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The Corinthian Body

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Gathering interest

Overview

In this intriguing discussion of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Dale Martin contends that Paul’s various disagreements with the Corinthians were the result of a fundamental conflict over the ideological construction of the human body.

According to Martin, most Corinthian Christians and Paul himself saw the body as an entity that could be permeated by different pollutions. Other members of the Corinthian church, however, viewed the body as hierarchical—as a microcosm of the universe—and were not particularly concerned about body boundaries or pollution. These differing views of the human body (and also of the church as the body of Christ) led to differing opinions on a variety of subjects—including the role of rhetoric and philosophy in a hierarchical society, the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, prostitution, sexual desire and marriage, and the resurrection of the body. Martin explores these conflicts by drawing on ancient medical writings, modern anthropological approaches, and feminist and ideological methods of critical analysis. He shows how Paul’s understanding of the body prevailed among the less well-educated inhabitants of the Roman Empire, who occupied relatively low socioeconomic levels. The minority who espoused the ideas of hierarchy, on the other hand, were usually of higher social status and were better educated. And it was along these same class lines, Martin argues, that the Corinthian church itself was divided.

  • Explores the ways in which “the body” was described, conceptualized, and understoo within the Graeco-Roman world
  • Examines how “the body” was associated with various social status positions and how this related to the conflicts and desagreements between Paul and some of the Corinthians
  • Concerns with understanding and appreciating ancient concepts and patterns of thought in relation to the body, the self, the psyche, and sexuality

I Hierarchy

  • The Body in Greco-Roman Culture
  • The Rhetoric of the Body Politic
  • The Body’s Economy
  • Tongues of Angels in the Body of Christ
  • The Resurrected Body

II Pollution

  • The Body, Disease, and Pollution
  • Sex, Food, and the Pollution of the Corinthian Body
  • The Dangers of Desire
  • Prophylactic Veils
This book breaks new and important ground, opening up brilliant access to a number of puzzling texts in 1 Corinthians that have vexed interpreters for centuries.

—S. Scott Bartchy, University of California, Los Angeles

A bold and provocative piece of scholarship and interpretation. Martin picks up some of the most interesting suggestions of recent scholarship and follows them into an imaginative but responsible engagement with primary evidence from the ancient world.

—Wayne A. Meeks, Yale University

This is a striking and original book which should stimulate and provoke its readers.

—David Horrell, Journal of Theological Studies

  • Title: The Corinthian Body
  • Author: Dale B. Martin
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Print Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 352
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Resource ID: LLS:CORINTHIANBODY
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2021-01-26T19:08:53Z

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using Overview tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Dale B. Martin is Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His numerous books include New Testament History and Literature.

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    $17.99

    Digital list price: $27.99
    Save $10.00 (35%)

    Gathering interest