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.
See, e.g., A. Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (ICC; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1915) 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  129-139) identifies the offender with the incestuous man to whom Paul refers in 1 Cor 5:1-5.
Harris, Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 230-231. 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.
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]).