Today I have been looking at exegtical problems in 2 Cor 3:14, here is the context:
2Cor. 3:12 Ἔχοντες οὖν τοιαύτην ἐλπίδα πολλῇ παρρησίᾳ χρώμεθα 13 καὶ οὐ καθάπερ Μωϋσῆς ἐτίθει κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀτενίσαι τοὺς υἱοὺς Ἰσραὴλ εἰς τὸ τέλος τοῦ καταργουμένου. 14 ἀλλὰ ἐπωρώθη τὰ νοήματα αὐτῶν. ἄχρι γὰρ τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης μένει, μὴ ἀνακαλυπτόμενον ὅτι ἐν Χριστῷ καταργεῖται· 15 ἀλλ᾿ ἕως σήμερον ἡνίκα ἂν ἀναγινώσκηται Μωϋσῆς, κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτῶν κεῖται· 16 ἡνίκα δὲ ἐὰν ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς κύριον, περιαιρεῖται τὸ κάλυμμα.
While contemplating Paul's argument where he uses the Moses' veil as a metaphor for the inability of those under the old covenant to see the glory of Paul's gospel, after working through all the traditional exegetical options, I decided rather arbitrarily to attempt an analysis of the information structure in verse 14b-c, not because it was a passage particularly suited for this kind of analysis but just to see if I could make any sense out it using a nontraditional framework. The text segment for analysis is:
2 Cor 3:14b-c ἄχρι γὰρ τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης μένει, μὴ ἀνακαλυπτόμενον ὅτι ἐν Χριστῷ καταργεῖται·
The first finite verb is μένει. I would suggest this is the focus, the most salient constituent. In other words the verb μένει is what this clause/sentence asserts. The initial constituent ἄχρι γὰρ τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας is a temporal orienter and a contextualizer. The noun phrase τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα is the topic which also serves as a contextualizer tying this clause to the veil κάλυμμα mentioned in v.13. My notion of a contextualizer is intentionally inclusive. Context is both textual and situational which includes temporal, local, cultural aspects. The separation of co-text from context is intentionally avoided.
The prepositional phrase ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης is a setting identifier (another contextualizer) for the core clause τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα ... μένει. I would suggest that the position of this phrase makes it less salient than ἄχρι γὰρ τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας which is more inherently newsworthy and for that reason fronted.
An alternative approach might assign focus to the core clause τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα ... μένει rather than the finite verb alone. What is salient is the relationship between the presupposition (the veil and the old covenant) and the current assertion that the veil remains even "today" when the old covenant is read. For that reason some might prefer to assign focus to the core clause.
The constituents following μένει raise a number of traditional exegetical problems. Here is what M.J. Harris (2Cor NIGTC 2005, p. 303) has to say about it.
more on this later ...
Labels: 2nd Corinthians, biblical greek, discourse analysis, focus, greek, greek syntax, information structure, Paul, topic