Sunday, October 16, 2016

"A Discourse Analysis of Colossians 2:16-3:17" (Article Link)


Duncan said...

There is a problem here in application This may be valid for those with a heavenly hope but go back to verse 8. Is this talking about Torah? The scene is set here and it is much more likely to be referring to oral tradition.

"False humility and the worship of angels" or should that be messengers? Like Abraham, Enoch etc.

I see here predominantly a rejection of oral tradition.

The Sabbath section as sons of God would no longer be sons of isreal. So again the expectation for gentiles to observe Sabbath additionally would be oral tradition.

Edgar Foster said...

Col. 2:16-17 was written to the "holy ones" in Colossae, so yes, it strictly applies to the anointed but also is incumbent on all followers of Christ. Whether 2:16-17 is referring to written laws or spoken ones, the principle is the same: Christians are not under Jewish dietary laws and they should not let others judge them adversely for not keeping such laws. The referent for τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων is not clear. Does it refer to Greek, Phrygian, or Jewish tradition? We don't know for sure, but the point from 2:16-17 still stands in my estimation. The law was a shadow, but Christ is the reality/substance. Edicts concerning food, drink, Sabbath, and new moon all issued from the written law.

Again, I don't see how the translation/interpretation of τῶν ἀγγέλων changes any implications for our understanding of 2:16-18. Even "messengers" could be used to describe spirit beings rather than human prophets. We must also think about the context in which 2:18 was written and what necessitated its composition. In other words, what is the Sitz-im-Leben for the verse?

2:16 is fairly specific in what Paul is maintaining one should reject. The dietary laws of Lev. 11 seem to be encompassed along with Jewish festivals like new moon and the Sabbath. Historically, keeping the Sabbath has been an identifying marker for reverent Jews. Furthermore, according to the Hebrew writings, Sabbath was only given to Israel, not to Gentiles.

I also keep asking myself, why keep dietary laws for devotional reasons if Christ died for my sins and I'm now justified by exercising faith in his shed blood? What religious purpose would keeping dietary laws serve?

Duncan said...

"why keep dietary laws for devotional reasons" - this is making the assumption that the dietary guide was for purely devotional reasons. I am having a hard time finding any that do not fit the evidence based science that actually benefit and extend life.

Evidence based searches potentially answer certain questions

Do dometicated Sheep or Goats have the same potential to carry vectors?

All of this stems from application of the 10 in a beneficial way.

It's like washing the hand - we all know that it is best practice but to require a special jug to wash the left then the right and repeat?

Duncan said...

Edgar Foster said...

I respectfully disagree that my remark implied that devoational reasons only factored into the dietary laws; nevertheless, religious factors likely explain (primarily) the Levitical commands. But I'm not suggesting there were no health benefits to abstaining from pork in the wilderness. I just don't see why Christians should be religiously obligated to keep such laws today.

Most westerners I know do not feast on the numerous kinds of fare mentioned in Leviticus anyway. How many people do you know in the West, who eat camel? I don't know anyone in my part of the world, who consumes camel although some do eat rabbit and many eat pork.

I must say that I don't understand the connection you're making between the Decalogue and dietary laws. In principle, one could try to keep the former without atttempting to keep the latter.

On washing hands, we recall that Jesus condemned the Pharisaic tradition because of the practice's motivation.

Going back to the NT, God declared what was formerly unclean to now be clean.

Edgar Foster said...

Harris provides this analysis of Col. 2:16:

καταβραβευέτω (“ disqualify,” “rob of a prize,” “condemn,” v. 18), κρινέτω clearly has a pejorative sense: not “adjudicate,” but “pass an unfavorable judgment upon” (BDAG 567d), “sit in judgment” (Weymouth), “criticise” (NJB), “take (you) to task” (REB), “pass judgment on” (RSV, NAB ²; O’Brien 135). In the light of (cf. οὖν, “therefore”) God’s triumph in Christ over all spiritual powers that would enslave human beings (vv. 8,15), the Colossians should resolutely resist any effort that certain propagandists (cf. μὴ . . . τις [. . . κρινέτω], “Allow no one . . . to take you to task,” REB) might make to restrict their freedom by legalistic regulations. ἐν βρώσει καὶ ἐν πόσει Βρῶσις, -εως, ἡ, eating; food. Πόσις, -εως, ἡ, drinking; drink. Nouns with the suf. -σις generally denote “names of action” (nomina actionis), verbal abstracts (MH 373)— thus “eating,” “drinking” (TCNT; Wilson 215). But, by metonymy, βρῶσις can be equivalent to βρῶμα,“ food,” and πόσις to πόμα, “drink” (thus NRSV, NASB ²; O’Brien 135), so that one could tr. “what you eat or drink” (GNB, REB, TNIV). On the significance of Jewish dietary regulations, see Dunn 172– 74. ᾽ Εν is locat./ referential (“ in the matter of,” “regarding”; sim. most EVV) or conceivably instr./ causal (“ by,” TNIV; “on the basis of”). Prep. phrases are often anar. (cf. 2: 1,12). The repeated ἐν shows that dietary regulations concerning food and drink are being viewed separately.

Harris, Murray J. Colossians and Philemon (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) (Kindle Locations 3582-3586). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Harris, Murray J. Colossians and Philemon (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) (Kindle Locations 3573-3582). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Harris, Murray J. Colossians and Philemon (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) (Kindle Locations 3571-3573). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Duncan said...

In any case many of the animals in the OT are not actually known today and the names used in the English translations are best guess. The important thing here is recognising the caracteristics of the particular animals.

Edgar Foster said...

Granted, some people eat camel meat, but it's consumption is virtually non-existent in the West and other parts of the world. I'd venture to say that most people do not eat camel. See

I personally have no interest.

I also don't have any problem with the last part of your statement, but then again. I see no reason to adhere to these laws that evidently were nailed to Jesus' STAUROS.

Duncan said...

Enough camel meat is sold world wide for it to be referenced here, so it is significant.

We are still at cross purposes.

He kindly forgave us all our trespasses and blotted out >>the handwritten document<< against us, which consisted of decrees and which was in opposition to us; and He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake.

What was hand written & what was written by the "finger of god"?

Edgar Foster said...

I can guarantee you that relatively few places on earth sell/consume camel meat these days. See

It's not consumed in North America or continental Europe, and I would venture to say that few Brits eat or have ever tried camel meat. Even in places where some do eat camel, they don't eat the meat all the time. Camel is only consumed in some parts of Africa as well, but many don't it the meat there, because they're strict Muslims. Overall, the consumption of camel meat is not a large concern. I'd wager that most Americans would not eat camel, even if they could.

The Decalogue was written by God's finger initially, but the other laws composed by Moses, etc. There also came a time when the Ten Words had to be copied by hand as well, if they were going to be preserved for later generations and made accessible to them.