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Pain and Paradox in 2 Corinthians

In 2 Corinthians, B. G. White, Benjamin G. White, Isaac T. Soon, Mohr Siebeck, paradox, suffering on February 21, 2022 at 3:28 pm

2022.02.02 | Benjamin G. White. Pain and Paradox in 2 Corinthians: The Transformative Function of Strength in Weakness. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament II 555. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021. ISBN 9783161599118.

Review by Isaac T. Soon, Crandall University.

This monograph—a lightly revised version of the author’s dissertation at Durham University—offers a re-reading of 2 Corinthians through Paul’s strength in weakness paradox. The aim of the book is to correct the dominant approach to 2 Corinthians that conceives of Paul’s letter as fundamentally a defence of his apostleship and ministry. As an alternative, White argues that 2 Corinthians should be read primarily as a demonstration of Paul’s pastoral ministry to the Corinthian congregation. This is not to say, however, that Paul’s apologetic rhetoric is superfluous, but rather that it is in service of his ministerial goal, to comfort and provide concrete transformative strategies to a congregation in pain. 

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An Apostle in Battle

In 2 Corinthians, Christopher de Stigter, Early Christianity, Himmelreise, Lisa M. BOWENS, New Testament, Paul on October 11, 2021 at 4:14 pm

2021.10.16 | Lisa M. Bowens. An Apostle in Battle: Paul and Spiritual Warfare in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10. WUNT II 433; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.

Review by Christopher de Stigter, Durham University.

Lisa Bowens’s published dissertation, An Apostle in Battle, is an ambitious work in conceptual integration. She argues for a mutual dependency of Paul’s cosmology, epistemology, and anthropology in his ascent to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10 (see especially pp. 46 & 129). It is in Paul’s Himmelsreise, she argues, that we see the Apostle within a greater cosmic battle: the human pursuit of divine knowledge is under threat from satanic attacks. For Bowens, therefore, a unifying center of all three conceptual spheres—cosmology, epistemology, and anthropology—is their bellicose construal. Her reading emphasizes Paul’s pastoral intentions, for his response to this cosmic battle, boasting in weakness, indicates his hopes for the “problems in Corinth” (p. 1). Against the tide of recent scholarship, Bowens convincingly locates a theological and practical significance in Paul’s disclosure of his ascent to the Corinthians even if this reviewer found certain points less persuasive.

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