Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William S. Kurz

Second Advisor

Robert A. Wild

Third Advisor

Wayne L. Fehr

Fourth Advisor

John J. Schmitt


II Corinthians 3:1-4:6 is one of Paul's most intriguing texts. The most important characters in Judaeo-Christian religious history--Moses, Jesus and Paul--interact in these verses. They are full of the vivid imagery of glory and veiling, the hardening of Israel and the transfiguration of the Christian. However, they also present an apparently inconsistent argument and a perplexing lack of detail. Frequently considered to be a refutation of opposing theology, the logic of Paul's own argument in II Corinthians 3 and the central Pauline themes present there have not been appreciated. The purpose of this study is twofold--to unravel the argumentation of II Cor 3:1-18 and to reclaim the whole section by explaining it conceptually in the context of Pauline theology and the common thought-world of first-century Judaism. Following an Introduction which reviews both the scope and the special tendencies of research into II Corinthians and describes the intentions and presuppositions of the present work, Chapter One and Two analyze the vocabulary of II Cor 3:1-18 and describe a background for Paul's discourse in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. These chapters then analyze the structure of the text according to exegetical methodologies expected within Paul's milieu. Chapters Three and Four discuss II Corinthians 3:1-4:6 from a theological point of view. Chapter Three expands Paul's brief Christological statements in II Cor 3:18 and 4:4 and 6 by defining their terms and locating them in the literary context of the Old Testament, intertestamental literature and the letters of Paul himself. Chapter Four similarly contextualizes Paul's understanding of Moses. In company with many Jews and Christians of his time, Paul saw Moses as a humble and suffering prophetic figure. He was thereby enabled to continue to use Moses as a model for apostolic service to the churches of the glorified Christ. This study, then, has clarified the background, methods and structure of II Corinthians 3:1-4:6 and established it as a genuinely Pauline reflection on the relationship between faith in Christ and the religious heritage of Judaism.



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