Transformation through a Mirror : Moses in 2 Cor. 3.18

Journal article


Litwa, Matthew. (2012). Transformation through a Mirror : Moses in 2 Cor. 3.18. Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 34(3), pp. 286-297. https://doi.org/10.1177/0142064X11435044
AuthorsLitwa, Matthew
Abstract

The odd juxtaposition of beholding God in a mirror and transformation in 2 Cor. 3.18 has incited many commentators to grasp for some parallel from Greek magic (R. Reitzenstein), catoptromantic ritual (H. Achelis), Dionysian mysteries (C. Wagner), Wisdom traditions (M. Thrall), Jewish hydromancy (J. Scott), ‘vision mysticism’ (A. DeConick), or Greco-Roman mythology (A. Weissenrieder). All of these proposals, it is contended, fail to note the key importance of Moses in 2 Cor. 3. Ancient Jewish exegetical traditions based on Num. 12.6-8 portray Moses seeing God through a mirror on Mt Sinai (Lev. Rabb. 1.14; Philo, Leg. All. 3.99-101). Although most commentators note an allusion to Moses in another famous Pauline reference to a mirror (1 Cor. 13.12), the allusion to the Mosaic mirror in 2 Cor. 3.18 has not been explored. Using the Mosaic mirror traditions, this article argues that Paul knew and used Mosaic mirror vision as the model for Christian catoptric seeing in 2 Cor. 3.18. The Mosaic model indicates that the Christian vision through a mirror was thought of as both clear and involving a Mosaic-like metamorphosis into glory (Exod. 34.29-35).

KeywordsMirror; Moses; Paul; Philo; rabbinic tradition; transformation; 2 Cor. 3.12-18
Year01 Jan 2012
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Journal citation34 (3), pp. 286-297
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
ISSN0142-064X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0142064X11435044
Web address (URL)https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0142064X11435044
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range286-297
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All rights reserved
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Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online09 Dec 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited03 May 2024
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© The Author(s) 2012

Place of publicationUnited States
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