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Synonyms of the New Testament :: Richard C. Trench

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cv. δημιουργός, τεχνίτης.

Builder and maker’ cannot be regarded as a very satisfactory rendering of the τεχνίτης καὶ δημιουργός of Heb. 11:10; ‘maker’ saying little more than ‘builder’ had said already. The words, as we have them, were brought into the text by Tyndale, and have kept their place in all the Protestant translations since, while ‘craftyman and maker’ are in Wiclif, ‘artificer and builder’ in the Rheims. Delitzsch traces this distinction between them, namely that God, regarded as τεχνίτης, is contemplated as laying out the scheme and ground plan, if we might so speak, of the Heavenly City. He is δημιουργός, as embodying in actual form and shape the divine idea or thought of his mind. This distribution of meaning to the several words, which is very much that of the Vulgate (‘artifex et conditor’), and in modern times of Meyer (Baukünstler und Werkmeister), has its advantage, namely, that what is first, so far as a first and last exist in the order of the work of God, is named first, the divine intention before the divine realisation of the same; but it labours under this serious defect, namely, that it assigns to τεχνίτης a meaning of which it is difficult, if not impossible, to find any example. Assuredly it is no unworthy conception of God to conceive of Him as the drawer of the ground-plan of the Heavenly City; while the Epistle to the Hebrews, with its relations to Philo, and through him to Plato, is exactly where we might expect to meet it; but τεχνίτης in no other passage of its occurrence in the N. T. (they are three, Acts 19:24, 38; Rev. 18:22), nor yet in the thirteen of the Septuagint and Apocrypha, gives the slightest countenance to the ascription to it of such a meaning; the same being as little traceable in the Greek which lies outside of and beyond the sacred writings. While therefore I believe that δημιουργός and τεχνίτης may and ought to be distinguished, I am unable to accept this distinction.

But first let something be said concerning each of these words. Δημιουργός is one of those grand and for rhetorical purposes finely selected words, which constitute so remarkable and unique a feature of the Epistle to the Hebrews; and, in the matter of style, difference it so much from the other Epistles. Beside its single occurrence there (Heb. 11:10), it is to be found once in the Apocrypha (2 Macc. 4:1); in the Septuagint not at all. Its proper meaning, as. it bears on its front, is ‘one whose works stand forth to the public gaze’ (‘cujus opificia publice prostant’). But this of the public character of the works has dropt out of the word; and ‘maker’ or ‘author’—this on more or less of a grand scale—is all which remains to it. It is a very favourite word with Plato, and of very various employment by him. Thus rhetoric is the δημιουργός of persuasion (Gorg. 453 a); the sun, by its presence or absence, is the δημιουργός of day or night (Tim. 40 a); God is the δημιουργός of mortal men (compare Josephus, Antt. i. 7. 1). There is no hint in Holy Scripture of the adoption of the word into the theosophic or philosophic speculations of the age, nor any presentiment of the prominent part which it should play in coming struggles, close at hand as were some of these.

But if God, as He obtains the name of δημιουργός, is recognized as Maker of all things, πατὴρ καὶ ποιήτης, as He is called by Plutarch (De Fac. in Orbe Lun. 13), πατὴρ καὶ δημιουργός by Clement of Rome, τεχνίτης, which is often found in connexion with it (thus Lucian, Hipp. 8; Philo, Alleg. Leg. iii. 32), brings further out what we may venture to call the artistic side of creation, that which justifies Cicero in speaking of God as ‘artifex mundi,’ He moulding and fashioning, in many and marvellous ways, the materials which by a prior act of his will, prior, that is, in our conception of it, He has called into existence. If δημιουργός more brings out the power of the divine Creator, τεχνίτης expresses rather his manifold wisdom, the infinite variety and beauty of the works of his hand; ‘how manifold are thy works; in wisdom hast Thou made them all!’ All the beauty of God’s world owns Him for its author, τοῦ κάλλους γενεσιάρχης, as a writer in the Apocrypha, whose further words I shall presently quote, names Him. Bleek therefore (on Heb. 11:10) is, as I cannot doubt, nearer the mark when he says, Durch τεχνίτης wird hier gleichfalls der Schöpfer bezeichnet, aber mit Beziehung auf alas Künstlerische in der Bereitung des Werkes; and he quotes Wisdom 13:1: οὔτε τοῖς ἔργοις προσχότες ἐπέγνωσαν τὸν τεχνίτην. There is a certain inconvenience in taking the words, not as they occur in the Epistle itself, but in a reverse order, δημιουργός first and τεχνίτης afterwards; this, however, is not so great as in retaining the order as we find it, and allowing it to dominate our interpretation, as it appears to me that Delitzsch has done.

[The following Strong's numbers apply to this section:G1217,G5079.]

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