition. It would have to be shadow versus body(that which casts a shadow as distinguished from the shadow itself)

The body is casting the shadows(meat, drink, sabbaths etc).

The meat, drink, sabbath days are shadows of things TO come. Which hasn't happened yet, future tense.

I'm being convinced that Paul is using light to heavy, a 'how much more' teaching.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby David Lim » January 30th, 2013, 12:05 am

Iver Larsen wrote:The suggested implicit τὰ is not crucial, only my way of trying to clarify the intended thought. I would not object to: But the reality is of/from Christ.

I see. Thanks for clarifying.

Iver Larsen wrote:I do have a problem with your three dots, because ἅ refers back to what has been left out. A few manuscripts have ὅ rather than ἅ, and that would indicate a reference to the whole concept of judging, but that reading is probably not original.

Sorry I never meant to indicate anything other than that the relative pronoun refers to what I left out. I just used "..." because I didn't want to type the whole thing out. I also never considered it to refer to the judging by others. Even if it was "ο εστιν", the scribe probably was thinking "..., which is [to say], shadows ...", because "σκια" is still plural.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby David Lim » January 30th, 2013, 12:18 am

Marc Possoff wrote:The meat, drink, sabbath days are shadows of things TO come. Which hasn't happened yet, future tense.

I'm being convinced that Paul is using light to heavy, a 'how much more' teaching.

No one doubts that "μελλοντων" connotes future, but it is simply with respect to the current perspective in focus, so beyond that it will probably depend on interpretation. The very same word is used in Heb 10:1 and Heb 11:20, in both cases not denoting future time with respect to the time of writing.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » January 30th, 2013, 2:03 am

Marc Possoff wrote:According to Thayer's the μελλοντων is future tense, the idea of expectation.

Not really seeing that in Thayer's definition. Thayer does consider the occurrence in this passage as referring to ο μελλων αιων, but that's merely his interpretation.

It makes better sense to me that μελλω in this verse is future relative to the time of the giving of the Torah.

I'm wondering if Romans 5:14 is relevant here to the use of the present tense ἐστιν:
αλλ εβασιλευσεν ο θανατος απο αδαμ μεχρι μωσεως και επι τους μη αμαρτησαντας επι τω ομοιωματι της παραβασεως αδαμ ος εστιν τυπος του μελλοντος

Paul uses the present tense to describe Adam, who must be a past, not present, figure in Paul's mind. And, assuming Christ is the referent of του μελλοντος here, Paul's reference is to Christ as a historical figure, not to one who will appear in the future.
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Re: Col2:17b-2:18a τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβ

Postby Iver Larsen » January 30th, 2013, 6:09 am

David Lim wrote:No one doubts that "μελλοντων" connotes future, but it is simply with respect to the current perspective in focus, so beyond that it will probably depend on interpretation. The very same word is used in Heb 10:1 and Heb 11:20, in both cases not denoting future time with respect to the time of writing.


Well said, David. Heb 10:1 is particularly interesting because the topic is very similar.

Rom 5:14 is also a good example where RSV says "who was a type of the one who was to come." Translations vary and are inconsistent. It is matter of context whether it means "is to come" or "was to come". Sometimes translations try to sit on the fence by saying "to come".

In Matt 11:14 RSV has "is to come" while NIV has "was to come." Since Jesus is referring to John the Baptist as the "Ellijah" who was to come to prepare the way for the Messiah, it clearly refers to a past event in relation to the time of speaking, but future in relation to the original prophecy.
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