Power In Weakness By Sze-Kar Wahn Analysis

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This book review offers a critical analysis and evaluation of Sze-Kar Wan’s book, Power in Weakness: The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians. First published in 2000, Power in Weakness, examines 2 Corinthians with a focus on Paul’s rhetorical strategies and the various conflicts Paul has with the church. Before launching into the summary and critique of this book a brief synopsis reveals Wan’s interpretation of 2 Corinthians’ construction. After contextualizing the book, attention turns to the themes purported and the author’s thesis. In the end I offer my own opinion and thoughtful response to the author’s composition. I hope the reader gleans familiarity with this book and its applicability.
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Furthermore, Paul’s rhetorical strategy basically remains the same throughout in order to bring the Corinthians back to him and restore their broken relationship. An example of Wan’s interpretation of Paul’s rhetorical strategy is found in Chapter 3 of 2 Corinthians. Throughout the chapter Paul’s use the first person plural ‘we,’ but is not clear if the ‘we’ refers to Paul and his companions or to all the readers. By using ‘we’ ambiguously Paul serves as a model of a direct encounter with God and this encounter is available to all. However the reader is unaware if Paul is referring to himself and close companions, or to all the church. Whomever Paul is referring to Paul invites the church to reconcile with him. Another rhetorical device is the way in which Paul fabricates a problem or asks a question such that the answer leads towards Paul’s solution. In chapter five itinerant missionaries are causing conflict and disregarding Paul, yet Paul frames the problem not about the other missionaries, but about the deteriorating relationship between him and the church. Furthermore, in Fool’s Speech, Paul transfers the stipulations of the debate by showing his weakness instead of his strength by playing the fool. As Wan articulates, “If the goal is to win the match, Paul’s express goal is to lose the match. What Paul aims at doing in his fool’s speech is to set up a reverse comparison, so that he will emerge in defeat!” Thus, Paul brands his ministry of weakness and humility as the goal to obtain. Paul’s rhetorical strategies allow him to win by shifting the victory. Additionally, Paul questions the problems he desires to speak about while challenging the reader to identify the engagements on his theological

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