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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Christian Identity in Corinth: A Comparative Study of 2 Corinthians, Epictetus and Valerius Maximus
Nguyen, V. Henry T.

TŁbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008 pp. xii + 272. $117.50

Series Information
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/243

Description: V. Henry T. Nguyen explores the social dynamics of Christian identity in the apostle Pauls second letter to the Corinthians. In order to grasp how aspects of identity affected social relations in the world of the New Testament, the author examines the significance of the ancient concept of persona for denoting a persons social identity in the Graeco-Roman social world. In addition to describing this social concept, which has been largely ignored by New Testament scholars and classicists, he considers two figures - Epictetus and Valerius Maximus - for their perceptions of social identity and persona in the Graeco-Roman world. By exploring this ancient concept and contributing new insights into Epictetus and Valerius, the author demonstrates the existence of a large preoccupation with the superficial features that expressed identity and persona (e.g. rank, status, and eloquence). He then investigates 2 Corinthians and argues that some of the conflicts in the Corinthian church resulted from the Corinthian Christians adoption of the conventional values of identity and persona that were prevalent in Corinth. Pauls conflict with the Corinthians is clearly seen in their superficial assessment of his persona as lacking the appropriate credentials for an apostle. The author shows that in order to combat this misconception of Christian identity in the Corinthian church, Paul reacted to the Corinthians conventional values of identity by promoting and projecting a subversive Christ-like identity, which is a visible embodiment of the dying and life of Jesus Christ.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Literature

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Review by Thomas Schmeller
Published 5/23/2009
Citation: Thomas Schmeller, review of V. Henry T. Nguyen, Christian Identity in Corinth: A Comparative Study of 2 Corinthians, Epictetus and Valerius Maximus, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2009).

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