Re: Eph 4: 22-24

From: Jürg Buchegger (
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 09:51:28 EDT

<x-charset iso-8859-1>Dear Dale and Harold,

I am still dealing with Eph 4:22-24 and found your ongoing conversation
helpful. I agree that the terms "old/new man" in Eph 4:22+24 has to be
understood in the first place in light of the epistle itself that is as a
reader you have still in mind the "new man" from 2:15. I agree too with Dale
that we don't have strict technical terms here, but the terms have been
coined ad hoc by Paul, especially when putting together words that have not
been used in this way before (as is to some extant the case with this
contrast between old and new man). There in 2:15 I would see both the
corporate and the individual aspect of "new man" and I don't think that we
should seperate or choose between these two aspects anyway.
Concerning the translation of "old/new man" as "new humanity" I have some
reservations because I think that the word ANQRWPOS in these terms
consciously alludes to the OT-Paul-concept of Adam (LXX ANQRWPOS).
Especially in Paul I guess he has always this line of thought in his mind
when he uses ANQRWPOS in a theological way. Put another way: Wouldn't there
have been other greek words than ANQRWPOS, if he really wanted to say
"humanity" (or "life", "nature" etc. as different translations have)??
ANQRWPOS was chosen deliberately because of theological implications.

As strong as I agree with Dales warning against "technical terms" in the NT,
I would on the other side stress two important restrictions. Both have to do
with some degree of constitency at least in the mind of the writer of a text
(e.g. Paul):
1. As Harold mentioned there is the possibility of temporally very close
texts (like Eph and Col). I think in cases like these and especially if at
the same time the topic and content is very similar, one is allowed to take
such a parallel like Col 3:10 into account in interpreting Eph 4:24. But
still there is a priority of the immediate context and the whole text (here:
epistle) as the first place to find an appropriate interpretation before
drawing on other texts.
2. If a writer is coining a new word or term to describe a reality he can
not describe otherwise I think we come close to a technical term. And this
is the case, I think, when Paul is talking of ANANEOW in 4:23. Not that
ANANEOW is a pauline neologism, but he uses this word instead of his
neologism ANAKAINOW, primarely because of stilistic reasons. I can not go
into details here about ANAKAINOW and ANAKAINWSIS but my point here is: when
Paul is using THIS (or another neologism) word he has a very specific
reality in mind which he is describing with THIS word and this comes close
to a technical term.

Jurg Buchegger, Drs.
Bern, Switzerland

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