@Jonathan_Burke One of the most compelling and incisive of Paul's allusions to Wisdom, outwith Romans and 1 Corinthians, is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16 - 5:10, which is where I would like to narrow my focus in this post.
My first posting will consider the exegesis of a large body of scholars, who find in this passage and a kindred one in Philippians evidence of anthropological duality in Paul's thinking of the kind I have just elaborated above with reference to John W. Cooper.
The second post, part 2, will explore the very close linguistic parallels between this passage and Wisdom of Solomon, which many scholars have noted.
Let's have a look at the full verses in question:
2 Corinthians 4:16 - 5:9
16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off[a] we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
Many scholars of note have read into this passage, to quote E.P. Sanders in his recent (2015) study Paul: The Apostle's Life, Letters and Thought, "anthropological dualism". Sanders argues:
"...2 Cor.3-18-5:10 and other passages show the influence of inner/outer dualism in Paul's thought...In 2 Cor. 4:16, Paul continues to show himself ready to employ individual body/soul dualism...Individual dualism also dominates 2 Cor. 5:1-9. Paul states that "we" live in an "earthly tent"...Here the real human being ("we") is the "inner person". What is the body? A tent. The real person - the inner person - lives inside the outer tent and wishes to discard it...The inner, real person may be briefly naked, without a body/tent as covering (5:2-3)...
This accepts the dualistic that the outer shell is not a good dwelling: 'we groan under our burden'. But he rejects the standard Greek idea [of indefinite disembodied existence]...The real (inner) person will not be unclothed, but rather be further clothed...
In 2 Cor. 5:8, however, Paul once more raises the possibility of a bodiless person: "we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord". 'We' is again the real person, who can do without the body and be with the Lord...The formulation of 2 Cor.5:8 will eventually become standard in Christianity...
When thinking of his death, he naturally thought of himself, that is, the "real person," as leaving the earthly body and going immediately to be with Christ (Philippians 1;23). Here, as in 2 Corinthians 5, there is an inner person that might leave the flesh, or earthly tent, to be with Christ..."
I could cite a multiplicity of other studies which echo the points made above by Sanders, for example the American New Testament scholar, and historian of Early Christianity, Dale C. Allison who contended in 2016 (Death, Imagination, and the Last Things, p. 34), explicitly referring to 2 Cor. 4:18:
"In more than one place, then, the New Testament takes for granted that the inner person or spirit is potentially independent of the body and isn't inert after death...The New Testament doesn’t anticipate modern physicalism. Matthew, Mark, the author of Luke–Acts, John, and Paul as well as the authors of Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Revelation all believed that the self or some part of it could leave the body and even survive without it...
Paul’s letters hold more of the same. Despite his hope to see the second coming and his insistence on resurrection, his true home is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and he desires to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better than remaining in the flesh (Philippians 1:23–24). The apostle also relates that he was once caught up to the third heaven, to paradise, and that he may not have been in his body at the time (2 Corinthians 12:2–3). Paul even, at one point, sounds a bit Platonic: “we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18)."
Udo Schnelle, professor of New Testament at the University of Wittenberg, likewise argued in his 2012 book, Apostle Paul: His Life and Theology p. 250:
"2 Cor. 5:1-10 is characterized by a tendency toward dualism and individualization. This dualism is seen first in the imagery (earthly/heavenly dwelling; being at home/being away from home; being unclothed/being further clothed; mortality/life), which is based on an anthropology stamped by Hellenistic Jewish features. The image of the body as a tent and thus only a temporary dwelling of the self, the mystical understanding of 'clothing,' 'nakedness' as the result of the separation of body and soul, the idea that living in the body is living in exile from one's true homeland - all point to Hellenistic influence (esp. Epictetus, Diatr.1.9.12-14). Because the apostle would like to leave his earthly body, he here uses dualistic categories to evaluate bodily life."
Jan Lambrecht in a 2011 essay (Understanding what one reads: New Testament essays p. 224) states:
"In Cor. 5:1-10 Paul speaks of the earthly body in an objective way, as if it were a substance, an entity of its own. It is a house to dwell in; it is a garment to put on...Paul even refers to the possibility of a 'naked,' disembodied state. Paul is at home in the body now, but he would prefer to go away from this body...
The reality of the "outer self" of 4:16 is taken up up in 5:1-10 by several terms and concepts: the nouns house, tent and garment; the adjectives earthly and mortal; the verbs to be destroyed, to take off and to be at home in; but above all, the term 'body' in verses 6, 8 and 10...One can hardly deny that Paul as it were claims "to have and possess" a body. However this "we" seems to be the incorporeal self."
Paul Barnett, the Australian historian and New Testament scholar, in his The Second Epistle to the Corinthians has echoed this exegesis once again:
"Perhaps Gentile readers within Greek culture need to be told that the disembodied state is incomplete until the general resurrection, however secure the soul of the righteous beyond death.
Once more a verse in the sequence begun at 6:16 is antithetical in character, arising from the eschatological dualism...The context dictates that "nakedness" means the intervention of death - with subsequent bodilessness - before the inception of the end time at the general resurrection (4:14)...The verse establishes that Paul envisaged a state of disembodiment between death and the universal resurrection."
David E. Aune, Professor of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame, concurred in a 2013 study entitled Jesus, Gospel Tradition and Paul in the. Context of Jewish and Greco-Roman. Antiquity:
This antithesis in verse 4:16 clearly expresses an athropological duality (here I avoid the terms dualistic or dualism because they are often understood to connote opposition or conflict)...The subject of the first-person plural verb [Greek] is that inner aspect or part of the person that will not be destroyed by death, explicitly contrasted with the dwelling place, garment, or body where the inner person resides, whether earthly or heavenly, but never completely identified with either. An implicit anthropological duality is reflected here...
Stanley K. Stowers, Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University, writing in an article in the book From Stoicism to Platonism: The Development of Philosophy, 100 BCE–100 CE published in June 2017 and edited by Troels Engberg-Pedersen, states:
"Numerous [Pauline] texts suggest a mind or true self in that it is distinct from the body and at home in a higher realm. Paul writes (2 Cor. 12:2-3) that he once traveled to the third heaven, likely where the court of God is. Whether this trip occurred while he was in the body or outside of his body, he does not know...It is easy for Paul to talk of his self as able to leave the body. He would rather be away from the body and with Christ. Christ lives a pneumatic existence in the heavens, so being in the body means being away from him (2 Cor 5:6-9)..."
Finally, I would like to cite many more authorities but am aware of space constraints so will refer you to one last scholar, namely Jaime Clark-Soles, Death and the Afterlife in the New Testament (2006) which was referenced in the Oxford Bibliography we discussed earlier on with reference to 2 Corinthians 5 and Philippians 1:18b-26:
"Further encouragement comes from Paul's conviction that death can actually bring one closer to Christ. Paul even claims that it is abundantly and exceedingly far better to die and be with Christ (Phil 1:23)...Phil 1:23 depicts dying as the better of the two goods...Given Paul's insistence that the resurrection body is bestowed only at the resurrection and given Paul's anthropological dualism, it is reasonable to assume that Paul implies a disembodied intermediate state, followed by the reunion of the body and soul at the Parousia....Paul is mobilized by as thoroughgoing a dualism as that of Philo. Unlike Philo, though, Paul never denigrates the body. The image of the human being that Paul maintains is of a soul dwelling in or clothed by a body, and however valuable the garment, it it is less essential than that which it clothes. It is the earthly tent that we live in; it is not "we". The body, while necessary and valued by Paul, is, as in Philo, not the human being but only his or her house or garment. Thus, to "depart" is to die, and to be "with Christ" is to be absent from the body".
Part 2 of my post will now analyse the very significant relationship between this passage and Wisdom of Solomon (including the ample scholarship illustrating this), particularly Wisdom 9:15 which, as Casey Elledge explained in his very recent 2017 study on the afterlife in Second Temple Judaism (cited in my previous post), "asserts an anthropological dualism between body and soul" just like I believe Paul does in 2 Corinthians. His indebtedness to Wisdom in this passage then (as throughout his letters) should not be overlooked.
I will tease out the parallels and then present you with my own exegesis of 2 Corinthians 5, in light of Wisdom, which takes up the same themes of the preceding scholars.
After doing this, I'm going to then summarize the argument laid out in all of my posts on this thread for @gbrooks9