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Journal Article

On Paul's Second Visit to Corinth: Πάλιν, Parsing, and Presupposition in 2 Corinthians 2:1

Stephen C. Carlson
Journal of Biblical Literature
Vol. 135, No. 3 (Fall 2016), pp. 597-615
DOI: 10.15699/jbl.1353.2016.3123
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.15699/jbl.1353.2016.3123
Page Count: 20

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Topics: Ambiguity, Apostolic letters, Word order, Infinitives, Adverbs, Verbs, Syntax, New Testament, Linguistics, Travel
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On Paul's Second Visit to Corinth: Πάλιν, Parsing, and Presupposition in 2 Corinthians 2:1
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Abstract

The supposition that Paul's second visit to Corinth was a painful visit between the writing of 1 and 2 Corinthians is a staple of modern reconstructions of Paul's biography, but its basis is surprisingly thin. It rests in large part on a presupposition generated by a particular parsing of the adverb πάλιν in 2 Cor 2:1 τὸ μὴ πάλιν ἐν λύπῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλθεῖν. This article revisits the semantics and pragmatics of πάλιν from a contemporary linguistic perspective and concludes that πάλιν, in this particular context, cannot bear the exegetical weight placed upon it. Reconstructions of Paul's travels need to look elsewhere for evidence.

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