Pope Francis on Poverty and the Logic of Divine Love

When Palladius, the author of the Lausiac History, wanted to expose a pseudo-monk named Valens in the early fifth century AD, he called him “a Corinthian—for St. Paul charged the Corinthians with arrogance.” St. Ambrose, the powerful bishop of Milan and one of the so-called “doctors” of the western church, commented on 1 Corinthians 5:1 that “the house of Corinth stank…There was a stench, for a little leaven had corrupted the whole lump.”

Justifiably or not, the earliest worshipers of Christ in Corinth were remembered in church history as the Christian community with problems. St. Paul enumerates them in the first letter to the Corinthians in rapid succession: problems of vanity, division, arrogance and power (Ch. 1-4); problems of sex, lawsuits, and marriage (Ch. 5-7), problems of idolatry and arrogance (again!) (Ch. 8-10), problems of worship and division (again) (Ch. 11-14), and problems of belief (Ch. 15). Reading the letter straightforwardly and literally, one could only conclude with Basil of Caesarea that “Those in Corinth were infants, in need of milk.”

When I gave my first presentation on Christianity in Corinth yesterday evening at the Cathedral Parish of St. Patrick (Harrisburg, PA), I noted that it was precisely the humanness of the Corinthian community that has (historically) made the Corinthian correspondence a frequent subject of commentary and teaching.

It also explains why passages from 1 and 2 Corinthians are used in eastern and western liturgical cycles during the season of Lent. With the themes of self-denial, renunciation, spiritual exercise, and charity, the letters offer a wide range of instructive teaching for spiritual pilgrimage. There are passages about repentance, conversion, and reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-6.2); the foolishness of Christ crucified and the message of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18-25); spiritual food and drink and temptation in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10.1-3); endurance through temptations and trials (2 Cor. 5:20-6:10); power in weakness (2 Cor. 4:6-15); and the celebration of the Paschal feast (1 Cor. 5:6-8; 11:23-26). And the long passage about resurrection in 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 15) is regularly used at the season’s conclusion in Easter Sunday.

For this week’s Lenten Wednesday series, Pope Francis reflects on a passage of 2 Corinthians less commonly associated with the season — or at least in the cycle of readings. In 2 Corinthians 8:9, St. Paul puts voluntary poverty at the heart of the incarnation: “For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (NRSV)

In his first Lenten message, Pope Francis discusses the mystery of poverty in the incarnation and the logic of divine love. I copy the opening of the message below. You can read the full sermon in English here.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As Lent draws near, I would like to offer some helpful thoughts on our path of conversion as individuals and as a community. These insights are inspired by the words of Saint Paul: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor8:9). The Apostle was writing to the Christians of Corinth to encourage them to be generous in helping the faithful in Jerusalem who were in need. What do these words of Saint Paul mean for us Christians today? What does this invitation to poverty, a life of evangelical poverty, mean for us today?

1. Christ’s grace

First of all, it shows us how God works. He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth but rather in weakness and poverty: “though He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor …”. Christ, the eternal Son of God, one with the Father in power and glory, chose to be poor; he came amongst us and drew near to each of us; he set aside his glory and emptied himself so that he could be like us in all things (cf. Phil2:7; Heb 4:15). God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is his love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with us. Indeed, Jesus “worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he truly became one of us, like us in all things except sin.” (Gaudium et Spes, 22).”………..

Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (November 2013)

Your latest round of new Corinthian scholarship published or posted online in the last month – just in time for the holiday season. Feel free to reply to this post if you have something to add. If you are interested and qualified to review any of the following, contact me at corinthianmatters@gmail.com.

For comprehensive bibliography related to the Corinthia, see this page and visit the Corinthia Library at Zotero.




Late Roman

New Testament



Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (October 2013)

Here’s the round-up of new Corinthiaka scholarship for the month of October. Happy Reading. You can also find these entries at the Corinthian Studies Group Library Page in Zotero.

Bronze Age

Early Iron Age-Hellenistic

Roman and Late Antique

New Testament and Early Christian

  • Brown, Alexandra R. “Creation, Gender, and Identity in (New) Cosmic Perspective: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.” In The Unrelenting God: Essays on God’s Action in Scripture in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa, edited by David J. Downs and Matthew L. Skinner, 172–193. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=uuBgAQAAQBAJ.
  • Downing, F. Gerald. Order and (Dis)order in the First Christian Century: A General Survey of Attitudes. BRILL, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=PfeZAAAAQBAJ
  • Eastman, Susan Grove. “Ashes on the Frontal Lobe: Cognitive Dissonance and Cruciform Cognition in 2 Corinthians.” In The Unrelenting God: Essays on God’s Action in Scripture in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa, edited by David J. Downs and Matthew L. Skinner, 194–207. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=uuBgAQAAQBAJ
  • Schellenberg, Ryan S. Rethinking Paul’s Rhetorical Education: Comparative Rhetoric and 2 Corinthians 10–13. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=8TRXAQAAQBAJ
  • Van den Hoek, Annewies. “The Saga of Peter and Paul: Emblems of Catholic Identity in Christian Literature and Art.” In Pottery, Pavements, and Paradise: Iconographic and Textual Studies on Late Antiquity, edited by Annewies van den Hoek and John Joseph Herrmann, 301–326. BRILL, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=RcJSAQAAQBAJ


  • Hadler, H., A. Vött, B. Koster, M. Mathes-Schmidt, T. Mattern, K. Ntageretzis, K. Reicherter, and T. Willershäuser. “Multiple late-Holocene Tsunami Landfall in the Eastern Gulf of Corinth Recorded in the Palaeotsunami Geo-archive at Lechaion, Harbour of Ancient Corinth” (2013).
  • Williams, Charles K., II. “Corinth, 2011: Investigation of the West Hall of the Theater.” Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 82, no. 3 (2013): 487–549. doi:10.2972/hesperia.82.3.0487.

The Christianization of the Peloponnese

Dr. Sanders recently shared a link (via the Corinthian Studies facebook group) to an interesting new digital project by Dr. Rebecca Sweetman and the University of St. Andrews titled “The Christianization of the Peloponnese.” The home page describes the project as a study of the gradual spread of monumental forms of Christianity in the 5th to 7th centuries:

“The aim of this project is to advance an understanding of the changing processes involved in the Christianization of the Peloponnese with particular reference to the location and socio-political context of churches from the 5th to 7th centuries CE. An intensive topographic and archaeological study has made it possible to present a detailed image database of the Late Antique Churches of the Peloponnese and a clickable map based on GPS data. The results of the analysis of this work, which will be published shortly in three articles, have shown clearly the evidence for phased and largely peaceful Christianization of the Peloponnese with a considered use of memory and tradition at different times, rather than that of a violent transition, as is frequently portrayed in the historical literature.”

As the project challenges the notion of “a single process of unequivocal and forceful spread of Christianity with a complete intolerance of any pre-Christian religious practice,” Sweetman continues the work of her 2010 article on the Christianization of the Peloponnese in the Journal of Late Antiquity (see Bill Caraher’s review and critique of that article here). This current website is dedicated to publicizing three forthcoming articles (unfortunately, not named or referenced), which will offer analysis of the Christianization in the Peloponnese in comparison with other regions (Crete, Cyprus, Cilicia, Lycia). By Christianization, Sweetman refers to the monumental forms of early Christian basilica architecture that spread across the Peloponnese in the 5th and 6th centuries.

Whatever the potential value of her forthcoming articles, students and scholars of the Corinthia will benefit most from Sweetman’s clickable map and photo catalogue of the 130 early Christian churches of the Peloponnese.

While the catalogue descriptions of the individual churches are too brief, and the bibliography is incomplete (e.g., why are the works of Rife and Rothaus not referenced for the churches at Kenchreai?), the photos, plans, and aerial views (via Google Maps) give this website some value. Early Christian basilicas are notoriously hard to find in Greece (especially when you’re looking for them) and often difficult to access (sometimes surrounded by big fences), and their frequent publication in modern Greek makes them inaccessible to most scholars and students. So, a website presenting good photos and basic location information for these churches is welcome.

But hopefully this is the start rather than the end of the project. If the author presents somewhat more substantial notation and bibliography for the individual churches and the Christianization of Greece or the Peloponnese, the website could serve as the starting point for early Christian basilica architecture in southern Greece.

Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (November 2012)

Good Monday morning to you. Here is the latest body of scholarship that went digital last month and came to my attention. If you know of material that should be on the list, feel free to send via email or comment to this post. All of these entries have been added to the Corinthian Studies Digital Library (for info about the library, see this page).


Archibald, Zosia. “Archaeology in Greece, 2011–2012.” Archaeological Reports 58 (2012): 1–121. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8750918


Hasaki, Eleni. “Craft Apprenticeship in Ancient Greece: Reaching Beyond the Masters.” In Archaeology and Apprenticeship: Body Knowledge, Identity, and Communities of Practice, edited by Willeke Wendrich, 171–202. University of Arizona Press, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=stwd7aA3QLEC.

Scahill, D. “The South Stoa at Corinth: Design, Construction and Function of the Greek Phase”. PhD Thesis, University of Bath, 2012. http://opus.bath.ac.uk/32294/


Laurence, Karen A. “Roman Infrastructural Changes to Greek Sanctuaries and Games: Panhellenism in the Roman Empire, Formations of New Identities.” PhD Thesis, University of Michigan, 2012. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/93878.


Brown, Amelia R. “Medieval Pilgrimage to Corinth and Southern Greece.” HEROM: Journal on Hellenistic and Roman Material Culture 1 (2012). http://upers.kuleuven.be/en/titel/9789058679284

New Testament

Anderson, R. Dean. “Progymnastic Love.” In Christian Origins and Greco-Roman Culture: Social and Literary Contexts for the New Testament, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts, 1:551–560. Leiden: Brill, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ts6ONz6oF0YC.

Coutsoumpos, Panayotis. “Paul, the Corinthians’ Meal, and the Social Context.” In Paul and His Social Relations, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Land, 285–300. BRILL, 2012. http://books.google.com/books?id=l93f7HBMswQC.

Elliott, Neil. “Diagnosing an Allergic Reaction: The Avoidance of Marx in Pauline Scholarship.” The Bible and Critical Theory 8, no. 2 (2012). http://bibleandcriticaltheory.org/index.php/bct/article/viewFile/528/471.

Folarin, George O., and Stephen O. Afolabi. “Christ Apostolic Church Women in Dialogue with 1 Corinthians 14:34-36.” Verbum Et Ecclesia 33, no. 1 (2012). http://www.ve.org.za/index.php/VE/article/view/731.

Harrison, James R. “The Imitation of the ‘Great Man’ in Antiquity: Paul’s Inversion of a Cultural Icon.” In Christian Origins and Greco-Roman Culture: Social and Literary Contexts for the New Testament, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts, 1:214–254. Leiden: Brill, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ts6ONz6oF0YC.

Kuwornu-Adjaottor, J.E.T. “Spiritual Gifts, Spiritual Persons, Or Spiritually-Gifted Persons?: A Creative Translation of Twon Pneumatikwon in 1 Corinthians 12:1A.” Neotestamentica 46, no. 2 (2012): 260–273.  http://dspace.knust.edu.gh:8080/jspui/handle/123456789/4601 

Land, Christopher D. “‘We Put No Stumbling Block in Anyone’s Path, so That Our Ministry Will Not Be Discredited’: Paul’s Response to an Idol Food Inquiry in 1 Corinthians 8:1-13.” In Paul and His Social Relations, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Land, 229–284. BRILL, 2012. http://books.google.com/books?id=l93f7HBMswQC.

Lim, Sung Uk. “The Political Economy of Eating Idol Meat: Practice, Structure, and Subversion in 1 Corinthians 8 Through the Sociological Lens of Pierre Bourdieu.” Horizons in Biblical Theology 34, no. 2 (2012): 155–172.  http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/hbl/2012/00000034/00000002/art00004 

Moss, Candida R. “Christly Possession and Weakened Bodies: Reconsideration of the Function of Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh (2 Cor. 12:7–10).” Journal of Religion, Disability & Health 16, no. 4 (2012): 319–333. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15228967.2012.731987

Plummer, Robert L., and John Mark Terry, eds. Paul’s Missionary Methods: In His Time and Ours. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=6oOVdZUPLGQC.

Porter, Stanley E. “How Do We Define Pauline Social Relations?” In Paul and His Social Relations, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Land, 7–34. BRILL, 2012. http://books.google.com/books?id=l93f7HBMswQC.

Rogers, Guy MacLean. The Mysteries of Artemis of Ephesos: Cult, Polis, and Change in the Graeco-Roman World. Yale University Press, 2012. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=CayRIL1ot7cC.

Stenschke, Christoph. “The Significance and Function of References to Christians in the Pauline Literature.” In Paul and His Social Relations, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Land, 185–228. BRILL, 2012. http://books.google.com/books?id=l93f7HBMswQC.

Welborn, Larry L. “Towards Structural Marxism as a Hermeneutic of Early Christian Literature, Illustrated by Reference to Paul’s Spectacle Metaphor in 1 Corinthians 15:30-32.” The Bible and Critical Theory 8, no. 2 (2012). http://bibleandcriticaltheory.org/index.php/bct/article/viewFile/496/469.

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

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.

Corinth at the Tate

Museums are increasingly posting collections of images and artwork online which, on occasion, deal with Corinthian topics.  In the midst of the end-of-semester madness, I learned of Tate’s extensive online collection of art through alerts sparked by the posting of Corinthian images on a new beta site (to replace its current digital collection).

Some interesting 19th century representations of Ancient Corinth, Acrocorinth, fortifications, harbors, and landscape with minarets:

Also, some illustrated New Testament material :

  • Sir Edward Poynter, “Paul and Apollos 1872”: an agricultural image of the territory with Corinth in the distance and illustrating Paul’s metaphor of 1 Corinthians 3.6: Paul plants an olive tree, Apollos waters it, God made it grow.
  • William Blake, “Job’s Evil Dreams” (1825, reprinted 1874).  A verse from 2 Corinthians 11.14 in the image
  • William Blake, “The Fall of Satan” (1825, reprinted 1874).  A verse from 1 Corinthians 1.27: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”

The current digital collection turns up a few additional Corinthiaka images that are probably soon to be transferred to the new site.

Feast of St. Clement of Rome (Nov. 23-25)

We know very little about Clement of Rome whose feast day in the western and eastern church calendar falls variously between November 23 and 25.  He was not a Corinthian saint, but Christians of the 2nd-4th centuries remembered him as a companion of the apostles (Philippians 4:3) and bishop of Rome who wrote an important letter to the Corinthian community at the close of the first century AD.  In the late 4th century AD, for example, Jerome could write about him (The Lives of Illustrious Men):

“Clement of whom the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians says “With Clement and others of my fellow-workers whose names are written in the book of life,” the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, if indeed the second was Linus and the third Anacletus, although most of the Latins think that Clement was second after the apostle. He wrote, on the part of the church of Rome, an especially valuable Letter to the church of the Corinthians, which in some places is publicly read, and which seems to me to agree in style with the epistle to the Hebrews which passes under the name of Paul but it differs from this same epistle, not only in many of its ideas, but also in respect of the order of words, and its likeness in either respect is not very great. There is also a second Epistle under his name which is rejected by earlier writers, and a Disputation between Peter and Appion written out at length, which Eusebius in the third book of his Church history rejects. He died in the third year of Trajan and a church built at Rome preserves the memory of his name unto this day.”

The letter of 1 Clement is an interesting read for anyone interested in the earliest Christian communities and anyone wondering what became of St. Paul’s rebellious Christian community at Corinth.  While 1 Clement did not become part of the canonical New Testament, it was evidently held in high esteem by some communities, including the church of Corinth herself.  If we find in the letter a unique window into the Corinthian community a half century after Paul’s correspondence, it is a distorted image reflecting the perspective of a letter writer removed from the conflict.

As in Paul’s time, the letter deals again (still?) with division in the church.  This time one group of Corinthian Christians has booted their leaders, the presbyters.  These elders go to the church at Rome which sends a letter to encourage the opposing faction to come to terms with the ousted and rightful leaders of the flock.  While the text of the letter contains no references to the name of the author (only: ‘The Church of God at Rome to the Church of God at Corinth’), the letter was by the mid-2nd century associated with a ‘Clement’ who was linked by later tradition to the early bishop of Rome.

The letter is interesting for the light it sheds on early views of the nature of the church.  Clement uses many metaphors—the elect, the brotherhood, the flock, the city-state, fellow athletes / soldiers, and household—to prompt the factional members (the part) to consider and honor the rest of the church (the whole).  The letter comes to a solution that could only have been unsatisfying to these members: the guilty should return leadership to the ousted leaders and leave Corinth.  As Kirsopp Lake translates Chs. 54 and 57:

“Who then among you is noble, who is compassionate, who is filled with love? Let him cry:–“If sedition and strife and divisions have arisen on my account, I will depart, I will go away whithersoever you will, and I will obey the commands of the people; only let the flock of Christ have peace with the presbyters set over it.” He who does this will win for himself great glory in Christ, and every place will receive him, for “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it.”….

“You therefore, who laid the foundation of the sedition, submit to the presbyters, and receive the correction of repentance, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be submissive, putting aside the boastful and the haughty self-confidence of your tongue, for it is better for you to be found small but honourable in the flock of Christ, than to be preeminent in repute but to be cast out from his hope.”

With all its explicit discussion of  conflict and submission, 1 Clement has unsurpisingly been important for what it says about authority.  The letter has been central to discussions between Catholics and Orthodox about the nature of the “primacy” or “priority” of the bishop of Rome in the late first century, and, has more generally fit into modern debates about the means of authority in early Christianity.  1 Clement provides an early example for a model of authority based on connection to the apostles.

But there is much more to the letter than that.  With its emphasis on love, humility, and mutual submission, the letter offers another vision of essential values of the early Christian faith.  In light of American Thanksgiving, it seems fitting to end with an appropriate quotation about gratitude (Ch. 38):

“Let our whole body, then, be preserved in, Christ Jesus; and let every one be subject to his neighbour, according to the special gift bestowed upon him. Let the strong not despise the weak, and let the weak show respect unto the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor; and let the poor man bless God, because He hath given him one by whom his need may be supplied. Let the wise man display his wisdom, not by [mere] words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not bear testimony to himself, but leave witness to be borne to him by another. Let him that is pure in the flesh not grow proud of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence. Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made,–who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness. He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared His bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into His world. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Him, we ought for everything to give Him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Relevant Posts:


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.