Re: KTISIS (clarification of Edgar Krentz message of 98/11/12

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Nov 14 1998 - 11:26:35 EST

<x-rich>I have been asked, as a Co-Chair of B-Greek, to permit discussion of a
message sent to B-Greek by Edgar Krentz under the subject header Re:
KTISIS Thu, 12 Nov 1998 10:11:40 +0100, on grounds that this message
was in fact a continuation of the previously closed PRWTOTOKOS thread.
I felt personally that this was an improbable view, inasmuch as Edgar
had posted nothing on the PRWTOTOKOS thread other than a protest that
what seemed to him clearly a theological discussion was continuing to
run on the list. Moreover, I also felt uncomfortable about opening up
what appeared to me to be, in effect, a continuation of the thread
which I now feel probably should have been halted much earlier than it
was (and which I certainly do not want to re-open). Nevertheless, in
the interests of fairness, I agreed to ask Edgar for a clarification of
the Thursday post, and he has offered the following message which I am
posting now, with very minor editorial changes to delete items chat
items not bearing directly on the substantive clarification that Edgar
offers. For ease of reference, I cite first the text of Thursday's
short message, the one upon which Edgar expands to explain his
intentions and meaning:

(1) Re: KTISIS Thu, 12 Nov 1998 10:11:40 +0100:

<excerpt>Col 1 itself defines KTISIS in v. 16. It is TA PANTA EN TOIS
OURANOIS KAI EPI THS GHS. This includes both the visible and the
invisible tehings [reflectding the neuters]. TA AORATOA are then
that are the writer's primary concern. The subject of the hymn [hOS in
v. 15] is superior to all such powers in the heavens because he created
them and, as the second strophe of the hymnic passage makes clear, he
reconciled them to God. In 214-15 the write changes the picture to
that of a trimphal procession and the Roman <italic>tropaion,</italic>
the victory trophy set up to mark the enemy's defeat.

That is, the writer has a focus in his use of KTISIS that he himself
makes clear.

My two cents worth.


What follows next is Edgar's explanation and clarification of that
brief message which he had posted on Thursday:

>Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 17:01:37 +0100

>To: "Carl W. Conrad" <<>

>From: Edgar Krentz <<>

>Subject: RE: KTISIS


>I entered the discussion on KTISIS on the assumptions that (1) it was
not a

>continuation of any discussion about pre-existence, but about what the

>means by the term KTISIS; (2) that part of the philological method of

>determining meaning--in addition to semantic and sytactical
input--lies in

>seeing what an author says in the context of a term. That is [and I

>that in this process I was doing something that I recall Rolf
stressing in

>other strings in the past] meaning does not lie in individual words,
but in

>terms used in a particular context.


>What I meant by the phrase "My two cents worth," a common English
idiom for

>implying that something is only a minor addition to a discussion, was

>I felt that what I wrote neither affirmed nor denied either Carl or

>but reminded the list that Colossians itself, while it identifies

>TA PANTA, a going phrase in Hellenistic-Roman era philosophy for the

>universe, goes on to say that this includes TA hORATA KAI TA AORATA.

>is Colossians says that TA PANTA is more than the visible world. It

>goes on to define TA AORATA as comprising QRONOI, KURIOTHTES, ARCAI,

>EXOUSIAI. The writer's interest is focused on these invisible beings

>have rebelled against God. That is clear from vv. 18b-20 and from the

>return to the topic in chapter 2.


> ... The data I cite are rhetorical

>syntactic (words in apposition to other words, for example). They do

>claim to represent the totality of the semantic possibilities of the

>KTISIS; but I would hold that they do indicate what the writer's

>is in using the term.


> ... there are other places in the New Testament [where Jesus

>is portrayed as the direct agent of creation]. 1 Cor 8:6, Heb 1:1-4,
John 1, >etc. And in my opinion, they are an application, in part, of
the sort of

>SOPHIA language that > one finds in Sap.Sol. 7-10....


>And finally, I did not at all think that I was being a critic of

>input. That did not even occur to me. Nor do I claim that anything I

>is "the last word" on anything; if someone takes my words as

>they confer the authority on my words; I do not put it there.


>Finally, I for my part did not think that what I wrote had any

>bias, hidden agenda, or theological position. It was intended to be a

>rhetorical, syntactical, and literary argument alone.


>I hope this helps to clarify what I meant and what I intended.



>Edgar Krentz

>Acting Dean, Fall Quarter 1998

>Professor of New Testament Emeritus

>Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

>1100 E. 55th Street

>Chicago, IL 60615 USA


>e-mail: (Office)

> (Home)


Carl W. Conrad

Co-Chair, B-Greek List

Department of Classics, Washington University

One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018

Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR



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