Like broken pieces of a ring

2 Cor 1.1-2.13; 7.5-16 and ancient theories of literary unity

L. L. Welborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Johannes Weiss was the first to suggest that 2 Cor 1.1–2.13; 7.5–16 was once an independent work. Weiss saw that the tone of these chapters varied, not only from chapter 10–13, but also from the intervening text, 2.14–7.4. Here the reconciliation is not apparent, which, in chapters 1–2 and 7, is the presupposition of Paul's joy. On the contrary, Paul must still answer charges that he has wronged, corrupted, and defrauded the Corinthians, and must plead with the Corinthians to open their hearts (2.17; 4.1–2; 6.3–13; 7.2–4). This passage must have been written at the height of the conflict, before the successful conclusion of peace. Then, Paul wrote again in a cordial manner, to assure the Corinthians of his confidence, and to remove the lingering traces of doubt. The proof of this analysis Weiss discovered in the connection between 2.13 and 7.5: the account of Paul's anxious search for Titus breaks off at the decisive point (2.13) and resumes only four chapters later (7.5) at the very point where it had broken off. ‘This separation of what belongs together is unheard of and intolerable, from a literary point of view, since 2.13 and 7.5 fit onto each other as neatly as the broken pieces of a ring.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-583
Number of pages25
JournalNew Testament studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Like broken pieces of a ring: 2 Cor 1.1-2.13; 7.5-16 and ancient theories of literary unity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this