SBL International 2012 Abstracts

The International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Amsterdam this summer included about 20 papers related to Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and the early Christian community at Corinth. I have copied the titles below and trimmed the abstracts to their main ideas (You can find full abstracts at the SBL website). For Corinthiaka in the 2011 SBL international meeting in London, check out this post. Judging from the 2012 abstracts, it looks like most of the papers explored the social, cultural, and literary contexts of Paul’s letters rather than the context of Corinth in particular. The first paper is an obvious exception.

Fighting Beasts and Conquering Death: Reading Paul’s Beast Fight Before and After the Arrival of the Arena in Corinth
Program Unit: Graeco-Roman Society and the New Testament (EABS)
Philip Erwin, Graduate Theological Union

In this paper I interpret 1 Cor. 15:32 before and after the arrival of the arenas and amphitheater in Roman Corinth….

“‘No One Is Able to Tell’: 1 Corinthians 2:9 and the Apostolic Fathers
Program Unit: Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature
Paul A. Hartog, Faith Baptist Seminary

The complexities and ambiguities of ascertaining the use of texts found in the “New Testament” (NT) within the “Apostolic Fathers” (AF) are well known. Most studies have explored the reception of the NT within a specific AF (i.e., the reception of the NT within 1 Clement, etc.). This paper will take a different approach by tracing the possible use of one NT text (1 Corinthians 2:9) within the various works among the AF, exploring the relevant materials in 1 Clement 34.8; 2 Clement 11.7; and Martyrdom of Polycarp 2.3….

Christ as a Critique of Culture–a Counter-cultural Reading of 1 Cor 7:17-35
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Sin Pan Daniel Ho, University of Sheffield

Scholars generally interpret 1 Cor 7:17-35 as Paul’s negative stance against the social institutions of slavery and marriage and his advocate for manumission and celibacy. In this paper, I propose that Paul does not attack these two existing social institutions (slavery and marriage); Paul subverts the cultural values towards work and mixed marriage…

The adelphoi at the Ritual of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:17-34): A Key Element in Paul’s Meal Theology in the Making?
Program Unit: Pauline Literature (EABS)
Ma. Marilou S. Ibita, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Adelphoi is Paul’s favorite relational term in the homologoumena particularly in 1 Corinthians (Banks, 1994; Aasgaard, 2004). In this paper, I propose that Paul’s use of the vocative adelphoi in 1 Cor 11:33 is one of the key elements to Paul’s meal theology in the making in the context of the problematic Lord’s Supper celebration at Corinth…

Paul’s understanding of the pneumatika as charisma, diakonia and energêma: A re-reading of 1 Cor 12:4-6 within the context of 1 Cor 12-14
Program Unit: Pauline Literature (EABS)
Soeng Yu Li, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Scholars have argued correctly that in 1 Cor 12:4-6 Paul stresses the common divine source of the various spiritual gifts in order to correct the Corinthian self-centered and status-seeking understanding of the spiritual gifts. Practically all the studies limit themselves to the gifts….we will argue that pneumatika needs to be understood in its literal meaning “spiritual things” (cf. Tibbs, Religious Experience of the Pneuma, 2007, 46-47). This reading highlights that vv.4-6 serve as Paul’s understanding of pneumatika within Christian worship.

The Two Tables of the Law and Paul’s Ethical Methodology in 1 Corinthians 6:12–20 and 10:23–11:1
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Scott D. Mackie, Venice, CA

In two passages in 1 Corinthians, 6:12–20 and 10:23–11:1, Paul affords us a unique opportunity to observe the reasoning process whereby his ethical principles are ascertained and practically applied. Both texts begin with what appears to be a quotation of a community slogan, “all things are permitted for me,” which was seemingly proffered in defense of an antinomian, libertine lifestyle (6:12; 10:23)…

Freedom and Love in Contradiction? An Assessment of 1 Corinthians 8:9
Program Unit: Pauline Literature (EABS)
Cosmin-Constantin Murariu, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

In the scholarly debate, exousia in 8:9 is taken to denote the ‘right’ that some ‘knowledgeable’ Corinthian Christians had claimed to have towards idol food because of the fact that they had the knowledge that an idol was ‘nothing.’…The paper analyses Paul’s argumentation and rhetorical strategy in 8:1-13 from the perspective of the clarification of the elusive character of gnôsis and especially that of exousia in this pericope.

1 Cor 14:21 – Paul’s reflection on ??wssa in 1 Cor 14
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Peter Nagel, University of Pretoria

Paul’s reflection on ‘speaking in tongues’ has been widely discussed and debated, both in the public and academic domain. Adequate attention has not been given to the explicit citation in 1 Cor 14:21, representing content from Isaiah 28:11-13a, in addressing this particular issue…

Integrating Cognitive and Social Approaches: 2 Cor 3:18 as a Test-Case
Program Unit: Mind, Society, and Tradition
Emmanuel Nathan, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

In my paper I intend to look at one passage, 2 Cor 3:18, which has benefitted from recent cognitive and social approaches…What has not so far been done is to examine whether integrating these three independent theories might offer a new perspective, in this case on Paul’s theology (for want of a better term). I will argue that such integration, done carefully, leads to an intriguing discovery: that the image of a suffering God was cast in the image of a suffering apostle rather than the reverse.

Betwixt and Between Old and New: The Glorified Moses at Sinai and Corinth
Program Unit: Canonical Approaches to the Bible (EABS)
Emmanuel Nathan, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Exod 34:29-34 recounts the curious episode of Moses having descended from the mountain with the second tablets of the Law unaware that his face was shining on account of having seen the divine glory. Other than these six verses, Moses’ veil does not recur in the rest of Exodus or, indeed, the Hebrew Bible. However, in the New Testament, Paul has his own account of Moses’ veil in 2 Cor 3:7-18. This paper will use three anthropological frameworks with which to look at the glorified Moses in Exodus and then Paul’s portrayal of this same Moses in 2 Corinthians….

The Earliest Piece of Evidence of Christian Accounting? The significance of the phrase eis logon doseos kai lempseos (Phil 4:15).
Program Unit: Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy
Julien Ogereau, Macquarie University

Judging by the various ways in which the phrase eis logon doseos kai lempseos (Phil 4:15) is usually translated in modern versions of the Bible as well as in commentaries, it would appear that no strong scholarly consensus has been reached yet as to its exact meaning. This paper endeavours to examine the significance of this expression and its implications for an understanding of the early church’s earliest forms of financial administration….

Contextual Biblical Studies: Assessing Approaches and Methods.
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Daniel Patte, Vanderbilt University

This paper/essay proposes an analysis of existing contextual biblical interpretations, especially those of the Global Bible Commentary, those of published volumes of the “Text@Context” (Fortress Press), and those of the forthcoming volume on 1 Corinthians. The goal of this analysis is twofold. A) To recognize and appreciate the diversity of approaches in contextual biblical interpretation. B) To examine how this diversity can be methodologically and theoretically justified and explained….

Who are ‘we’ in 1 Cor 8:6: An Investigation of the First-Person Plural in Light of the Lordship of Jesus Christ
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Andrey Romanov, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

When Paul recites in 1Cor 8:6 the functions of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ, he uses twice the emphatic hemeis. In this paper I suggest to understand the meaning of ‘we’ through the lens of the lordship of Jesus Christ…I suggest that the ‘we’ in 1Cor 8:6 designates not the members of the Christian communities as such but only those of them who recognize the determinative role of Jesus Christ as the only true Lord and behave according to this recognition.

An examination of metarepresentation as an essential feature of written and oral communication
Program Unit: Hellenistic Greek Language and Linguistics
Margaret Sim, SIL International

This paper deals with a speaker’s use of the words or thoughts of others in communication. This principle which is widespread but frequently unrecognised underlies our use of metaphor and irony as well as being prominent in creating humour…Recognising the part representation plays, we will deal with the following issues in this paper: Speech boundaries, representation marked by the article “to”, representation not morphologically marked, echoing speech with a distancing attitude, ironic utterance. Examples of these will be draw from Mark, Matthew and the Corinthian correspondence

Paul’s Educational Imagery in His Conflict with the Corinthians
Program Unit: Graeco-Roman Society and the New Testament (EABS)
Adam White, Macquarie University

Centuries of scholarly discussion have sought to identify the cause of the divisions found in 1 Cor. 1.10. In the wake of this discussion, the present paper seeks to investigate some of the imagery used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1-4, suggesting that it has been shaped by an encounter with the values of Graeco-Roman paideia….

“Imitate Me”: Interpreting imitation in 1 Corinthians in relation to Ignatius of Antioch
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Drake Williams, Tyndale Theological Seminary (Amsterdam)

Several times within 1 Corinthians Paul encourages the Corinthians to imitate him. These are found at critical junctures in the epistle in 1 Cor 4:16 and 11:1. The meaning of these sections is in question from the perspective of scholars on Corinthians…Pauline ideas, specifically those from 1 Corinthians, are known to have influenced Ignatius of Antioch’s writing, and thus Ignatius’ ideas about imitation could well reflect the meaning that Paul intended. Ignatius’ view of imitation would contradict the opinions of some scholars who see Paul’s injunction for imitation as a claim for power.

Re-examining the Last Supper Sayings from a 21st-Century Perspective
Program Unit: Study of the Historical Jesus (EABS)
Mary J. Marshall, Murdoch University

The study draws partly on Colin Humphreys’ recent work, The Mystery of the Last Supper, which provides valuable insights in that the Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper as a Passover meal are shown to be credible, while the Johannine tradition that Jesus died while the Passover lambs were being slain, is also upheld. The main thrust of the paper is an exploration of the Last Supper sayings concerning the bread, cup, and kingdom…

How to Find Meaning in a Ritual? Paul, Rituals, and the Making of “Pauline Theology”
Program Unit: Pauline Literature (EABS)
Peter-Ben Smit, VU University Amsterdam

The “rediscovery” of ritual in early Christian studies, often by sociologically and anthropologically informed scholarship, has rightly foregrounded the importance of rituals, such as baptism, (Eucharistic) meal fellowship, circumcision, etc. Simultaneously, there is an ongoing debate as to the meaning of early Christian rituals, also for contemporary theological discussions. In the context of these two discourses, a recurring issue is how a “theology” or a “meaning” can be found in or deduced from a ritual….As a test-case, the framework and methodology that will be developed in the paper will be applied to the meal traditions occuring in 1 Cor. 11:17-34….

The Meaning of Nekrosis in 2 Cor 4:10
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Jose Joseph Kollemkunnel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

In 2 Cor 4:10 Paul uses nekrosis to refer to the death of Jesus instead of the more common Greek word thanatos. Scholarly opinion is divided on the precise meaning of the term nekrosis….This paper examines the use of the terminology and analyses the immediate context of 2 Cor 4:10 where Paul uses the word nekrosis.

Paul In Bonds: Humiliation, Abandonment And The Portrait Of An Apostle Who Does Not Cry
Program Unit: Biblical Masculinities
Kyriaki Meletsi, Universty of Athens

In both the undisputed letters and in one of the Pastorals there are references of the sufferings and experiences of persecutions Paul has been through. In 2 Cor., 11.23-33, Paul describes the harshness and counts the frequency of the fustigations, canings and the incarcerations he suffered for being a minister of Christ. In 2. Tim. 1.8; 12, 2.9-10, 3.10-11, 4.6-8; 16 we learn about a new imprisonment and the abandonment by some of his former co-associates…The paradox he introduces, is that of a man who does not try to throw his social disgrace in oblivion, but on the contrary boasts about his passions…

Christly Possession and Weakened Bodies: A Reconsideration of the Function of Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
Program Unit: Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World
Candida R. Moss, University of Notre Dame

This paper examines the function of the thorn in Paul’s flesh (2 Cor. 12:710) in light of ancient theories of possession and medical anthropology. It argues that Paul uses the ancient view of punctured and porous bodies as vulnerable to possession, disease, and invasion to undergird his theory of bodily perfection in Christ. This theory, in turn, is used to support Paul’s claims to authority and to trump those of his opponents.

Tears on My Papyrus: Paul as a Self-Made Man
Program Unit: Biblical Masculinities
Karin Neutel, University of Groningen

It has become a truism in recent scholarship that ancient men were not born, but made. Being a man was no mean feat, and required constant vigilance and upkeep. Self-control should be seen as an important part of this vigilance and showing strong emotions as a man was consequently a risky venture. How are we to understand Paul’s references to his tears (2 Cor 2,4; Phil 3,18) in the context of the precarious nature of ancient masculinity?…

A Face that Mirrors Proclamation: On the Significance of 2 Cor 3:18 for its Broader Literary Context (2 Cor 3:1-4:15)
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Laura Tack, University of Leuven

Presenting an adequate exegesis of 2 Cor 3:18 is a puzzling task. It has to account for many interacting variables, such as the particular understanding of transformation, the exact meaning of hemeis pantes, and the significance of the unveiled face. Moreover, a clear understanding of 2 Cor 2:14-4:6 cannot do without a lucid treatment of 2 Cor 3:18 that is central to the argumentation of this text unit. This paper maintains that anakekalymmeno prosopo ten doxan kyriou katoptrizomenoi has to be understood as the unveiled face that reflects the glory of the Lord….

Corinthian Scholarship (monthly): June-August

The second installment of Corinth-related scholarship that went digital in June-August. Happy reading!



Roman-Late Antique

New Testament and Early Christianity

Medieval and Post-Medieval

Corinthian Scholarship (monthly): March-May

Here is the first installment of Corinth-related scholarship, or scholarship discussing Corinth, which appeared in digital form in March to May. I will post the second installment for June-August on Friday.

[Reposting this at 11:00 as I accidentally deleted the original]




Roman-Late Antique

New Testament and Early Christian

Medieval and Post-Medieval

Pauline and Early Christian Corinth: 2011 Publications

Our series continues today with the 2011 publications related mainly to Early Christian Corinth and the interpretation of 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians.  About 100 publications on the subject were indexed online this year.  The list also includes 2009 and 2010 publications that were reviewed in 2011.

As with the other 2010 and 2011 bibliographies, I created the list from Google alerts and Worldcat, neither of which register exhaustively (it should be obvious that books and articles not indexed online are not included here).  The list includes only dissertations, books, and articles, and excludes conference papers, master’s theses, fiction, and general works that indirectly touch on Pauline Corinth.  This 2011 bibliography will live permanently here.

Thanks again to Messiah College History major Amanda Mylin for help in putting this together.

1 Corinthians

Bailey, Kenneth, Paul through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians, Downers Grove, IL, 2011: Intervarsity Press Academic.

Baker, William R., “Hat or hair in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 or does it matter?: what are Christian women to do?,” in Elizabeth A. McCabe (ed.), Women in the biblical world : a survey of old and new testament perspectives. vol. 2, Lanham, MD, 2011: University Press of America.

Barnett, Paul W., The Corinthian Question: Why did the Church Oppose Paul?  Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press (2011). (Review by Matt Malcolm in Part One and Part Two and comments).

Bechtol, Harris B., “Paul and Kierkegaard: A Christocentric Epistemology,” in The Heythrop Journal (2011).

Brock, Brian, “Theologizing Inclusion: 1 Corinthians 12 and the Politics of the Body of Christ,” in Journal of Religion, Disability and Health 15.4 (2011), 351-376.

Brookins, Tim, “The Wise Corinthians: Their Stoic Education and Outlook,” Journal of Theological Studies 62.1

Burke, T.J., and B.S. Rosner (eds.), Paul as Missionary: Identity, Theology, Activity, and Practice, Library of New Testament Studies, no. 420, London 2011: T & T Clark.

Cameron, R., and M.P. Miller (eds), Redescribing Paul and the Corinthians, Atlanta 2011: Society of Biblical Literature.

Carter, Christopher L., The Great Sermon Tradition as a Fiscal Framework in 1 Corinthians: Towards a Pauline Theology of Material Possessions (New York 2010: T&T Clark). (RBL review here).

Ciampa, Roy E., and Brian S. Rosner, First Letter to the Corinthians, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2010). (Reviewed in here) and Expository Times.

Coppins, Wayne, “To Eat or not to Eat Meat?  Conversion, Bodily Practice, and the Relationship between Formal Worship and Everyday Life in the Anthropology of Religion in 1 Corinthians 8:7,” in Biblical Theology Bulletin 41.2 (2011), 84-91.

Dace, Balode, Gottesdienst in Korinth, Frankfurt 2011: P. Lang.

Elledge, C.D., “Future Resurrection of the Dead in Early Judaism: Social Dynamics, Contested Evidence,” Currents in Biblical Research 9.3 (2011), 394-421.

Ellington, Dustin, “Imitating Paul’s Relationship to the Gospel: 1 Corinthians 8.1-11.1,” in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33.3 (2011), 303-315.

Estep, James Riley, “Women in Greco-Roman education and its implications for 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2,” in Elizabeth A. McCabe (ed.), Women in the biblical world : a survey of old and new testament perspectives. vol. 2, Lanham, MD, 2011: University Press of America.

Friesen, Steven J., Daniel N. Schowalter and James C. Walters, Corinth in context: comparative studies on religion and society (Supplements to Novum Testamentum vol. 134; E. J. Brill, Leiden 2010). Reviews at Journal of Roman Archaeology (Dennis E. Smith), Journal of Theological Studies (David Horrell), Religious Studies Review (Richard S. Ascough), The Expository Times (Jane Heath), and  Journal for the Study of the New Testament (Peter Oakes).

George, R.T., “`Body Politics of Paul’ in Corinth: Temple and the Rules of Purity in Constructing Identify in 1 Cor.5:9-13,” in Bible Bhashyam 37.1 (2011), 74-99.

Goodacre, M., “Does περιβολαιον Mean ‘Testicle’ in 1 Corinthians 11:15?” in JBL 130.2 (2011), 391-396.

Hansen, Bruce, ‘All of You are One’: The Social Vision of Gal. 3.28, 1 Cor. 12.13 and Col. 3.11, London 2010: T&T Clark. Reviewed in Journal for the Study of the New Testament (Peter Oakes) and Religious Studies Review (K. Cukrowski)

Harbour, Brian L., Contextualizing the Gospel : a homiletic commentary on 1 Corinthians, Macon, GA, 2011: Smyth & Helwys Pub., Inc.

Hwang, J., “Turning the Tables on Idol Feasts: Paul’s Use of Exodus 32:6 in 1 Corinthians 10:7,” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 54.3 (2011), 573-588.

Inkelaar, Harm-Jan, Conflict over wisdom: the theme of 1 Corinthians 1-4 rooted in scripture, Leuven 2011: Peeters.

Jipp, J.W., “Death and the human predicament, salvation as transformation, and bodily practices in 1 Corinthians and the Gospel of Thomas,” in M.F. Bird and J. Willitts (eds), Paul and the gospels : christologies, conflicts, and convergences, London 2011: T & T Clark.

Kim, Yung Suk, “Imitators“ (Mimetai) in 1 Cor. 4:16 and 11:1: A New Reading of Threefold Embodiment,” in Horizons in Biblical Theology 33.2 (2011), 147-170.

King, Fergus J., “Mission-Shaped or Paul-Shaped?  Apostolic Challenges to the Mission-Shaped Church,” in Journal of Anglican Studies 9.2 (November 2011), 223-246.

Lakey, Michael, Image and Glory of God: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 as a Case Study in Bible, Gender and Hermeneutics, London 2010: T&T Clark. (Reviewed in Journal for the Study of the New Testament (David Wenham); Reviews in Religion & Theology (Edward Mackenzie), Religious Studies Review (Joseph A. Marchal).

Levison, John R., “Paul in the Stoa Poecile: A Response to Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit (Oxford, 2010),” in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33.4 (2011), 415-432

Macchia, Frank D., “The Spirit-baptised Church,” in International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 11.4 (2011), 256-268.

MacDonald, M.Y., and L.E. Vaage, “Unclean but Holy Children: Paul’s Everyday Quandary in 1 Corinthians 7:14c,” in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73.3 (2011), 526-546.

Madigan, Daniel A., “The Body of Christ: 1 Corinthians 11:23-27 and 12:12-13, 27,” in David Marshall (ed.), Communicating the Word: Revelation, Translation, and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam: a record of the seventh Building Bridges seminar convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rome, May 2008, Georgetown University Press 2011, pp. 83-87.

Malcolm, Matthew, Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal: Kerygmatic Rhetoric in the Arrangement of 1 Corinthians, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Nottingham, Nottingham 2011.

Massey, Preston T., “Is there a Case for Elite Roman ‘New Women’ causing Division at Corinth?” in Revue Biblique 118.1 (2011), 76-93

Massey, Preston T., “Long Hair as a Glory and as a Covering Removing an Ambiguity from 1 Cor 11:15,” in Novum Testamentum 53.1 (2011), 52-72.

Mayordomo, Moisés, ““Act Like Men!” (1 Cor 16:13): Paul’s Exhortation in Different Historical Contexts,” in CrossCurrents 61.4 (December 2011), 515-528.

McRae, Rachel M., “Eating with Honor: The Corinthian Lord’s Supper in light of Voluntary Association Meal PracticesJournal of Biblical Literature 130.1 (2011), 165-181.

Mihaila, Corin, Paul-Apollos Relationship and Paul’s Stance toward Greco-Roman Rhetoric: An Exegetical and Socio-historical Study of 1 Corinthians 1-4 (Library Of New Testament Studies), New York 2009: T&T Clark.  Reviewed in Religious Studies Review (Goodrich).

Montague, G.T., First Corinthians (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture), Grand Rapids 2011: Baker Academic.

Noordgard, Stefan, “Paul’s Appropriation of Philo’s Theory of `Two Men’ in 1 Corinthians 15.45-49,” New Testament Studies 57.3 (2011), 348-365.

Osiek, C., 2011, ‘How much do we really know about the lives of early Christ followers?’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 67(1), Art. #841

Poirier, The Tongues of Angels: The Concept of Angelic Languages in Classical Jewish and Christian Texts, Tübingen 2010: Mohr Siebeck. (Reviewed in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33.5 (Aug. 2011)).

Ramelli, Ilaria L. E., “Spiritual Weakness, Illness, and Death in 1 Corinthians 11:30,” Journal of Biblical Literature 130.1 (2011), 145-163.

Rasimus, Tuomas, Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Ismo Dunderberg (ed.), Stoicism in Early Christianity.   Peabody, MA:  Hendrickson Publishers, 2010. (BMCR review here).

Roberts, V., True spirituality : the challenge of 1 Corinthians for the twenty-first-century church, Nottingham 2011: Inter-Varsity.

Rosner, Brian, (ed.), The Wisdom of the Cross: Exploring First Corinthians (Apollos 2011). (Review available here)

Rudolph, David J., A Jew to the Jews: Jewish Contours of Pauline Flexibility in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 304, Tubingen 2011: Mohr Siebeck.

Schmidt, Thomas, and Pascale Fleury (eds.), Perceptions of the Second Sophistics and Its Time (2011)

Spurgeon, A.B., “Pauline Commands and Women in 1 Corinthians 14,” in The Bibliotheca sacra 168, no. 671 (2011), 317-333

Thiselton, A.C., “Wisdom in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures: Wisdom in the New Testament,” Theology (July 2011) 114.4, 260-268

Tolmie, D.F., 2011, ‘Angels as arguments? The rhetorical function of references to angels in the Main Letters of Paul, HTS

Wagner, J. Ross, “Baptism ‘Into Christ Jesus’ and the Question of Universalism in Paul,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 33.1 (2011), 45-61.

Walsh, Milton, In Memory of Me: A Meditation on the Roman Canon, Ignatius Press: San Francisco 2011.

Zenner, Samuel, The Gospel of Thomas: In the Light of Early Jewish, Christian and Islamic Esoteric Trajectories, London 2011: The Matheson Trust.

2 Corinthians

Eight papers on 2 Corinthians 5:14-21  have recently been made available for reading at this website.  These were delivered as part of two sessions on 2 Corinthians at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature Conference in San Francisco, November 2011.  Note that “The papers are protected by copyright and may only be used by participants in the context of our SBL seminars in San Francisco. For questions please contact the seminar chairs.”

Ashley, E.A., Paul’s defense of his ministerial style : a study of his second letter to the Corinthians, Lewiston, NY, 2011: Mellen Press.

Barrier, Jeremy W., “Two visions of the Lord: a comparison of Paul’s revelation to his opponents’ revelation in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10,” in C. Osiek, D.L. Balch, and J.T. Lamoreaux (eds.), Finding a woman’s place : essays in honor of Carolyn Osiek, R.S.C.J.  Princeton Theological Monograph Series 150, Eugene, OR, 2011: Pickwick Publications.

Becker, Joseph P., Paul’s Use of χαρις in 2 Corinthians 8-9: an Ontology of Grace, Lewiston, NY, 2011: Edwin Mellen Press.

Bieringer, R., 2011, ‘The comforted comforter: The meaning of παρακαλέω or παράκλησις terminology in 2 Corinthians’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 67.1 (2011), Art. #969

Hafemann, Scott J., Suffering and the Spirit : an exegetical study of II Cor. 2:14-3:3 within the context of the Corinthian correspondence, Eugene, OR 2011: Wipf & Stock.

Hood, J.B., “The Temple and the Thorn: 2 Corinthians 12 and Paul’s Heavenly Ecclesiology,” in Bulletin for Biblical research 21.3 (2011), 357-370.

Kaplan, Jonathan, “Comfort, O Comfort, Corinth: Grief and Comfort in 2 Corinthians 7:5–13a,” Harvard Theological Review 104.4 (2011), 433-446.

Kurek- Chomycz, D.A., “Spreading the sweet scent of the gospel as the cult of the wise: on the backdrop of the olfactory metaphor in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16,” in C. Eberhart (ed.), Ritual and Metaphor: Sacrifice in the Bible, Atlanta 2011, 115-134: Society of Biblical Literature.

Litwa, M. David, “Paul’s Mosaic Ascent: An Interpretation of 2 Corinthians 12.7-9,” in New Testament Studies 57.2 (2011), 538-557.

Milinovich, T., Now is the day of salvation: an audience-oriented study of 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2, Eugene, OR, 2011: Pickwick Publications.

Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome, Keys to Second Corinthians: Revisiting the Major Issues, Oxford 2009: Oxford University Press.  Reviewed in Review of Biblical Literature (Victor Paul Furnish and vanThanh Nguyen), Reviews in Religion and Theology (Barram), and Theology Today 67.4 (Soards).

Novick, T., “Peddling Scents: Merchandise and Meaning in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17,” JBL 130.3 (2011), 543-549.

Nsongisa Kimesa,Chantal, ‘L’agir puissant du Christ parmi les chrétiens’: Une étude exégético-théologique de 2Co 13,1-4 et Rm 14,1-4, Rome 2010: Gregorian & Biblical.  (Reviewed in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33.5 (Aug. 2011)).

Ogerea, Julien M., “Paul’s Leadership Ethos in 2 Cor 10–13: A Critique of 21st Century Pentecostal Leadership”, in Australasian Pentecostal Studies 13 (2010), pp. 21-40.

Starling, David Ian, Not My People: Gentiles as Exiles in Pauline Hermeneutics, (Gottingen: 2011: de Gruyter)

Stegman, SJ, Thomas D. Second Corinthians (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture), Grand Rapids 2009: Baker Academic.  Reviewed in Religious Studies Review (Seesengood)

Tolmie, D.F., 2011, ‘Angels as arguments? The rhetorical function of references to angels in the Main Letters of Paul, HTS

Van Oyen, Geert, “The Character of Eve in the New Testament: 2 Corinthians 11.3 and 1 Timothy 2.13-14,” in Bob Becking and Susan Hennecke (eds.), Out of Paradise: Eve and Adam and their Interpreters, Sheffield 2011: Sheffield Phoenix Press.

Wallace, James Buchanan, Snatched into Paradise (2 Cor 12:1-10): Paul’s Heavenly Journey in the Context of Early Christian Experience, Berlin 2011: De Gruyter.

Welborn, L.,“Paul and Pain: Paul’s Emotional Therapy in 2 Corinthians 1.1–2.13; 7.5–16 in the Context of Ancient Psychagogic Literature,” in New Testament Studies 57.4 (2011), 547-570.

Welborn, L., An end to enmity : Paul and the “wrongdoer” of Second Corinthians, Berlin 2011: De Gruyter.

Walker, Jr., William O., “Apollos and Timothy As the Unnamed ‘Brothers’ in 2 Corinthians 8:18-24,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73.2 (April 2011), 318-338.

Apostle Paul and Pauline Corinth

Barclay, John M.G. Pauline churches and Diaspora Jews, Tübingen 2011: Mohr Siebeck.

Barentsen, Jack, Emerging leadership in the Pauline mission: a social identity perspective on local leadership development in Corinth and Ephesus, Princeton Theological Monograph, Eugene, OR, 2011: Pickwick Publications

Billings, Bradly S., “From House Church to Tenement Church: Domestic Space and the Development of Early Urban Christianity—The Example of Ephesus,” in The Journal of Theological Studies 62.2 (2011), 541-569.

Callewaert, Joseph, The World of Saint Paul, San Francisco 2011: Ignatius Press.

Cosby, Michael R., Apostle on the Edge: An Inductive Approach to Paul, Louisville 2009: Westminster John Knox Press. (Review by James Howard).

Engberg-Pedersen, Troels, Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit, Oxford 2010: Oxford University Press. Reviews at RBL by L. Ann Jervis and Kevin McCruden).

Friesen, Steven J., Daniel N. Schowalter and James C. Walters, Corinth in context: comparative studies on religion and society (Supplements to Novum Testamentum vol. 134; E. J. Brill, Leiden 2010). Reviews at Journal of Roman Archaeology (Dennis E. Smith), Journal of Theological Studies (David Horrell), Religious Studies Review (Richard S. Ascough), The Expository Times (Jane Heath), and Journal for the Study of the New Testament (Peter Oakes).

Goodrich, John K., “Erastus of Corinth (Romans 16.23): Responding to Recent Proposals on his Rank, Status, and Faith” in New Testament Studies 57.4 (2011), 583-593.

Osiek, C., 2011, ‘How much do we really know about the lives of early Christ followers?’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 67(1), Art. #841

Padgett, Alan, As Christ Submits to the Church: A Biblical Understanding of Leadership and Mutual Submission, Grand Rapids 2011: Baker Academic.

Stanley, Christopher (ed.), The colonized Apostle : Paul through postcolonial eyes, Minneapolis 2011: Fortress Press.

Thompson, James W., Moral Formation According to Paul: The Context and Coherence of Pauline Ethics, Grand Rapids 2011: Baker Academic.

Thuraisingham, Ranjit. A.,  “A contemporary scientific reading of St. Paul on human duality,” in Journal for Interdisciplinary Research on Religion and Science 9 (2011), 150-169.

Tucker, J. Brian, Remain in your calling : Paul and the continuation of social identities in 1 Corinthians, Eugene, OR 2011: Pickwick Publications.

Westerholm, Stephen (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Paul, Malden, MA 2011: Wiley-Blackwell.

Wood, Beulah, The People Paul Admired: The House Church Leaders of the New Testament, Eugene, OR, 2011: Wipf and Stock.



Berding, Kenneth, “Polycarp’s Use of 1 Clement: An Assumption Reconsidered,” in Journal of Early Christian Studies 19.1 (2011), 127-139.

Blackwell, Ben C., Christosis: Pauline soteriology in light of deification in Irenaeus and Cyril of Alexandria, Tübingen 2011: Mohr Siebeck.

De Wet, Chris L., “John Chrysostom’s exegesis of the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:27-13:3): a commentary on Homilia in I Epistulam ad Corinthios 32,” in Ekklesiastikos Pharos 93 (2011), 104-117.

De Wet, Chris L., “John Chrysostom’s Exegesis on the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15,” in Neotestamentica 45.1 (2011), 92-114.

Downs, David G., “Redemptive Almsgiving and Economic Stratification in 2 Clement” in Journal of Early Christian Studies 19.4 (Winter 2011).

Mitchell, Margaret M., Paul, the Corinthians and the Birth of Christian Hermeneutics (Cambridge 2010). (Reviewed in BMCR and RBL and Religious Studies Review (P. Gray)).

Radde-Gallwitz, Andrew, “The Holy Spirit as Agent, not Activity: Origen’s Argument with Modalism and its Afterlife in Didymus, Eunomius, and Gregory of Nazianzus,” in Vigiliae Christianae 65.3 (2011), 227-248.

Stander, H., 2011, ‘Chrysostom on hunger and famine, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 67(1), Art. #880

Wells, Christopher, “Word of Love: The Sacramental Itinerary of 1 Corinthians,” Anglican Theological Review 93.4 (2011), 581-598.

Going to San Francisco for the Society of Biblical Literature? An Invitation to Contribute

The annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature runs this week from Saturday to Tuesday and will offer more than 50 papers related in some way to the study of Corinth.  In August, I posted a comprehensive list of these Corinthiaka papers that deal with, variously, the history and archaeology of the city, the historical and social contexts of 1 and 2 Corinthians, issues of intertextuality, special sessions on 2 Corinthian 5, the thought of Apostle Paul, post-Pauline Christian Corinth, reception history, or cross-cultural hermeneutics.  I have arranged these according to these broad categories. 

If you are going to the San Franciso meeting and hear any of these papers, I invite you to contribute reports or reviews.  Likewise, if you are delivering a paper, short summaries of the high points are welcome.  If interested, send to Corinthianmatters.  


I take a break from uploading images of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey to drop some Corinthiaka that have come through my feed in the last month. 

The Search for the Historical Erastus

In case you missed it, the feast day of St. Erastus, friend and associate of the apostle Paul, came and went three weeks ago in the western church calendar (July 26).  And in case you missed him, Erastus is a relatively minor figure mentioned only three times in the New Testament: 1) In Acts 19.22, Paul sent “into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.”  2) In 2 Timothy 4.19-21, the writer says, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.”  And 3) in Romans 16.23, Paul concludes: “Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer [oikonomos] of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother.”  Later authors like Chrysostom, Epiphanius, and Thedoret, among others, commented only briefly on Erastus, and a later tradition linked him with an Erastus bishop of Paneas (Palestine), now celebrated in the Orthodox church on Jan. 4 and Nov. 10.

For such an unknown figure, Erastus stands at the center of a major contemporary debate among New Testament scholars.  The debate concerns the social status of the earliest Christians and hinges on the interpretation of the Greek word oikonomos of Romans 16.23 (the word translated in the NJKV above as “treasurer”) as well as the tangential connection of the Erastus of the New Testament to an Erastus named as aedile in a Roman pavement found east of the theater in Corinth.  This inscription, uncovered in the late 1920s, reads “Erastus for his aedileship paved (this) at his own expense.”

If Erastus, the aedile named in the inscription, is the same as Erastus the oikonomos of the book of Romans (and presumably Acts and 2 Timothy), we have the exceptional coincidence of a New Testament figure being named in an archaeological context.  More importantly, at least for scholars of 1 and 2 Corinthians, we have a believer of the earliest Christian community coming from the highest ranks of Roman Corinth.  This, in turn, would help to explain the language of social division and stratification of Paul’s Corinthian community found in 1 Corinthians: rich – poor, wise – foolish, powerful – weak, etc..  However, if the two Erasti are unrelated, the argument for local elite numbering among the first Christians loses much of its force.

Since Cadbury’s discussion of the inscription (1931), scholars have been interested but skeptical about the connection.  The Latin word aedile mentioned in the inscription is clearly not equivalent to the Greek word oikonomos named in Romans 16.23—the former was an official magistrate of public works (hence, the dedication for the pavement), the latter was connected with financial management and could refer to either a lowly steward or a high-ranking financial officer.  Yet, a generation ago Theissen proposed that the Erastus of Romans 16.23 could have been a quaestor before he became an aedile, for the Latin word quaestor might just be the equivalent of the Greek oikonomos.  In that case, the Erastus inscription and the verse from Romans would shed light on the course of honors that Erastus followed in his political career.

In recent years, the debate over Erastus has grown more intense as New Testament scholars have argued about the social context of the first urban Christians.  Last year, in fact, was a bumper year in the search for the historical Erastus.  First, John Goodrich published “Erastus, Quaestor of Corinth: The Administrative Rank of ὁ οἰκονόμος τῆς πόλεως (Rom 16.23) in an Achaean Colony,” in which he argued in support of Theissen’s thesis that an oikonomos could be the equivalent of a quaestor.  To make the argument, he collected a large corpus of oikonomos inscriptions from Greece, the Aegean, and Asia Minor dating from the late 4th century BC to the 4th c. AD, and presented a recently discovered inscription from nearby Patras, another Roman colony.  This inscription shows a clear link between the Greek oikonomos  and Latin quaestor.  An oikonomos can be a quaestor.  The abstract to the article:

“Erastus (Rom 16.23) has featured prominently in the ongoing debate over the social and economic make-up of the early Pauline communities, since how one renders his title (ὁ οἰκονόμος τῆς πόλεως) dramatically affects the range of economic stratification represented in the Corinthian church. Relying chiefly on epigraphy, including an important new inscription from the Achaean colony of Patras, this article engages the scholarly dialogue about the Latin equivalent of Erastus’ title, rebutting the arguments in favour of arcarius and aedilis, and contends that he served as quaestor, a high-ranking municipal position exclusively occupied by the economic elite.”

As Goodrich concludes his discussion of the inscription (p. 112), “Since the text was derived from an Achaean colony in close proximity to Corinth with an apparently identical political structure as Corinth, it provides the best known comparative evidence for the rank of municipal οἰκονόμοι in Roman Corinth. In light of this evidence, it is then highly probable that the Erastus from Rom 16.23 was the quaestor of Corinth.”

At about the same time that Goodrich’s article was published, the Corinth in Context volume also appeared in print and in it an article by Steve Friesen called “The Wrong Erastus: Ideology, Archaeology, and Exegesis.”  In this article, Friesen critiqued the misuse of archaeological evidence by New Testament scholars and a generational trend to think of the Erastus of Romans as a character with aspirations of upward social mobility.  The Erastus inscription from Corinth is in a secondary, not primary, context and, in any case, was probably not commissioned before the mid-second century AD, well after the time of the Erastus of Romans 16.  The inscription is not, therefore, evidence for the man named by the apostle Paul but a non-Christian aedile who hailed from the highest status group of Roman society.  By contrast, Erastus the oikonomos was a low-status (non-citizen) manager of finance, possibly a slave, and probably not a Christian.  The first Christian communities at Corinth were overwhelmingly poor, like the population of the Roman world generally.  Friesen concludes that scholars should dispense with the ‘ideology of social mobility’ which has blinded them to the inequalities that characterized early Christian churches.

Finally, Alexander Weiss published a short study in response to Goodrich (and ultimately, Theissen) critiquing Goodrich’s view that Corinth and Patras had identical political structures.  Weiss, in fact, argues that political structures were very different in the two cities—reflecting different foundations as Julian and Augustan colonies—and that the municipal office of quaestor did not even exist at Corinth.

This is surely not the last word, though, as Goodrich has an article (to be published in October) called “Erastus of Corinth (Rom 16.23): Responding to Recent Proposals on His Rank, Status, and Faith,” in New Testament Studies 57.3 (2011), which responds to both Friesen and Weiss. His abstract:

“Studies on Erastus, the Corinthian oikonomos (Rom 16.23), continue to dispute the fundamental make up of his identity, including his administrative rank, socio-economic standing, even his status as a believer. Ultimately seeking to defend the view that Erastus was a Christian who served as a Corinthian municipal quaestor, this article responds separately to two recent essays, replying initially to Weiss’ charge that Corinth did not have the municipal quaestorship, then critiquing Friesen’s proposal that Erastus was an unbelieving public slave.”

Goodrich will deal with Weiss’ direct critique of his comparison between Patras and Corinth by some comparative examples of quaestors in pre-Augustan colonies.  And he also intends to problematize some of the provocative lines of argument in Friesen’s reassessment of the Erasti.  We should also expect him to have things to say about oikonomoi in a forthcoming book called Paul as an Administrator of God in 1 Corinthians. (Thanks to John Goodrich for sharing the above information with me in advance of publication).

These 2010 studies are significant in highlighting the state of the field on the historical Erastus and poles in the debate over the social constituency of the first Christian communities.  They also highlight the methodical problems of linking text with material culture.

Below is an incomplete bibliography relevant to the Erastus debate.  If you need a more exhaustive listing, consult the 2010 articles outlined above.

Cadbury, H.J., “Erastus of Corinth,” JBL 50 (1931), 42-58.

Clarke, A.D. “Another Corinthian Erastus Inscription,”  TynBul 42 (1991), 146-151.

Friesen, S.J., “The Wrong Erastus: Ideology, Archaeology, and Exegesis,” in S.J. Friesen, D.N. Schowalter, and J.C. Walters, Corinth in Context: Comparative Studies on Religion and Society, Leiden 2010, 231-256: Brill.

Gill, D.W.J., “Erastus the Aedile,” TynBul 40 (1989), 293-301.

Goodrich, J., “Erastus, Quaestor of Corinth: The Administrative Rank of ὁ οἰκονόμος τῆς πόλεως (Rom 16.23) in an Achaean Colony,” New Testament Studies 56, 90-115.

Goodrich, J., “Erastus of Corinth (Rom 16.23): Responding to Recent Proposals on His Rank, Status, and Faith,” New Testament Studies 57.3 (2011), forthcoming.

Meeks, W.A., The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul, New Haven 1983, 51-73: Yale University Press.

Meggitt, J.J., “The Social Status of Erastus (Rom. 16.23),” NovT 38 (1996), 218-23.

Theissen, G., The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity: Essays on Corinth, Philadelphia 1982, 69-119: Fortress Press.

Thomas, W.D., “Erastus: The V.I.P. at Corinth,” ExpTim 95 (1984), 369-370.

Weiss, A., “Keine Quästoren in Korinth: Zu Goodrichs (und Theißens) These über das Amt des Erastos (Röm 16.23),” New Testament Studies 2010, 576-581.

[The debate on Erastus continues here.]

“For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed”

We can expect a big weekend for sermons on 1 Corinthians.  Eastern and western liturgical calendars realign this year for the celebration of Easter, and Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians offers some of the most direct and explicit discussions in the New Testament on the significance of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.   1 Corinthians 5.6-8, in particular, is central to the lectionary cycles of the celebration of Easter, and will be read in Catholic and Orthodox services either tonight or Sunday.  The New American Bible version of the passage runs:

“Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

In the spirit of Good Friday, I include some excerpts from the 15th sermon of John Chrysostom, bishop of Antioch, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians.  I’ve cleaned up the text a bit to make the old Eerdmans translation (available at a little more readable:

Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump? For, says the apostle Paul, “though the offense be his, if neglected it can lay waste to the rest of the body of the Church. For when the first transgressor escapes punishment, so also will others commit the same faults.”

In these words, the apostle indicates that their struggle and their danger is for the whole Church, not for any one person. For which purpose he makes use also of metaphor of the leaven…

 “Purge out the old leaven,” that is, this evil one.  Not that he is speaking only about this one; rather, he glances at others with him. For, the old leaven is not fornication only, but also sin of every kind. And he said not, “purge,” but “purge out;” cleanse with accuracy so that there be not so much as a remnant nor a shadow of that sort. In saying, “purge out,” he signifies that there was still iniquity among them. But in saying, “that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened,” he affirms and declares that not over very many was the wickedness prevailing. But though he says, “as ye are unleavened,” he means it not as a fact that all were clean, but as to what sort of people you ought to be.

For our Passover also hath been sacrificed for us, even Christ; wherefore let us keep the feast: not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” So also Christ called His doctrine Leaven. And further the apostle himself dwells upon the metaphor, reminding them of an ancient history, and of the Passover and unleavened bread, and of their blessings both then and now, and their punishments and their plagues.

It is festival, therefore, the whole time in which we live. For though he said, “Let us keep the feast,” he did not say it with a view to the presence of the Passover or of Pentecost; but as pointing out that the whole of time is a festival unto Christians, because of the excellency of the good things which have been given. For what has not come to pass that is good?  The Son of God was made man for you; He freed you from death; and called you to a kingdom. You, therefore, who have obtained and are still obtaining such things, how can it be less than your duty to “keep the feast” all your life?  Let no one then be downcast about poverty, and disease, and craft of enemies. For it is a festival, even the whole of our time. Wherefore, says Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice.” Upon the festival days no one puts on filthy garments. Neither then let us do so. For a marriage hath been made, a spiritual marriage. For, “the kingdom of Heaven,” He says, “is likened unto a certain king which would make a marriage feast for his son.” Now where it is a king making a marriage, and a marriage for his son, what can be greater than this feast?  Let no one then enter in clad in rags. Not about garments is our discourse but about unclean actions. For if where all wore bright apparel one alone, being found at the marriage in filthy garments, was cast out with dishonor, consider how great strictness and purity the entrance into that marriage feast requires.