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

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Mon May 18 00:47:56 EDT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Elizabeth Kline" <kline_dekooning at earthlink.net>
To: "greek B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 18. maj 2009 00:10
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2 Cor 3:14b - subject of KATARGEITAI
> On the subject of cohesion, the thematic threads [a.k.a. topics,
> themes] in this discourse segment are woven together in a complex
> manner. In several places the reader is tempted to ask, what is Paul
> talking about now? The subtle shifts in theme often have no clear
> boundaries, the different themes overlap at edges. For example, the
> difficulty the Israelites had gazing upon fading DOXA of  TO PROSWPON
> MWUSEWS [hH PALAIA DIAQHKH] is first introduced in 3:7:
> No mention yet of  TOU  KALUMMATOS, that doesn't show up until v13 and
> by the time it does appear, there has been a somewhat abrupt
> transition [digression?] in v12 ECONTES OUN TOIAUTHN ELPIDA POLLHi
> PARRHSIAi CRWMEQA  so that the introduction of TOU  KALUMMATOS appears
> to be a supporting argument for the statement in v12, however the
> beginning of v14 ALLA EPWRWQH TA NOHMATA AUTWN looks like yet another
> shift in topic which is developed at some length and this makes v12
> look like a digression.
> Elizabeth Kline

May I use this to make some general comments which deal with certain Greek discourse markers and the
meaning of some of the key words?

It is easy for us all to be so intently looking at specific words and word forms that we miss the
overall theme which is developed over several verses. To use a common expression: We cannot see the
forest for the trees.

Section 7-11 has one theme: The new covenant is so much greater and more glorious than the old
Mosaic covenant.

Section 12-18 draws a corollary from that by way of OUN. This section focuses not on the two
covenants per se, but on the people who live under these two covenants. There was no "we" in the
previous section, but it comes in v. 12. The contrast is now between "we" and "them". The verse
starts out with ELPIS which is much closer to English "confidence" than to "hope". PARRHSIA refers
to an open and honest confidence. It is often translated "openly". "Boldness" as is often used in
this verse, does not quite do justice to the term. Paul speaks with an "open face" not hiding
anything in contrast to Moses in v. 13 who put a veil over his face to hide something.
The ALLA in v. 14 does indicate a certain shift. Paul changes from focusing on Moses to the people
under the ministry of Moses, i.e. the Jews under the old covenant.That is covered in 14-15.
There is a veil between the people and the old covenant which blocks the Jews to this day from
properly understanding it. Paul is not linear in his thinking and writing, and that can be confusing
to linear readers. For instance, in 14b he anticipates the theme he is going to start in v. 16,
namely that the veil is taken away "in Christ". Such theme anticipation is very common in Hebrew
style. It is akin to modern news broadcasts where brief headlines anticipate a more detailed
coverage. V. 15 is still on the same topic as the major part of verse 14. The DE in v. 16 indicates
the shift from describing the Jews under the old covenant to the Christians under the new covenant.
His focus is on Jews who become Christians rather than Gentiles, since he talks about the veil being
removed, the new freedom in the Spirit (picking up topics from 7-12), the glory of the Lord which we
can now see without a veil (18a) and as a consequence such people change - METAMORFOW - from the 
temporary glory to the new, permanent and greater glory (APO DOXHS EIS DOXAN), again taking up a 
topic from 7-12. This change is a gradual transformation of the mind as Paul says in another place.

To follow this, one needs to appreciate the Greek discourse markers (GAR, KAI, DE, OUN, ALLA),
non-linear Semitic thought patterns as well as the cohesion and various topics in the whole section
as they are skillfully woven together under an overall theme.

Iver Larsen

More information about the B-Greek mailing list