Paul's Political Strategy in 1 Corinthians 1-4: Constitution and Covenant (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 163)
By: Bradley J. Bitner (author)Hardback
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This volume examines 1 Corinthians 1-4 within first-century politics, demonstrating the significance of Corinth's constitution to the interpretation of Paul's letter. Bradley J. Bitner shows that Paul carefully considered the Roman colonial context of Corinth, which underlay numerous ecclesial conflicts. Roman politics, however, cannot account for the entire shape of Paul's response. Bridging the Hellenism-Judaism divide that has characterised much of Pauline scholarship, Bitner argues that Paul also appropriated Jewish-biblical notions of covenant. Epigraphical and papyrological evidence indicates that his chosen content and manner are best understood with reference to an ecclesial politeia informed by a distinctively Christ-centred political theology. This emerges as a 'politics of thanksgiving' in 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 and as a 'politics of construction' in 3:5-4:5, where Paul redirects gratitude and glory to God in Christ. This innovative account of Paul's political theology offers fresh insight into his pastoral strategy among nascent Gentile-Jewish assemblies.
Bradley J. Bitner is Tutor in New Testament and Greek at Oak Hill Theological College in London. He is the co-editor, with James R. Harrison, of New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, Volume 11 (forthcoming).
Introduction: constituting the argument; Part I. Constitution and Covenant in Corinth: 1. Paul and politics; 2. Law and life; 3. The Corinthian constitution; 4. Traces of covenant in Corinth; 5. Constituting Corinth, Paul, and the assembly; Part II. Constitution and Covenant in 1 Corinthians 1:1-4:6: 6. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 and the politics of thanksgiving; 7. 1 Corinthians 3:5-4:5 and the politics of construction; Conclusion: comparison of constitutions.
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