CORINTHIANS, SECOND EPISTLE TO THE. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians presents a number of difficult problems. At the same time the external evidence for its genuineness is not so good as for the first Epistle. Clement of Rome does not seem to have known of its existence. It seems, however, to have been used by Polyearp. It is included in the Canon of Mar cion and in the Muratorian Canon. It is quoted by Tremens. This testimony is sufficient. Nor does the internal evidence argue against the genuineness of the Epistle. All that it militates against is the unity of the work. It has been said above (preceding article) that our First Corinthians seems to have been preceded by another letter. There is reason to believe that the same thing happened in the case of our Second Corin thians. In II. Corinthians ii. 4 we read : " For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be made sorry, but that ye might know the love which I have more abund antly unto you." Paul, it appears, had written a very severe letter to the Corinthians. This can hardly have been our First Corinthians. " It is not comparable in the sharpness of its tone to the closing portion of II. Corinthians itself, which for concentrated and passionate invective has no parallel in the Pauline Epistles" (A.
S. Peake). In the First Epistle Timothy was the mes senger sent to Corinth. In the Second Epistle no men tion is made of Timothy's visit, but Titus appears as Paul's messenger (II. Cor. vii. 5-15). In both Epistles there is reference to a person who has committed a grave offence, but the offender can hardly be the same. If the offender in the two Epistles be identical, as Peake says, in the Second Epistle " the grossness of the offence seems to be passed over altogether too lightly." It would seem therefore that Second Corinthians was preceded by another letter (other than our First Corinthians). It is not unlikely, moreover, that this letter was preceded by another visit of Paul, " a hasty visit to Corinth that he might set things right by a per sonal effort " (Massie). Compare II. CorinthianS if. 1, xiii. 1, 2, xii. 14. Now, it has been noticed that chapter ix. would be a more appropriate ending to Second Corinthians than chapter xiii.; that the tone of chaps.
x.-xlifi. differs from that of chaps. i.-ix.; and that at times chaps. x.-xiii. seem to reflect an earlier situation. All this (and more) has suggested that chapters x.-xiii. do not really belong to Second Corinthians. It has been conjectured further that in these four chapters are to be found the letter referred to in II. Cor. ii. 4 (the four chapter letter) or at any rate part of it. Prof. Peake cannot help thinking that II. Cor. formed part of the severe letter. " On the one side we have the description of a letter in the early chapters of II. Corin thians which it seems impossible to identify with our First Epistle; and then as corroborating this we have the surprising character of the last four chapters of II. Corinthians as part of the same letter which we find in the first nine chapters. It is difficult to believe that the two sections of the Epistle hold together. If II. Corin thians is a unity, we have the following state of things: Paul sends a very stern letter to Corinth, and is filled with regret for the writing of it, and apprehension as to its reception. In the joyful reaction caused by the good news of Titus, he writes a letter overflowing with affection at the beginning, and concluding with a sharp ness of invective to be paralleled nowhere else in his Epistles." It has been said that, to judge by I. Cor. v. 9 our First Corinthians would seem to have been pre ceded by another letter. In Second Corinthians there is a short section (vi. 14-vii. 1) which does not fit well into its present context. It interrupts the progress of thought. If it is omitted, vi. 13 connects very well with vii. 2. The section seems to have been inserted here by mistake, and it has been conjectured that it really formed part of the letter referred to in I. Cor. v. 9. Bousset points out that Second Corinthians is deeply personal. " The nervous attractive personality of the Apostle speaks throughout it with the most extraordinary power." See R. J. Knowling, The Witness of the Epistles, 1892; J. Massie, I. & II. Corinthians, in the " Century Bible": J. A. M'Clymont; G. Currie Martin; Arthur S. Peake; J. Moffatt.