Reading ἔγραψα in 2 Corinthians 2:9 as an Epistolary Aorist

in Novum Testamentum
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This article offers a re-reading of ἔγραψα in 2 Cor 2:9. It argues that this verb should be interpreted as an epistolary aorist—thereby indicating a reason for why Paul is presently writing—rather than as a preterit aorist, referring to the “tearful letter.” Reading ἔγραψα as an epistolary aorist in 2:9 resolves tensions with the preceding context produced by the typical interpretation. It also results in a fully coherent reading of 2:5-11, where Paul exhorts the Corinthians to receive back the offender. This study supplements K.L. McKay’s treatment of the epistolary aorist in Novum Testamentum.

Reading ἔγραψα in 2 Corinthians 2:9 as an Epistolary Aorist

in Novum Testamentum



  • 4)

    See e.g. A. PlummerA Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (ICC; Edinburgh: T & T Clark1915) 55. Plummer surmises that both a personal insult and defiance of Paul’s authority were involved. While most commentators agree with the contours of this reconstruction there are exceptions. C.K. Barrett (“Ὁ ἈΔΙΚΗΣΑΣ [2 Cor 7:12]” in Essays on Paul [Philadelphia: Westminster 1982] 108-117) argues that the person in question was not a member of the Corinthian church but a visiting missionary who opposed Paul and his ministry. M.E. Thrall (“The Offender and the Offence: A Problem of Detection in 2 Corinthians” in Scripture: Meaning and Method—Essays Presented to Anthony Tyrell Hanson for His Seventieth Birthday [ed. B.P. Thompson; Hull UK: Hull University Press 1987] 65-78 at 74-76) proposes that the offender was a member of the Corinthian church who stole money that had been temporarily entrusted to Paul for the collection. In line with a tradition dating back to the Church Fathers C.G. Kruse (“The Offender and the Offense in 2 Corinthians 2:5 and 7:12” EvQ 60 [1988] 129-139) identifies the offender with the incestuous man to whom Paul refers in 1 Cor 5:1-5.

  • 11)

    ThrallII Corinthians1:179.

  • 13)

    FurnishII Corinthians157.

  • 14)

    ThrallII Corinthians1.178.

  • 15)

    HarrisSecond Epistle to the Corinthians230-231. See also P.E. Hughes Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians: The English Text with Introduction Exposition and Notes (NICNT; Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans 1962) 69.

  • 16)

    ThrallII Corinthians1.163 (italics added).

  • 17)

    See also J. LambrechtSecond Corinthians (SP 8; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press1999) 32.

  • 25)

    See McKay“Observations on the Epistolary Aorist in 2 Corinthians” 154-158. McKay is more tentative about 9:3. However many translations (e.g. RSV NRSV and NIV) render ἔπεµψα in 9:3 as “I am sending” as do many exegetes (e.g. Furnish [II Corinthians 421] Harris [Second Epistle to the Corinthians 616] and Matera [II Corinthians 199]).

  • 34)

    See e.g. ThrallII Corinthians168; and Lambrecht Second Corinthians 31.

  • 35)

    See e.g. PlummerII Corinthians49; and Furnish II Corinthians 154.

  • 36)

    R.P. Martin2 Corinthians (WBC 40; Waco, TX: Word1986) 236.


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