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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422


DULING, Dennis. "2 Corinthians 11:22: historical context, rhetoric, and ethnicity". Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2008, vol.64, n.2, pp.819-843. 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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