Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Meaning Of Ἑτεροζυγοῦντες Ιn 2 Cor. 6:14 (Part 1)

Question: What does the word ἑτεροζυγοῦντες mean in 2 Cor. 6:14? Also, is the pericope (2 Cor. 6:14–7:1) where it occurs a non-Pauline interpolation? 

AP: I discussed this briefly in my book on the apostle Paul, which was published this year. The title of that book is Guía para entender a Pablo de Tarso: Una interpretación del pensamiento paulino (Trotta, 2015), which translated means "Guide to Understanding Paul of Tarsus: An Interpretation of Pauline Thought." I translated 2 Cor. 6:14 in the following way: "¡No os unzáis en desigual yugo con los infieles! Pues ¿qué participación hay entre la justicia y la iniquidad? . . . ." In English that would be: "Do not yoke yourselves with unbelievers! For what partnership is there between righteousness and iniquity? . . . ." Here's the commentary I added in the book.

6:14–7:1. The scholarly consensus today, which is nearly unanimous, is that these verses are a gloss, an addition from the second century, by a copyist who shared some of the ideas of the Essenes. A clear break appears between 6:13 ("Open wide to us also–I speak to you now as children–Pay me back with the same thing I gave you") and 7:2 ("Make room for us in your hearts. We wronged no one . . . ."). The sort of exclusion exhibited in these verses is more typical of some groups that followed Jesus in the second century, not Paul.  Also, these verses are reminiscent of the sectarian character of the Qumran texts. However, confessional scholars in modern research tend to believe that the text is Pauline, because the ideas it contains could be accepted some sort of radical outburst of an apocalyptic Paul. (But exclusivist concerning the Gentiles? Personally, I find that impossible.)

Beliar/Belial is one of the alternate names for Satan, typical of apocalyptic Judaism, as Mastema, Semyaza, Azazel (1 Enoch) or Metembekus (Ascension of Isaiah). The passage does not agree with the general Pauline doctrine on purity and the separation concerning the Gentiles, and less so in Corinth.

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