Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
Bill Ross
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Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Bill Ross » May 12th, 2019, 5:21 am

Disclaimer: I have no formal education in biblical languages.

In the "LXX" (which is part of the Koine period) κόσμος seems to be to generally be used to refer to jewelry, as in BDAG's first glosses:

κόσμος, ου, ὁ (Hom.+)
① that which serves to beautify through decoration, adornment, adorning (Hom.+; Diod S 20, 4, 5 τῶν γυναικῶν τὸν κόσμον; OGI 531, 13; SIG 850, 10; IMaronIsis 41; PEleph 1, 4; PSI 240, 12 γυναικεῖον κόσμον; LXX; TestJud 12:1; JosAs 2:6 al.; Philo, Migr. Abr. 97 γυναικῶν κ.; Jos., Ant. 1, 250; 15, 5; Just., A II, 11, 4f) of women’s attire, etc. ὁ ἔξωθεν … κόσμος external adorning 1 Pt 3:3 (Vi. Hom. 4 of the inward adornment of a woman, beside σωφροσύνη; Crates, Ep. 9; Pythag., Ep. 11, 1; Plut., Mor. 141e; on the topic of external adornment cp. SIG 736, 15–26).
② condition of orderliness, orderly arrangement, order (Hom. et al.; s. HDiller, Die vorphilosophische Gebrauch von κ. und κοσμεῖν: BSnell Festschr., ’56, 47–60) μετὰ κόσμου in order Dg 12:9 (text uncertain; s. μετακόσμιος).

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 561). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

In NT usage, also koine period, it is generally understood by translators as referring to "the world" by which they mean something like "lost mankind".

Doesn't it seem that the difference in usages of κόσμος between the OG ("old greek") and the NT, both koine, is uniquely and inexplicitly abrupt?

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Secondly, and I realize I'm pretty much alone in this view, doesn't it seem theologically driven that κόσμος is rendered "[secular] world"? I mean, isn't that a religious use of the word, imbued with theological presumption rather than the way the word was used in the secular usage? IE: Isn't the way translators treat the word more "Biblish" than English? It seems to me that it is better understood as referring to Judaism, not to "the secular world".

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For example, don't some of these make more sense if they refer to Judaism?:

>[Col 2:16-23 ESV] (16) Therefore let no one **pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath**. (17) These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (18) Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, (19) and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (20) If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, **as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations**-- (21) "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (22) (referring to things that all perish as they are used)--according to human precepts and teachings? (23) These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

>[Jhn 17:6, 9 ESV] (6) "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. ... (9) I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

(The "not praying for the κόσμος seems to be a reference to this:

Jeremiah 7:16 καὶ σὺ **μὴ προσεύχου περὶ τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου** καὶ μὴ ἀξίου τοῦ ἐλεηθῆναι αὐτοὺς καὶ μὴ εὔχου καὶ μὴ προσέλθῃς μοι περὶ αὐτῶν ὅτι οὐκ εἰσακούσομαι

I could go on and on with what I consider compelling examples.

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So what I'm wondering is if κόσμος might not have become a reference to Israel as God's "jewelry" or "treasure box" or something which would give the NT usage some continuity with the OG:

[attachment=0]Kosmos Usages.jpg[/attachment]

Regardless, though I think that NT makes more sense if in most cases (at least in the gospels and Paul) if we understand the referent of κόσμος to be Israel, not "the secular world".
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 12th, 2019, 11:59 am

Disclaimer: After multiple readings, I haven't been able to isolate the "difficulty" you are attempting to solve in your original post.

LSJ covers all the bases.
IV.1 Philos., world-order, universe, first in Pythag., acc.to Placit.2.1.1, D.L.8.48 (cf. [Philol.]21), or Parm., acc. to Thphr. ap. D.L. l.c.; κόσμον τόνδε οὔτε τις θεῶν οὔτε ἀνθρώπων ἐποίησεν, ἀλλ’ ἦν ἀεὶ καὶ ἔστιν καὶ ἔσται πῦρ Heraclit.30; ὁ καλούμενος ὑπὸ τῶν σοφιστῶν κ. X.Mem.1.1.11: freq. in Pl., Grg.508a, Ti.27a, al.; ἡ τοῦ ὅλου σύστασίς ἐστι κ. καὶ οὐρανός Arist.Cael.280a21, cf. Epicur.Ep. 2p.37U., Chrysipp.Stoic.2.168, etc.; ὁ κ. ζῷον ἔμψυχον καὶ λογικόν Posidon. ap. D.L.7.139, cf. Pl.Ti.30b: sts. of the firmament, γῆς ἁπάσης τῆς ὑπὸ τῷ κόσμῳ κειμένης Isoc.4.179; ὁ περὶ τὴν γῆν ὅλος κ. Arist. Mete.339a20; μετελθεῖν εἰς τὸν ἀέναον κ., of death, OGI56.48 (Canopus, iii B. C.); but also, of earth, as opp. heaven, ὁ ἐπιχθόνιος κ. Herm. ap. Stob.1.49.44; or as opp. the underworld, ὁ ἄνω κ. Iamb.VP27.123; of any region of the universe, ὁ μετάρσιος κ. Herm. ap. Stob.1.49.44; of the sphere whose centre is the earth's centre and radius the straight line joining earth and sun, Archim.Aren.4; of the sphere containing the fixed stars, Pl.Epin.987b: in pl., worlds, coexistent or successive, Anaximand. et alii ap.Placit.2.1.3, cf. Epicur.l.c.; also, of stars, Νὺξ μεγάλων κ. κτεάτειρα A.Ag.356 (anap.), cf. Heraclid.et Pythagorei ap.Placit.2.13.15 (= Orph.Fr.22); οἱ ἑπτὰ κ. the Seven planets, Corp.Herm.11.7.

2. metaph., microcosm, ἄνθρωπος μικρὸς κ. Democr. 34; ἄνθρωπος βραχὺς κ. Ph.2.155; of living beings in general, τὸ ζῷον οἷον μικρόν τινα κ. εἶναί φασιν ἄνδρες παλαιοί Gal.UP3.10.

3. in later Gr., = οἰκουμένη, the known or inhabited world, OGI458.40 (9 B.C.), Ep.Rom.1.8, etc.; ὁ τοῦ παντὸς κ. κύριος, of Nero, SIG814.31, cf. IGRom.4.982 (Samos); ἐὰν τὸν κ. ὅλον κερδήσῃ Ev.Matt.16.26.

4. men in general, φανέρωσον σεαυτὸν τῷ κ. Ev.Jo.7.4, cf. 12.19; esp. of the world as estranged from God by sin, ib.16.20, 17.9, al., 1 Ep.Cor. 1.21, etc.

5. οὗτος ὁ κ. this present world, i.e. earth, opp. heaven, Ev.Jo.13.1; regarded as the kingdom of evil, ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κ. τούτου ib.12.31.
Theology Phobic people should stop reading here.

The difference between IV.1 and 4 & 5 isn't any sort of dramatic leap. The idea of an ordered kingdom of evil doesn't imply "secular." The ordered kingdom of evil was under the control of spiritual powers and authorities who were enemies set against the Kingdom of God. The ordered system of evil was pagan and still is pagan. So called secularism is a religion, a form of paganism. As Peter Jones has pointed out repeatedly, you only have two options. Been reading Athanasius for over a year now and he has a lot to say about this conflict but I haven't studied his use of κόσμος.
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Bill Ross
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Bill Ross » May 12th, 2019, 1:05 pm

To avoid a complex problem I'll just isolate one, which might make it easier to discuss.

Isn't it unusual for there to be such an abrupt disconnect between the OG and the NT? I find it jarring. Am I alone in that?

Is the OG usage of κόσμος more like extant secular usage that is the NT usage? Or vice versa? Or is it just that for some reason the writers of the OT were talking about completely different things?

The image I supplied (from Logos software - one of my favorite features!) doesn't seem real to me! It seems like a statistic that you would want to go back and check on because it seems so unlikely.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 13th, 2019, 3:14 pm

Wow, I had no idea you could do that in Logos. Cool. But to the point, this is simply an example of how words have semantic range, and we have to be sensitive to the context to know what part of the semantic range is in play. We do this automatically in our first languages -- we often have to think about it a bit in dealing with a second language.

Nobody in the history of interpretation who understands Greek has ever though it meant "Judaism."

BTW, Bill, let me encourage you to take the time to undertake a more systematic study of Greek. It will help greatly.
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Bill Ross
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Bill Ross » May 13th, 2019, 6:16 pm

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that "κόσμος means Judaism" but rather that Paul and John used the word to *refer* to the Jewish theocracy (the old covenant system of things).
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Jason Hare
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Jason Hare » May 13th, 2019, 11:09 pm

Bill Ross wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 6:16 pm
Just to be clear, I'm not saying that "κόσμος means Judaism" but rather that Paul and John used the word to *refer* to the Jewish theocracy (the old covenant system of things).
With regard to this, στοιχεῖα might refer either to the elementary principles of the world as understood by pagans or to the legal complexities of the Torah within a Jewish framework. Are you drawing κόσμος from the meaning of "the world (system)" to the "Judaic system"? Perhaps not even the "Old Covenant," but Judaism as it came to expression in the second-Temple period.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Jason Hare » May 13th, 2019, 11:13 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 3:14 pm
Wow, I had no idea you could do that in Logos. Cool.
I wonder if you have to have a certain scholars package to perform such a search. My Logos subscription is basically just the free stuff. LOL
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Bill Ross
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Bill Ross » May 14th, 2019, 6:21 am

Jason Hare wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 11:09 pm
Bill Ross wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 6:16 pm
Just to be clear, I'm not saying that "κόσμος means Judaism" but rather that Paul and John used the word to *refer* to the Jewish theocracy (the old covenant system of things).
With regard to this, στοιχεῖα might refer either to the elementary principles of the world as understood by pagans or to the legal complexities of the Torah within a Jewish framework. Are you drawing κόσμος from the meaning of "the world (system)" to the "Judaic system"? Perhaps not even the "Old Covenant," but Judaism as it came to expression in the second-Temple period.
I have struggled with this and can't seem to put too fine of a point on it. I have considered "The system" or "the theocracy" etc. but yes, it is specifically the "old order" not the "new order".

Paul, aware that the gospels and the Jewish letters (IE: the apostles to the circumcision) predicted the imminent visitation on Israel, Jerusalem, the temple and the Jewish leadership discouraged marriage. Who wants to be trying to raise a family while God is about to pour holy fire on Jerusalem?

1 Corinthians 7:31 καὶ οἱ χρώμενοι τὸν κόσμον ὡς μὴ καταχρώμενοι παράγει γὰρ τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου

The unwise would be caught off guard:

>[Luk 17:26-30 ESV] (26) Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. (27) They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (28) Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot--they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, (29) but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all-- (30) so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

So this "passing away of the current form of the world" is God ending the era of temple-centric Judaism and the arrival of the "new creation":

>[1Pe 4:7 ESV] (7) The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

>[1Jo 2:17 ESV] (17) And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

>[1Jo 2:18 ESV] (18) Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

So the κόσμος in its current form is that system that is embodied in the old Jerusalem, the old covenant, the old temple and the natural seed.

κόσμος could be viewed as a synonym of the "current [from Paul's/John's] Jewish age".
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Bill Ross
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Bill Ross » May 14th, 2019, 6:26 am

Jason Hare wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 11:13 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 3:14 pm
Wow, I had no idea you could do that in Logos. Cool.
I wonder if you have to have a certain scholars package to perform such a search. My Logos subscription is basically just the free stuff. LOL
I think it is part of the Base Package in Logos 8.
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Daniel Semler
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Re: Does κόσμος in the NT connect with the OT usage?

Post by Daniel Semler » May 16th, 2019, 10:35 am

Studying the use of a single word and really developing a sense of how it's used in various contexts and over time is a serious undertaking - look at how long it takes to produce a new dictionary. I read last year a book devoted to just four Hebrew words from Genesis. Papers have been written on κόσμoς and so on.

A couple of things strike me in this case. The NT is not a large piece of writing and though it has varied writing style and topics within it, it predominately oriented toward a single field so to speak - topics related to some senses attributed to κόσμoς are simply not discussed often. The same might be said of the LXX. κόσμoς appears 186 times in the NT, but only 71 times in the LXX (Rahlfs anyway) a much larger text. In order to establish prevalence of one sense over another one would want to look at other texts across the same period to see if κόσμoς appears there and if so in what sense. You would want to consider perhaps also what other words might stand in place of κόσμoς for some of its senses. Further, attention would probably want to be paid to how various Hebrew words were translated from Hebrew to Greek in the LXX. In particular how the Hebrew words relating to world would be worth studying. Perhaps they are simply handled differently due to some preference on the part of the translators.

It is certainly common for a word having many senses to have a dominant sense and for that dominant sense to change over time.

So while the charts themselves are interesting, they really raise more questions than they answer.

Thx
D
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