Description - After a brief introduction to Pauline
studies and the place of the Corinthian correspondence in the
life and ministry of the Apostle Paul, this course will
undertake an analysis of the main units of 1-2 Corinthians.
Attention will be paid to the occasion and purpose for
the writing of the letters, the history of Paul's relationship
to this urban congregation, and the various problems encountered
between the church and its founder.
Recent sociological, rhetorical and imperial studies of
the Corinthian letters will inform our reading of the texts.
Discussion of the ministerial issues encountered in the
text and its implications for faithful living and ministry today
will be part of class sessions and assignments.
- The student (and professor) will:
1. Gain a
greater understanding for Pauline epistolary literature as
exemplified by one of the most researched of Paul's letters.
English language exegesis by the unit-by-unit study of 1-2
Corinthians, including explorations of sociological, rhetorical
and imperial readings of the text.
hermeneutical vision by appropriating learning from the
historical encounter of the Apostle Paul with one of his
congregations for the current practice of faith and ministry
4. And –
inverting the order of (3)--learn how our understanding and
practice of faithful living and ministry in the world today
helps or hinders our reading of a first century document like
Paul's Letters to the Corinthians.
at all sessions and informed participation in class
than two absences will affect final grade.
reading and re-readings of 1-2 Corinthians in a modern
translation (e.g., NRSV, RSV, NIV, NEB or JB).
The professor will use the NRSV as basis for class
for purchase--a study bible, such as Wayne A. Meeks, ed. The HarperCollins Study
Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical
Books. 1st Ed.
(New York: HarperCollins, 1993) or Bruce M. Metzger, ed.
The New Oxford
Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New
Revised Standard Version (New York: Oxford University Press,
Horsley, 1 Corinthians, Abingdon New Testament
Commentaries (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998).
Talbert, Reading Corinthians: A Literary and Theological
Commentary, Revised Edition (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys,
Theissen, The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity:
Essays on Corinth, ed. & trans. John H. Schütz
(Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1999, originally published by
Fortress Press, 1982).
Wan, Power in Weakness: Conflict and Rhetoric in Paul’s
Second Letter to the Corinthians (Harrisburg, PA:
Trinity Press, 2000).
D. Fee, The First Epistle
to the Corinthians. New
International Commentary on the New Testament.
(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.
B. Eerdmans, 1987).
Paul Furnish, II Corinthians, The Anchor Bible, Vol. 32A
(Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1984)
M. Hay, ed., Pauline
Theology, Volume II: 1 & 2 Corinthians
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
Meeks, The First Urban
Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul (New Haven
and London: Yale University Press, 1983).
Clark Wire, The Corinthian
Women Prophets: A Reconstruction through Paul’s Rhetoric (Minneapolis:
Fortress Press, 1990).
Witherington III, Conflict
& Community in Corinth:
A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians
(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1995).
Historical Exercise – Among the interpretative
conundrums of 1 Corinthians are the several references to sexual
practices of the Corinthian believers that Paul decries.
Traditionally, interpreters have suggested that Corinth
was a particularly sexually immoral place so much so that a verb
was invented “corinthiaze” – to engage in sexually immoral
practices. Do a little research on this question starting with
our main readings and branching out into the commentaries and
related articles and come up with a three-page (typed,
double-spaced) statement on the possible historical background
for these problems in 1 Corinthians.
Be sure to suggest what you think is the best
understanding of the sexual issues from your reading of the
historical background of these matters in Corinth. Due
Date: Oct 5.
Exegetical Exercise - Several of our readings
(e.g., Horsley, Theissen) disagree with regard to the meaning of
1 Cor 1:26. Do
these categories represent actual social classes within the
Corinthian community (Theissen, Meeks) or are they symbolic of
some kind of “spiritual status” sought within the faith
community (Horsley)? Research
the question yourself by reading beyond the assigned texts (in
commentaries, articles) and in particular determining, in a
preliminary way, what makes the most sense within the literary
argument of the rest of 1 Corinthians (see Talbert).
Are there other problems within 1 Corinthians that might
be explained by issues of actual social stratification (Theissen)
and not just symbolic (Horsley)?
Try to make up your own mind about this, using the text
of 1 Corinthians, although always in a preliminary or
penultimate way. A
five-page essay (typed, double-spaced) should suffice for your
conclusions. Due Date: Nov. 9.
Theological or Exegetical Paper - Toward the
conclusion of the course, the student will research and write a
twelve to fifteen page (12-pt. font, double-spaced) research
paper dealing with either a critical theological or ministerial
issue that can be traced throughout 1-2 Corinthians or an
exegetical analysis of one passage in the letters (a coherent
unit of 6 to 10 verses within the larger sections one of the
letters, but not 1 Cor 1:26-31).
More detail on the methodology for these essays will be
discussed in class, but either case will entail careful analysis
of Paul's arguments in 1-2 Cor, relevant statements elsewhere in
his letters, as well as other parts of the New Testament and the
Hebrew Bible, and research in secondary literature.
The student is advised to select her or his topic as
early in the course as possible so that focus in reading can
begin early. The
professor should be informed of your topic selection no later
than Nov 2. Due
Date: Dec. 21 (one week after conclusion of course) in
the professor’s office.
Sept 14 -
Introduction to Course and the Study of Paul
Sept 21 -
Historical Background and Outline of 1-2 Corinthians
Corinthians; Horsley, 21-38; Talbert, 1-11; Theissen,
Meeks, 1-50 (on reserve).
Corinthians--Problems in the Church
Sept 28 -
The Problem of Leadership:
1 Cor 1-4
Read: 1 Cor 1-4; Horsley, 39-76; Talbert, 15-23; Theissen,
Nils Dahl, “Paul & the Church at Corinth According to
1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21,” in Studies in Paul (Augsburg,
1977) - On reserve.
Oct. 5 -
Problems with Church Discipline, Marriage & Morality:
1 Cor 5-7
1 Cor 5-7; Horsley, 77-114; 25-71; Theissen, 69-119.
Oct. 12 -
The Problem of Food Offered to Idols:
1 Cor 8-10
Read: 1 Cor 8-10; Horsley, 115-152; Talbert, 73-83; Theissen,
Oct. 19 -
Women Wearing Veils: 1 Cor 11.2-16; Abuse of the Lord's Supper:
1 Cor 11.17-34
1 Cor 11.2-34; Horsley, 152-165; Talbert, 85-101;
Wire, 116-134; Meeks, 140-163
Oct. 26 -
Abuse of Spiritual Gifts: 1
1 Cor 12-14; Horsley, 165-197; Talbert, 103-119.
Theological Problem & Final Greetings
Nov. 2 - The
Resurrection (1 Cor 15); Concluding Matters (1 Cor 16)
1 Cor 15-16; Horsley, 197-227; Talbert, 121-133.
Final Paper Topic
9 - Introduction to the Letter: 2 Cor 1-2
2 Corinthians; Wan, 1-56; Talbert, 163-170.
Nov. 16 -
Pauline Self-Commendation: 2 Cor 3-6
2 Cor 3-6; Wan, 57-98; Talbert, 171-212.
Nov. 23 - No
Class (Reading Week)
- Reconciliation & Collection: 2 Cor 7-9
2 Cor 7-9; Wan, 99-124; Talbert, 215-224.
Dieter Georgi, Remembering the Poor: The History of Paul’s
Collection for Jerusalem (Abingdon, 1992), 80-109.
Dec. 7 -
Problems with Leaders (Again): 2 Cor 10-13
2 Cor 10-13; Wan, 125-154; Talbert, 137-159.
Dec. 14 -
Conclusion of Course: Understanding Pauline Theology &
Ministry through Corinth
21 – Final paper due at Professor’s office by 5PM
note: Coverage of
units may shift from above dates depending on class discussion and
interests in issues of particular passages.
Flow of argument and Paul's overall purposes are goals
rather than detailed exegesis.)