Paul, the Fool of Christ: A Study of 1 Corinthians 1-4 in the Comic-Philosophic Tradition

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A&C Black, Jul 19, 2005 - Religion - 322 pages
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Welborn argues that Paul's acceptance of the role of a 'fool', and his evaluation of the message of the cross as 'foolishness', are best understood against the background of the popular theatre and the fool's role in the mime. Welborn's investigation demonstrates that the term 'folly' (moria) was generally understood as a designation of the attitude and behaviour of a particular social type - the lower class buffoon. As a source of amusement, these lower class types were widely represented on the stage in the vulgar and realistic comedy known as the mime. Paul's acceptance of the role of the fool mirrors the strategy of a number of intellectuals in the early Empire who exploited the paradoxical freedom that the role permitted for the utterance of a dangerous truth. Welborn locates Paul's exposition of the 'folly' of the message about the cross in a submerged intellectual tradition that connects Cynic philosophy, satire, and the mime. In this tradition, the world is viewed from the perspective of the poor, the dishonoured, the outsiders. The hero of this tradition is the 'wise fool,' who, in grotesque disguise, is allowed to utter critical truths about authority. The book demonstrates that Paul participates fully in this tradition in his discourse about the folly of the word of the cross. The major components of Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 1-4 find their closest analogies in the tradition that valorizes Socrates, Aesop, and the mimic fool. JSNTS 293 and ECC

 

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User Review  - zappa - LibraryThing

Extremely convincing, if at times a little repetitive in its argument. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
9
Section 2
27
Section 3
34
Section 4
35
Section 5
39
Section 6
40
Section 7
48
Section 8
49
Section 12
77
Section 13
88
Section 14
96
Section 15
102
Section 16
141
Section 17
151
Section 18
153
Section 19
157

Section 9
59
Section 10
68
Section 11
71
Section 20
244
Section 21
254
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About the author (2005)

L. L. Welborn is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Fordham University, New York, USA. He is the author of Politics and Rhetoric in the Corinthian Epistles (1997) and editor (with Cilliers Breytenbach) of Encounters with Hellenism: Studies in First Clement (2003) and Paul, the Fool of Christ (2005).

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