[b-greek] Re: 2 Cor. 5:19

From: Paul Toseland (patoseland1@cableinet.co.uk)
Date: Sat Jul 29 2000 - 14:25:16 EDT


On 25 July 2000 at 8.37 AM -0400 Carl W. Conrad wrote:

>I think a question here that is very much worth raising is why the negative
>particle MH rather than OU is used with LOGIZOMENOS. The "reckoning" or
>"calculating" implicit in the participle is evidently not a simple fact but
>somehow contingent? Is it an expression of intent or will? "not intending
>to impute ...?) I'm asking this as a question, because I think the fact
>that we have MH here rather than OU is perhaps very significant.
Carl, sorry I've been a bit slow in taking up this thread.I think you are right here;
MH is significant, and it is surprising that I cannot recall having seen the issue
discussed before. I will argue briefly that the saying, QEOS HN EN CRISTWi
PARAPTWMATA AUTWN, is, if MH is taken as functionally equivalent to OU,
incompatible with Paul's understanding of the new covenant .

The key theological foundation of the argument of 2 Corinthians is the new
covenant. Paul introduces the topic in 1:18-22, though he presupposes it even
in 1:3-7. His cancellation of his planned to visit was not irresponsible, as some
had claimed (1:17), because God is faithful to the new covenant. All the
covenantal promises have already been fulfilled in Christ: NAI EN AUTWi
Corinthians nonour the God of the new covenant whenever in their liturgy they
pronounce the Amen. As a consequence of the covenantal promises, God, who
has annointed and sealed the Corinthians, having purchased them together with
Paul for Christ (EIS CRISTON; cf. 1 Cor 6:20), is confirming (BEBAIWN) that the
transaction will be completed (which under Attic law) he is required to do), since
he has paid the deposit (ARRABWN), the Spirit in their hearts.

In 3:6, Paul declares himself to be DIAKONOS KAINHS DIAQHKHS, and he
goes on to argue that his bold response to the recent crisis was made possible
by the fact that the Corinthians enjoy the blessings of the new covenant: for
unlike Moses, he has no need to wear a veil; the Corinthians are not harmed in
any way by a direct encounter with the glory of God. On the contrary, such
encounters result in their transformation into the image of Christ (3:7-18).

Only those who are EN CRISTWi enjoy the blessings of the new covenant, which
include the gift of the Spirit, and a vivified 'heart of flesh', as opposed to a 'heart
of stone', which is incapable of keeping the terms of the covenant (Ezek 11:19;
36:26; cf. 2 Cor 3:3; cf. Gal 3:10). The term KAINH DIAQHKH is itself almost
certainly derived from Jer 38(31):31 LXX. Jer 31:31-34 reads,

The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the
covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead
them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a
husband to [65] them, [66]" declares the LORD. "This is the covenant I will
make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put
my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they
will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his
brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the
least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their
wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (NIV)

It is becoming recognised increasingly that the OT traditions concerning
the return of Israel from exile and the granting of a new covenant lie at
the heart of Paul's theology. These traditions include the promise of a
Davidic Messiah whowill lead the new exodus and rule over Israel forever
(e.g. Jer 23:3-6; 30:3-9, 21; 33:4-26). Isaiah describes the return as a new
creation (Isa 43:18-19; with the LXX cf. 2 Cor 5:17). These promises
therefore subsume the promises of the Abrahamic covenant (cf. Gal 3:14.)
The covenantal promises, including forgiveness of sins, are granted not to
the whole world, but only to the faithful remnant of Israel, the Seed of Abraham,
that is, to Christ (Gal 3:16). Individuals participate in these promises through
their union with Christ, which is effected through baptism (Gal 3:26-29). The
believer continues to enjoy these blessings, including the indwelling of the
Spirit, only by remaining 'in Christ' (cf. 2 Cor 5:20; 6:1).

Therefore it is impossible that MH LOGIZOMENOS AUTOIS TA
PARAPTWMATA AUTWN (2 Cor 5:19) should express a simple,
unconditional fact, that (because of the crucifixion) God does not 'reckon' the
transgressions of the world against them. The blessing of justification is
granted only to those who are in Christ, to those who remain faithful to Christ.
So I would like to translate, 'not wishing to reckon their transgressions against
them', if that is not stretching the scope of MH? Cf. Ezek 33:10-11.


Paul Toseland (PhD Bristol)
Post-doctoral student --- B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com] To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

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