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Creation, Shame and Nature in 1 Cor 11:2–16: The Background and Coherence of Paul’s Argument

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Chapter Summary

Just as the Balkans have "produced more history than they can consume locally", the two passages in 1Corinthians on the roles of men and women in the Christian assembly have produced more than their share of debate. The intensity of the debate reflects not only the importance of the contested territory for resolving contemporary issues, but also the difficulty of this terrain. Almost every line in these passages is contested territory. This chapter determines how Paul's argument in 1Corinthians 11:2-16 actually works. Consequently, it places Paul's argument in its Hellenistic-Jewish context in order to determine its coherence. It also raises questions about the assumed difference between the Paul's argument and elsewhere in the Pauline corpus. The argument in 1Corinthians 11:2-16 demonstrates that Paul is not a first-century egalitarian whose pronouncements were quickly undermined by followers who retreated to the hierarchical views that were prevalent in their own society.

Keywords: 1Corinthians; Christian; Hellenistic Judaism; Paul; Pauline corpus



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