Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians

Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians

Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians

Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians

Excerpt

Few figures in Christian history have been so beloved or so belittled as Paul. He has been cited as a strong advocate of both social change and the status quo on issues such as slavery and the roles of women in the ekklēsia. This bears witness to the complex figure that Paul was and to the profound and prolix character of his letters. Careful attention to the social and rhetorical dimensions of 1 and 2 Corinthians sheds a good deal of light on both the apostle and his agenda.

Paul the Greco-Roman Jew and Jewish Christian

Paul was the product of the confluence of three cultural orientations — Jewish, Hellenistic Greek, and Roman. It is easy to see why he would be so influenced by all three, since the evidence suggests

that he was a Roman citizen, like his parents before him,
that he was born in one of the centers of Hellenistic culture, that is, in the
city of Tarsus in Asia Minor, and
that he was a child of orthodox Jews who took or sent him to Jerusalem at
an early age to study at the feet of the notable teacher Gamaliel and to
become, himself, a Pharisaic teacher.

1. Conclusions regarding some of these aspects of Paul's identity depend on how
much stock we put in the historical veracity of texts such as Acts 22:3–25. It is my working
hypothesis that Luke has his facts straight at this juncture, whatever disputes there may be

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