Re: 2 Thess 2:6-7 = "holding fast"?

From: Jon Weatherly (
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 14:05:14 EST

While I would not dismiss BAGD lightly, it should be
observed that their assigning the sense "restrain" to
KATECHO in 2 Thess 2:6-7 is largely a consequence of
the traditional interpretation of this text (also not
to be taken lightly), not to any specific lexical
consideration that exists apart from that
interpretation. BTW, this reading is unchanged in the
third edition, per the proofs that I checked at the
SBL meeting last November.

I still find the understanding of TO KATECHON as "the
experience of holding fast" to be pretty remote. I can
recall no substantivized participles that refer
abstractly to the experience denoted by the verb as
opposed to one who does, or in the case of passive
participles receives, the action denoted by the verb.
My memory is hardly definitive, but I don't see
anything in BDF that suggests such a possibility

IMHO, a better case has been made by Charles Wanamaker
in his NIGNT commentary on the Thessalonian letters.
He notes that KATECHO used intransitively (N.B. that
the traditional interpretation assumes a direct object
not present in the text)generally means "prevail" (so
LSJ, also not to be taken lightly). This shift opens
up possibilities for revising the traditional
interpretation of the passage. Wanamaker is reluctant
to pursue these. I am less reluctant, however. Anyone
interested can track down what I've done on this text
in my obscure commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians,
published by College Press in Joplin, MO.

Jon Weatherly
Professor of New Testament
Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary

--- "Maurice A. O'Sullivan" <> wrote:
> At 23:29 13/03/00, Chris A Vlachos wrote:
> >To substantiate his translation of
> >KATECHO as "hold fast" he points to the use of
> KATECHO in 1 Thess 5:21
> The problem with this is that BAGD assigns the
> meaning "hold fast" to 1 Th.
> 5:21
> under section B/beta, whereas under A/gamma we get
> this;
> >>>>>>>>>>
> 2 Th 2:6 and hO KATECWN vs. 7 mean that which
> restrains and he who
> restrains, i.e., what prevents the adversary of God
> fr. coming out in open
> opposition to him, for the time being. Present-day
> interpr., as did the
> exegesis of the ancient church, generally takes TO
> KAT. to be the Roman
> Empire and hO K.. the Emperor (OBetz, NTS 9, '63,
> 276-91). An alternative
> view, as old as Theodore of Mops., would make . TO
> KAT the preaching of
> Christian missionaries and hO K. the apostle Paul
> (so OCullmann,
> CHDodd-Festschr. '56, 409-21). In any case, the
> concept of the temporary
> restraining of the forces of hell
> [ Bauer, Walter, Gingrich, F. Wilbur, and Danker,
> Frederick W., A
> Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other
> Early Christian
> Literature, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press)
> 1979. ]
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
> Regards
> Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]
> [ subscribed to MSN Messenger
> ]
> ---
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