EABS Annual Meeting location:Lincoln date:26-29 July 2009
A persisting problem in the interpretation of 2 Cor 3:7-18 is the question of whether Paul was relying on an existing tradition of the glory of Moses’ face fading (or, being set aside). Thus far no-one has applied the theory of Social Memory to this passage in order to explore whether Paul was engaged in constructing a counter-memory of Moses. In the line of Philip Esler’s work on Paul’s contestation of Abraham in Galatians, I argue for a similar contestation of mnemonic tradition surrounding the glory of Moses, in which Paul deliberately modifies memories of Moses in light of the local exigencies he is faced with at Corinth. I situate my paper in dialogue with both Esler and a more recent sociological analysis of this passage by Thomas Blanton.