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

Donald COBB docobb at orange.fr
Mon May 18 03:55:19 EDT 2009

Dear Iver,

Thanks for your comments. First of all an English translation of the second 
option for v. 14b: "For up to the present day, the same veil remains over 
the reading of the Old Covenant; it is not revealed that, in Christ, it is 
done away with/disappears".

Elizabeth Kline tentatively analyzed the structure as an accusative absolute 
(BDF makes the same suggestion). At any rate, I don't see anything shocking 
in this way of understanding of the clause, compared to the ways Paul can 
express himself elsewhere.

> What I could not see is that some people read ANAKALUPTOMENON as if it had 
> and/or they understand "unveil a face" as if it meant "reveal a concept". 
> APOKALUPTW is a common
> word in the NT (26 times), and Paul uses it 13 times, although it never 
> occurs as a participle. I
> still do not think that option 2 is a legitimate exegesis, nor that it 
> could be the intended
> meaning.

C. Spicq's "Lexique théologique du Nouveau Testament" (Paris-Fribourg, 
Cerf-Editions Universitaires Fribourg, 1991), 760 (KALUPTW and derivatives) 
specifies that ANAKALUPTW can be used in connection with the unveiling of, 
e.g., a vision, as in Dan 2:28-29:

Dan 2:28 : ἀλλ᾽ ἔστι θεὸς ἐν οὐρανῷ ἀνακαλύπτων μυστήρια ὃς ἐδήλωσε τῷ 
βασιλεῖ Ναβουχοδονοσορ ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν (Cf. Dan 2:22).

Philo, De ebrietate 1:139 ἡ ἀρετὴ βεβαιότητα ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἐντίθησι τοὺς 
ἐνδοιάζοντας καὶ ἐπαμφοτερίζοντας λογισμοὺς ἀνὰ κράτος ἐκτέμνουσα καὶ ὥσπερ 
ἐν δικαστηρίῳ τῷ βίῳ τἀληθὲσὁ ἀνακαλύπτουσα.

In other words, ANAKALUPTW can, depending on the context, have a meaning 
quite close to APOKALUPTW. As for the fact that Paul doesn't use APOKALUPTW 
elsewhere in a participial construction, I don't think we can attach any 
particular importance to that. Synatx is connected first of all to context 
and how one expresses oneself in a given sentence.

Incidently, here is Spicq's translation: "The same veil, at the reading of 
the Old Covenant remains, it not being revealed to them that in Christ it 
[the covenant] is abolished".

> In addition, as I said before, if the intention was to refer to the old 
> covenant, a
> perfective form of KATARGEW should have been used (either aorist or 
> perfect).

Perhaps, although Ι still maintain that there is probably a deliberte 
ambivalence/ambiguity in Paul's expression (covenant?/veil?) which could 
account for the present. I don't think translating KATARGEITAI as a present 
is problematical: "It is set aside, abolished".

> 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.

In the second option, hOTI functions as "a marker of discourse content" for 
ANAKALUPTOMENON (participial form of a verb denoting "mental or sense 
perception" ; BDAG). There's nothing unusual in that, so we are definitely 
not left with only the third option. I agree with you Iver, that hO TI has 
little to commend itself;

> Finally, as I said in
> another post, this section does not deal with the covenants per se, but 
> people under the two
> covenants, and this bit of v. 14 anticipates a topic developed from v. 16.

I honestly don't think we can separate what Paul says here about himself, 
Moses, the "sons of Israel", and believers in Christ from the covenants he 
is talking about. In fact, Paul is talking, first of all, not about himself 
but about his DIAKONIA, his "ministry" or "service". But that service is 
intimately tied in with the character of the covenant and so Paul deveops 
both, contrasting them with the character of the Old Covenant, illustrating 
what he sees as its lesser glory, illustrated through the example of Moses.

I still maintain that reading v. 14 in the context of the whole passage 
encourages the reader/listner first of all to accept KATARGEITAI in 
connection with the other uses of the verb in the preceeding verses. As I've 
said from the beginning, I think part of the difficulty stems from the fact 
that Paul seems to be playing on a certain ambiguity, which can be seen 
elsewhere in the changing identity of the PROSWPA (Moses => Paul => 
believers), the changing character of the veil (physical => spiritual) and 
its changing location (Moses' face => the reading of the Covenant document 
=> the hearts => the believers' faces [v. 18]).

Another avenue that would really be worth exploring--but that would take us 
far from merely focusing on Greek grammer questions--would be the way Paul 
uses intertextuality in this verse and, indeed, throughout the whole 

Donald Cobb
Aix-en-Provence, France

> Does any English version follow option 2? I did notice that a new Danish 
> idiomatic version says:
> "Therefore they do not understand that the old agreement between God and 
> people was annulled when
> Christ came." This translation adds "therefore", uses a past tense (was 
> annulled) and takes the
> unveiling to mean "understand". IMO, this is simply a wrong and inaccurate 
> translation based on
> faulty exegesis. I don't think it is a matter of ambiguity from Paul's 
> side, but a matter of
> misunderstanding on the part of a small minority of commentators.
> Iver Larsen
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