Paul and the Corinthians: Studies on a Community in Conflict : Essays in Honour of Margaret Thrall

Paul and the Corinthians: Studies on a Community in Conflict : Essays in Honour of Margaret Thrall

Paul and the Corinthians: Studies on a Community in Conflict : Essays in Honour of Margaret Thrall

Paul and the Corinthians: Studies on a Community in Conflict : Essays in Honour of Margaret Thrall

Synopsis

This volume has 1 and 2 Corinthians as its main focus where the various contributors address significant aspects of text, language, background, theology and exegesis. The first part of the volume deals with the issues of textual criticism and traditions available to Paul, while the second section is interdisciplinary in nature and integrates different methodologies such as social-scientific and rhetorical criticism in order to provide new insights into the text. The third and longest section addresses the varied theological problems which the community raised with Paul, including sexual matters, the timing of the resurrection the resurrection body, authority and headship, soteriology, and the question of Pauls faithfulness and integrity. The final section concentrates on the identity of Pauls opponents, his visions and apologetics.

Excerpt

The epistolary archive preserved in canonical 1 and 2 Corinthians constitutes an inestimably valuable resource for the reconstruction of early Christian missionary tactics and conflicts, the social composition of the Pauline churches, and the development of PauPs theology in the crucible of dispute, debate and distrust which came to characterize his relationship with this key collection of house churches in the Roman province of Achaia. Scholars have drawn upon this raft of source material abundantly in recent research, which in the last decades has focused significant attention on the social history of the early Pauline communities. The data these documents contain, however, do not merely lie on the surface of the text ready to be plucked and statistically applied to demographic or social-historical

It is an honor to contribute this essay to celebrate the scholarship of Margaret E. Thrall, whose commentary on 2 Corinthians is a model of patient, painstaking research and clarity of vision in untangling the multiple threads of the puzzles inherent in this letter (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians [ICC; 2 vols.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1994, 2000]). The argument of the present essay, especially in regard to the literary composition of 2 Corinthians, differs from that of Dr. Thrall, but it stands in the same spirit of ongoing conversation as the remark with which she prefaces her commentary: “What is presented here is one possible reading of 2 Corinthians. There are certainly other plausible interpretations, and other methods of studying the epistle. I offer my own understanding of it simply as a contribution to the continuing debate concerning this highly complex document” (p. xi).

The seminal works were Gerd Theissen, The Social Setting of Pauline Christian- ity. Essays on Corinth (ed. and trans. J.H. Schiitz; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982) and Wayne Meeks, The First Urban Christians. The Social World of the Apostle Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983). Much research has followed, and the discussion continues in vigorous fashion, as evidenced by the recent debate over Justin J. Meggitt’s Paul, Poverty and Survival (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1998); see the reviews by Theissen and Dale B. Martin, and Meggitt’s reply, in JSNT 84 (2001) 51–94. The relevant point for this essay is that the evidence of the Corinthian correspondence continues to dominate the debate, even as its meaning and generalizability are vigorously disputed.

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