1 Corinthians 13  

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"Through a glass, darkly"--1 Corinthians 13

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Chapter 13 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, written by Paul the apostle covers the subject of love, principally the love that Christians should have for everyone. In the original Greek, the word αγαπη agape is used throughout. This is translated into English as charity in the King James version; but the word love is preferred by most other translations, both earlier and more recent.

"Through a glass, darkly"

1 Corinthians 13:12 contains the phrase βλεπομεν γαρ αρτι δι εσοπτρου εν αινιγματι (blepomen gar arti di esoptrou en ainigmati), which is rendered in the KJV as "For now we see through a glass, darkly." This passage has inspired the titles of many works.

The word εσοπτρου ("esoptrou", from εσοπτροv, "esoptron") here translated glass is ambiguous, possibly referring to a mirror or a lens. Influenced by Strong's Concordance, many modern translations conclude that this word refers specifically to a mirror.

Example English language translations include:

Paul's usage is in keeping with rabbinic use of the term אספקלריה (aspaklaria), a borrowing from the Latin specularia. This has the same ambiguous meaning, although Adam Clarke concluded that it was a reference to specularibus lapidibus, clear polished stones used as lenses or windows. One way to preserve this ambiguity is to use the English cognate, speculum. Rabbi Judah ben Ilai (2nd century) was quoted as saying "All the prophets had a vision of God as He appeared through nine specula" while "Moses saw God through one speculum." The Babylonian Talmud states similarly "All the prophets gazed through a speculum that does not shine, while Moses our teacher gazed through a speculum that shines."




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "1 Corinthians 13" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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