Most interested in the study of 1 Corinthians will be aware of the Australian scholar Bruce Winter’s contributions – particularly in his book After Paul Left Corinth. Winter pays attention to Corinth’s cultural and historical background, in order to understand why the issues of 1 Corinthians came up. Well, now another Australian scholar has offered an alternative approach. Paul Barnett has just published a book (Apollos, 2011) entitled The Corinthian Question: Why did the Church Oppose Paul?
You can hear the contrast of Barnett’s approach with Winter’s approach on the back cover and in the preface:
[Barnett] shows how understanding may profitably begin within the text, rather than outside it in Corinth’s cultural and historical background.
This study is about what went wrong after Paul left the church after founding it. Such answers that are available will be found in the main within the texts themselves studied diachronically, based on a little historical imagination. Background information illuminates the exegesis of the text but does not control it. (p9)
This book has just been passed onto me by our librarian, so I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I’ll give it a read when I’m on the plane on a trip to Sydney later this week, and report back. Looks interesting!