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Title: The body, the building and the field : Paul's metaphors for the church in 1 Corinthians in light of their usage in Greco-Roman literature
Author: DeNeui, Mark W.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he uses three images to identify the Corinthian congregation: "you are the body of Christ," (1 Cor 12:27)" you are the building of God," (I Cor 3 :9) and "you are the field of God" (1 Cor 3 :9). These striking terms are key parts of his argument in 1 Cor. In order to understand these images better and, in turn, to gain a more accurate understanding of Paul's argument in 1 Cor, this study examines these metaphors in their social-historical background and then compares this usage with Paul's use of the metaphors in 1 Corinthians. The question of methodology is the first concern addressed. The broader question of social-scientific approaches to the study of the New Testament is discussed and a specific approach termed "modified immersion" is defined and selected. This approach involves collecting as many examples of these metaphors as possible from the social-historical context in which Paul was writing. These texts are then analyzed in terms and categories suggested by the uses themselves. The study then moves to the examination of the metaphors, with one chapter devoted to each of the three. Each chapter begins with an assessment of the history of research of that particular metaphor in 1 Corinthians. This is done to locate this present study within the context of the scholarly research of these metaphors. This assessment also highlights the strengths and weakness of the different propositions for the appropriate background against which these metaphors should be understood. This examination leads to the conclusion that the Greco-Roman background appears to be the most probable one. Each metaphor chapter then continues with a detailed analysis of the use of the particular metaphor in Greco-Roman literature. The authors and works in this section were chosen because they use the particular metaphor and they either predate Paul or are unlikely to have had any contact with Paul's writings and are thus unlikely to be influenced by Paul's use. These sources are collected and organized in tables which appear as appendices in this thesis. The various functions of the metaphors are examined and classified. Specific aspects of the literary form of the metaphor are also considered. This section in each chapter ends with a comparison between the Greco-Roman usage and Paul's usage in 1 Corinthians. Each metaphor chapter ends with a section focusing on the exegesis of passages in 1 Cor where the particular metaphor appears. This section varies in structure and length for each of the different metaphors, because Paul uses the three different metaphors with different frequency and in different ways. However, each exegesis section examines and attempts to understand Paul's use of the metaphor in 1 Corinthians in light of the findings of the metaphor's use in Greco-Roman literature. Finally, a concluding chapter synthesizes the results of the study and compares and contrasts the findings. The results of the analysis of each of the metaphors are compared with each other to find similarities and differences between the uses of these three different metaphors in Greco-Roman literature. These results are then compared with Paul's use of the metaphors in 1 Cor in order to find ways in which Paul's use of the metaphors are similar to their use elsewhere in Greco-Roman literature and ways in which Paul differs from the common usage. Several important results are highlighted which help us better understand Paul's use of these metaphors in 1 Corinthians and ultimately contribute to a better understanding of the letter as a whole.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.495032  DOI: Not available
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