[B-Greek] 2 Cor 3:14b - subject of KATARGEITAI

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sun May 17 04:17:11 EDT 2009

Hi, Donald,

We are in much agreement, and I will only make a few further comments below:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Donald COBB" <docobb at orange.fr>
To: "Iver Larsen" <iver_larsen at sil.org>; "B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 16. maj 2009 16:17
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2 Cor 3:14b - subject of KATARGEITAI

> This is true, but only to a certain extent. Τhe context of KATARGEW is not only the immediately 
> surrounding verse or two, but the whole of Paul's development in this section (i.e., 2:14-3:18; 
> actually, this should probably be extended to 4:4). In this passage, there is a cluster of 
> occurences of KATARGEW that pick up on, and reinforce each other and drive the overall thought 
> forward.

KATARGEW only occurs (4 times) in the whole letter, and that is in the passage from 3:7-14. I 
expanded the relevant passage to 3:18, because there are other words that create cohesion in 3:7-18.

> I think another thing to bear in mind is that, for the 1st century hearer, the natural thing to 
> do, without a specific referent in v. 14, would be to run back in his or her mind to the last 
> use(s) of KATARGEW (i.e., v. 13, etc.). Paul has been using the verbe in the preceeding sentences 
> to get a point across; the natural thing to do as a hearer would be to connect the
> lines between the different occurences.

It is difficult to know what the natural thing is for a 1st century reader. It doesn't come natural 
to me.
However, I agree that the four uses of KATARGEW are linked and form a cohesive band. The first 
instance in v. 7 is feminine and clearly links to DOXA. Once we come down to v. 11, Paul has 
introduced the contrast between the two covenants in two ways: the first is by letter, the second is 
by Spirit, the first leads to condemnation and death, the second to God's approval and acceptance 
(DIKAIOSUNH). The participle in v. 11 is neuter, so it does not link directly to DOXA nor DIAQHKH in 
v. 6, nor to DIAKONIA, but probably in a more general sense to all that was involved in the old 
covenant that Moses stood as a symbol for. The genitive participle in v. 13 is probably again 
neuter, at least not feminine, referring to "that thing" that is being done away with, the whole 
concept of the old covenant with its fading glory.
Then in v. 14 we have the indicative present KATARGEITAI. This is the tricky one, because you could 
argue that it is hH PALAIA DIAQHKH just mentioned that is being abolished EN CRISTWi. In that case, 
this abolishment was done through the death and resurrection of Christ. That is a past event for 
Paul, so if that had been the intention, I would have expected an aorist form of KATARGEW like 
KATHRGHQH, not the imperfective present form.
KALUMMA is another band of cohesion. It occurs 4 times in verses 13-16. In addition, we have 
ANAKALUPTW 2 times in v. 14 and 18, the only two occurrences in the whole NT. As has been pointed 
out, KALUMMA is the subject immediately preceding, so it is natural (I think) to take that as the 
subject for KATARGEITAI. The present tense links to v. 16: PERIAITEI TO KALUMMA, another present 
tense and a synonym of KATARGEW that is more specific to a veil. The imperfective form fits with 
hHNIKA EAN (whenever). It is a repetitive act for diffirent individuals. Whenever they believe, 
their veil is removed.

> I'm not sure we can say *the* common sense of hOTI is "because". I haven't done a head count in 
> Paul (!), but certainly the use of hOTI habitually has a sufficiently varied use that we cannot 
> assume its "default" meaning will be as a marker of causality (which, BTW is only BDAG's fourth 
> definition; its second meaning is as marker of explanatory clauses, "that"). The specific nuance 
> really has to be gleaned from the logic of the sentence--which, I would suggest, is precisely part 
> of the ambiguity here. M. Sim's work here is worth bearing in mind.

Yes, the word "common" was not the best choice. The word has three basic senses (as listed in BGAD). 
Paul uses the word 284 times. Of these, 19 introduce direct discourse, 189 are either indirect 
discourse or a clause that functions as either subject or object for another verb (usually 
translated "that"), and 76 are causal (because). (These numbers are based on glosses in my 
electronic version, and may not be 100% accurate, but it gives an idea of the distribution.)

What I should have said was that the simplest and most obvious choice in this context is the causal 
one. It cannot here introduce a direct discourse, not is there any verb the clause could function as 
subject or object for, so we are left with the third option.

You suggested option 2:
"For up to this present day, the same veil remains on the reading of the Old Covenant, *not being 
unveiled that it disappears/is set aside in Christ*"

I am afraid I cannot make any sense out of that. Maybe you can explain the meaning to me?

KJV says "which [veil] is done away in Christ," which must be a way of translating hO (TI). Paul 
rarely uses hO TI, and the two times he does, they are followed by EAN (1Co 16:2, Col 3:17). I 
understand the TI to go with EAN in the sense "whatever". I don't think hO TI is a viable option 
here (in spite of Robinson-Pierpoint).

Iver Larsen 

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