2 Cor 6:1

Paul Toseland toseland at blueyonder.co.uk
Wed Jan 8 08:18:02 EST 2003


Tnank you once again for your detailed and very helpful response. I would
like to make some further observations, but first, let me quote the
final paragraph of my initial post on this thread:

> Admittedly, 'also' seems to refer back to 5:20, where PARAKALOUNTOS is  > followed by an exhortation in direct speech, so it seems more natural
> to take PARAKALOUMEN in the present passage to have the same sense: 'we
> exhort you not to receive ...'. But if both senses are linguistically
> feasible, then the reader has to consider both options; and that would
> be exegetically significant. So I would welcome any comments.

You make a strong case for reading 2 Cor 6:1 in a hortatory sense,
and I am sure Paul's original readers would not have missed this.
What I wanted - still want - to explore is the possibility of
creative ambiguity, intentional or unintentional, in Paul's language.
Ambiguity did play an important role in Greco-Roman rhetoric, and I 
think Paul sometimes uses it as a device to make his readers work things
through for themselves. He normally grounds his hortatory material not 
on the offer of salvation to unbelievers, but on the reality of the
salvation that his readers have already received. In effect, he
argues, 'You have received the grace of God; now behave accordingly!' 
I think 2 Cor 6:1 is no exception. The reconciliation he appeals for in
5:20 is that of children with their father; perhaps, therefore, in 6:2 
he quotes Isa 49:8 not to tell them that salvation is on offer if they
want it, but to remind them that salvation has been granted. In its
context, the Isaiah passage speaks of events to come; Paul is saying 
that the salvation Isaiah spoke of has now come about: NOW is the day of

Now I want to comment, first on your very helpful list of the PARAKALEW
+ infin. + acc. constructions in Paul and the rest of the NT (I still 
have to find these the old fashioned way), and then on the reference of
KAI in 6:1.

Granted, in all 9 of the instances you cite of this construction in the
Pauline Corpus, and all 13 in the rest of the NT, PARAKALEW has a
hortaroty sense, though I am still querying whether its sense might be
ambiguous in 2 Cor 6:1. But, if I have counted right, outside the Pauline
Corpus PARAKALEW only has a non-hortatory sense ('encourage' or 'comfort')
in only 5 instances (Matt 2:18; 5:4; Luke 16:25; Acts 16:40; 20:12) so in
the case of the non-Pauline texts, this result is not a great surprise. In
the Pauline Corpus, PARAKALEW has a non-hortatory sense in 18 
instances (1 Cor 14:31; 2 Cor 1:4 (x3), 1:6; 2:7; 7:6 (x2); 7:13; 13:11;
Eph 6:22; Col 2:2; 4:8; 1 Thess 3:2; 3:7; 4:18; 5:11; 2 Thess 2:17), out
of a total of about 53 instances of PARAKALEW in the Pauline Corpus, or
about one third. Given that 9 of the 35 or so non-hortatory instances
in constructions with infin. + acc., one might, on the face of it, 
expect 4 or 5 instances of this construction when PARAKALEW is 
non-hortatory, if the language works that way. But that would be based
on the assumption that Paul is just as likely to use the construction
with PARAKALEW when it is non-hortatory as when it is hortatory, and
I am not persuaded that we can make that assumption. GINWSKW occurs in
such a construction only once in the NT (Heb. 10:34; ATR 1036). So I
don't think we can draw a valid conclusion from these statistics. I 
haven't made a thorough analysis of the LXX yet, but even if there is not
a single construction of this type there, it wouldn't prove that it is
syntactically impossible. Infinitives of indirect speech do occur with
non-hortatory verbs, and yet they can be very rare, as the GINWSKW
example shows.

>It is important to see the connection between 5.20 and 6.1. The
>sense of 6.1 is, "Because we are fellow workers [with God] we also
[>along with God] urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain."

Sure, the text can be read in this way, and I have never denied it.
But I think that because Koine Greek is not our native tongue, we
feel a need to pin down the exact force of Paul's words, to choose
between alternatives in order to defend a translation, when to his 
original readers both possible senses might have been evident, and they
would have had to do some thinking themselves. 

Can we be sure that Paul speaks of himself as *God's* fellow-worker? 
This is certainly a possibility (cf. 1 Cor 3:9); but in 2 Cor Paul lays
great emphasis upon his spiritual partnership with the Corinthians
(see especially 1:14), and he might be speaking of himself as the
Corinthians' fellow-worker. So if KAI (in 6:1) does not mean that, in
addition to making his appeal, 'Be reconciled to God' - which he makes in
his role of Christ's envoy - it might mean he *also* consoles, saying 'You
have not received the grace of God in vain' - this time speaking in the
of the Corinthians' fellow-worker, their partner in ministry. So he is
referring back to 5:20, but from a different perspective.

Let me emphasize once more: I am not arguing that this latter 
interpretation of 6:1 is the one that Paul intended, and the usual
one that you defend so ably is not. I am interested in the possibilities
of ambiguity in the original Greek, and the interpretive processes that
the original readers must have gone through. Maybe this interest of 
mine belongs to what is known as Reader Response Criticism; I don't
know what that field involves. 

Once again, thanks Steve, and thanks again Iver and Mike for your 
contributions; hammering these things out with others is so helpful.

Best wishes

Paul Toseland

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