Committee in charge:
Chair: William Klingshirn, Ph.D.
Secretary: Raymond Studzinski, Ph.D.
Director: John Paul Heil, S.S.D.
Reader: Frank Matera, Ph.D.
Reader: Francis Gignac, D.Phil.
Paul’s Ministry and God’s New Creation: An Audience-Oriented Study of 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2
Second Corinthians 5:16–6:2 rests within one of the most magisterial and problematic sections in Paul’s letters. Numerous previous studies have varied on how to delimit the section and how to understand the call to reconciliation in 5:18-20 within Paul’s theology. These studies have focused on the perspective of the author Paul, often comparing 2 Cor 5:18-21 with Rom 5:1-10 (among other texts), or attempting to understand the origin of the concept of reconciliation within his theological matrix.
This dissertation focuses on the authorial audience’s response to 5:16–6:2. The audience-oriented method adopted for this study is “text-centered” in that it studies how the authorial audience (i.e., the “textual” or “implied” audience) responds to the oral presentation of a text. This method demonstrates for modern readers what the audience experiences within the text’s performance, that is, this method shows what the audience hears. Within this method the exegete “listens” carefully to repeated terms, themes, and structures. This dissertation represents the first audience-oriented study of 2 Cor 5:16–6:2 (and 2 Cor 1:1–6:2 as a whole) and as such contributes several new insights regarding this intriguing section.
This study demonstrates 5:16–6:2 to be a chiastic unit with an A (5:16-17), B (5:18), B´ (5:19-20), A´ (5:21–6:2) structure that is grounded objectively on grammatical and lexical criteria. Furthermore, this study demonstrates 5:16–6:2 to be the closing A´ unit to a six part macrochiastic unit in 4:15–6:2, and thus presents lexical parallels with the A unit, 4:15-18. As a chiastic unit, the section 5:16–6:2 has paralleling elements that develop Paul’s exhortation as it progresses through the unit’s structure. In addition to being the conclusion of the macrochiasm 4:15–6:2, the unit 5:16–6:2 is also shown to be the climactic exhortation of 2 Cor 1:1–6:2, which consists of three macrochiastic arguments (1:8–2:13; 2:14–4:14; 4:15–6:2), and emphasizes the symbiotic relationship that Paul and the audience share in Christ.