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Adaptability, Versatility, and Psychagogy

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Chapter Summary

Some have seen 1 Corinthians 9 as the rebuttal of a charge of inconstancy in light of Paul's opportunism. Paul is charged with behaving in a servile manner (9:15- 18). In response, Paul picks up the ridicule and describes his apostleship in terms of servility. Paul's statements do emphasize adaptation and flexible behavior which does indeed resemble the practice of flatterers and obsequious persons; however, the author suggests that we view it as a positive enunciation of a versatile approach needed in recruitment and in psychagogy. As the blurred boundary between hypocrisy and truthful guidance, there is still a basic ambiguity inherent in Paul's reflections, an ambiguity which aligns a psychagogue in several ways with the flatterer and the obsequious person: is adaptation a form of cunning employed for personal gain or does it reflect a versatile approach used by one who is genuinely concerned for the well-being of others?

Keywords: adaptability; Paul's statements; psychagogy; versatility

10.1163/9789004267275_003
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