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Why DId Paul include an exegesis of Moses’ shining face (Exod 34) in 2 Cor 3? - Moses’ strength, well-being and (transitory) glory, according to Philo, Josephus, Paul, and the corinthian sophists

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Chapter Summary

The question this chapter deals with is why Paul drew so extensively on an episode of the Giving of the Torah in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. In chapter 3 he makes abundant use of Exodus 34, the story about the second giving of the Torah and Moses' shining face, which reflects God's glory. Although Paul does not even mention the fact that the first tablets of the law were replaced, Exod 34 is terribly important to him because of a particular feature of the Old Testament narrative. The question is: why did Paul consider Exod 34 so important? In a pagan context, with pagan outsiders being introduced to the meetings of the Christian community, there was abundant reason to talk about Moses, since his image among the pagans was ambiguous and not necessarily positive and, for that reason, stood in need of clarification.

Keywords: Corinthians; Exodus 34; God's glory; Moses' shining face; Old Testament; pagan; Paul; Torah



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