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.
05_Tack_copiaaaaa_85-112 28/04/15 12:35 Pagina 91
A FACE REFLECTING GLORY 91
4. According to Hugedé, the direct object (th.n auvth.n eivko,na) of the
main verb only makes sense if katoptri,zomai is translated as “be-
hold as in a mirror”. By using the identical adjective auvto,j Paul
wants to closely connect the image into which all Christians are
being transformed with the mirror image they are contemplating 24.
5. Translating katoptri,zomai as “behold as in a mirror” would mean
that Paul describes a transformation through vision 25. A similar
type of transformation is, however, not mentioned elsewhere in the
corpus paulinum. For Hugedé this is no reason to exclude a priori
the possibility that this type of metamorphosis is described in 2
Cor 3,18. 1 John 3,2 moreover shows that the idea of transforma-
tion through contemplation was indeed known amongst other New
Testament writers. Perhaps also Paul might have been familiar with
this particular type of transformation 26.
6. In 2 Cor 4,1-6 Paul contrasts the Christians with the unbelievers.
The difference between both groups is again expressed with the
image of the veil (v. 3) and with verbs of seeing (v. 4). These verses
say that Paul’s gospel is veiled for the unbelievers, because the god
of this world (aivw,n) has blinded (tuflo,w v. 4) their minds. Con-
sequently, they cannot see (auvga,zw v. 4) the light of the gospel of
the glory of Christ. Hugedé connects the dichotomy between see-
ing and blindness with the antithesis between light and darkness
in v. 6. Those who are in darkness cannot see the glory of God on
the face of Christ. According to Hugedé, the references to veiling,
blindness, seeing, light and darkness in these verses confirm that
seeing is also in focus in 2 Cor 3,18 27.
exegetisch-traditionsgeschichtliche Studie zur paulinischen und johanneischen
Christologie [HBS 50; Freiburg 2007] 224; SCHMELLER, Zweite Brief an die
HUGEDÉ, Métaphore, 28-29.
This was already put forward by WINDISCH, Zweite Korintherbrief, 127-
128. Cf. Earlier R. REITZENSTEIN, Historia Monachorum und Historia Lausi-
aca. Eine Studie zur Geschichte des Mönchtums und der frühchristliche
Begriffe Gnostiker und Pneumatiker (Göttingen 1916) 244-250, and later
BULTMANN, Zweite Brief, 93.
HUGEDÉ, Métaphore, 30-31.