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12. ‘Mixed Marriage’ in Early Christianity: Trajectories from Corinth

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Chapter Summary

Although the historical situation changed drastically as Christianity itself took shape after Paul wrote, believers asked the same questions: How does one live with the non-believing neighbors? How one can protect the integrity of the body of Christ and the bodies of its members? How does one define themselves as different from others? This chapter focuses on one particular topic for which all of these questions were relevant: marriage between believers and unbelievers. It explores the possibility, however, that Christian writers, 'published Christians' like Tertullian, were not the only ones interpreting Paul. The chapter discusses 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, and describes Tertullian, who is the first extant published author to use 1 Corinthians to talk about mixed marriages. It focuses on evidence of unpublished Christians and their interpretations of Paul in order to demonstrate how the apostle's ideas are used in creative ways to support different positions on mixed marriage.

Keywords: 1 Corinthians; early Christianity; mixed marriages

10.1163/9789004261310_013
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