Item description for After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change by Bruce W. Winter...
Overview After Paul Left Corinth gathers for the first time all the relevant extant material from literary, nonliterary, and archaeological sources on what life was like in the first- century Roman colony of Corinth. Using this evidence, Bruce Winter not only opens a fascinating vista on day-to-day living in the Graeco-Roman world but, more importantly, helps us understand what happened to the Christian community after Paul left Corinth. Including photographs of relevant archaeological artifacts, this volume provides a significant new perspective from which to read Paul's Corinthian correspondence.
Publishers Description After Paul Left Corinth gathers for the first time all the relevant extant material from literary, nonliterary, and archaeological sources on what life was like in the first-century Roman colony of Corinth. Using this evidence, Bruce Winter not only opens a fascinating vista on day-to-day living in the Graeco-Roman world but, more importantly, helps us understand what happened to the Christian community after Paul left Corinth. As Winter shows, the origin of many of the problems Paul dealt with in 1 Corinthians can be traced to culturally determined responses to aspects of life in Corinth. The significance of the role that culture played in the life of the Corinthian Christians has either been ignored or underestimated in explaining the reasons for their difficulties after Paul left. Winter first examines the extent to which Paul communicated alternative ways of behaving while he was in Corinth. Winter then explores the social changes that occurred in Corinth after Paul left. Severe grain shortages, the relocation of the Isthmian Games, the introduction of a new federal imperial cult, the withdrawal of kosher meat from the official market-all of these cultural events had a substantial impact on the life of the emerging Christian community. Accentuated with photos of relevant archaeological artifacts, this volume provides a significant new perspective from which to read Paul's Corinthian correspondence.
Citations And Professional Reviews After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change by Bruce W. Winter has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Choice - 07/01/2001 page 1977
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 1" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2001
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN 0802848982 ISBN13 9780802848987
Availability 0 units.
More About Bruce W. Winter
Bruce W. Winter is the former warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge, and a respected authority on the historical background to the New Testament. His previous books include After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change and Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities.
Bruce W. Winter has an academic affiliation as follows - Tynedale House, Cambridge.
Bruce W. Winter has published or released items in the following series...
First-Century Christians in the Graeco-Roman World
Reviews - What do customers think about After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change?
A must for any biblical scholar's library May 12, 2008
Dr. Winter's arguments are, dare I say it, *too* convincing, and seldom gives leverage for other opinions (despite the fact that throughout, his tone suggests that he wants his own opinions not to be the final word). He gives cites compelling evidence (by that word I mean "data," not "truth" or "facts") as to which excerpts of Paul's letter are subject to changes in cultural milieu, and which are not; although even here, I had expected his notion that Paul's letter as a snapshot (i.e., events occurred beforehand leading up to what is reported in the letter, other events occurred afterward but obliquely anticipated by Paul). Granted, producing a text that would have satisfied my expectations would had certainly doubled the length of this book. I also appreciated how he didn't get bogged down on interpreting the theology of the culture, thus producing potential filler to his evidence (although peculiarly, I would have imagined Dr. Winter is certainly equipped to posit such opinions). But Winter's text is a very good first step, as it introduces evidence otherwise neglected. And the presentation reflects half a life's labor of research. I could never discourage this book, but neither could I ever propose it to be the final word, either (as I'm sure Dr. Winter would concur).
Everyday with Paul Feb 27, 2008
Wonderful references to Ephesus - having been there, we enjoyed the thoughts in the book even more.
fresh look Dec 5, 2006
Winter asks an important question, what happened in Corinth after Paul left and before he wrote 1 Corinthians? So new issues and questions arise that Paul did not deal with in his 18 months in the city. Winter notes that the city experienced at least three famines, that a new provincial imperial cult was established, and the Isthmian Games were moved back to Corinth. These changes changed what it was like to live in the city, especially for wealthy Christians and those who wished to be part of the larger social life in Corinth. Conversion to Christianity may not have fully taken root, or more to the point people were torn between their new Christian faith and the social life and philosophy they were accustomed to.
Eliminate Confusion Over Corinth Jul 26, 2004
Winter's efforts to seriously contextualize the Corinthian correspondence deserves extended applause. The insight as that the "present distress" in 1 Cor. 7:26 is referring to a famine serves as a welcome undermining of eschatological misunderstandings of that passage; the argument that Paul and Apollos were helpless victims of rivalries established by their own church, against their will, imitating local sophists, puts paid to claims of rivalry between the two teachers. Winter's book is is exemplary of the sort of contexual study that we all need to do, but don't -- especially critics of the text!
New Insight on Roman Corinth Aug 9, 2001
I found Winter's book fresh and insightful. He relies upon archaeology and Roman classical writings to seek meaning throughout the book of 1 Corinthians. He focuses on Corinth as a new Roman colony and seems to reject much of the older studies, which place AD Corinth in a Greek context for the early church. He attempts to understand the book in its first-century social and religious settings (xiii). He suggested that Paul may have provided no apostolic tradition for the problems raised in 1 Corinthians while he was there, except for those in 11:17-34 and 15:3-4.
Winter divided the book into two sections. The first, "The Influence of Secular Ethics," discusses the ethics of the Roman elite. Winter pointed out that first-century AD discipleship, among the upper class, required disciples to be loyal to their teachers but critical of others. He applied this model to 1 Cor. 1-4. The Christians battled for loyalty among their teachers and rejected others. Paul reminded the Christians that God uses leaders in different ways, yet they are all important together.
Winter then discussed Roman law and its condemnation of incest (1 Cor. 5), its corrupt judges, and argumentative lawyers (1 Cor. 6). In both texts Paul tried to avoid shaming the church as well as another Christian. Winter finally discussed the permissiveness and excesses of the Roman elite. These ethics led to immorality (1 Cor. 6:12-20), homosexuality (6:9-12), feasting and excessive eating (10:23), and drunkenness. Paul was concerned about the elite Christians' acceptance of this type of permissiveness due to a belief in the dichotomy of body and spirit. These elite Christians may also have been invoking Jesus as a curse (12:3) and removing toga hoods (veils) as a sign of their new freedom. Secular ethics had affected the new Christian's view of unity, lifestyle, and faithfulness.
The second section, "The Influence of Social Change," covered the issues of marriage and meals. In the section on marriage (1 Cor. 7) Winter discussed the interpretation of "this present crisis" or "distress" (7:26). He overviewed the historical literature concerning the famines in and around Corinth (AD 45-55) and discussed the impact on families. He suggested that the church was concerned about bearing children and forming new families in a city with economically hard times. He also discussed the Roman view of marriage and family as the glory of life. This was compared to Paul's view that a relationship with the Lord was to be the goal of all, regardless of their condition in the world (7:35).
Winter also discussed the presence of the Imperial cult and the Isthmian games, which were both active in Corinth. In some ways they worked together to promote peace and loyalty to the Roman Empire. The Roman elite would have had special invitations, from the procurator of the games, to attend the feast and worship, in order to promote the Isthmian games and Roman rule. The elite Christians had the right to attend and join the celebration, yet Paul's concern was not for their rights but for the spiritual condition of the weak brethren (9:11,15).
Winter has suggested a context that was growing after Paul had left Corinth. There were developments among the upper class Christians which gave them increased pressure to conform to society's standards of materialism, immorality, elitism, and permissiveness. These standards were strong and pressed upon the Christians in their relationships and ethics in the church. Their fear of starvation from famine would have also increased their concerns about family stability, ethics, and values. The presence of the Roman cult and Isthmian games in Corinth also placed pressure upon their ethics and values. First Corinthians, according to Winter, is a letter that addressed issues which developed while Paul was away. Paul did not leave the Corinthians unprepared for these issues. Paul left them with two standards, communion (11:17ff) and the resurrection (15:1-8). While the pressures and standards of society pressed upon the church, Paul guided them in their manifestation of the death and forgiveness of Christ. Winter seems to suggest that Paul's leadership was not about controlling their behavior, but empowering them to apply Christian unity and death to their value system. 1 Corinthians is a letter that guided the early Christians to examine their death and burial with Christ in light of the many social influences that they faced.
I enjoyed this book as it provided insight to a growing area of research which involves social and anthropological studies. I felt that Winters had to stretch his model in the texts concerning veils (11:1-16) and baptism of the dead (15:29-34) but he nevertheless, gives a strong argument for his interpretation. I am surprised that he has not taken into account Rick Oster's work in the veil area of 1 Cor. 11:1-16. I would like to see his discussion of this issue with Oster's model in a more detailed manner. In spite of this I am amazed that he was able to bring the large amount of research to the text and present his points in a clear and concise manner. All this in three-hundred pages!
I would recommend this book for graduate studies in 1 Corinthians, ministers seeking an application from Corinthians, and anyone working in the social science area of New Testament studies. This also is a valuable resource to ministry issues that churches face when confronted with cultural and moral issues. Winter's book can be a great contribution to the Stone-Campbell movement with its emphasis on context and cultural application. It provides us with fresh insight to a culture that we have neglected for so many years. Greek Corinth was not the context of the Corinthian church. Roman Corinth brought immorality but also a struggle for power among the elite and the spiritual leaders of the church.