We come to the end of our week with chp 8 in Walsh and Keesmaat’s Colossians Remixed, and this week has focused on their hermeneutical move from ancient text to postmodern world — what they are calling a “targum” on Colossians.
Today we look at their commentary portion of this section, Col 2:8–3:4.
They imagine themselves accusing for not being humble in their broadside against postmodernity. Their response? They are using dynamic analogy and they are not suggesting this is the only way to read Colossians today. But, they believe the audacity of Paul’s letter should be replicated with the same audacity in our culture. [It is this, so it seems to me, that is a serious issue in postmodernity; it is not the day for replication but for softening in order to communicate. Isn’t this one of the problems “William” has?] Believe me, some of these imaginative responses are mine and I find myself frustrated with a commentary that has so little to do with the actual text of Colossians.
The imaginative respondent wonder why they have so much about idolatry. The targum is a subversive act by re-imagining. They believe Paul was facing 1st Century idolatry. In things like rulers and authorities and elemental spirits they discern the threat of idolatry. [This seems reasonable to me.] They then offer a very nice set of parallels from OT prophetic literature that matches up with Paul’s rhetoric in Colossians 2:8–3:4 that supports reading the whole passage in terms of idolatry. There is here a creation theology [not developed enough here] and a rehearsing of the story of Christ [very accurate].
If idolatry is ultimately Paul’s concern, we need to attack modern idolatry with this text.