Paul’s Political Strategy in I Corinthians 1–4: Constitution and Covenant
Bitner, Bradley J.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015 pp. 365. $99.99
Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, 163
Description: This volume examines 1 Corinthians 1–4 within first-century politics, demonstrating the significance of Corinth's constitution to the interpretation of Paul's letter. Bradley J. Bitner shows that Paul carefully considered the Roman colonial context of Corinth, which underlay numerous ecclesial conflicts. Roman politics, however, cannot account for the entire shape of Paul's response. Bridging the Hellenism-Judaism divide that has characterized much of Pauline scholarship, Bitner argues that Paul also appropriated Jewish-biblical notions of covenant. Epigraphical and papyrological evidence indicates that his chosen content and manner are best understood with reference to an ecclesial politeia informed by a distinctively Christ-centered political theology. This emerges as a “politics of thanksgiving” in 1 Corinthians 1:4–9 and as a “politics of construction” in 3:5–4:5, where Paul redirects gratitude and glory to God in Christ. This innovative account of Paul's political theology offers fresh insight into his pastoral strategy among nascent Gentile-Jewish assemblies.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, 1 Corinthians, Greco-Roman Literature, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches, Ideological Critique, Postcolonial Approaches
Review by Wendell Willis
Citation: Wendell Willis, review of Bradley J. Bitner, Paul’s Political Strategy in I Corinthians 1–4: Constitution and Covenant, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).
Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.