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.
05_Tack_copiaaaaa_85-112 28/04/15 12:35 Pagina 85
A Face Reflecting Glory
2 Cor 3,18 in its Literary Context (2 Cor 3,1 – 4,15)
Presenting an adequate exegesis of 2 Cor 3,18 is a daunting task.
The exegete has to account for many interacting variables, such as
the particular understanding of transformation, the exact meaning of
h`mei/j pa,ntej, and the significance of the unveiled face. Moreover,
scholars are in disagreement on how to translate the participle
katoptrizo,menoi. The majority of scholars seems to prefer the trans-
lation “to behold as in a mirror”, while another group of exegetes
favours the translation “to reflect as a mirror”. Since a clear under-
standing of 2 Cor 2,14 – 4,6 requires a lucid treatment of 2 Cor 3,18,
which is central to the argumentation of the larger text unit, it is im-
portant to choose the right translation of katoptrizo,menoi.
In this study we shall argue that katoptrizo,menoi ought to be
translated as “to reflect as a mirror”. As such, we bring J. Dupont’s
seminal article 1 into focus as the solid foundation on which we de-
velop our own thesis. In dialogue with the Forschungsgeschichte
concerning 2 Cor 3,18, we offer an exegesis of this verse in which
we give particular attention to how it is interlaced with its broader
literary context. Focussing on how both 2 Cor 3,1-3 and 2 Cor 4,1-
18 contain arguments in favour of the translation ‘to reflect’, we
find ourselves mainly in uncharted terrain.
The argumentation of the article consists of three parts. The first
part spells out the major problems of an exegesis of 2 Cor 3,18.
The second section understands 2 Cor 3,18 against the background
of 2 Corinthians 3, while the third interprets v. 18 as a transition to
the whole of 2 Corinthians 4.
I. The Mirror Image in 2 Cor 3,18.
To Behold as in a Mirror or to Reflect as a Mirror?
According to I. Nayak, 2 Cor 3,18 consists of five constituents
that clarify the central part of the sentence (h`mei/j de. pa,ntej [...]
J. DUPONT, “Le chrétien, miroir de la gloire divine après II Cor. 3,18”,
RB 56 (1949) 392-411.
BIBLICA 96.1 (2015) 85-112