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fula,ssei ta. stoicei/a( parV ou- ta. me,tra tw/n th/j h`me,raj dro,mwn o` h[lioj150 ei;lhfe fula,ssein( w-| peiqarcei/ selh,nh nukti. fai,nein keleu,onti( w-| peiqarcei/ ta. a;stra tw/| th/j selh,nhj avkolouqou/nta dro,mw|\ w-| pa,nta diate,taktai kai. diw,ristai kai. u`pote,taktai( ouvranoi.

kai. ta. evn ouvranoi/j( gh/ kai. ta. evn th/| gh/|( qa,lassa kai. ta. evn th/| qala,ssh|( pu/r( avh,r( a;bussoj( ta. evn u[yesi( ta. evn ba,qesi( ta. evn tw/| metaxu,\ tou/ton pro.j auvtou.j a.pe,steilen) But he is truly the almighty and creator-of-all and invisible God – he himself from (the) heavens set in place for humankind151 and firmly fixed in their hearts the truth and the holy and unknowable word. Not, as one might guess,152 did he send to humanity just any attendant or angel or a ruler or any one of those who administer earthly things or any one of those who have been faithful managing things in heaven, but the technician and creator of the whole himself by whom he created the heavens, by whom he contained153 the sea by its own borders, the mysteries of whom are guarded faithfully by all the elements, alongside of whom the sun continues to take care of the lengths of the courses of the day, whom the moon obeys when ordered to shine at night, whom the stars obey when following the courses of the moon; by whom everything continues to be appointed and boundaried and subjugated, the heavens and that which is in the heavens, the earth and that which is in the earth, the sea and that which is in the sea, fire, air, (the) abyss, that which is in the heights, that which is in the depths, that which is in between. This is the one he sent to them.

The above periocope comes from the Epistle to Diognetus, an early Christian text with very limited and late manuscript evidence154 that likely dates from the second century CE.155 All difficulties aside, this pericope provides an intersection of creation language and early Christology. There is significant intertextual commonality with LXX Gen 1.1-5 (avo,ratoj( ouvrano,j( gh/( nu,x( a;bussoj), though there is little, if any, direct relationship with our primary After describing God in three categories: pantokratwr/Almighty; pantokti,sthj/creator of all;156 and text.

avoratoj/invisible,157 the Christ-figure, possibly referenced in Johannine terms as the lo,goj,158 is pictured as coo` h[lioj is in the editio princeps of H. Stephanus (Paris, 1592) but absent from Codex Argentoratensis (13th/14th c.) and the late 16th c. transcription of B. Haus (Tübingen, 1580). See A. Lindemann and H. Paulson, Die Apostolischen Väter, (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1992) 306, 314; B.D. Ehrman, ed., The Apostolic Fathers, (LCL 25 [updated edition] 2 vols., Cambridge: Harvard, 2003) 128-129.

avnqrw,poij While "guess" bends eivka,zw a bit, this translation attempts to get at the meaning of the phrase.

evnklei,w H.G. Meecham, The Epistle to Diognetus: The Greek Text with Introduction, Translation, and Notes, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1949) outlines the manuscript history of Diognetus, which includes the unfortunate fact that the sole manuscript containing the text (12th/13th c. Codex Argentoratensis) was destroyed by fire in Strassburg, 24 August 1870, as a result of the Franco-Prussian War. (68) Evidence for the Greek text is based on 16th c. transcripts of the Argentoratensis.

Ehrman, ed., Apostolic Fathers, 2.127; Meecham, Epistle to Diognetus, surveys opinion (pre-1949) on the authorship and date of the epistle (16-19) and cautiously comes down on 150 CE. (19) This word is not found in the LXX or in LS. As noticed by Meecham, Epistle to Diognetus, this may be a coinage from the likes of o` pa,ntwn kti,sthj in 2 Macc 1.24, or o` kti,sthj a`pa,ntwn in Sir 24.8. (118) With this use of avoratoj, Diognetus incorporates the middle-Platonic categories of visible and invisible, e.g.,, Philo, Opif 29, Spec 1.20, Legat. 318; Col 1.15.

It is difficult to assert with any certainty that this use of lo,goj in Digonetus is Johannine, in line with John 1.1ff.

In the above pericope, lo,goj is clearly coupled with avlh,qeia. One might look to the Johannine prologue, specifically to Jn 1.14 and 17, where in the incarnate lo,goj grace and truth become evident, though no direct connection or reliance is evident. Within Diognetus, Jesus is referred to as the lo,goj (cf. 11.2, 3, 7, 12.9), though Diog 11-12 are most likely an addition to the original letter, chs. 1-10, cf. Meecham, Epistle to Diognetus, 64-66. It is impossible to base a clear argument for the meaning of lo,goj in Diog 7.2 on internal evidence. Meecham also has a brief –181 –

CHAPTER FOUR

creator (auvto.n to.n tecni,thn kai. dhmiourgo.n tw/n o[lon)159 – the means by which the Almighty created the heavens, boundrified the sea, organized the celestial time-keepers. The pericope concludes with a laundry list of those things that the Christ-figure has appointed, boundaried, and subjugated: the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all their contents, and also fire, air, the abyss (a;bussoj), and everything else.

Of significance in this study are the picture of the Christ-figure and the concern for order in Diog 7.2. The Christ-figure is the central focus of the pericope and is clearly present and creatively active from the beginning.

This falls in line with other texts that have a first-created figure involved with and/or present at the creation of the physical world.160 The concern for order, specifically creation by the boundrification of the sea, is a recurring thread throughout the intertextual tapestry of Gen 1.1-5,161 though the language in Diognetus does not appear to be reliant on any specific text.





–  –  –

discussion of this problem, coming to no firm conclusion. (118) Similarly cautious is J.T. Lienhard, “The Christology of the Epistle to Diognetus,” VC 24 (1970) 282.

In Heb 11.10, tecni,thj and dhmiourgo,j are used together to describe God.

The context in Hebrews – model of faith, Abraham, while having to live in a tent, anticipates the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Heb 12.22 – H.W. Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, (ed. H. Koester; Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1989) 324) with foundations that are from God the architect and creator – differs from Diog 7.2, in which it is the Christ-figure that is the architect and creator of the physical cosmos. Of interest is the suggestion of R.G. Tanner, “The Epistle to Diognetus and Contemporary Greek Thought,” in Studia Patristica XV (ed. E.A. Livingston; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1984), that this is an example of an early Christian ‘binitarian’ reading of the Christ-figure in light of contemporary Stoic (tecni,thj) and Middle-Platonic (dhmiourgo,j) philosophic categories. (503-504) Wisdom – LXX Prov 8.22-31, Sir 24; Christ – Jn 1.1-5, Col 1.15-20, 1 Clem 33.4.

LXX Job 38.10 – sea; LXX 103.

9 & Isa 40.12 – waters. Also, 1 Clem 20.5-8, 33.3.

The Greek of the New Testament texts in this chapter is taken from Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece, (27 ed.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993). The following poetic arrangement of Col 1.15-20 comes from N.T. Wright, “Poetry and Theology in Colossians 1.15-20,” NTS 36 (1990) 446.

While the oldest mss include diV auvtou, its problematic nature has been dealt with by even more, mostly later mss that remove it, cf. Nestle-Aland, Nestle-Aland,.

–  –  –

This pericope, commonly referred to as the Christ-hymn,164 comes within a larger section of Colossians about the person of Christ,165 and it interprets the person and death of Jesus in cosmic terms.166 While Col 1.15-20 numbers among the few texts in the New Testament that likely have Gen 1.1-5 in mind, it is also sufficiently linked with LXX Gen 1.1-5 intertextually (avo,ratoj( avrch,( poie,w( ouvrano,j&gh/).

In this tightly woven text, the vision of creation portrays Christ as the beginning (avrch,) of all, the physical image of the invisible (avoratoj) God,167 and the creative agent or conduit through whom everything came into, existence. Christologically, it bears significant similarity with John 1168 and other Christ-creation texts169 and also those that place a personified Wisdom-figure at the beginning.170 It is clear that the author of Colossians posits that the entirety of creation is to be generated through Christ as noted by the use of ouvrano,j&gh/ as a form of hendiadys.171 Creation, however, is not the complete focus of the passage. Christ is also placed at the head of the church, though the author indicates nothing here about the nature of the church.172 Käsemann notes that this reference to church was likely appended by the author as an interpretation of the hymn's original wording that referred to Christ as head On independent nature of this pericope, cf E. Lohse, Colossians and Philemon, (trans. W.R. Poehlmann and R.J.

Karris; ed. H. Koester; Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971) 41-61, especially 41 n.64.

Col 1.9-23 While I am convinced by Käsemann that Col 1.15-20 is a Christian hymn that has been adapted by the author of Colossians [see E. Käsemann, “A Primitive Christian Baptismal Liturgy,” in Essays on New Testament Themes (trans. W.J. Montague; SBT 41; Naperville: Alec R. Allenson, 1964) 154], there is no need for this study to wade too deeply into the debate over the origin and authorship of this pericope. For a relatively recent survey, see L.

Helyer, “Recent Research on Col 1:15-20 (1980-1990),” GTJ 12 (1992) 51-67.

There is a striking similarity in the Christological language of Col 1.15 and the anthropological statement of Philo, Mos II.64, in which expounding about the significance of Noah being the postdiluvian father of all he refers to humanity as eivkw.n th/j avora,tou, or the image of the invisible (God).

There is a difference between Col 1.15-20 and John 1 – John 1 stresses the eternal lo,goj, whereas Col 1.15-20 is as, if not more, interested in building up the cosmogonic significance of the Christ in order to provide the means through which the Creator can reconcile the world in its entirety to himself. On a different note, there is a significant Christological similarity with Heb 1.1ff, where through Christ the worlds are created (diV ou- kai.

evpoi,hsen tou.j aivw/noj – 1.2) and Christ is (the) radiance of God's glory and a likeness of God's very being (o]]j w'n avpau,gasma th/j do,xhj kai. caracth.r th/j u`posta,sewj auvtou(... – 1.3).

1 Clem 33.4, Diogn 7.2, and less so Herm. Vis. 3.4.

Eg. Prov 8.22f, Sir 24.9f, Wis 6.22.

Col 1.16, 20 In Herm. Vis. 8.1 (II.4.1) it is stated that the church was the first thing created, and that for the sake of the church (dia. tau,thn o` ko,smoj kathrti,sqh), the world was created. Less specific, though no less implied, is the placement of the creation of the church at the beginning of creation in Herm. Vis. 3.4 (I.3.4).

–  –  –

4.3.3 1 Clement 20.1-12 20)1 oi` ouvranoi. th|/ dioikh,sei auvtou/ saleuo,menoi evn eivrh,nh| u`pota,ssontai auvtw|/) 2 h`me,ra te kai. nu.x to.n tetagme,non u`pV auvtou/ dro,mon dianu,ousin( mhde.n avllh,loij evmpodi,zonta) 3 h`lio,j te175 kai. selh,nh( avste,rwn te coroi. kata. th.n diatagh.n auvtou/ evn o`monoi,a| di,ca pa,shj parekba,sewj evxeli,ssousin tou.j evpitetagme,nouj auvtoi/j o`rismou,j) 4 gh/ kuoforou/sa kata. to.

qe,lhma auvtou/ toi/j ivdi,oij kairoi/j th.n panplhqh/ avnqpw,poij te kai. qhrsi.n kai. pa/sin toi/j ou=sin evpV auvth/j zw|,oij avnate,llei trofh,n( mh. dicostatou/sa mhde. avlloiou/sa, ti tw/n dedogmatisme,nwn u`pV auvtou/) 5avbu,sswn te avnexicni,asta kai. nerte,rwn avnekdih,ghta kli,mata176 toi/j auvtoi/j sune,cetai prosta,gmasin) 6 to. ku,toj th/j avpei,rou qala,sshj kata. th.n dhmiourgi,an auvtou/ sustaqe.n eivj ta.j sunagwga.j ouv parekbai,nei ta. periteqeime,na auvth|/ klei/qra( avlla.

kaqw.j die,taxen auvth|/ ou[twj poiei/) 7 ei=pen ga.r\ e[wj w-de h[xeij( kai. ta. ku,mata, sou evn soi.

suntribh,setai) 8 wvkeano.j avpe,rantoj avnqrw,poij kai. oi` metV auvto.n ko,smoi tai/j auvtai/j tagai/j tou/ despo,tou dieuqu,nontai) 9 kairoi. evarinoi. kai. qerinoi. kai. metopwrinoi. kai. ceimerinoi. evn eivrh,nh| metapapadido,asin avllh,loij) 10 avne,mwn staqmoi. kata. to.n i;dion kairo.n th.n leitourgi,an auvtw/n avprosko,pwj evpitelou/sin\ ave,neaoi, te phgai,( pro.j avpo,lausin kai. u`gei,an dhmiourghqei/sai( di,ca evllei,yewj pare,contai tou.j pro.j zwh/j avnqrw,poij mazou,j\ ta, te evla,cista tw/n zw|,wn ta.j suneleu,seij auvtw/n evn o`monoi,a| kai. eivrh,nh| poiou/ntai) 11 tau/ta pa,nta o` me,gaj dhmiourgo.j kai. despo,thj tw/n a`pa,ntwn evn eivrh,nh| kai. o`monoi,a| prose,taxen ei=nai( euvergetw/n ta. pa,nta( u`perekperissw/j de. h`ma/j tou.j prospefeugo,taj toi/j oivktirmoi/j auvtou/ dia.

tou/ kuri,ou h`mw/n VIhsou/ Cristou/( 12 w-| h` do,xa kai. h` megalwsu,nh eivj tou.j aivw/naj tw/n aivw,nwn) avmh,n) 20.1 The heavens, moving about by his governance, are subject to him in peace. 2Day and night complete the course which has been assigned by him, without hindering each other. 3Sun and moon, the dances177 of the stars unfold178 in harmony not crossing each other179 according to his ordinance. 4(The) earth, giving birth according to his will at the particular time/season, brings forth the full nourishment for people and beasts and all the living things upon it, without Käsemann, “Primitive Christian Baptismal Liturgy,” 150-153.

The verb used here, avpokatala,ssw, is used similarly to describe reconciliation with God through the cross of Christ, though not in terms of all creation but of believers in Col 1.22 and Eph 2.16.

The te is absent in manuscript Hieroslymitanus (1056), cf. Lindemann and Paulson, Apostolischen Väter, 102. A clearer overview of the manuscripts available of 1 Clement is given by Ehrman, ed., Apostolic Fathers, 28-30.

All the mss have here kri,mata; kli,mata, cf. Ehrman, ed., Apostolic Fathers, 1.73; Lindemann and Paulson, Apostolischen Väter, 104.

This may be taking too much poetic license with coro,j, but the reasoning behind using ‘dances’ rather than ‘chorus’ is that the author here is describing the movement of the stars. Also, it should be noted that coro,j is singular in C (4th c. Coptic ms) and L (11th c. Latin ms), cf. Lindemann and Paulson, Apostolischen Väter, 102.

If one understands that the author is talking about orderly motion, then it seems that ‘wheeled out’ seems a better translation of evxeli,ssw; above, I'm going with a less dance-like idea, which may ultimately undermine reading coro,j as ‘dance’.



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