Here Witherington brings traditional exegetical and historical methods to the study of 1 and 2 Corinthians, analyzing Paul’s two letters in terms of Greco-Roman rhetoric and ancient social conditions and customs. This approach reveals the context and content of Paul's message in a new light and discloses Paul’s relationship with his Corinthian converts.
Ben Witherington has produced an innovative commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, making use of both ancient and modern tools to highlight aspects of the Corinthian situation and of the argument of Paul’s letters that have not been unearthed by previous commentators.
—Bruce W. Winter, Tyndale House, Cambridge
Ben Witherington blends the best of recent sociological and rhetorical scholarship on Paul into a distinctive, rich, and accessible commentary on the Corinthian correspondence. His work operates at two levels: the main commentary offers an informative and edifying resource for students and preachers, while the more detailed investigations, bibliographies, and footnotes provide plenty to stimulate scholars. This is a bold, comprehensive, and impressive attempt to set Paul’s dialogue with the Corinthian church squarely in its social context and to illuminate the apostle’s art of persuasion.
—Andrew T. Lincoln, University of Sheffield, England
State-of-the-art interpretation of the Corinthian letters…Ben Witherington offers us a lively conversation between a host of disciplines. The voices of archaeology, classics, rhetoric, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy are brought together in fruitful dialogue on the Corinthian letters. We are transported to the first century, hearing the letters for the first time with the mind and ears of the Corinthian congregations as they received them from Paul.
—Duane F. Watson, Malone College
Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. He received his M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. A prolific writer, he has twice won the Christianity Today best Biblical Studies book-of-the-year award. Among his other books are The Christology of Jesus and Jesus, Paul, and the End of the World and The Jesus Quest. A popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia.
“The argument is not about family relations but about praying and prophesying in Christian worship.” (Page 235)
“In a city where social climbing was a major preoccupation, Paul’s deliberate stepping down in apparent status would have been seen by many as disturbing, disgusting, and even provocative.” (Page 21)
“Such covering of the head was ‘not a general form of dress adopted by people attending a sacrifice’ but was done only by those ‘taking an active part.’12 This is crucial because Paul in 1 Cor. 11:2ff. is only addressing those actively involved in praying and prophesying in Christian worship. Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. 266D–267A) indicates that Romans uncovered their heads in the presence of other people, particularly social superiors, to acknowledge them as worthy of honor.” (Page 234)
“First, why does Paul want to maintain for women, but not for men, the Roman practice of covering the head when engaging in a religious act?” (Page 235)