|Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς ἔσται ὁ συλαγωγῶν διὰ τῆς φιλοσοφίας καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου καὶ οὐ κατὰ Χριστόν· ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς, καὶ ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας. Ἐν ᾧ καὶ περιετμήθητε περιτομῇ ἀχειροποιήτῳ ἐν τῇ ἀπεκδύσει τοῦ σώματος τῆς σαρκός, ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, συνταφέντες αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ βαπτισμῷ, ἐν ᾧ καὶ συνηγέρθητε διὰ τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἐνεργείας τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν· καὶ ὑμᾶς νεκροὺς ὄντας [ἐν] τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν, συνεζωοποίησεν ὑμᾶς σὺν αὐτῷ, χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν πάντα τὰ παραπτώματα. ἐξαλείψας τὸ καθ’ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν, καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν ἐκ τοῦ μέσου προσηλώσας αὐτὸ τῷ σταυρῷ· ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας ἐδειγμάτισεν ἐν παρρησίᾳ, θριαμβεύσας αὐτοὺς ἐν αὐτῷ.||See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it (NRSV).|
1. The status of the rulers and authorities in the first instance (v. 10), in which Christ is their head, contrasts very significantly with the drama in which they are embroiled in the second instance, in which God triumphs over them. It would appear that these moments are narrated out of order, the triumph happening first, and the headship second. Even so, it is unclear how this transformation was thought to occur. In the moment of crucifixion, God triumphs over the powers; then he makes the resurrected Christ the head of those same powers. Is there a larger story or myth about the transformation of the powers that is going on here? And can the Christian interpretation of the powers and authorities as essentially evil be reconciled with the idea that Christ has become their head?
2. I am wondering about the interpretation of ἀπεκδυσάμενος. From my edition of Liddell & Scott (the middle Liddell), this verb appears to an intransitive and deponent verb, which would mean that God is divesting himself of the powers. Since this meaning is obviously repugnant to Christianity, the verb is translated as transitive, as though it is the rulers and authorities that God is divesting (but of what are they being divested?). My Bauer/Arndt/Gingrich dictionary gives a separate entry for this transitive sense ("disarm"), but it only cites this very passage in support of that reading. I wonder if there are any philologists who can help me with this (too bad Ben Smith isn't around anymore).
3. "Made a public example of them" also seems like a less natural translation of ἐδειγμάτισεν ἐν παρρησίᾳ than something like, exposed them openly. It depends on whether this event is being conceived mythically and spiritually, or in some manner consistent with the Gospel passion as real world event. Furthermore, there seems to be an interesting contrast with 1 Cor 2:6-8, in which the archons of this aeon crucify the Lord of Glory in ignorance of God's secret wisdom (revealed only to Paul). Was this bit of Colossians written to refute the idea in 1 Cor?