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Synonyms of the New Testament :: Richard C. Trench

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vii. τιμωρία, κόλασις.

Of these words the former occurs but once in the N. T. (Heb. 10:29; cf. Acts 22:5; 26:11), and the latter only twice (Matt. 25:46; 1 John 4:18): but the verb τιμωρεῖν twice (Acts 22:5; 26:11); and κολάζειν as often (Acts 4:21; 2 Pet. 2:9). In τιμωρία, according to its classical use, the vindicative character of the punishment is the predominant thought; it is the Latin ‘vindicatio,’ by Cicero (Inv. ii 22) explained as that act ‘per quam vim et contumeliam defendendo aut ulciscendo propulsamus nobis, et a nostris; et per quam peccata punimus;’ punishment as satisfying the inflicter’s sense of outraged justice, as defending his own honour, or that of the violated law. Herein its meaning agrees with its etymology, being from τιμή, and οὖρος, ὁράω, the guardianship or protectorate of honour; ‘Ehrenstrafe’ it has been rendered in German, or better, ‘Ehrenrettung, die der Ehre der verletzten Ordnung geleistete Genugthuung’ (Delitzsch). In κόλασις, on the other hand, is more the notion of punishment as it has reference to the correction and bettering of the offender (see Philo, Leg, ad Cai. I; Josephus, Antt. ii. 6. 8); it is ‘castigatio,’ and naturally has for the most part a milder use than τιμωρία. Thus Plato (Protag. 323 e) joins κολάσεις and νουθετήσεις together: and the whole passage to the end of the chapter is eminently instructive as to the distinction between the words: οὐδεὶς κολάζει τοὺς ἀδικοῦντας ὅτι ἠδίκησεν, ὅστις μὴ ὥσπερ θηρίον ἀλογίστως τιμωρεῖται,... ἀλλὰ τοῦ μέλλοντος χάριν ἵνα μὴ αὖθις ἀδικήσῃ; the same change in the words which he employs, occurring again twice or thrice in the sentence; with all which may be compared what Clement of Alexandria has said, Strom. iv. 24; and again vii. 16, where he defines κολάσεις as μερικαὶ παιδεῖαι, and τιμωρία as κακοῦ ἀνταπόδοσις. And this is Aristotle’s distinction (Rhet. i. 10): διαφέρει δὲ τιμωρία καὶ κόλασις· ἡ μὲν γὰρ κόλασις τοῦ πάσχοντος ἕνεκά ἐστιν· ἡ δὲ τιμωρία, τοῦ ποιοῦντος, ἵνα ἀποπληρωθῇ: cf. Ethic. Nic. iv. 5: τιμωρία παύει τῆς ὀργῆς, ἠδονῆν ἀντὶ τῆς λύπης ἐμποιοῦσα. It is to these and similar definitions that Aulus Gellius refers when he says (Noct. Att. vi. 14): ‘Puniendis peccatis tres esse debere causas existimatum est. Una est quae νουθεσία, vel, κόλασις, vel παραίνεσις dicitur; cum poena adhibetur castigandi atque emendandi gratiâ; ut is qui fortuito deliquit, attentior fiat, correctiorque. Altera est quam ii, qui vocabula ista curiosius diviserunt, τιμωρίαν appellant. Ea causa animadvertendi est, cum dignitas auctoritasque ejus, in quem est peccatum, tuenda est, ne praetermissa animadversio contemtum ejus pariat, et honorem levet: idcircoque id ei vocabulum a conservatione honoris factum putant.’ There is a profound commentary on these words in Göschel’s Zerstreute Blätter, part 2, p. 343–360; compare too an instructive note in Wyttenbach’s Animadd. in Plutarch. vol. xii. p. 776.

It would be a very serious error, however, to attempt to transfer this distinction in its entireness to the words as employed in the N. T. The κόλασις αἰώνιος of Matt. 25:46, as it is plain, is no merely corrective, and therefore temporary, discipline; cannot be any other than the ἀθάνατος τιμωρία (Josephus, B. J. ii. 8. II; cf. Antt. xviii. 1. 3, εἰργμὸς ἀΐδιος), the ἀϊδίοι τιμωρίαι (Plato, Ax. 372 a), with which the Lord elsewhere threatens finally impenitent men (Mark 9:43-48); for in proof that κόλασις with κολάζεσθαι had acquired in Hellenistic Greek this severer sense, and was used simply as ‘punishment’ or ‘torment,’ with no necessary underthought of the bettering through it of him who endured it, we have only to refer to such passages as the following: Josephus, Antt. xv. 2. 2; Philo, De Agric. 9; Mart. Polycar. 2; 2 Macc. 4:38; Wisd. 19:4; and indeed to the words of St. Peter himself (2 Ep. 2:9). This much, indeed, of Aristotle’s distinction still remains, and may be recognized in the scriptural usage of the words, that in κόλασις the relation of the punishment to the punished, in τιμωρία to the punisher, is predominant.

[The following Strong's numbers apply to this section:G2851,G5098.]

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