The Words Συντελεία and Τέλος in Mt 24

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Bernd Strauss
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The Words Συντελεία and Τέλος in Mt 24

Post by Bernd Strauss » November 4th, 2018, 8:02 am

Is there a particular reason why the writer of Matthew chapter 24 chose to use the word συντελεία in vs. 3 while using the word τέλος in vss. 6, 14? Is some distinction made between these words in the chapter? Or are they used interchangeably with the same meaning?
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Robert Emil Berge
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Re: The Words Συντελεία and Τέλος in Mt 24

Post by Robert Emil Berge » November 4th, 2018, 12:44 pm

We can't know the motive for the choice of words. Both could probably have worked in both settings here, but there is a nuance of a difference. συντελεία is a completion of something, often of a common effort towards a goal, while τέλος simply means end or goal, but it can of course also be used when one means a common goal. The context here would have supplied us with a notion of what kind of end or goal the writer is talking about no matter which word he or she had chosen, I think.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: The Words Συντελεία and Τέλος in Mt 24

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » November 4th, 2018, 1:46 pm

συντέλεια <OR> τέλος

συντέλεια in Matthew and elsewhere is used in eschatological expressions. τέλος has a wide semantic range and some overlap with συντέλεια. The words are not synonymous.

In Matthew 24 he starts with συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος which is unambiguous and follows with τέλος which probably functions as an abbreviated key word with the same referent as συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος. This is comparable to the way discourse participants are introduced with unambiguous full noun phrases followed by reduced encoding. Once the referent of συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος has been established τέλος becomes unambiguous.

Matt. 13:40 ὥσπερ οὖν συλλέγεται τὰ ζιζάνια καὶ πυρὶ [κατα]καίεται, οὕτως ἔσται ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος·

Matt. 13:40 (NRSV) Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.


Matt. 13:49 οὕτως ἔσται ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος· ἐξελεύσονται οἱ ἄγγελοι καὶ ἀφοριοῦσιν τοὺς πονηροὺς ἐκ μέσου τῶν δικαίων

Matt. 13:49 (NRSV) So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous

Dan. 12:13 καὶ σὺ δεῦρο καὶ ἀναπαύου· ἔτι γὰρ ἡμέραι εἰς ἀναπλήρωσιν συντελείας, καὶ ἀναστήσῃ εἰς τὸν κλῆρόν σου εἰς συντέλειαν ἡμερῶν.

Shep. 89:3 Ὅτι, φησίν, ἐπ᾿ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν τῆς συντελείας φανερὸς ἐγένετο, διὰ τοῦτο καινὴ ἐγένετο ἡ πύλη, ἵνα οἱ μέλλοντες σώζεσθαι δι᾿ αὐτῆς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν εἰσέλθωσι τοῦ θεοῦ.

Shep. 89:3 “Because,” he said, “he was revealed in the last days of the consummation; that is why the door is new, in order that those who are going to be saved may enter the kingdom of God through it.

Text & Trans. M. W. Holmes 1992
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Bernd Strauss
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Re: The Words Συντελεία and Τέλος in Mt 24

Post by Bernd Strauss » November 5th, 2018, 9:02 am

Thank you. Apparently the word τέλος in vss. 6, 14 refers to the same end as συντελεία in vs. 3. The two words are often rendered with the same English word “end” in English Bible translations.
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