Jan Lambrecht, «The Fool’s Speech and Its Context: Paul’s Particular Way of Arguing in 2 Cor 10–13», Vol. 82 (2001) 305-324
Paul’s particular way of arguing in 2 Cor 10–13 is visible in the Fool’s Speech (11,22–12,10) as well as in its context. The speech is interrupted more than once and there are shifts regarding the object of boasting. The introduction to the speech (11,1-21) is not straightforward and two brief retrospections (12,11a and 19a) should not go unnoticed. The major topic in this study, however, consists in the indication of three rings within the context of the Fool’s Speech: (1) 10,1 and 13,11 (moral exhortation); (2) 10,2-18 and 13,1-10 (Paul’s defense of his authority); (3) 11,5-12 and 12,11b-18 (Paul denies inferiority). Yet from the presence of these enveloping rings a strict concentric structure of 2 Cor 11–13 cannot be deduced. Special attention must also be given to 10,8.12-18 and 11,3-4.12-15.18-20. In these passages Paul, by comparing and attacking, seems to prepare his boasting as a fool in a more direct way.
of Christ and his gentleness furnish an authoritative grounding for Paul’s exhortation. Verse 1b, grammatically a relative clause which qualifies the subject ‘I’, alludes to a reproach at the address of Paul: ‘I who admittedly [am] humble when face to face among you, but when absent bold toward you’. But the verb ‘I beg’ of v. 2 does not seem to continue or concretize the appeal of verse 1a. It is rather linked with the content of v. 1b: ‘Yet I ask [you] that when present I do not need to be bold [towards you]...’. Moreover, in the whole of vv. 2-6a Paul defends himself against those who think that he is walking according to the flesh, and he produces threats. Although he is walking in the flesh, the war that he is going to wage will not be according to the flesh9.
A conclusion can already be drawn. In 10,1-6 there is a substantial change with regard to more than one aspect. In v. 1a Paul appears to announce a moral exhortation. But from v. 1b onwards he speaks of an accusation brought forward against him and he defends himself. Opponents and critics of his person have entered the scene. At the beginning of the chapter one expects that the Corinthians would be exhorted to a better Christian life. But, certainly from v. 2 onwards, Paul seems to be very much occupied with himself and his enemies; he indicates how he himself acts and will act as an authoritative apostle. Paul wants to show that he does not lack boldness. He will oppose his enemies and demolish their arguments and pretension; his weapons will prove powerful. Only at the very end, in v. 6b, do the addressees come back to the forefront; their obedience must have reached completion before Paul can effectively deal with the opposition. Then, Paul will be ready to punish every disobedience.
‘Parakalo4 ’ in 10,1a. The beginning of 10,1 is very solemn: au)to_j de_ e)gw_ Pau=loj parakalw= u(ma=j. Paul employs the verb parakalw= frequently. As is well known the range of meanings of this verb is wide: from exhorting and appealing to comforting and consoling. Besides 2 Cor 10,1, Paul employs parakalw= three more times with the preposition dia/ followed by a genitive: Rom 12,1; 15,30 and