From: Bob Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Nov 25 1998 - 12:20:07 EST
Subject: Re: CEIROGRAFON
From: email@example.com (Ben Crick)
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 98 01:04:16
On Tue 24 Nov 98 (10:25:13), firstname.lastname@example.org
> I am a timid new user and a relative neophyte
in the language. My
> question relates to the use of CEIROGRAYON in
Colossians 2:14. Some
> sources state categorically that this refers
to the Mosaic Law.
> Others indicate that it suggests some sort of
bond signed by the hand
> of a debtor. The context seems to support the
former, but I have the
> unpleasant sensation that I am missing
You are evidently familiar with the discussion
in Lightfoot's /Colossians
and Philemon/. The problem seems to me to be the
case of TOIS DOGMASIN.
One might expect the genitive here, the
"handwriting of the ordinances
against us"; but the GEGRAMMENON implicit in
CEIROGRAFON attracts the
dative (of agent?).
CEIROGRAFON indicates an autograph; a signature
on a bond or a promissory
note; or the signature on a receipt to a bill.
This agrees with Philemon
19, EGW PAULOS EGRAYA THi EMHi CEIRI, EGW
But it appears that the "autograph" is not
Christ's underwritten signature,
but the handwritten teachings of the Mosaic Law,
which are "against us":
compare the Decalogue, engraved by the finger of
God (Deuteronomy 9:10).
Alternatively, the reference may be to the title
which Pontius Pilate wrote
on the cross (which had been prepared for
Barabbas); the handwriting hO
GEGRAFA GEGRAFA was Pilate's statement of the
capital offence of Christ:
hO BASILEUS TWN IOUDAIWN (treason against Rome).
This "crime" of Jesus was
expunged by the shedding of his blood as he died
upon the cross, PROSHLWSAS
AUTO TWi STAURWi.
Early Greek commentators agreed that TOIS
DOGMASIN (or EN DOGMASIN,
Ephesians 2:15) refers to the doctrines of the
Gospel as the /means by
which/ (instrumental dative) the release from
the bond was achieved. But
the syntax is against this view. Jerome
translates /delens quod adversum
nos erat chirografum decretis quod erat
contrarium nobis et ipsum tulit de
medio adfigens illud cruci, etc/. /Chirografum/
is a Greek loan-word
transcribed into Latin, and used as a legal term
for any written contract
or bond in Roman law; not just the autographed
signature on it. So the
Mosaic Law gets my vote, FWIW. It was the Mosaic
Law that defined sin and
disclosed offences (Romans 7:7-11); and it was
the death penalty for our
offences, thus disclosed, which Christ expunged
with his blood on the Cross.
Just my $0.02
-- Revd Ben Crick, BA CF <email@example.com> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK) http://www.cnetwork.co.uk/crick.htm
Thank you for your insights! Thanks also for your gentle correction of my misspelling of CEIROGRAFON. I was not familiar with the sources you cited, but your synopsis was enlightening. I wonder also whether Romans 2:14-15 might be significant here. The Colossians' tacit acknowledgement of the principles in the Mosaic law served as their bond of indebtedness.
As a layman with limited exposure to Greek scholarship, I cannot tell you how excited I am to have access to this forum! I love studying the NT Greek, but have so many questions. This is an awesome resource!
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