Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul's Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric

By Rogers, Trent A. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 2014 | Go to article overview

Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul's Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric


Rogers, Trent A., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul's Gospel on His Macro- Rhetoric. By Matthew R. Malcolm. Society for NT Studies Monograph Series 155. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, xvi + 305 pp., $99.00.

Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians is a revision of Matthew R. Malcolm's doctoral dissertation written under the supervision of Anthony C. Thiselton at the University of Nottingham. Malcolm intends to explain both the central theme and the overall structural unity of 1 Corinthians. He reads Paul through a rhetorical lens that accounts for Paul's use of Greco-Roman communicative devices (primarily at the level of individual arguments), Jewish motifs (especially the Hellenistic Jewish motif of dual reversal), and most importantly Paul's kerygma about the crucified and resurrected Christ. Malcolm's argument is that "Paul assigns a pastorally conceived unity to the complex of problems in Corinth, and allows the pattern of his kerygma to give overall shape to his epistolary response" (p. 2). Paul's kerygma about Christ is a "renegotiation" of the Jewish theme of dual reversal "in which those who are boastful rulers in the present are destined for destruction, while those who are righteous sufferers in the present are destined for divinely granted vindication" (p. 2). In early Christian thinking, "the reversal motif has been renegotiated to express the 'gospel' or kerygma of the death, resurrection, and deferred cosmic vindication of Jesus, the Christ" (p. 30). Paul urges the boastful and autonomous Corinthians to identify with Christ in his death and resurrection and thereby to move from "presumptuous autonomy to dependence on God in Christ" (p. 38, italics mine). The choice is between aligning themselves with the condemned boaster/ruler or with the sufferer who awaits vindication.

One of Malcolm's goals is to explain the coherence and structure of 1 Corinthians by looking at the theme of Paul's kerygma. While many scholars recognize the movement from cross to resurrection in 1 Corinthians, Malcolm's contribution is to read the whole letter as governed by this pattern of Paul's kerygma. Malcolm's macro-level proposal is best summarized as Paul "summoning the Corinthians to inhabit the crucified Christ (Chapters 1-4), applying this summons to a series of ethical issues (Chapters 5-14), and offering a vision of future resurrected glory for the dead-in-Christ (Chapter 15)" (p. 48). In his analysis, the kerygma informs both the macro-structure and the argument in each of the sections. He divides the letter into six major rhetorical units that are widely recognized by scholars (cf. Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians [SacPag 7; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1999] vii-x). Malcolm admits the similarity and views himself as giving a better explanation for the structure previously noted by others. Unit 1 (1:1-4:21) establishes the kerygma as the corrective to Corinthian behavior. Units 2 (5:1-7:40), 3 (8:1-11:1), 4 (11:2-34), and 5 (12:1-14:40) apply the kerygma to a series of issues in the church. The sixth unit (15:1-58) confirms the corrective of the kerygma and culminates with the command to persevere in labor.

The book contains a brief introduction, five central chapters, and a brief conclusion. In chapter 1, Malcolm argues that divinely accomplished dual reversal was a widely known concept in Judaism with significant impact in early Christian interpretation. Paul applies the kerygma in this conceptual framework and urges the Corinthians not to emulate the boastful rulers but rather the righteous sufferers, epitomized in Christ. Chapter 2 reviews the past approaches to the compositional unity or disunity of the letter. Malcolm suggests that reading 1 Corinthians as Paul's application of the kerygma to the Corinthians' situation best explains the unity of the letter. Chapter 3 analyzes 1 Corinthians 1-4 and appeals to John Chrysostom as an early interpreter who understood Paul's response as pastoral instruction for the Corinthians to attach their identity to Christ and not to polished human orators. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul's Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.