TABLE OF CONTENTS
TOC o “1-3” h z u INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc512247597 h 21.1. INTRODUCTORY ANALYSIS PAGEREF _Toc512247598 h 21.1.1. AUTHORSHIP PAGEREF _Toc512247599 h 31.1.2. DATE AND PLACE PAGEREF _Toc512247600 h 41.1.3. THE CITY PAGEREF _Toc512247601 h 41.1.4. THE AUDIENCE PAGEREF _Toc512247602 h 61.1.5. PURPOSE OF THE LETTER PAGEREF _Toc512247603 h 61.1.6. IMPORTANCE OF THE LETTER PAGEREF _Toc512247604 h 71.1.7. OUTLINE OF THE LETTER PAGEREF _Toc512247605 h 81.2. LITERARY CONTEXT PAGEREF _Toc512247606 h 141.2.1. THE USAGE OF peri. de, PAGEREF _Toc512247607 h 141.2.2. COMPARISON WITH PREVIOUS CHAPTERS PAGEREF _Toc512247608 h 151.2.3. SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CHAPTER PAGEREF _Toc512247609 h 171.2.4. THE PROPOSITIO TO THE ARGUMENTATION PAGEREF _Toc512247610 h 181.2.5. TEXTUAL CRITICISM PAGEREF _Toc512247611 h 201.3. PHILOLOGICAL STUDY OF IMPORTANT WORDS PAGEREF _Toc512247612 h 251.3.1. a;nqrwpoj PAGEREF _Toc512247613 h 251.3.2. gunh, PAGEREF _Toc512247614 h 251.3.3. aptw PAGEREF _Toc512247615 h 261.3.4. pornei,a PAGEREF _Toc512247616 h 271.4. THE STRUCTURE OF THE ARGUMENTS PAGEREF _Toc512247617 h 28CONCLUSION PAGEREF _Toc512247618 h 30
PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF TEXT
INTRODUCTIONIn the first chapter we will deal with some preliminary analysis of 1 Cor 7, 1- 40 that helps us to situate our theme. It should be noted here that Paul, the founder of Corinthian Church is not making a theological tract on marriage and celibacy. He speaks to his own children in faith, knowing their abilities and disabilities, strengths and temptations to guide them to a true life in Christ. The first chapter is divided mainly into four sections; introductory analysis, literary analysis, philological analysis and structural analysis. The introductory analysis starts with a wider contextual analysis which includes authorship, historical background, its significance and ends with a whole outline of the letter. The second part is the literary analysis used to trace the immediate context of chapter 7, which ends with a textual criticism of the propositio. In the philological analysis we will work on four important words such as a;nqrwpoj, aptw, gunh,, pornei,a to examine its special usage in our context. The last part of our study is set apart for a structural analysis which will be dealt in detail in the second chapter of our study.
1.1. INTRODUCTORY ANALYSISIn order to listen shrewdly to Paul’s conversation with the Corinthians, firstly we must know a few things about the letter’s settings and occasion. There are numerous details of the background which are unknown to us. In reading 1 Corinthians we can sketch out some information which may help us in this study.
1.1.1. AUTHORSHIPFirst Corinthians is one of the books in the NT which is taken for granted and undisputed on the basis of authorship. Very few scholars have made doubts on its authenticity. This epistle has proved by both internal and external credentials as being Pauline. Internally speaking, in the very first verse Paul identifies himself as the author of the letter and Sosthenes as his secretary. This evidence along with different Pauline claims in 1, 17; 2, 1; 3, 4; 4, 7; 4, 19; 11, 1; 16, 21 are enough to convince its authenticity. The salutation, address, blessing and thanksgiving at the beginning and the greetings, and doxology at the conclusion of the letter are similar to other Pauline epistles. A cross-reference to Acts and the Pauline epistles in several places correspond with names and topics that are discussed in this letter. The cross-references to parallel passages in other Pauline epistles are also numerous to be mentioned.
Externally speaking, Pauline authorship of this book is attested by Clement of Rome, who wrote a letter to Corinth in A. D. 95 or 96 which explicitly calls upon its readers to;
take up the epistle of the blessed Paul the apostle…with true inspiration he charged you concerning himself and Cephas and Apollos, because even then you had made yourselves partisans (I Clement 47, 1- 3).
Furthermore, the Epistle of Barnabas has verbal resemblances to 3, 1.16.18. Justin Martyr one among church fathers, quotes directly from 11, 19 in the chapter 35 of his Dialogue with Trypho. Marcion has incorporated this letter into his canon. Muratorian canon accredits the Corinthian letters to Paul and places them first in the list of Pauline epistles. Thus Pauline authorship of this letter has never been doubted, even by modern critical scholarship.
1.1.2. DATE AND PLACEThe first letter to Corinthians was probably written about A. D 54-56 from Ephesus (1 Cor 16, 8) during Paul’s third missionary journey. Acts of the Apostles gives a good reference to the period of Corinthian mission of Paul. The founding of the Corinthian Church was documented in Acts 18, 1-18. Paul was alone during his second missionary journey when entered Corinth (Acts 18, 1). His arrival in Corinth has been set with some exactness at about A.D. 50. The edict of expulsion was passed by Claudius (Acts 18, 2) against the Jews was in A. D. 49. Gallio (Acts 18, 12) was proconsul when the Jewish leaders took Paul to court which was in Corinth beginning in the summer of A. D. 51. When Paul left Corinth, he went first to Antioch and then eventually to Ephesus, where stayed for about three years. If Paul wrote the letter close to the end of his stay in Ephesus it would have been written in between A. D. 54 and 56.
1.1.3. THE CITYGeographically saying, Corinth was located on a narrow strip of land, called an isthmus, connecting the Peloponnesus to Northern Greece. Corinth was considered as the capital of this southern province called Achaia. In 146 B.C. Corinth was said to be involved in a revolt against Rome and was destroyed by the Roman General Lucius Mummius and the population was dispersed. Because of its economic and military importance, the city was rebuilt in either 46 or 48 B. C. by Julius Caesar. Then it became a Roman colony where Roman soldiers retired. It was a miniature of Rome in architecture and culture and the administrative center of the Roman province of Achaia in 27 B. C. Thus the city became an Imperial Province in A. D. 15. Corinth had many crossroads for travel and commerce, both north and south for the Greek peninsula and east and west from Rome to the Near East. Corinth became a city of wealth and pleasure by trade. All kinds of people settled there due to the facility of market system like Romans, Greeks, and Jews. Corinth thus speedily became a cosmopolitan city with all of the attending vices attached to that type of society. It was on the highest point in the city stood the pagan temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, full of religious prostitutes to serve the wishes of its devotees. In the ancient world, Corinth was known for its moral decadence. It is stated that Plato used the term ‘Corinthian girl’ to refer to a prostitute; and Aristophanes used the verb ‘to act like a Corinthian’ to refer to fornication. Corinth was a major cultural center of the Greco-Roman world because it hosted the bi-annual Isthmian Games which began in 581 B. C like that of Athens. Thus Corinth is to be qualified as a Roman city with all the thinking patterns sprouted from the Greek culture which paved way for a loose social structure, this resulted in unending freedom in personal affairs that reflected in loose ideas on social institutions.
1.1.4. THE AUDIENCEThe original audience in Corinth included members from all levels of society which consisted of mostly people who were neither rich, wise, nor of noble birth (1 Cor 1, 26). The recipients of the letter were the members of the inexperienced Church made up mostly of Gentiles. The people who lived in Corinth were racially and culturally mixed. Archaeology and Scripture (Acts 18, 4-8) give proof for the existence of a synagogue in Corinth. Thus we could trace mainly four groups of the people from the letter:
Intellectual Greeks, who were still very proud of their philosophical traditions who were trying to tie Christian revelation to their old customs and intellectual traditions.
Roman patrons who were the socially elite.
A believing Jewish contingent made up mostly of “god-fearing” Gentiles, who attended the synagogue.
A large number of converted slaves.
1.1.5. PURPOSE OF THE LETTERThis letter was written to answer some questions about Church order and to teach the believers how to live a genuine Christian life in a corrupt society. Paul got information on the problems that had developed at Corinth from four sources: Chloe’s people (1, 11), a letter from the Church asking questions (7, 1.25; 8, 1; 12, 1; 16, 1.12), a report from others in the congregation and a personal visit from Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (16, 17). The Church had become divisive, advocating different leaders; Paul, Apollos, Peter, and possibly a Christ party (1, 12). There were also many moral issues and issues on the use of spiritual gifts.
Summarizing the content of the epistle, the purpose of the letter can be listed into four:
Paul sought to develop and promote a spirit of unity in the local Church along with teaching them that they were part of the universal Church.
The apostle tried to correct a number of incorrect tendencies in the Corinthian community.
Paul answered many questions that were submitted to him by letter (7, 1) and delegation (16, 17).
Paul’s epistle is intended to instruct the believers in Corinth to collect funds to aid the needy saints in Jerusalem.
1.1.6. IMPORTANCE OF THE LETTERPaul the founder of the Corinthian Church continued in the closest relation to it. It is clear from the letter which reveals more of the personal character of the apostle than any of his other letters. We could trace him as a man, as a pastor, as a counselor, as in conflict not only with heretics but also with personal adversaries. Pauline wisdom, his zeal, his forbearance, his liberality of principle and practice in all matters not affecting salvation, his strictness in all matters of right and wrong, his humility, and perhaps above all his unwearied activity and wonderful endurance are explicit in the verses of this letter. This epistle shows more clearly the Christianity in conflict. We could find what method Paul adopted in founding the Church in the midst of a refined and corrupt people, and how he answered questions of conscience arising out of the relationships of Christians to the society around them. Principles relating to Church discipline, social relations, public worship, and nature of the Church and of the sacraments are unfolded in their application. It is quoted more often than any other Pauline writings, and shows its importance and usefulness. Paul clearly makes a distinction in this practical letter between his personal opinion and the Lord’s commands. He believed that his opinions were also inspired and authoritative (7, 25. 40b). This letter thus gives us an early look into the New Testament Church, its structure, methods, and message. Moreover, it must also be remembered that this was a problematic, non-typical flock. In this letter we find Paul as a good pastor who is dealing with the problems of the Church with his practical and useful knowledge. The veracities treated in the letter must be read in contrast to the cultural background to achieve its deep theology.
1.1.7. OUTLINE OF THE LETTERS. K. Stowers says: “The letter fictionalizes personal presence.” Again when he speaks on the body of a letter says:
is not mere information to be communicated but rather a medium through which a person performs an action or social transaction with someone from whom he or she is physically separated.
Thus a deep understanding of the literary structure and its units in 1 Corinthians is the heart of our study. The opening and closing units clearly expresses the linguistic and semantic limits on the thoughts of Paul. A good knowledge on the rhetorical arguments used by Paul also enriches our understanding on the inner heart of each units of the letter.
D. Aune observes;
By the first century B.C. rhetoric had come to exert a strong influence on the composition of letters, particularly among the educated. Their letters functioned not only as means of communication but also as sophisticated instruments of persuasion …
We shall say that 1 Corinthians is an occasional letter, written both in response to reports Paul received about the conditions in the Corinthian Church and in response to a letter that Paul received from the Corinthian Church. He wrote the letter in order to correct the problems in the Church. The information and problems treated in 1 Cor 1-6 came from the house of Chloe (1, 11; 5, 1). Second major source comes from the questions send from the community itself which is attested by the phrase ‘now concerning about’ employed in 7, 1; 8, 1; 12, 1 and 16, 1.
Many scholars have given alternative outline on the letter to Corinthians. Since we are employing rhetorical method, we depend mainly on Margaret M. Mitchell who provides a rather good outline. Fitzmyer also accepts the structure proposed by Mitchell. Before proceeding further we should spend some time on the classical rhetorical method and its few components.
Classical rhetoric is entirely debited to Aristotle who divided it into three kinds according to three types of audiences.Forensic: The most complicated one among the three rhetorical methods is forensic which is mostly used in the judicial level. Forensic rhetoric is based on legal controversy that comprises criminal prosecution or civil defense. The temporal dimension of forensic rhetoric is past, because the forensic speakers accuse or defense always in reference to the things that already happened.Deliberative: In deliberative rhetoric the speaker gives advice in public or in an assembly invariably that exhorts them. The temporal dimension of deliberative rhetoric is future. The subjects of deliberative rhetoric include the ways and means of religious ritual, legislation, alliances and treaties with other states, war, peace or finance etc. Instances are used in every rhetorical form but in particular, in deliberative it is used to achieve the goal of the orator.
Epideictic or Ceremonial: This kind of rhetoric is used to praise or denounce of some person. The temporal dimension of epideictic rhetoric is present.These are the types of persuasive discourse in the classical theory. But these are not absolute in themselves; they rely on mutual assistance with one another.There are mainly five canons of rhetoric which are: Invention (inventio), Arrangement (dispositio), Style (elocutio), Memory (memoria) and Delivery (pronuntiatio). In an epistolary framework, the arrangement (dispositio) takes the important role. So here we must go through different steps of arrangement of the matter in an epistle or rhetorical letter. Judicious arrangement of the arguments helps the orator to build a bridge between him and his audience. Thus we could trace five parts of discourse as listed below:Introduction (Exordium): The introduction or exordium has two purposes. Firstly it is used to inform the audience on the subject of the discourse and secondly to render the audience agreeable to the speaker’s argument. The speaker’s ethos is predominantly important in this space. There are diverse types of introduction such as, inquisitive, paradoxical, corrective, preparatory and narrative.Statement of Fact (Narratio or Propositio): The narratio in a discourse has a function of stating those facts which generate discourse. It is a must that the facts be stated before arguments or probatio are made. This section informs the audience on the circumstances that must be known before formal argument is presented. It is presented as lucid, brief and plausible.
Confirmation (Confirmatio or Probatio): It is considered as the core of a discourse. The probatio is the heart of a rhetorical speech or letter which includes the principal arguments used to persuade the audience. In a deliberative discourse these arguments are arranged according to certain topics, in Greek called “heads” (kephalia). In this letter Paul uses peri. de, several times in the probatio of 1 Corinthians to introduce his different topics. The proper listing of arguments depends on the particular disposition of the audience, the subject, the occasion and the subjective tastes of the speaker. In a deliberative speech or letter the proofs or arguments seek not to prove something true or false, as in forensic speech, but to provide reasons to the audience to take up the course of action that is being advised.Refutation (Refutatio): Refutation on the arguments can be achieved in a variety of ways including logical appeal, emotional appeal, ethical appeal, joke, humor, sarcasm etc. It must be noted that at times it will be appropriate to present a refutation before orator’s confirmation.
Conclusion (Peroratio): It is the recapitulation of all arguments expressed by the orator in the rhetoric. Here the orator can enumerate the most important points from his argumentation. Similar to the exordium orator makes once again an appeal to emotions and to a moral character provoking the audience to show annoyance against the opponents and winning their sympathy for him.
Now considering our interest of study 1 Corinthians, accepting the opinion of Mitchell, falls into the deliberative rhetoric style. She says: “Deliberative rhetoric is compatible with the letter genre and is fully appropriate to both the epistolary and rhetorical elements which combine this letter”. Mitchell provides four points that helps us to distinguish this letter as deliberative, they are;
An attention on future time as the subject of deliberation.
Employment of strong-minded set of demands or ends, the most distinctive one is profitable.
Proof by example.
Fitting subjects for deliberation of which factionalism and harmony are common.Using these points along with the opinions of Witherington and Fitzmyer we could draw an outline of the 1 Corinthians as follows;Prescript 1, 1-3Exordium 1, 4-9
Propositio 1, 10Narratio 1, 11-17Probatio 1, 18- 15, 57Argument I: Pauline Gospel of Cross 1, 18- 4
Argument II: The Sexual and Social Problems 5- 6Argument III: Marriage and Celibacy 7Argument IV: Problem of eidolothyta and Eucharist 8- 11Argument V: The Problem of Spiritual Gifts 12- 14Argument VI: Pauline Gospel of Resurrection 15Peroratio 15, 58- 16, 24Many scholars wrote that in between chapters 4 -15 there is a series of problems that Paul answers. This point of view is being shared among others by Conzelman who entitles the chapters 7-15 as answers to questions spotting their variegated and pragmatic character. The so far carried exploration shows that Paul develops his thought proceeding by smaller argumentative units organized around the single propositio and corroborated by the multiple sub-propositiones.
1.2. LITERARY CONTEXTNow, having a good general contextual analysis of the letter, we pass on to our theme of interest quickly with some literary study. Literary analysis of a text by comparing with its historicity and significance is necessary to understand the innermost meaning of a text. Different usages of Paul in contrast to the social circumstances are necessary to know the real spirit of the letter. After discussing the disorders in the Church, Paul moves to the list of questions that the Corinthians had sent to him. Chapter 7 thus takes the problem of marriage or singleness (celibacy).
1.2.1. THE USAGE OF peri. de,The words peri. de, (now concerning) refer to specific questions that the Church at Corinth sent to Paul. We could find repetition of it in 7, 25; 8, 1; 12, 1; 16, 1; 16, 12 when a change in the subject matter takes place. Mitchell says that peri. de, refers to a new topic of interest. David J. Lull says on the usage of the phrase in this chapter as used to change the theme. He adds;
a common theme, sexual behavior connects this chapter with chapters 5 and 6. Paul had to counsel against both lax standards (5, 1 – 6, 20) and highly ascetic standards of sexual behavior in chapter 7. One group in the Corinthian community believed that, since they had become spiritual, it was of little importance what they did with their bodies. Paul responded to this question in chapters 5 and 6. Another group to whom Paul wrote in the chapter 7, held that, since the body is a lower physical reality, its needs and desires, especially sex were to be avoided as much as possible.
Thus, the usage of peri. de, here and in the proceeding passages can be viewed as an object marker to change from one subject to the other. It functions as an indication of transition. According to Robertson and Plummer;
The de, is perhaps merely transitional, but it may intimate that the subject now to be discussed is in opposition to the one which has just been dismissed. He is passing from what is wrong to what is generally lawful.
The view of Nicoll also to be noted;
de, leads to a new topic, in orderly transition from the last. ‘Now I proceed to deal with the matters of your letter to me’ the questions proposed about marriage are discussed on the ground prepared by the teaching of chapters. 5-6.
1.2.2. COMPARISON WITH PREVIOUS CHAPTERSThere are many scholars who tried to bind chapter 7 with chapters 5 and 6 referring to the similarity of used vocabulary. We could find a whole constellation of vocabulary and topics that appear also in the preceding chapters such as;porneia/pornoi (5,1; 5,9.10.11; 6,9; 6,13; 6,15; 6,18) ? 7,2gyne (5,1) ? 7,22.214.171.124.10.11.12.14.126.96.36.199.34.39soma (5,3; 6,13; 6,15; 6,16; 6,18; 6,19; 6,20) ? 7,4.34pneuma (5,3.4.5; 6,11.17.19) ? 7,34.40krino (5,3.12.13; 6,188.8.131.52) ? 7,37satanas (5,5) ? 7,5sodzo (5,5) ? 7,16kalon (5,6) ? 7,1.8.26kosmos (5,10; 6,2) ? 7,31.33.34
adelphos (5,11; 6,5.6.8) ? 7,184.108.40.206.29hagios/hagiadzo (6,1.2; 6,11; 6,19) ? 7,14.34ekklesia (6,4) ? 7,17apistos (6,6) ? 7,220.127.116.11.eksousiadzo (6,12) ? 7,4hamartano (6,18) ? 7,28.36agoradzo (6,20) ? 7,23.30A short comment on the use of vocabulary may help to distinguish the unity of chapter 7.A great concern of the apostle in 1 Cor 5-6 is the sin of porneia that takes scandalous forms in the Corinthian community. Paul clearly condemns those having the physical relations with father’s wife and scolds the Corinthians for frequenting prostitutes. Being one body with Christ excludes bonds with prostitutes, for the body of the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. A similar preoccupation with porneia reappears also in 7, 2, where Paul advises that everyone should have their own wife. The topic is the same, but the occurrence of the vocabulary shows clearly that the stress is different. More than with porneia, in 1 Cor 7 Paul deals with the union between man (aner, adelphos) and woman (gyne). The vocabulary itself doesn’t testify to the unity of thought between 1 Cor 5-6 and 1 Cor 7.
The same phenomenon can be observed with regard to the theme of body (soma) which in 1 Cor 5-6 is holy and belongs to the Lord, while in 1 Cor 7 it belongs to husband and wife. 1 Cor 5-7 one can find basically the same notion of Spirit, Satan, sin and salvation.
The concept of judgment which bears eschatological tones in 1 Cor 5-6, while in 1 Cor 7 it points on a human discernment.
The idea of world which in chapters 5-6 is corrupt and judged by God (5, 10; 6, 2), while in chapter 7 it is presented as transitory (7, 31.33.34).
The meaning of adelphos which in 1 Cor 7 denotes more a husband than a Christian brother as in the foregoing chapters.
The word apistos which in 1 Cor 7 is pagan husband not just a pagan as in the preceding chapters.Thus, 1 Corinthians 7, though having the vocabulary connections with the preceding the chapters, differs from them significantly. The topics of soma and porneia are clearly subordinated to the themes of marriage and celibacy that receive here a systematic treatment from the part of the apostle.1.2.3. SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CHAPTERThe inner unity of chapter 7 can be easily traced with the usage of peri. de,, phrase as discussed above. It is used in 7, 1 and in 8, 1 where a clear transition of the subject is clearly detectable. Chapter 8 starts with “now concerning food sacrificed to idols…” which clearly shows a transition of the subject matter. In 7, 25 we also find the same usage but it easily connects with the theme discussed up to 7, 16 just giving sufficient space for two analogies which are stated as the rhetorical technique in the whole structure of the chapter. Paul begins (7, 1-16) and concludes (7, 25-40) with a discussion of problems that are basically sexual.
Marriage, sexual relations in marriage, divorce, second marriage and celibacy (singleness) are the subject matter in this chapter. This chapter becomes unique by stating basic guidelines for those who are married, those who wish to be married or once were married, and those who want to remain single. The Corinthians had some false notions about marriage, as well as about sex (Cf. Chapters 5-6). There were some people in the Corinthian Church who had become so sensitive to the issue of sexual immorality that they doubted whether sex was appropriate even in marriage. According to Fee, ‘stay as you are’ serves as the underlying principle of the whole chapter. It is also good to remember here four types of marriage practiced in Corinth under the Roman law and customs which are;
Coemptio in manum.
This background will help our reading of the chapter realistically. The Apostle takes the matter with a realistic mind to solve the difficulties which he confronted with the Church of Corinth.
1.2.4. THE PROPOSITIO TO THE ARGUMENTATIONThe above analysis has proved the unity of chapter 7. Now when we look for a right beginning of an argumentation with the clear identification of peri de, we find first two verses as the introduction and proposition (exordium and propositio). In the chapter 7 we are in midst of the full-fledged rhetorical discourse and need not to make any appeal to the emotions of the audience for which has Paul already fulfilled in the first chapter itself. Paul jumps to another issue of interest by using another brief introduction. The argument Paul presents in this pericope is comprised of two sentences in 7, 1b -2. 1b states ‘it is good for man not to touch a woman’ which is clear statement for observing celibacy. But instantly he refutes the statement as ‘but because of porneia each man should have his own wife and each woman should have her own husband’.In short, Paul endorses the view that celibacy is the best, most beneficial way of living. But, it’s not the way for everybody. The majority should pursue the way of marriage which Paul perceives as a natural remedy against the porneia troubling the Corinthian community. It doesn’t mean that Paul devalues marriage. In the words of Conzelmann, “only as a venereal safety valve for incontinent, non-charismatic people, providing them a lawful outlet for expressing their sexual urges”. On the contrary, he perceives it as a good a natural way for everybody. Further on he will express his practical and eschatological reasons for relativizing marriage and choosing rather celibacy. The Pauline thesis will be developed in the course of his argumentation. The following outline may help us more to see the Pauline development of argumentation on the thesis of marriage and celibacy.To address the problems we have to see the structure of the chapter firstly. Different scholars have structured this slight differently. According to Fee;
vv. 1- 7to the married: stay married with full conjugal rights
vv. 8- 9 to the “unmarried” and widows: it is good to remain unmarried
vv. 10- 11 to the married (both partners believers): remain married
vv. 12- 16to those with an unbelieving spouse: remain married
vv. 17- 24remain in the place you were at the time of your call.
vv. 25- 38 to “virgins”: it is good to remain unmarried
vv. 39- 40 to married women (and widows): the married are bound to the marriage; when widowed it is good to remain that way.
Hodge gives a general structure without attempting the inner diachronic themes explicated by dividing it into three sub divisions. That is;
7, 1-17 Instructions concerning marriage
7, 18- 24 The Gospel was not designed to interfere with people’s ordinary relationships
7, 25- 40 Concerning virgins and widows.
After having analyzed different delimiting factors, we came to consider chapter 7 as one rhetorical unit. It should be noted that Pauline approach displays many elements of Greco-Roman rhetorical structure but with some uniqueness. Paul wants to present the Christ event to build up the future Church for that he does not polarize rhetoric against tradition but instead appeals to scripture. Thus we could find the elements of deliberative rhetoric style in this passage.
1.2.5. TEXTUAL CRITICISM
It is apt now to have a look at the textual variations of the propositio of our unit of study. The differences in the translations represent the translator’s decision of what the original text actually being said. Textual criticism of the NT is the study of biblical texts in ancient manuscripts in order to determine as closely as possible the exact text of the original writings before the copyists made changes and errors as they copied them. Textual criticism thus helps us to establish the most reliable reading of the text; it is the process of searching through the various sources of the biblical texts to determine the most accurate reading of a particular passage.
There exist two kinds of criteria for evaluating the relative worth of variant readings. These are external evidence, having to do with the manuscripts themselves, and internal evidence, having to do with two kinds of considerations,
Those concerned with transcriptional probabilities (that relating to the copying habits of copyists)
Those concerned with intrinsic probabilities (that relating to the style of the author).
Now we will work on the textual criticism of 1 Corinthians 7, 1-2.
Peri.. de. w-n evgra,yateÞ( kalo.n avnqrw,pw| gunaiko.j mh. aptesqai (BGT)
Now concerning the things whereof you wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (KJV)
Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. (NAS)
Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. (NIV)
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is well for a man not to touch a woman. (RSV)
In v. 1 we find only one critical apparatus that is the sign of ‘Þ’. This sign marks the location where one or more words, sometimes a whole verse are inserted by witnesses cited. The given critical apparatus is as follows:
moi A D F G K L PY 104. 365. 630. 1175. 1241. 1505 Û ar b vgcl sy co; Ambst Pel ¦ txt î46? B C 33. 81. 1739. 1881. 2464 r vgstmoi is the insertion to the text which has the meaning ‘to me’. This insertion is attested by the following codexes. ‘A’ refers to Codex Alexandrinus which is an uncial from the fifth century from the Alexandrian family that belongs to the category I. ‘D’ refers to Codex Claromontanus, an uncial from the sixth century from the Western family that belongs to category IV. ‘F’ refers to an uncial from ninth century from the Western family which belongs to category II. ‘G’ refers to another uncial from the ninth century from the Western family which belongs to category V. ‘K’ refers to an uncial from ninth century. ‘L’ refers to an uncial from Leningrad. ‘P’ is another uncial from the ninth century belongs to category III. ‘Y’ is the uncial from the ninth to tenth centuries from the Alexandrian family belongs to category V. 104 (minuscule from 1087). 365 (minuscule from twelfth century). 630 (minuscule from twelfth or thirteenth century). 1175 (minuscule from tenth century). 1241 (minuscule from twelfth century). 1505 (minuscule from twelfth century). ‘Û’ this sign indicates that the above reading is supported by the majority of all manuscripts. The supporting manuscripts are listed as follows. ‘ar’ points to the manuscript Aramaic number 61 from the ninth century. ‘b’ points to one of the individual Old Latin manuscripts has the number 89 from the eighth or ninth century. ‘vgcl’ is Latin manuscript edited by Clement in 1592. ‘sy’ refers to all Syriac versions. ‘co’ refers to all Coptic versions. ‘Ambst’ refers to Ambrosiaster from 366- 384. ‘Pel’ refers to Pelagius probably from 418. ‘¦’this sign means that separates different variants referring to the same variation unit. ‘txt’ this sign introduces the list of witnesses supporting the text of this edition. According to this the following are the texts supporting the given reading. î46(Papyrus 46, from circa 200) ? (Codex Sinaticus, uncial from the fourth century), B (Codex Vaticanus, uncial from fourth century), C (Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, uncial from the fifth century) 33 (minuscule from the ninth century), 81 (minuscule from 1044; Alexandrian family, category II), 1739 (minuscule from the tenth century), 1881 (minuscule from the fourteenth century), 2464 (minuscule of the ninth century), ‘r’ refers to revelation ‘vgst’ refers to Stuttgart Vulgate edited by Gryson in 2007.
dia. de. äta.j pornei,ajåë ekastoj th.n e`autou/ gunai/ka evce,tw ¤kai. e`ka,sth to.n i;dion a;ndra evce,twé. (BGT)
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (KJV)
But because of immoralities let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. (NAS)
But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. (NIV)
But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (RSV)
In verse 2 we find two critical apparatus. First one with äta.j pornei,ajåë , second is the ¤ which ends with é.
The given critical apparatus is as follows:
ä??? ???????? F G latt sy | ¤F G
ä å this signs says that the words enclosed between them in the text are transmitted with variants. Here the variant is marked with ??? ????????. In the text the word is used in the accusative feminine plural which means all kinds of fornications more precisely all immoral sexual activities but the variation is presented in the accusative feminine singular means fornication or immorality. This variation is attested by the following texts; ‘F’ refers to an uncial from ninth century from the Western family which belongs to category II. ‘G’ refers to another uncial from the ninth century from the Western family which belongs to category V. ‘latt’ represents the entire Latin tradition in support of the same Greek reading. ‘sy’ represents the entire Syriac tradition supports the variant cited. ‘|’ this solid vertical line marks the limit of notes related to a single verse within the apparatus in the outer margin. ¤… é the words enclosed between these signs are omitted that is, kai. e`ka,sth to.n i;dion a;ndra evce,tw (and each woman her own husband) in the following texts. ‘F’ refers to an uncial from ninth century from the Western family which belongs to category II and ‘G’ refers to another uncial from the ninth century from the Western family which belongs to category V.
1.3. PHILOLOGICAL STUDY OF IMPORTANT WORDSIn this section we will examine closely four important words used in vv. 1-2. These four words are of frequent usage and form the basis for the whole argumentation in the chapter.1.3.1. a;nqrwpoj
The word literally means a human being male or female without reference to either sex. In our unit of study we find it is used in the Dative case with masculine singular which clear reference to man, particularly male. This form is used 113 times in the Bible of which only 26 times in the NT. We could trace 5 times it used in Pauline corpus; Rom 14, 20; 1 Cor 7, 1. 26; 2 Cor 12, 4; Gal 5, 3 among them only in Rom 14, 20 we find the presence of definite article (tw/| avnqrw,pw). The usage of a;nqrwpoj seems to be peculiar here by Paul. He has also used the word in general sense in 1 Cor 3, 3; Gal 1, 11; Rom 3, 5; Gal 3, 15; 1 Cor 9, 8; 1 Cor 4, 6 and 1 Cor 15, 32.
It should be noted that Paul did not use the word avnh,r which clearly means man, normally an adult male which has also specialized senses as: husband (Mk 10, 2.12) bridegroom ( HYPERLINK “file:///C:\Users\Sijoachan\Desktop\BwRef(‘BGT_Rev%2021:2’)” Rv 21, 2). We could trace 611 occurrence of this word in the LXX. But the former usage seems to be special in our unit which has a second same appearance in 7, 26 in the same unit. Reading Wolff in this regard he suggests that ???????? is used in place of ???? to include the unmarried as well as the married. This is stated by a shift of usage from a;nqrwpoj to avnh,r which indicates that he starts to talk on marriage specifically. Thus Paul starts with a general statement that encompasses all humanity then suddenly pass to his topic specifically.
1.3.2. gunh,Literally this word means woman which can have two meanings; at first an adult female and secondly as a wife. In v. 1, it is used in the Genitive case feminine singular. We could trace it in 23 times in NT. In 1 Pt 3, 7 the adjective form gunaiko,j is used as noun having the meaning womanly. The same root form of the word is used to refer to a woman of unmarried or married (Mt 11, 11; 14, 21), of a widow (Lk 4, 26) and in the Vocative case to address a woman (Rom 7, 2).
The verb is used in its infinitive in the present middle form that is, aptesqai. aptw has two meanings; one is to light or kindle ( HYPERLINK “file:///C:\Users\Sijoachan\Desktop\BwRef(‘BGT_Luk%208:16’)” Lk 8,16; Acts 28, 2) and when used in the middle voice it means touch, take hold of, or hold (2 Cor 6, 17; Col 2, 21). This same verb is used in infinitive case only again can see in Lk 6, 19 (and the people all tried to touch him). But the verb has been used in 16 forms in 40 times in the NT.
Though the verb aptw in the middle voice which literally means ‘to touch, take a hold of’ in this context it means ‘to have sexual relations with’. Since Paul has been arguing illicit sexual relations in chapter 5 onwards he obviously is referring here to legitimate marriage relations. This expression is an euphemism for such relations (Cf. Gen 20, 6; Prov 6, 29). The idiom “to touch a woman” occurs nine times in Greek Antiquity, ranging across six centuries and a variety of writers, and without ambiguity it refers to having sexual intercourse. Scripture does not use a verb which means clearly “to have sexual intercourse” but employs euphemistic language instead. This saying, as the Corinthians used, casts all sexual relations in a negative light, even sexual relations within marriage.
1.3.4. pornei,apornei,aj is the Accusative form of the noun pornei,a in feminine plural from. In literal sense it means; unchastity, prostitution, fornication, of various kinds of unlawful sexual intercourse (Cf. Mt 5, 32; 19, 9; Mk 7, 21; Jn 8, 41; Acts 15, 20; 1 Cor 6, 13. 18; 2 Cor 12, 21; Gal 5, 19; Col 3, 5) and in the figurative sense it means of idolatry immorality (Rv 2, 21; 14, 8; 17, 2. 4; 19, 2). According to Robertson, dia.. de. ta.j pornei,aj is an unusual plural indicating the variety and extent of profligacy. The occurrence of the plural form in Mt 15, 19 and Mk 7, 21 can be copared with the notoriously frequent cases at Corinth.
Lietzmann states that Paul regarded marriage as a necessary evil due to the weakness of the flesh. Leenhardt wrote it as “lawful concubinage”, Phipps “a venereal safety valve”, and D. Martin a “prophylaxis against porneia” and “against satanic testing” for those who are “weak.” Bornkamm disapproves the lack of “any positive appreciation of the love between the sexes or of the richness of human experience in marriage and family”; and Conzelmann asserts “this definition of the aim of marriage is unfashionable, but realistic.” Cartlidge claims that it is “hardly a smashing blow in favor of marital bliss.” These comments seem to be an unfair caricature of Paul’s view of marriage. Here, Paul is not arguing why marriage is advisable but why it is inadvisable for married partners to withdraw from conjugal relations.
1.4. THE STRUCTURE OF THE ARGUMENTSThe propositio, ‘celibacy and marriage’ is supported by the following arguments in the chapter. We could gather two different opinions regarding v.1 from many scholars; as a quotation from Corinthian Church and a Pauline statement. Here it is noteworthy that the Greek text has no copula to prove it as a quotation and also the earliest manuscripts had no punctuation. The pattern of citing a catchphrase and then suddenly rebutting it appears in 6, 12-13; 8, 1- 4; and 10, 23. Pauline strategy in this chapter, as in chapter 8, seems to be to start his argument by quoting a Corinthian position ‘as if he agrees with it’ and then to add ‘strong qualifications to its use’.
In v. 2 we get a negative aim for marriage that is the avoidance of pornei,a. This passage is always criticized as a very low view on marriage. But we must remember that Paul was not creating a thesis on marriage but answering a social problem from the background of old Corinth. He had a much higher view of marriage (Cf. Eph 5, 22-23). In the Corinthian letter, Paul stresses the reality of the sexual temptations of singleness and to acknowledge that they have a legitimate way in marriage. Yarbrough records;
Paul argues not only that those who are unmarried (whether single, widowed, or divorced) should remain unmarried, but also that those who are married should remain married.
Paul literally says, ‘because of fornications’. This plural illustrates the frequent occurrences of relations with prostitutes. Paul here goes straight to the heart of the problem that existed in the Corinthian community that in v. 2, Paul states that each man should have his own wife sexually and each wife should have her own husband likewise. This verse creates the platform for the further arguments in the Pauline discourse.
In 7, 2 Paul gives his basic command as his first reaction to the maxim in 7, 1b. It reveals that Paul is not a misogamist and that he has also a realistic appraisal of human beings as sexual creatures. Thus these two verses should be seen as the propositio (proposition) of the rhetorical unit. This propositio is illustrated by posing different arguments. Pauline thesis will be developed in the form of reversio. Following structure is stated to distinguish the style of Pauline argumentation in chapter 7.
Propositio 1-2Celibacy and Marriage
Part 1 3-24Marriage as a natural way for everybody
Argument I3-5 Marriage as a communion of bodies
Argument II 6-9 Marriage as a natural way to satisfy carnal desires
Argument III 10-11Marriage as a life-long union
Argument IV12-16Durability of mixed marriages
Transitio 17-24 Christian vocation
Part 2 25-40 Superiority of Celibacy
Sub-propositio 25-26Because of the present distress it is better to remain as Celibate
Argument I27-28Celibacy spares worldly distress
Argument II 29-31 Celibacy is better for the brevity of time
Argument III32-34Celibacy as a better way to serve the Lord
Argument IV35-38Practical instructions for finances
Argument V39Practical instructions for widows
Epilogue 40Endowed withthe Spirit of God
This structure with repetitive- progressive texture gives us a few thoughts;
The main topic of the chapter is the character and nature of the two complementary paths of Christian vocation that is celibacy and marriage.
Paul gives adequate respect to marriage but makes a preference for celibacy.
Divine call is presented as the basis of each path.
CONCLUSIONThus in the first chapter we have got sufficient space to trace the inner literary and philological significance of our passage. This epistle, studying in contrast to the historical situations of the Pauline Corinth expresses the struggles of a newly formed Church which wants to be united fully to Christ. The pastoral mind of the author can be traced clearly. Reading between the lines helped us to situate the argumentative criteria of the letter. At the end of the preliminary analysis of the chapter we came to realize that the chapter 7 is one of the major arguments of the whole letter. Paul uses classical deliberative rhetorical method here as suggested by Margaret M. Mitchell, with few adaptations to present his view on the problems aroused in the Church. Paul starts his instruction rooted on the topic celibacy and marriage which he considers as the two pillars of argumentation.