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Showing posts from August, 2009

Destroying food and stomachs in 1 Cor 6:13

With regards to the previous post, the loss of speech marks does immediately pose a problem as Paul then appears to be saying "God will destroy stomachs and food" which we, fairly naturally, hear as implying "in the life of the Resurrection there will be no eating." Of course that sounds wrong as we know that both Hebrew and Christian visions of the resurrection life use the image of a feast, and that the resurrected Christ cooked and ate fish as proof of his resurrection. However it is an assumption that this refers to the resurrected life, i.e. that those who are resurrected will experience the destruction of their stomachs. Might it be better to understand this destruction as an act of judgment? After all, here stomach and food have been brought into the discussion not because food is an issue but representing the those deeds which are purely the satisfaction of base desire and those things which have existed purely for the satisfaction of those base desires…

Speech Marks in 1 Corinthians 6:12

If you have a Bible that has been printed in the last century and you turn it to 1 Cor 6:12 you will probably see some inverted commas around the first few words of text. The general assumption has been that these words are Paul quoting the Corinthians and so they are placed in speech marks in order that the reader does not mistake them for Paul's own words. The problem with this is that Paul does no such thing. In the Koine Greek in which Paul was writing there was no speech marks as such, but they were more than able to show when they were starting a quotation by the use of some other signifier. In fact in 1 Corinthians Paul clearly signals that he is making quotations 32 times for the Corinthians' words, OT citations, and even for hypothetical dialogue partners. So why when no such signal is given do we still get quotation marks in our Bibles? Good question. It seems like it is just one of things that has been repeated so often that now no one questions it, but if you…

One flesh - what does it really mean?

While we are on the subject of sex, I had a hunch today, as I was working on 1 Cor 6:12-20, that everyone I was reading was being to quick to assume Paul's quotation of Genesis 2:24 was a reference to sex. Now given that the context is a discussion of the theological reasons for not having sex with prostitutes that is perhaps understandable. But it also highlight that among modern Christians "becoming one flesh" has become a euphemism for sex, and perhaps consequently sexual activity has become the defining characteristic of marriage. See for example this or this, both extremely interesting articles from Christianity today. So on this hunch I thought I would consult an expert on what was really meant by one flesh in Gen 2:24. For the Old Testament scholar Gordon Wenham, becoming one flesh, "does not denote merely the sexual union that follows marriage, or the children conceived in marriage, or even the spiritual and emotional relationship that it involves, thoug…