This dissertation is an attempt to contribute new insight to the
understanding of 2 Corinthians 3, In Chapter One, the general problem of
interpreting written texts, especially ancient ones, is discussed, with
special attention given to the differences between speaking and writing.
Then the particular problems of interpreting 2 Corinthians 3 are presented,
and the interpretation theory of Paul Ricoeur is proposed as a method to be
utilised for the present investigation.
In Chapter Two, the notion of the 'world of the text', the central
category of Ricoeur's hermeneutics, is displayed as a starting point for a
contemporary interpretation of the text. Then the 'world' of the text and
some its 'characters' - God, Paul, the Corinthians - are described.
Certain aspects of Norman Petersen's concept of 'narrative world' are
implemented in order to help define the roles, relations, and actions of
the characters of 2 Corinthians 3, as they appear in the text.
In Chapter Three, Ricoeur's contribution to the theory of metaphor is
presented. Then his theory is applied to the interpretation of several
metaphors which occur in the text. The metaphors of 'letters', 'glory',
and 'life and death' are analysed in terms of Ricoeur's tension theory of
metaphor. This theory has its classical foundations in certain passages
from Aristotle, and it receives its modern elaboration from the impetus of
I. A. Richards. Ricoeur expands the contribution of Richards, in one way,
by proposing the concepts of 'split sense' and 'split reference' as
attributes of the living metaphor. The employment of Ricoeur's theory is
intended to spell out more of the surplus of meaning which lies dormant in
potentially powerful biblical metaphors.
The results of these investigations are summarised and correlated in
Chapter Four. The text of 2 Corinthians 3 does project a world. It is a
world in which the living God has created all things. This biblical
passage reveals how the creator is made known to men through personal
relationships with them.