B.G. White

Pain and Paradox in 2 Corinthians

The Transformative Function of Strength in Weakness

[Schmerz und Paradoxon im 2. Korintherbrief. Die transformative Funktion von Kraft in Schwachheit.]

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Published in English.
B.G. White argues that interpreters of 2 Corinthians overlook its most immediate context – a pained community. He offers a fresh paradigm for the central motif of 2 Corinthians – the strength in weakness paradox – as well as Paul's broader strategy and purpose.
Most studies of 2 Corinthians characterize the community as rebels who accuse Paul of weakness. Paul is thought to respond defensively, asserting his power in weakness. B.G. White confronts this consensus by arguing that interpreters overlook the material's most immediate context – a pained community (2:1–7; 7:5–16). After arguing that the Corinthians have ongoing pains, the author develops the implications for the interpretation of the strength in weakness paradox and the letter's literary integrity in a variety of texts (e.g. 1:3–11, 4:7–15, 6:1–13, 12:1–10). He argues that Paul's paradoxical life is a paradigm for the community to learn how Christ transforms their pains to create new emotions and behaviors – even reconciliation with Paul. More than a fiery retort, 2 Corinthians has the pastoral purpose of increasing human potential in weakness, without rendering that weakness inherently redemptive.

B.G. White Born 1989; 2019 PhD from Durham University; currently Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at The King's College, New York City.


The following reviews are known:

In: Religious Studies Review — 49 (2023), p. 210 (Cory M. Marsh)
In: Bulletin for Biblical Research — 32 (2022), pp. 472.474 (J. de Waal Dryden)
In: Journal for the Study of the New Testament (JSNT) — 44 (2022), pp. 56–57 (Joshua D.A. Bloor)
In: Review of Biblical Literature — (2/2023) (Matt Jackson-McCabe)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 148 (2023), pp. 58–60 (Ulrich Heckel)
In: Reviews of Biblical and Early Christian Studies — (Isaac T. Soon)