Monday, April 16, 2007

Fatehi and Christology in 2 Cor 3:16-18 Part 2 of 2

See the first part here, in which I summarised Fatehi's argument for a christological reading of 2 Cor 3:16-18 based upon contextual issues. This post summarises the second and final phase of his argument.

(B) First, 'from a discourse point of view, it seems that from 14b onwards Paul has already begun to apply his text to the contemporary situation of the Jews' (296). In other words, 3:16 is not a citation from Exodus which is then exegetically explained in 3:17. It is 'already an applied text ... in which case kurios could hardly be taken as an undefined term to be explained by Paul in 17a' (297 – and he notes that the examples Belleville uses are different from 3:16-17 as the boundaries between text and interpretation in those she cites are relatively intact. Not so with Paul here.) This means that in 3:17 Paul is explaining 'not the "kurois" of a cited text ..., but the kurios to whom the Israelites turn according to his application of the text in v. 16' (297-98). The anaphoric function of the article in 3:17 is thus more general than those who reject a christological reading would allow.

Second, Fatehi pursues an analysis of the significance of the repeated particle de, something that accords well with the more general understanding of the anaphoric article. In sum, 'there is no reason to take 2 Corinthians 3:17a as Paul's exegetical comments in a word from a cited text. What Paul does in 17a is basically the same as what he does in 17b ... i.e. [he is] developing his argument by building upon what he has said in his previous statement' (299). o` de. ku,rioj is simply not a comment on a cited text, and the two other instances often cited in favour of Belleville's argument (Gal 4:21-30; 1 Cor 10:4) rather affirm, Fatehi argues, the developmental de marker usage.

Thirdly, Fatehi buries the often-cited argument that the estin is an exegetical significant in 3:17a. In other words, the supposed citation and exegetical comment procedure of 3:16-17 that is maintained to deny a christological reading simply cannot carry the day, and the contextual features outlined by Fatehi (see the previous post) are decisive.

Note: Many argue that Paul identifies Christ with the 'glory' and image of the Lord in 3:18, but not with the Lord himself (the early Fee, Thrall etc.). However, Fatehi argues that this distinction is too subtle that Paul could expect his readers to pick up on it. Furthermore, Paul speaks of the glory of Christ in 4:4 which is itself evidence that 'glory' and 'image' were not clearly isolated entities separate from the Lord, at least not within this argument.

Fatehi has made a strong case for the christological reading of 2 Cor 3:16-18, raising serious objections against the modern case for a non-christological interpretation. At present I happen to think he is correct and have gathered a number of arguments in favour of Fatehi's position, which I may share here at some stage if anyone is interested!

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