In The Second Letter to the Corinthians, in Chapter 11, Paul wrote:

For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these “superapostles”.

Please explain "superapostles".


My Douai Rheims has simply: "That I have done nothing less than the great apostles. " Nothing about ‘super’. And certainly the Twelve would be ‘great’ to St Paul, himself ‘last’ of the apostles.


Superapostle or Great Apostles are the original twelve.

Barnabas is called an Apostle

***But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying, *(Acts 14:14)

Silas and Timothy are called “Apostles of Christ” in 1 Thessalonians 2 and Apollos is referenced as an Apostle in 1 Corinthians 4. These “Lesser Apostles” are the Bishops.



I think most earlier commentators identify the “super apostles” (or “superlative” or “chieftest”) with the highest of the Twelve, viz., Peter, James and John, as Chrysostom says. However this is not the only interpretation. Some believe instead that the “super apostles” are the same as the false apostles. Indeed, that seems to be the motivation to translate the expression as “super apostles” in the first place. It is intended just as if it were translated, “super-duper apostles.” “Super apostles” sounds ridiculous in English and is supposed to communicate sarcasm on Paul’s part. The NAB takes that position.

These “superapostles”: this term, employed again in 2 Cor 12:11b, designates the opponents of whom Paul has spoken in 2 Cor 10 and again in 2 Cor 11:4. They appear to be intruders at Corinth. Their preaching is marked at least by a different emphasis and style, and they do not hesitate to accept support from the community. Perhaps these itinerants appeal to the authority of church leaders in Jerusalem and even carry letters of recommendation from them. But it is not those distant leaders whom Paul is attacking here. The intruders are “superapostles” not in the sense of the “pillars” at Jerusalem (Gal 2), but in their own estimation. They consider themselves superior to Paul as apostles and ministers of Christ, and they are obviously enjoying some success among the Corinthians. Paul rejects their claim to be apostles in any superlative sense (hyperlian), judging them bluntly as “false apostles,” ministers of Satan masquerading as apostles of Christ (2 Cor 11:13–15). On the contrary, he himself will claim to be a superminister of Christ (hyper egō, 2 Cor 11:23).

Let the reader decide.


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