Paul and the rhetoric of reversal: kerygmatic rhetoric in the arrangement of 1 Corinthians

Malcolm, Matthew R. (2011) Paul and the rhetoric of reversal: kerygmatic rhetoric in the arrangement of 1 Corinthians. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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I argue that 1 Corinthians is a unified composition that exhibits kerygmatic rhetoric. That is, Jewish and Greco-Roman resources are brought into the service of an overall arrangement that is creatively suggested by Paul's kerygma of the Messiah who died, rose, and awaits cosmic manifestation. In particular, I demonstrate that the Jewish motif of dual reversal, whereby boastful rulers are destined for destruction while righteous sufferers are destined for vindication, serves as an influential conceptual motif in the formulation of Christian kerygma, and as such may be seen as an interpretative framework and rhetorical resource available to Paul.

In 1 Corinthians 1–4 Paul evaluates struggles over leadership in the Corinthian congregation as an implicit expression of human autonomy, and responds by summoning the Corinthians to identify with Christ, by forgoing the role of the boastful ruler and adopting the role of the cruciform sufferer. This identification with the cruciform Christ consequently gives shape to Paul’s ethical instruction in 1 Corinthians 5–14, a section that draws on Jewish and Greco-Roman resources, while exhibiting a pattern of Pauline ethical argumentation expressive of Paul's kerygma of identification with the embodied Christ. In the final chapter of the main body of the letter (1 Corinthians 15), Paul utilises the Corinthian denial of "the resurrection of the dead" as the ultimate paradigm of their refusal to adopt a cruciform orientation, and urges that the dead in Christ will be raised to immortal glory, while present powers will be brought to nothing.

I suggest that this attention to the creative influence of Paul’s kerygma on the form of his argumentation represents an important addition to the tools of the Pauline rhetorical analyst. Such an approach results in an historically attentive and exegetically persuasive account of the letter's arrangement that also finds great harmony with the perspective of the fourth century preacher John Chrysostom.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Thiselton, A.C.
Deines, R.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 11812
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2011 09:42
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 06:19

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