Conflict, Community, and Honor consists of two studies that involve expansions on John H. Elliott’s first book on 1 Peter, The Elect and the Holy, putting that tradition-and-redaction analysis of 1 Peter 2:4–10 into a larger literary, social, and cultural framework. The first essay is an overview of the social situation and rhetorical strategy of 1 Peter. The second essay demonstrates how the conceptuality and moral discourse of 1 Peter was shaped by and invoked key “pivotal values” of ancient Mediterranean culture, namely honor and shame.
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“For its own time the letter is also important for still another reason. It is the first document of the New Testament that systematically addresses the issue of the messianic community’s relation to, and place within, the larger society.” (Page 3)
“In 1 Peter we meet for the first time those aspects of community which it is said eventually account for the church’s ultimate ascendancy and consolidation within the Roman Empire: the distinctive communal identity of the Jesus movement, its solidarity in suffering, its radical promotion of social cohesion and fraternal love, and its offer of human dignity and place of belonging to society’s dislocated strangers.” (Page 3)
“Followers of Jesus can remain steadfast as strangers and aliens (paroikoi) in society, because of the community they enjoy as the household of God (oikos tou theou). In the believing community they have found a home for the homeless.” (Page 29)
“Furthermore, the Greek verb paschein (‘to suffer’) in 1 Peter clearly refers not to a liturgical ceremony but to a social and existential reality. It describes the result of the believers’ interaction and conflict with a hostile society.” (Page 9)
“The form or literary genre of 1 Peter is that of a genuine letter.” (Page 4)
At a time when the market-driven church is tempted to settle for being little more than an interest group, anxiously chasing its market share, this little book on 1 Peter offers nothing less than a new vision for the church, that of a quiet leaven, grounded with pride and confidence in its wronged and risen Lord, to whom it leaves the issue of all things. Elliott has fire in his belly; cut his words and they bleed. Elliott writes with the clarity of urgency. The heat is in the light. A memorable book.
—The Rev. Peter Fribley, PhD, Parish pastor, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Affirming that 1 Peter represents from beginning to end a coherent and integrated line of thought, Prof. Elliott seeks to show in these two essays how this pastoral letter, forged to respond to the alienated situation of its readers, employs the conceptuality of the moral discourse and pivotal values of honor and shame that reigned in its contemporary world. The book is an excellent introduction to Prof. Elliott’s seminal work in applying social-scientific analysis of this New Testament writing, and will richly reward its careful reader.
—Paul J. Achtemeier, author of 1 Peter (Hermeneia)
Elliott, already well known for his work on 1 Peter and on social-scientific criticism, here brings together two essays that open for the reader the message and the world of 1 Peter. This simple, straightforward reading reveals the letter in its own context, in such a way that we can appropriate its message and values into our own.
—Carolyn Osiek, coauthor of A Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity
These classic studies by one of the foremost interpreters of 1 Peter can serve both to introduce the letter to those who know, little about it and to enlarge and enrich the understanding of those who already know it well. Here, as elsewhere, Elliott expertly joins the findings of social-scientific research with the insights of literary and theological analysis to clarify the ‘good news’ that is proclaimed in this often-overlooked New Testament writing.
—Victor Paul Furnish, author of The Moral Teaching of Paul