[b-greek] Re: Eph 4:9 TA KATWTERA

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sun Oct 07 2001 - 07:27:47 EDT

At 12:40 AM +0100 10/7/01, Ben Crick wrote:
>On Sat 6 Oct 2001 (17:39:01), cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu wrote:
>> or at least deScent. I quite agree with you on this one, Clay. It seems
>> to me that for TA KATWTERA to refer to the incarnation we would have to
>> assume the fully-dualistic cosmological conception of the created world as a
>> dark prison for souls never meant to dwell there. I would think to that
>> the genitive qualifier THS GHS should in this instance mean that TA
>> KATWTERA designates a region of the earth--and ought not to be viewed
>> appositionally as identical with the earth.
> ISTM that there is a parallel in Psalm 139:15 (138:15 LXX)
> Here the reference is clearly to gestation in the womb: the indispensible
> concomitant of Incarnation.
> So although Psalm 63:9 (62:9 LXX) has EISELEUSONTAI EIS TA KATWTATA THS GHS
> which can only refer to Sheol/Hades, this does not exhaust the possibilities
> for TA KATWTERA [MERH] THS GHS in Ephesians 4:9. If Christ's Ascension was
> from earth to heaven (from the Mount of Olives), then his Descent would
> logically be from heaven to earth (to Bethlehem), not from earth to Hades
> (at Calvary).

Although it might seem to be a very modern ("post-modern"?) thing to
reformulate metaphors of height and depth in a three-story universe into
new cosmic metaphors of microcosmic recesses and macrocosmic expanses, it
appears that the interpretation of Ps 139:15 has been doing that in much
traditional commentary and translation. I'm personally more inclined to
think that the poetic phrasing of this verse depends upon association of
womb and tomb both with the nether recesses of the earth, etc.

I found the following in Spurgeon's Treasury of David at:

'Verse 15. In the lowest parts of the earth. From this remarkable
expression, which, in the original, and as elsewhere used, denotes the
region of the dead -- Sheol, or Hades -- it would appear that it is not
only his formation in the womb the Psalmist here contemplates, but also --
regarding the region of the dead as the womb of resurrection life -- the
refashioning of the body hereafter, and its new birth to the life immortal,
which will be no less "marvellous" a work, but rather more so, than the
first fashioning of man's "substance." ' --William De Burgh.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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