2 Corinthians: Implied Readers and Canonical Implications
Journal for the Study of the New Testament
Treating 2 Corinthians as a composite letter from earlier letters or fragments raises some challenges to the interpretive relevance of almost exclusive historical-critical reconstruction of original fragments and of the hypothetical history of epistolary exchange between Paul and the Corinthian churches. If 2 Corinthians is composite, the original Sitz im Leben of each of the fragments no longer applies to the later and different audience of the combined '2 Corinthians'. The situation of the intended audience of the composite letter is actually closer to the canonical setting of later and different audiences reading these letters as part of their Bibles, than to the historical- critically reconstructed original Corinthian audiences of the individual fragments or letters. As do later canonical readers, so did the audience for whom the composite letter was first created have to re-actualize and apply analogously as paradigms and examples for their later situations the historically explicit original issues between Paul and the Corinthians.