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“The Letter Kills, but the Spirit gives Life” (2 Cor. 3:6)

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Abstract The essay examines the Spirit/letter antithesis used by Paul (also in Rom. 2:27-29 and 7:6) as parallel to outward and visible/hidden and circumcision of flesh/heart antitheses. A close study of the 2 Corinthians 3 context draws out the importance of the allusions to Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26-27, and the use of Exodus 34:29-35. The conclusion reflects on the Spirit/letter contrast today, in shaping expectations when reading Scripture, with a reminder that systems of dogma and ecclesiastical structure can reinforce the letter and lose sight of the S/spirit.

Affiliations: 1: University of Durham United Kingdom


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