n HTS : Theological Studies - "2 Corinthians 11 : 22 : historical context, rhetoric, and ethnicity"

Volume 64, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



In this article historical criticism, rhetorical criticism and ethnicity theory are combined to interpret Paul's boasting about his ethnicity in 2 Corinthians 11 : 22. Partition theory helps to establish the historical / social context that 2 Corinthians 10-13 is a fragment of the "tearful letter," which represented the low point (high conflict) of Paul's relations with the Corinthians. Rhetoric - the theatrical "Fool's Speech," which contains irony, self-praise, and comparison - helps to understand Paul's boastful argumentation in his self-defence; and ethnicity theory helps to interpret Paul's construction of his ethnic identity. Paul boasted of his ethnicity by taking up rhetorical comparison and self-praise. But he did so in the so-called "Fool's Speech", which is full of irony : his ethnic heritage was part of his argument that he was equal to that of his opponents, but - here is the chief irony - his ethnicity "in the flesh" ultimately meant nothing to him.

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