A bold new reading of 1 Corinthians in light of Greco-Roman philosophy
The First Letter to the Corinthians begins with an admonishment of the church over their internal division and reliance on human wisdom. What exactly occasioned Paul’s advice has perennially troubled New Testament scholars. Many scholars have asserted that Paul disapproved of the Corinthians’ infatuation with rhetoric. Yet careful exegesis of the epistle problematizes this consensus.
Timothy A. Brookins unsettles common assumptions about the Corinthian conflict in this innovative monograph. His close reading of 1 Corinthians 1–4 presents evidence that the Corinthian problem had roots in Stoicism. The wisdom Paul alludes to is not sophistry, but a Stoic-inspired understanding of natural hierarchy, in which the wise put themselves above believers they considered spiritually underdeveloped. Moreover, Paul’s followers saw themselves as a philosophical school in rivalry with other Christians, engendering divisions in the church.
Combining scriptural exegesis and investigation of Greco-Roman philosophical culture, Brookins reconstructs the social sphere of Corinth that Paul addresses in his letter. His masterful analysis provides much needed clarity on the context of a major epistle and on Pauline theology more broadly.
Table of Contents
I. Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Corinthians 1. 1 Corinthians 1–4 in Modern Scholarship 2. The Problems of Definition and Comparison II. Reading 1 Corinthians 1–4 3. 1 Corinthians 1:17b–31: One λόγος against Another 4. 1 Corinthians 2:1–5: Proclaiming Christ Crucified 5. 1 Corinthians 2:6–16: A Spiritual σοφία 6. 1 Corinthians 3:1–4:5: The Apostles and the σοφία of God 7. 1 Corinthians 4:6–13: The Apostles and the Corinthian σοφοί 8. 1 Corinthians 4:14–21: Paul as Founder and Teacher 9. The Sub-Stoic Wisdom of the Corinthians III. Reconstructing the Occasion 10. 1 Corinthians 1:10–17a: The Paul Faction as Philosophical School 11. Philosophy in the Roman Empire and Roman Corinth 12. Church Prosopography and the Sub-Stoic School in Corinth IV. Conclusion
Timothy A. Brookins is professor of early Christianity at Houston Christian University. His previous books include Corinthian Wisdom, Stoic Philosophy, and the Ancient Economy and Reading 1 Corinthians.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.