Laura Tack, «A Face Reflecting Glory. 2 Cor 3,18 in its Literary Context (2 Cor 3,1 – 4,15).», Vol. 96 (2015) 85-112
This contribution investigates the translation of the hapax legomenon katoptrizo/menoi in 2 Cor 3,18; in addition to philological and religionhistorical arguments, in particular the article takes into account the broader literary context (2 Corinthians 3–4). The main theme of that context, embodied proclamation, turns out to be an important justification of the translation “to reflect as a mirror”. Especially the link between 2 Cor 3,18 and the whole of 2 Corinthians 4, which describes Paul’s somatic identification with and manifestation of Christ, results in understanding 2 Cor 3,18 as describing the unveiled face that reflects the divine glory as a mirror.
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A FACE REFLECTING GLORY 87
To start with, there is a disagreement on the exact meaning of
the subject h`mei/j pa,ntej. The majority thinks it refers to all Chris-
tians 4, while a minority believes it refers to all the apostles 5. Be-
cause of the universalizing aspect pa,ntej usually has in the Pauline
letters (e.g., 2 Cor 5,15 and 1 Cor 15,51), we are inclined to follow
the majority opinion 6. The main verb metamorfou,meqa occurs only
in this place and in Rom 12,2, where it is used to describe the re-
newal of the mind.
The dative avnakekalumme,nw| prosw,pw| can either be in contrast
with the moment of Moses veiling himself before the Israelites (2
Cor 3,13) or refer to Moses’ act of unveiling when entering before
the Lord (2 Cor 3,16; cf. Exod 34,34). Because of its explicit men-
tioning of the face (pro,swpon) and its implicit reference to open-
ness (cf. parrhsi,a in 2 Cor 3,12) we think that avnakekalumme,nw|
prosw,pw| is rather linked with the veiling (2 Cor 3,7.13) and sub-
sequent unveiling (2 Cor 3,16-17) of Moses’ radiant face, which
constitutes a point of comparison with the subject of 2 Cor 3,18.
The present participle katoptrizo,menoi, which is the subject mat-
ter of the present article, is further defined by its direct object th.n
do,xan kuri,ou. The term do,xa refers back to 2 Cor 3,7-11 where it is
the central term in the comparison between the glory of the diakoni,a
of death and that of the diakoni,a of the Spirit. It is not entirely clear
what ku,rioj means in this verse. Although in the Pauline corpus it
refers most of the time to Christ, we are inclined to concur with M.
Thrall in deciding that it must refer to God because of the particular
use of the word in 2 Cor 3,16. In this verse the term is taken over
from the context of Exod 34,34 where it clearly denotes God 7.
See, for instance, H. WINDISCH, Der zweite Korintherbrief (KEK 6; Göt-
tingen 1924) 127; R. BULTMANN, Der zweite Brief an die Korinther (KEK;
Göttingen 1976) 93; T. SCHMELLER, Der zweite Brief an die Korinther
(Neukirchen 2010) 224-225.
L.L. BELLEVILLE, Reflections of Glory. Paul’s Polemical Use of the
Moses-Doxa Tradition in 2 Corinthians 3.1-18 (JSNT SS 52; Sheffield 1991)
275; J. SCHRÖTER, Der versöhnte Versöhner. Paulus als unentbehrlicher Mittler
im Heilsvorgang zwischen Gott und Gemeinde nach 2 Kor 2,14 – 7,4 (TANZ
10; Tübingen – Basel 1993) 118.
Prümm made a good case for this reading. K. PRÜMM, Diakonia Pneu-
matos. Band 1. Theologische Auslegung des zweiten Korintherbriefes (Rom
– Freiburg – Wien 1967) 166-169.
M.E. THRALL, “Conversion to the Lord. The Interpretation of Exodus 34
in II Cor. 3,14b-18”, Paolo. Ministro del Nuovo Testamento (2 Co 2,14 – 4,6)