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The Language of Belonging
A Rhetorical Analysis of Kinship Language in First Corinthians

Authors:  Birge M.K.
Year: 2004
ISBN: 978-90-429-1102-4
Pages: XXVI-223 p.
Price: 35 EURO

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By employing a rigorous historio-rhetorical exegesis of each unit in chaps. 3-6 and 14, Birge explores how Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, used the same kinship images and language in different pastoral situations to address the situation of disharmony and division among the Corinthians (1:10). She investigates the possible sources for Paul's 'ideas' about kinship images and language by examining likely influences on him from his social and historical matrix: Jewish literature and the practice of Hellenistic rhetoric. After concluding that Paul drew on these two cultural and religious resources to craft his argument for unity, she asserts that what was 'new' for him was finding the 'genetic material' of kinship 'in Christ' rather than in fidelity to God and the Torah. She also claims that what was new for Early Christianity was the notion that the state of being «in Christ» dissolved all boundaries of status and privilege that Greco-Roman society had established among people who were not 'kin'.

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