Was eschatology a key problem in the Corinthian church?
I have my own views on this, but given that I’ll be part of a round-table discussion on this topic at SBL, I’m doing some investigating of what others think. I might post briefly on this from time to time.
Raymond Collins, in his 1999 Sacra Pagina commentary says that the basic problem behind the varied issues in 1 Corinthians is that they lack clear conviction and action as God’s holy church:
The basic issue in 1 Corinthians is ultimately ecclesiological. What does it mean for the Christians of Corinth to be God’s one holy people at Corinth? One after another Paul treats the divisive issues that confront the community. (27)
Collins does think that Paul’s eschatological perspective impacts the way in which he approaches some of the issues in Corinth – notably ‘the charisms in ch.13’ and ‘the fate of the dead’ (27). But he does not seem to think that a thoroughgoing eschatological problem underlies all of the key issues.