I’m pleased that in June of this year, the book Where is the Wise Man? Graeco-Roman Education as a Background to the Divisions in 1 Corinthians 1-4, by Adam White, will be published by Bloomsbury. I had the pleasure of reading this when it was a PhD dissertation, and it makes a useful contribution to the nature of the problems in Corinth, and the reasons for Paul responding in the way that he does. In my own notes when I read this work, I wrote:
This is a well argued thesis, proposing that the factionalism apparent in 1 Corinthians 1-4 may be more profitably analysed than has so far been the case by giving careful consideration to the general values associated with Greco-Roman education. White has drawn significantly on primary sources to give an account of paideia, as it is relevant to first century Roman Corinth. He argues that overly specific proposals of relevant backgrounds fail to account for all facets of the problem in 1 Corinthians 1-4, and persuasively demonstrates that the problem is more comprehensively illuminated by the background of educational values in general….
More specifically, White proposes that Paul draws on educational concepts and terminology in order to reassert his authority in the light of influential doubts by the educated elite of the “Apollos” faction, who prefer the cultured educational prowess of their figurehead.