Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fee’s change of mind

I posted twice concerning Fatehi's christological reading of 2 Cor 3:16-18 and forgot to mention my source! Fatehi's work to which I referred is his utterly brilliant WUNT monograph, The Spirit's Relation to the Risen Lord in Paul (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000). This will probably sound like an exaggeration, but I honestly think it is one of the most important and smoothly argued monographs relating to Pauline Christology to have been written in modern times. In this post I briefly detail why Fee has changed his mind on the 2 Cor 3:16-18 matter:

While Fee's earlier publications maintained, together with the then emerging scholarly consensus, that the kurios should not be understood as christological, in his recent (2007) and brilliant work on Pauline Christology Fee has to an extent retracted his earlier exegesis in favour of a greater appreciation of the christological reading. Why? While still asserting the Pauline rabbinic interpretation of 3:16 in 3:17, and while still maintaining the estin is an exegetical significant, Fee nevertheless appears to allow for multiple references of the kurios in these verses. '"The Lord" in the Exodus passage refers to the work of the Spirit ... And the Spirit, of course, is "the Spirit of the Lord" = Christ' (178). In other words, Paul reworks the LXX text 'to make it refer simultaneously to the work of the Spirit and Christ' (177). Important for Fee is the identity of the Lord in the phrase 'the Spirit of the Lord' in 3:17. While in his previous work he argued the Lord was 'the Father', he rejects this reading, independent of Fatehi, because of three factors. '(1) Paul regularly appropriates the Septuagint's kurios = Yahweh as referring to Christ; (2) Paul consistently uses kurios in all other passages to refer to Christ; and (3) in concluding the present argument, Paul ... explicitly says that he preaches ... "Jesus Christ as Lord"' (179).

Personally, I find Fatehi's arguments a good deal more persuasive and important, but it is still good to know that Fee is on one's own side!

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