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αἰώνιον in Matthew 25:46, David Bentley Hart

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αἰώνιον in Matthew 25:46, David Bentley Hart

Postby jeidsath » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:58 am

Hart's translation of Matthew 25:46: And these shall go to the chastening of that Age, but the just to the life of that Age.

καὶ ἀπελεύσονται οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον, οἱ δὲ δίκαιοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

Apparently he does something similar in Mark 3:29, rendering it "answerable for a transgression in the Age," footnote "an age-long transgression."
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Re: αἰώνιον in Matthew 25:46, David Bentley Hart

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:01 am

Matthew 25:46 (Hart) wrote:And these shall go to the chastening of that Age, but the just to the life of that Age.

That translation needs some commentary (or the Greek) to make it more understandable.

Another point: The milder English word "chastening" is not surprising from an Orthodox translator. The absolute sinfullness of Adam and Eve's actions don't feature in Orthodox theology. They are thought of more like naïve youths, rather than absolutely sinful people, and humanity inherits original sin without the Augustinian universal guilt of original sin. Trench differentiates τιμωρία from κόλασις by saying that the first is vindictive, while the second - our word under consideration- is for the betterment of the one being chastised, and may be temporary, leading to a better state later. [The middle state between heaven and hades is mentioned in some fathers, but does not have the status of an official doctrine, because there was not a consensus of the fathers, and neither was it a doctrine officially accepted by an Ecumenical Council of what they call the undivided Christian millenium.]
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Re: αἰώνιον in Matthew 25:46, David Bentley Hart

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:15 pm

Hart likes to present what he calls a "literal" translation to bring out the "real meaning" of the text as it would have echoed in the minds of the original audience, or some such goal. Of course, he is not the first to attempt such a translation, and the problem that I have is that they tend to ignore how the text was historically read from ancient times onward, and substitute a rather subjective criterion for how the translator thinks it should have been read.

On κόλασις:

② transcendent retribution, punishment (ApcSed 4:1 κόλασις καὶ πῦρ ἐστιν ἡ παίδευσίς σου.—Diod S 3, 61, 5; 16, 61, 1; Epict. 3, 11, 1; Dio Chrys. 80 [30], 12; 2 Macc 4:38 al. in LXX; Philo, Spec. Leg. 1, 55; 2, 196; Jos., Ant. 1, 60 al.; Just.; Did., Gen., 115, 28; 158, 10) ApcPt 17:32; w. αἰκισμός 1 Cl 11:1. Of eternal punishment (w. θάνατος) Dg 9:2 (Diod S 8, 15, 1 κ. ἀθάνατος). Of hell: τόπος κολάσεως ApcPt 6:21 (Simplicius in Epict. p. 13, 1 εἰς ἐκεῖνον τὸν τόπον αἱ κολάσεως δεόμεναι ψυχαὶ καταπέμπονται); ἐν τῇ κ. ἐκείνῃ 10:25; ibid. ἐφορῶσαι τὴν κ. ἐκείνων (cp. ApcEsdr 5:10 p. 30, 2 Tdf. ἐν τῇ κ.). ἐκ τῆς κ. ApcPt Rainer (cp. ἐκ τὴν κ. ApcSed 8:12a; εἰς τὴν κ. 12b and TestAbr B 11 p. 116, 10 [Stone p. 80]). ἀπέρχεσθαι εἰς κ. αἰώνιον go away into eternal punishment Mt 25:46 (οἱ τῆς κ. ἄξιοι ἀπελεύσονται εἰς αὐτήν Iren. 2, 33, 5 [Harv. I 380, 8]; κ. αἰώνιον as TestAbr A 11 p. 90, 7f [Stone p. 28]; TestReub 5:5; TestGad 7:5; Just., A I, 8, 4; D. 117, 3; Celsus 8, 48; pl. Theoph. Ant. 1, 14 [p. 90, 13]). ῥύεσθαι ἐκ τῆς αἰωνίου κ. rescue fr. eternal punishment 2 Cl 6:7. τὴν αἰώνιον κ. ἐξαγοράζεσθαι buy one’s freedom fr. eternal pun. MPol 2:3 v.l. κακαὶ κ. τοῦ διαβόλου IRo 5:3. κ. τινος punishment for someth. (Ezk 14:3, 7; 18:30; Philo, Fuga 65 ἁμαρτημάτων κ.) ἔχειν κόλασίν τινα τῆς πονηρίας αὐτοῦ Hs 9, 18, 1. ἀναπαύστως ἕξουσιν τὴν κ. they will suffer unending punishment ApcPt Bodl. 9–12. ὁ φόβος κόλασιν ἔχει fear has to do with punishment 1J 4:18 (cp. Philo, In Flacc. 96 φόβος κολάσεως).

And on αἰώνιος:

③ pert. to a period of unending duration, without end (Diod S 1, 1, 5; 5, 73, 1; 15, 66, 1 δόξα αἰ. everlasting fame; in Diod S 1, 93, 1 the Egyptian dead are said to have passed to their αἰ. οἴκησις; Arrian, Peripl. 1, 4 ἐς μνήμην αἰ.; Jos., Bell. 4, 461 αἰ. χάρις=a benefaction for all future time; OGI 383, 10 [I B.C.] εἰς χρόνον αἰ.; EOwen, οἶκος αἰ.: JTS 38, ’37, 248–50; EStommel, Domus Aeterna: RAC IV 109–28) of the next life σκηναὶ αἰ. Lk 16:9 (cp. En 39:5). οἰκία, contrasted w. the οἰκία ἐπίγειος, of the glorified body 2 Cor 5:1. διαθήκη (Gen 9:16; 17:7; Lev 24:8; 2 Km 23:5 al.; PsSol 10:4 al.) Hb 13:20. εὐαγγέλιον Rv 14:6; κράτος in a doxolog. formula (=εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας) 1 Ti 6:16. παράκλησις 2 Th 2:16. λύτρωσις Hb 9:12. κληρονομία (Esth 4:17m) vs. 15; AcPl Ha 8, 21. αἰ. ἀπέχειν τινά (opp. πρὸς ὥραν) keep someone forever Phlm 15 (cp. Job 40:28). Very often of God’s judgment (Diod S 4, 63, 4 διὰ τὴν ἀσέβειαν ἐν ᾅδου διατελεῖν τιμωρίας αἰωνίου τυγχάνοντα; similarly 4, 69, 5; Jer 23:40; Da 12:2; Ps 76:6; 4 Macc 9:9; 13:15) κόλασις αἰ. (TestReub 5:5) Mt 25:46; 2 Cl 6:7; κρίμα αἰ. Hb 6:2 (cp. κρίσις αἰ. En 104:5). θάνατος B 20:1. ὄλεθρον (4 Macc 10:15) 2 Th 1:9. πῦρ (4 Macc 12:12; GrBar 4:16.—SibOr 8, 401 φῶς αἰ.) Mt 18:8; 25:41; Jd 7; Dg 10:7 (cp. 1QS 2:8). ἁμάρτημα Mk 3:29 (v.l. κρίσεως, κολάσεω, and ἁμαρτίας). On the other hand, of eternal life (Maximus Tyr. 6, 1d θεοῦ ζωὴ αἰ.; Diod S 8, 15, 3 life μετὰ τὸν θάνατον lasts εἰς ἅπαντα αἰῶνα; Da 12:2; 4 Macc 15:3;PsSol PsSol 3:12; OdeSol 11:16c; JosAs 8:11 cod. A [p. 50, 2 Bat.]; Philo, Fuga 78; Jos., Bell. 1, 650; SibOr 2, 336) in the Reign of God: ζωὴ αἰ. (Orig., C. Cels. 2, 77, 3) Mt 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mk 10:17, 30; Lk 10:25; 18:18, 30; J 3:15f, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2f; Ac 13:46, 48; Ro 2:7; 5:21; 6:22f; Gal 6:8; 1 Ti 1:16; 6:12; Tit 1:2; 3:7; 1J 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20; Jd 21; D 10:3; 2 Cl 5:5; 8:4, 6; IEph 18:1; Hv 2, 3, 2; 3, 8, 4 al. Also βασιλεία αἰ. 2 Pt 1:11 (ApcPt Rainer 9; cp. Da 4:3; 7:27; Philo, Somn. 2, 285; Mel., P. 68, 493; OGI 569, 24 ὑπὲρ τῆς αἰωνίου καὶ ἀφθάρτου βασιλείας ὑμῶν; Dssm. B 279f, BS 363). Of the glory in the next life δόξα αἰ. 2 Ti 2:10; 1 Pt 5:10 (cp. Wsd 10:14; Jos., Ant. 15, 376.—SibOr 8, 410 φῶς αἰῶνιον). αἰώνιον βάρος δόξης 2 Cor 4:17; σωτηρία αἰ. (Is 45:17; Ps.-Clem., Hom. 1, 19) Hb 5:9; short ending of Mk. Of unseen glory in contrast to the transitory world of the senses τὰ μὴ βλεπόμενα αἰώνια 2 Cor 4:18.—χαρά IPhld ins; δοξάζεσθαι αἰωνίῳ ἔργῳ be glorified by an everlasting deed IPol 8:1. DHill, Gk. Words and Hebr. Mngs. ’67, 186–201; JvanderWatt, NovT 31, ’89, 217–28 (J).

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 33). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Last edited by Barry Hofstetter on Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: αἰώνιον in Matthew 25:46, David Bentley Hart

Postby jeidsath » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:15 pm

The Lexicon entry could be more helpful for the purposes of discussion with some digestion. And I'd be happy to disagree with the ancient interpretation of the text if it got us closer to the author's intention.

I didn't expect to be defending Hart when I started this thread, but for the purposes of discussion: αἰών and αἰώνιος are words that Matthew uses a lot. Does he have a specific theological meaning? Here's the NT concordance for both:

http://biblehub.com/greek/165.htm
http://biblehub.com/greek/166.htm

Look at 12:32 for example:

καὶ ὃς ἐὰν εἴπῃ λόγον κατὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ· ὃς δ' ἂν εἴπῃ κατὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου, οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ οὔτε ἐν τούτῳ τῷ αἰῶνι οὔτε ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι.

13:39

ὁ δὲ ἐχθρὸς ὁ σπείρας αὐτά ἐστιν ὁ διάβολος· ὁ δὲ θερισμὸς συντέλεια αἰῶνός ἐστιν, οἱ δὲ θερισταὶ ἄγγελοί εἰσιν.

This seems to describe a specific belief about the current αἰών that might lead to a usage pattern different from normal Greek usage. In the light of the above, look at 25:41

τότε ἐρεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ εὐωνύμων Πορεύεσθε ἀπ' ἐμοῦ κατηραμένοι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ·

If Matthew had an apocalyptic belief about the end of this αἰών, presumably in fire, I could imagine that τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον meant something specific to him. I don't see it as impossible usage for Matthew to use "αἰώνιον πῦρ" to mean "age-ending fire." (ἡτοιμασμένον is interesting in regards to that, I think. It's a specific thing.) And, for Matthew at least, we might also be able to understand ζωὴ αἰώνιος in a similar eschatological framework (life in the next, presumably eternal, age).
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Re: αἰώνιον in Matthew 25:46, David Bentley Hart

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:01 pm

I would caution against the assumption that the adjective and the noun necessarily have to have the same range of meaning, that if αἰών in some contexts may refer to a specific indeterminate but lengthy period of time (Latin saeculum), then αἰώνιος therefore must mean "related to a specific indeterminate but lengthy period of time." That's simply an illegitimate totality transfer, particularly since the noun itself may refer to what we mean by "eternity" throughout Greek literature, e.g.,

μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα τοσαύτην Μενελάω χάριν ἀπέδωκεν ὑπὲρ τῶν πόνων καὶ τῶν κινδύνων οὓς δι᾽ ἐκείνην ὑπέμεινεν, ὥστε τοῦ γένους ἅπαντος τοῦ Πελοπιδῶν διαφθαρέντος καὶ κακοῖς ἀνηκέστοις περιπεσόντος οὐ μόνον αὐτὸν τῶν συμφορῶν τούτων ἀπήλλαξεν ἀλλὰ καὶ θεὸν ἀντὶ θνητοῦ ποιήσασα σύνοικον αὑτῇ καὶ πάρεδρον εἰς ἅπαντα τὸν αἰῶνα κατεστήσατο. --Isoc. 10.62

Somehow I don't think εἰς ἅπαντα τὸν αἰῶνα means "for the entire age" but rather "forever, for all eternity" especially considering that it is the divinized Helen doing these things, and particularly θεὸν ἀντὶ θνητοῦ ποιήσασα σύνοικον αὑτῇ καὶ πάρεδρον.
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