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.
distinguish between this specific appeal and a more general parenesis14.
2. A Second Ring: Paul’s Authority in 10,2-18 and 13,1-10
Chapter 13 refers back to chapter 10 in many respects. We may mention the following headings: motifs, vocabulary and time reference. The two chapters can be considered, to some degree, as framing and including the middle chapters 11 and 12.
Motifs. A number of motifs are present in both chapter 10 and chapter 1315:
(1) Paul speaks of his absence and presence at Corinth (10,1.2.11 and 13,2.10) and of his future (third) coming (10,2.4-6.11 and 13,1.2.10).
(2) In both chapters he threatens to show boldness, to be severe and not to spare anyone at his coming (10,2.11 and 13,2.10)16.
(3) The motif of obedience-disobedience on the part of the Corinthians which is explicitly spoken of in 10,6 also seems to be present in 13,1-2.5.9-10.
(4) In 10,9-11, but also in 13,10, Paul mentions his earlier letters and/or his actual writing.
(5) In both chapters Paul contrasts the themes of humility and boldness, of weakness and power: see 10,1-6.10 and 13,3-4.8-9.
(6) Moreover, utilizing an almost identical wording, in 10,8 and 13,10 he points to the authority17 which the Lord has given him for building up and not for tearing down (cf. 12,19c: ‘all [is done] for your upbuilding’). The reference to Jeremiah can hardly be missed.