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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94 LAURA TACK
As such they resemble oi` ui`oi. VIsrah,l whose heart is veiled (v.
15). Even more important for Dupont is the mention of evn prosw,pw|
ÎVIhsou/Ð Cristou/ in v. 6. According to him the correspondence
with the expression avnakekalumme,nw| prosw,pw| in v. 18 is not co-
incidental. It links the divine glory on the face of all the Christians
(3,18) with the divine glory on Christ’s face (4,6) and gives us an-
other clue as to how to understand the transformation that is ex-
pressed in 2 Cor 3,18; by reflecting the glory of the Lord, all
Christians, apparently, are becoming an image of Christ, who also
reflects the glory of God on his face 35.
After the publication of Dupont’s article, no substantially new ar-
guments in favour of “to reflect” have been proposed. L. Belleville
consolidates Dupont’s thesis by proposing parallels from extra-bib-
lical literature 36. G. Dautzenberg expressed his doubts concerning
one of the major philological arguments in favor of the translation
“to behold as in a mirror”. The verb katoptri,zomai in Philo’s Legum
Allegoriae III, 101 does not describe the idea of a divine vision, but
describes how creation reflects God as a mirror 37.
It has also become apparent that mirrors often had a major role in
ancient treatises on optics. Annette Weissenrieder maps out the var-
ious optic theories that circulated in antiquity 38. The Oxyrhynchus
papyri contain a second-century fragment referring to the optic theory
of the Greek philosopher Empedocles. This fragment counts as philo-
logical evidence in favor of the translation “to reflect as a mirror”.
Fragment 109a describes the effluences originating from objects that
are mirroring themselves in a polished surface using the middle par-
ticiple katoptrizome,nwn 39.
DUPONT, “Chrétien”, 405-407. Cf. T. NICKLAS, “Die verborgene Herrlichkeit
des Paulusdienstes. Überlegungen zu 2 Kor 3,1 – 4,6”, Der zweite Korintherbrief.
Literarische Gestalt — historische Situation — theologische Argumentation (ed.
D. SANGER) (FRLANT 250; Göttingen 2012) 240-256, 254, 256.
BELLEVILLE, Reflections, 282-283.
DAUTZENBERG, “Beziehung”, 230.
A. WEISSENRIEDER, “Der Blick in den Spiegel. II Kor 3,18 vor dem Hin-
tergrund antiker Spiegeltheorien und ikonographischer Abbildungen”, Pictur-
ing the New Testament. Studies in Ancient Visual Images (eds.
A.WEISSENRIEDER – F. WENDT – P. GEMÜNDEN) (WUNT II/193; Tübingen
2005) 313-343, 320-326.
109a: […] h' w`j VEmpedoklh//j avvporroa.j fai,h a'n avpie,nai avpo.
e`ka,stou tw/n katoptrizome,nwn kai. toi/j o;mmasin w[sper evou,saj eivko,naj