[b-greek] TA STOICEIA - Col 2:8ff

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sat Sep 16 2000 - 16:34:02 EDT

C. E. Arnold*, advances a syntactical argument that TA STOICEIA in Col 2:8
has a personal referent. He actually has a long discussion of this which is
historical, lexical and syntactical but I only want to address the
syntactical question.

Col. 2:8b

Arnold suggests that the opposition set up here between
TA STOICEIA TOU KOSMOU and CRISTON suggests that both elements of the
opposition have personal referents. He thinks that the personal can, in this
context, only be syntactically opposed to the personal. I agree with
Arnold's conclusion about TA STOICEIA having a personal referent but I
don't find this particular part of his argument very compelling. Why not?

KATA THN PARADOSIN TWN ANQRWPWN has an impersonal referent (PARADOSIN) and
is part of the pattern

 . . . KATA -> term
KATA -> term
KAI KATA -> term.

Arnold does not over look the first KATA -> term but he argues that the KAI
between the second and third KATA -> term links the second and third into a
contrasting relationship. He sees this contrasting relationship as evidence
that TA STOICEIA TOU KOSMOU has a personal referent.

However, the whole construction (all three KATA -> terms) functions as a
single middle level discourse constituent limiting either the hO SULAGWGWN
or THS FILOSOFIAS KAI KENHS APATHS. This three part pattern contains a first
term which has an impersonal referent (THN PARADOSIN), a second term which
is disputed (TA STOICEIA TOU KOSMOU) and a third term which is personal
CRISTON. Why does Arnold think that the third term is only contrasted to the
second term but not to the first term? If the third term is contrasted to
both the first and second term then his argument falls on the floor.

I am rather at a loss to see why this syntax would lend any support to the
notion that TA STOICEIA TOU KOSMOU has a personal referent. I think the
historical, lexical argument for a personal referent is quite good but I am
just a little underwhelmed by his argument from syntax.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*Arnold, C.E. The Colossian Syncretism, Baker, 1996, page 188.

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