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The Triumph of God in 2 Cor 2.14: Additional Evidence of Merkabah Mysticism in Paul

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2009

J. M. Scott
(Trinity Western University, 7600 Glover Road, Langley, British Columbia, CanadaV2Y1Y1)


In a recent article, Martin Hengel argues that the early Christian interpretation of Ps 110.1 provided not only the most important impulse to the development of Christology in the nascent church, but also a blasphemous enormity to contemporary Jewish sensibilities: the idea that the crucified Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, was raised and seated ‘at the right hand’ of God that is, enthroned as a co-occupant of God's own ‘throne of glory’ (cf. Jer 17.12), located in the highest heaven. For in the OT, being seated on the throne in heaven is reserved for Yahweh alone, and in subsequent Jewish tradition it is rare to find any reference to someone sharing the throne of God.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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1 Hengel, Martin, ‘“Setze dich zu meiner Rechten!” Die Inthronisation Christi zur Rechten Gottes und Psalm 110,1’, in Le Trône de Dieu (ed. Marc, Philonenko; WUNT 69; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1993) 108–94Google Scholar. On the interpretation of 2 Cor 2.14 developed in the present article, see further my forthcoming commentary on 2 Corinthians in the NIBC series (Peabody MA: Hendrickson).

2 On Yahweh's sitting enthroned in heaven, see Ps 2.4; 11.4; 123.1; also 1 Kings 22.19; Isa 6.1–9.

3 See Hengel, ‘Setze dich’, 165–6,168,171–4, on the second-century BC Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian (11. 68–89). See further 1 Enoch 55.4 (‘Kings, potentates, dwellers upon the earth: You would have to see my Elect One, how he sits in the throne of glory …’); 62.3 (‘On the day of judgment, all the kings, governors, the high officials, and the landlords shall see and recognize him [sc. the Elect One] – how he sits on the throne of glory …’); 4Q491 11 i 11–12: ‘[El Elyon gave me a seat among] those perfect forever, a mighty throne in the congregation of the gods.’ On the latter, see Smith, Morton, ‘Two Ascended to Heaven – Jesus and the Author of 4Q491’, in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. Charlesworth, James H.; New York/ London: Doubleday, 1992) 290301Google Scholar; Schuller, Eileen, ‘A Hymn from a Cave Four Hodayot Manuscript: 4Q427 7 i + ii’, JBL 112/4 (1993) 505628Google Scholar (here 627 n. 42).

4 Cf. Hengel, ‘Setze dich’, 177.

5 Ibid., 151, 163, 177, 188. Cf, similarly, Craig Evans, A., ‘In What Sense “Blasphemy”? Jesus before Caiaphas in Mark 14.61–64’, in Society of Biblical Literature 1991 Seminar Papers (ed. Lovering, Eugene H. Jr.; SBLSP 30; Atlanta: Scholars, 1991) 215–34Google Scholar (esp. 220–1); Schaberg, Jane, ‘Mark 14.62: Early Christian Merkabah Imagery?’ in Apocalyptic and the New Testament: Essays in Honor of J. Louis Martyn (ed. Joel, Marcus and Soards, Marion L.; JSNTSup 24; Sheffield: JSOT, 1989) 6994.Google Scholar

6 Cf. Hengel, ‘Setze dich’, 152.

7 Ibid., 152.

8 Cf. Ibid., 150,151.

9 Cf. Ibid., 137–8. Cf. A. F. Segal, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (Yale/London: Yale University, 1990) 58.

10 Hengel, ‘Setze dich’, 142.

11 Ibid., 142.

12 Ibid., 164.

13 Ibid, 136,167.

14 Here, as often in 2 Corinthians, Paul uses the first person plural (the so-called ‘apostolic plural’) to refer to himself.

15 Cf. Breytenbach, Cilliers, ‘Paul's Proclamation and God's “Thriambos”: Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:14–16b’, Neotestamentica 24/2 (1990) 257–71Google Scholar (esp. 262); Hafemann, Scott J., Suffering and the Spirit: An Exegetical Study of II Cor. 2:14–3:3 within the Context of the Corinthian Correspondence (WUNT 2.19; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1986) 33.Google Scholar

16 Cf, e.g., Furnish, Victor Paul, II Corinthians (AB 32A; New York: Doubleday, 1984) 187Google Scholar; Dautzenberg, G., ‘θριαμβεύω’, EDNT 2 (1991) 155–6.Google Scholar

17 Cf., e.g., Duff, Paul Brooks, ‘Metaphor, Motif, and Meaning: The Rhetorical Strategy behind the Image “Led in Triumph” in 2 Corinthians 2:14’, CBQ 53/1 (1991) 7992Google Scholar (here 87); Roetzel, Calvin J., ‘“As Dying, and Behold We Live”: Death and Resurrection in Paul's Theology’, Interpretation 46/1 (1992) 518Google Scholar (here 11–12).

18 Cf., e.g., Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome, The Theology of the Second Letter to the Corinthians (New Testament Theology; Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1991) 2930.Google Scholar

19 Cf. Versnel, H. S., Triumphus: An Inquiry into the Origin, Development and Meaning of the Roman Triumph (Leiden: Brill, 1970) 1Google Scholar; Künzl, Ernst, ‘Triumphator und Gott’, in Der römische Triumph. Siegesfeiern im antiken Rom (Beck's Archäologische Bibliotek; Munich: Beck, 1988) 85108.Google Scholar

20 For a brief description of the pompa triumphalis, see Versnel, , Triumphus, 95.Google Scholar

21 Cf. Michael Pfanner, Der Titusbogen (Beiträge zur Erforschung hellenistischer und kaiserzeitlicher Skulptur und Architektur 2; Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern, 1983).

22 Cf. Versnel, Triumphus, 166. See further Plutarch Mar. 22.1–5.

23 Cf, e.g., FredS. Kleiner, , The Arch of Nero in Rome: A Study of the Roman Honorary Arch before and under Nero (Archaeologica 52; Rome: Bretschneider, 1985) 24Google Scholar, PI. I-XXXIV; Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum 1: Augustus to Vitellius (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1965)Google Scholar PI. 1.20; 2.1,10; 3.20; 8.16,17,18,19, 20; 9.2, 3; 13.3, 4, 5; 14.10,11; 15.6, 7; 22.1, 2, 3; 24.9,10,13; 25.2, 3; 30.9,10). Note also that by ca. AD 150 at the latest, the monumental entrance to the Corinthian forum contained a triumphal arch surmounted by chariots driven by Helios and his son Phaethon, respectively (cf. Pausanias 2.3.2).

24 Cf. Künzl, ‘Triumphator und Gott’, 98–9.

25 Plutarch Cam. 7.1; cf. Livy 5.23.5–6. See further Versnel, Triumphus, 61, 67–8. On the issue of the people's indignation at a triumphal procession, see also Plutarch Pub. 9.9.

26 Similarly, Augustus mentions in his Res Gestae, which announces the conquest of the orbis terrarum (Preamble), that the Senate conferred upon him the title of pater patriae, and that the Senate also decided that the title should be inscribed, among other places, in the Forum of Augustus ‘under the quadriga placed there in my honour’ (§ 35).

27 Cf. Stern, Menahem, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (3 vols.; Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 19741984) 1.207, 210–11Google Scholar. In Valerius Maximus, Iupiter Sabazius is probably meant to be the Jewish God (Ibid., 1.358–9).

28 On this ‘interactive’ theory of metaphor vis-`-vis other current theories, see Soskice, Janet, Metaphor and Religious Language (Oxford: Oxford University, 1985) 2453Google Scholar. Recently, the question of metaphor in 2 Corinthians has been the matter of considerable debate, especially in respect to establishing a method for approaching Pauline theology. Cf. Kraftchick, Stephen J., ‘Death in Us, Life in You: The Apostolic Medium’, in Pauline Theology 2:1 & 2 Corinthians (ed. Hay, David M.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993) 156–81Google Scholar, and the response by Beverly R. Gaventa, ‘Apostle and Church in 2 Corinthians: A Response to David M. Hay and Stephen J. Kraftchick’, in Ibid., 182–99 (esp. 187–93).

29 A recently published Qumran fragment called Second Ezekiel (4Q3S5 4), which forms the oldest witness at our disposal to explicit exegesis of the vision in Ezekiel 1 (i.e., late Has-monean or early Herodian), already uses the term ‘… the vision which Ezekiel saw … […] a radiance of a chariot and four living creatures’ (11. 5–6). Cf. D. Dimant and Strugnell, J., ‘The Merkabah Vision in Second Ezekiel (4Q385 4)’, RevQ 14 (1990) 331–48.Google Scholar

30 This chariot is also portrayed as a ‘throne’ having ‘wheels’ (cf. Dan 7.9; 1 Enoch 14.18).

31 Cf. Halperin, David, The Faces of the Chariot: Early Jewish Responses to Ezekiel's Vision (Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 16; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1988) 174.Google Scholar

32 Hence I translate not ‘team’ (so Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 171–2,174) but ‘quadriga’ (with Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, s.v., 1.528).

33 Cf. LSJ, s.v., 1766.

34 Cf., e.g., Plutarch Cam. 7.1; Mar. 22.2; Pub. 9.9; Rom. 16.8.

35 On the early use of four mules for chariots, cf. Littauer, Mary A. and Crouwel, J. H., ‘Chariots’, ABD 1 (1992) 888–92Google Scholar (here 890). See the copper quadriga drawn by four asses in Pritchard, James B., The Ancient Near East in Pictures Relating to the Old Testament (2nd ed.; Princeton: Princeton University, 1969) 50Google Scholar (* 166), with the description on p. 268.

36 Cf. Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 170–1Google Scholar. Cf., likewise, , Exod. Rab. 42Google Scholar.5, citing Ezek 1.10 and Ps 106.20 (‘They exchanged their glory for the likeness of an ox’). According to the Mekhilta to Exod 14.29, however, R. Aqiba denounced R. Papias' theoretical consideration of Ps 106.20 as a reference to the ‘celestial ox’ of the Merkabah.

37 On the striking association in 4Q385 4.9 between the Golden Calf and the ox of Ezek 1.10, which is already present in the MT (cf. Ps 106.20), see Dimant and Strugnell, ‘The Merkabah Vision in Second Ezekiel’, 339–40. Halperin, (Faces of the Chariot, 60,186Google Scholar) argues that Ezek 1.7 LXX presupposes this understanding of the Merkabah and the calf, because the translation tries to suppress it by reading καì πτερωτοì οί πόδες αὐτ⋯ν (‘and their feet were wings’) instead of ‘the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf's foot’ in the MT.

38 Cf. Hab 3.8; 1 Chr 28.18; 3 Enoch 22.11; 24.1; Apoc. Mos. 33.2; Apoc. Abr. 18.12; T. Abr. 9.8. See Halperin, further, The Faces of the Chariot, 266, 331.Google Scholar

39 Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 157–93.Google Scholar

40 Cf. Newsom, Carol, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice: A Critical Edition (HSS 27; Atlanta: Scholars, 1985).Google Scholar

41 Cf. Dimant and Strugnell, ‘The Merkabah Vision in Second Ezekiel’, 347; Baumgarten, Joseph M., ‘The Qumran Sabbath Shirot and Rabbinic Merkabah Tradition’, RevQ 13 (1988)199213.Google Scholar

42 The Shirot contain some twenty references to the throne chariot(s) (cf. Newsom, , Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, 44–5)Google Scholar. In particular, the twelfth Sabbath song (4Q405 20 ii–21–22 6–14) begins with a lengthy description of the appearance and movement of the divine chariot throne, drawing heavily on Ezekiel 1 and 10.

43 Dimant and Strugnell, ‘The Merkabah Vision in Second Ezekiel’, 347. The authors characterize 4Q385 as ‘a late Hasmonean or even early Herodian manuscript’ (Ibid., 331).

44 Ibid., 348.

45 Ibid., 332.

46 Yadin, Y., The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness (Oxford: Oxford University, 1962) 114–97.Google Scholar

47 Cf. Alexander, Philip S., ‘The Family of Caesar and the Family of God: The Image of the Emperor in the Heikhalot Literature’, in Images of Empire (ed. Loveday, Alexander; JSOTSup 122; Sheffield: JSOT, 1991) 276–97.Google Scholar

48 Compare Paul's citation of Ps 68(67).19 (⋯ναβ⋯ς είς ὓψος) with 4Q458 2 ii 5, which likewise seems to interpret Ps 68.19 messianically: ‘… and he will ascend to the height’ (). Line 6 explicitly refers to ‘one anointed () with the oil of the kingdom of [ ].’

49 As Richard Rubinkiewicz observes (‘Ps LXVIII 19 [ Eph IV 8]: Another Textual Tradition or Targum?’, NovT 17/3 [1975] 219224)Google Scholar, the citation in Eph 4.8 agrees with readings in the Targum to Ps 68.19 at two crucial points: Whereas the MT and the LXX have and ἒλαβες, respectively, Eph 4.8 and the Targum have ἒδωκεν and Likewise, whereas the MT and the LXX have and ⋯νθρώποις, Eph 4.8 and the Targum have the plural τοῖς ⋯νθρώποις and . Cf. also Test. Dan 5.10–11.

50 Cf. Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 141–56, 262–358. Note, however, that W. Zimmerli argues that Ezekiel 1 itself alludes to the theophany at Sinai (Ezechiel 1–24 [BKAT 13.1; 2nd ed.; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1979] 83).Google Scholar

51 Newsom, , Song of the Sabbath Sacrifice, 319Google Scholar (on 4Q405 20–21–22 ii 12–13). Halperin, (The Faces of the Chariot, 57–9)Google Scholar argues that Ezek 43.2 LXX (from pre-Christian Alexandria) understood the connection between God's chariotry at Sinai and Ezekiel's chariot vision.

52 The underlying Hebrew ‘chariotry’ comes from the same root as.

53 Cf. Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 141–9.Google Scholar

54 Cf. Ibid., 289ff. (here p. 303); Str.-B., 3.596–8.

55 Cf. also Exod. Rab. 12.28 to Exod 19.2; Tanhuma Hazinu 3 (ed. Buber).

56 See further Ernst, Bammel, ‘Paulus, der Mose des neuen Bundes’, Theologia 54 (1983) 514Google Scholar; Hafemann, , Suffering and the Spirit, 216–18Google Scholar; Markus Bockmuehl, N. A., Revelation and Mystery in Ancient Judaism and Pauline Christianity (WUNT 2.36; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1990) 143.Google Scholar

57 Although Moses did subsequently enjoy repeated access to the presence of God (cf. Exod 34.34).

58 Cf. Apoc. Abr. 17.1–6; Ascen. Isa. 8.17; 9.31–3; Apoc. Zech. 8.2–4; T. Job 48.3; 49.2; 50.1–2; Hist. Rech. 16.8a-b; 1 Enoch 71.11. On participation in the heavenly liturgy, see further Himmelfarb, Martha, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (New York/Oxford: Oxford University, 1993) 34, 35–6, 51, 54, 56, 60–1, 63–4, 66, 68Google Scholar; Grözinger, Karl-Erich, ‘Singen und ekstatische Sprache in der frühen jüdischen Mystik’, JSJ 11 (1980) 6677Google Scholar. Bockmuehl discusses the possibility that speaking in the ‘tongues of angels’ in the Corinthian church (1 Cor 13.1; 14.2) is an example of Merkabah mysticism and the participation in the heavenly angelic liturgy before the throne of God (Revelation and Mystery, 168–70).

59 Cf. 4Q405 20–21–22 ii 6–13; Newsom, , Song of the Sabbath Sacrifice, 1718, 64.Google Scholar

60 Cf. Mattingly, Coins of the Roman Empire, 201 and Pl. 38.4, 5. For a coin of Divus Augustus enthroned on an elephant quadriga, see Ibid., 134 and Pl. 24.9. On the elephant quadriga as a symbol of emperor deification, see Pfanner, Der Titusbogen, 99. The whole concept of the sessio ad dexteram should be investigated in light of the widespread tradition of the σύνθορονος. According to Ps.-Callisthenes, for example, the Persian king claimed to be ‘king of kings, relative of the gods, co-occupant of the throne with the god Mithras’ (Historia Alexandri Magni 1.36.2; cf. 1.38.2 [ed. W. Kroll]).

61 Note that the knowledge of God is associated with the ‘new covenant’ of Jer 31 (38).31–4 (cf. v. 34), to which Paul refers in the subsequent context (2 Cor 3.6).

62 Cf. 1QH 11.13–14; T. Levi 2.10.

63 Cf. Boer, P. A. H. de, ‘An Aspect of Sacrifice, II: God's Fragrance’, in Studies in the Religion of Ancient Israel (VTSup 23; Leiden: Brill, 1972) 3747.Google Scholar

64 Cf. Himmelfarb, , Ascent to Heaven, 40–1.Google Scholar

65 Note that this text gives the same word combination (⋯σμή-εὺωδία) and in the same order as Paul gives in 2 Cor 2.14–15. Cf. Furnish, , II Corinthians, 188.Google Scholar

66 Cf. Hofius, Otfried, ‘Wort Gottes und Glaube bei Paulus’, in Paulusstudien (WUNT 51; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1989) 148–74Google Scholar (here 161–3).

67 According to Jewish tradition (e.g., b. Shabb. 89a), Moses had learned the secret of the incense as a cure for the plague during his Merkabah encounter with God on Sinai, and this is indeed one of the ‘gifts’ to which Ps 68.19 refers. Cf. Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 302.Google Scholar

68 This parallel is now well recognized in the literature. Cf., e.g., Hafemann, , Suffering and the Spirit, 87, 89–101Google Scholar; Stockhausen, Carol K., Moses' Veil and the Glory of the New Covenant: The Exegetical Substructure of II Cor. 3.1–4.6 (AnBib 116; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1989) 82–6Google Scholar; Hofius, O., ‘Gesetz und Evangelium nach 2. Korinther 2’, in Paulusstudien, 85Google Scholar n. 70.

69 On the translation adopted here, see Wevers, John William, Notes on the Greek Text of Exodus (SBLSCS 30; Atlanta: Scholars, 1990) 4 56.Google Scholar

70 The literal use of κατέναντι is by far the most common in the LXX and in the NT. Cf. Renwick, David A., Paul, the Temple, and the Presence of God (BJS 224; Atlanta: Scholars, 1991) 6194.Google Scholar

71 Cf. Wevers, , Notes on the Greek Text of Exodus, 523–4.Google Scholar

72 Cf. Rom 9.3 with Exod 32.32.

73 In Hekhalot literature, the goal of the ascent to the Merkabah was to enable the ordinary person to assimilate the whole Torah instantly, directly, and permanently (cf., e.g., Schäfer, Peter, ‘The Aim and Purpose of Early Jewish Mysticism’, in Hekhalot-Studien [Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 19; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1988] 276–95Google Scholar [esp. 289ff.]; Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 437–46)Google Scholar. At least one passage alludes in this connection to Ezek 11.19–20 (cf. Jer 17.1 MT), the promise that God would ‘remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them’. Hence, according to Ma‘aseh Merkabah (Schäfer, Synopse, §578; cf. Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 429)Google Scholar, the Merkabah mystic adjures ‘the great prince of Torah, you who were with Moses on Mount Sinai and preserved in his heart everything that he learned and heard, that you come to me and speedily remove the stone from my heart. Do not delay.’ The purpose of this complete communion with God and complete knowledge of Torah was to attain the redemption of Israel in the here and now (cf. Schäfer, ‘The Aim and Purpose of Early Jewish Mysticism’, 295). We may perhaps compare the Corinthians' realized eschatology (cf. 1 Cor 4.8–10; 15.12).

74 Cf. Hafemann, , Suffering and the Spirit, 215–16.Google Scholar

75 Paul speaks here of the ‘glory of the face’ of Moses (v. 7) and ‘glory in the ministry of condemnation’ (v. 9). In other words, Moses' ministry was a manifestation of divine power and glory.

76 Cf. Hofius, ‘Gesetz und Evangelium nach 2. Korinther 3’, 78–81, 86ff., with many interesting Jewish parallels which show that Paul's interpretation of Exod 34.29–35 is often indebted to tradition. See further Linda Belleville, L., ‘Tradition or Creation? Paul's Use of the Exodus 34 Tradition in 2 Corinthians 3:7–18’, in Paul and the Scriptures of Israel (ed. Evans, Craig A. and Sanders, James A.; JSNTSup 83; SSEJC 1; Sheffield: JSOT, 1993) 165–86Google Scholar; Scott Hafemann, J., ‘Moses in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha: A Survey’, JSP 7 (1990) 79104.Google Scholar

77 Cf. Hofius, ‘Gesetz und Evangelium nach 2. Korinther 3’, 95–6. See also Alexander, ‘The Family of Caesar and the Family of God: The Image of the Emperor in the Heikhalot Literature’, 293.

78 The difficult hapax legomenon κατοπτρίζεσθαι probably denotes ‘to see in a mirror’ (cf. Diog. Laert. 2.33; 3.39) rather than merely ‘to see’.

79 On Ezekiel 1 as the background of 2 Cor 3.18, see, e.g., Segal, , Paul the Convert, 60Google Scholar with n. 94; Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 212Google Scholar with n. 22; also, 230, 231–8, 265.

80 Cf. Morray-Jones, C. R. A., ‘Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition’, JJS 43 (1992) 131CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Segal, , Paul the Convert, 3471Google Scholar; Himmelfarb, M., ‘Revelation and Rapture: The Transformation of the Visionary in the Ascent Apocalypses’, in Mysteries and Revelations: Apocalyptic Studies since the Uppsala Colloquium (ed. Collins, John J. and Charlesworth, James H.; JSPSup 9; Sheffield: JSOT, 1991) 7990Google Scholar; idem, Ascent to Heaven, 29.

81 For heuristic purposes it will be assumed here that 2 Corinthians 10–13 belong to the original letter which included 2.14ff. The complex problem of the unity (or composite nature) of the letter cannot be discussed here.

82 As C. R. A. Morray-Jones points out, warnings against self-exaltation with regard to visionary experience are common in the Hekhalot literature (‘Paradise Revisited [2 Cor 12:1–12]: The Jewish Mystical Background of Paul's Apostolate, Part 2: Paul's Heavenly Ascent and Its Significance’, HTR 86/3 [1993] 265–92Google Scholar [here 271–2]).

83 The stative verb ⋯ρκεῖν (‘to be sufficient’), which Paul uses in 2 Cor 12.9, falls within the same semantic domain as ίκανός (‘sufficient’), ἱκανότης (‘sufficiency’), and ίκανο⋯ν (to make sufficient’) in 2.16; 3.5, 6. Hence instead of ίκανόν ⋯στιν in Lk 22.38, D has ⋯ρκεῖ. For the parallelism between ⋯ρκεῖν and the ίκανός word group, see, e.g., Exod 12.4; Plutarch Phocion 30.1; Strabo Geog. 2.4.8.

84 If, as several scholars have suggested, the Lord's answer to Paul's request in 2 Cor 12.9 reflects a midrash on Deut 3.26, where God responds to Moses' request to enter the land (cf., e.g., Bockmuehl, , Revelation and Mystery, 143Google Scholar; Furnish, , II Corinthians, 530Google Scholar; but see Heckel, Ulrich, Kraft in Schwachheit [WUNT 2.56; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1993] 89)Google Scholar, then the connection with 2 Cor 2.14–3.18 is even stronger. For, as we have seen, Paul argues there that the reason for his sufficiency is really the same as that of Moses (see the allusion to Exod 4.10 in 2 Cor 2.16b).

85 Cf. Morray-Jones, ‘Part 2’, 271–2, 281, 283; Segal, , Paul the Convert, 58Google Scholar; Bockmuehl, , Revelation and Mystery, 175.Google Scholar

86 Cf. Hengel, ‘Setze dich’, 136, 144, 194.

87 The exact same expression (κατέναντιθεο⋯⋯νXριστῷλαλο⋯μεν) occurs in 12.19, which underscores that there is a relationship between chapter 12 and 2.14–17.

88 For other occurrences of ⋯νXριστῷ in 2 Corinthians, see 1.19; 3.14; 5.17, 19; 10.17; 12.19.

89 Unfortunately, most interpreters have misunderstood Paul's rhetoric here to mean that he places no importance on his revelatory experience. Cf., e.g., Furnish, , II Corinthians, 544Google Scholar; Käsemann, Ernst, ‘Die Legitimität des Apostels. Eine Untersuchung zu II Korinther 10–13’, in Das Paulusbild in der neueren deutschen Forschung (ed.Rengstorf, Karl Heinrich; WF 24; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1969) 475521Google Scholar (here p. 520); Heckel, , Kraft in Schwachheit, 58–9.Google Scholar

90 Cf. Morray-Jones, ‘Part 2’, 270, 277, 283; Heckel, , Kraft in Schwachheit, 61.Google Scholar

91 Schäfer, P., ‘New Testament and Hekhalot Literature: The Journey into Heaven in Paul and in Merkavah Mysticism’, JJS 35 (1984) 1935CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Halperin, , The Faces of the Chariot, 67Google Scholar; Bockmuehl, , Revelation and Mystery, 175–7.Google Scholar

92 Morray-Jones, C. R. A., ‘Paradise Revisited (2 Cor 12:1–12): The Jewish Mystical Background of Paul's Apostolate, Part 1: The Jewish Sources’, HTR 86/2 (1993) 177217CrossRefGoogle Scholar; idem, ‘Part 2’, 265–92 (here 283).

93 Cf. Heckel, , Kraft in Schwachheit, 60Google Scholar. Cf. Gr. Apoc. Ezra 1.7; 5.7; Apoc. Mos. 37.3–5.

94 For the equation of Paradise with the third (and highest) heaven, see Apoc. Mos. 37.5; 40.1; 2 Enoch 8.1. See further Bietenhard, Hans, Die himmlische Welt im Urchristentum und Spätjudentum (WUNT 2; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1951) 161–91Google Scholar; Heckel, , Kraft in Schwachheit, 61–2.Google Scholar

95 Cf. Klauck, Hans-Josef, ‘Die Himmelfahrt des Paulus (2 Kor 12,2–4) in der koptischen Paulusapokalypse aus Nag Hammadi (NHC V/2)’, SNTU 10 (1985) 151–90Google Scholar (here 159).

96 Cf. Klauck, ‘Himmelfahrt des Paulus’, 182. On the methodological problems involved in such a comparison, however, see Alexander, P. S., ‘Comparing Merkabah Mysticism and Gnosticism: An Essay in Method’, JJS 35/1 (1984) 118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

97 Cf. Parrott, Douglas M., ‘The Apocalypse of Paul (V,2)’, in The Nag Hammadi Library in English (3rd ed.; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988) 256–9Google Scholar (here 259).