Paul's Explanation of Christ-Movement Identity in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1: A Social Identity Approach

Esler, Philip F ORCID: 0000-0002-4889-4889 (2021) Paul's Explanation of Christ-Movement Identity in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1: A Social Identity Approach. Biblical Theology Bulletin, 51 (2). pp. 101-118. doi:10.1177/0146107921997109

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This article deploys a social identity approach to argue that Paul wrote 2 Cor 6:14-7:1 as an integral part of 2 Corinthians to elucidate Christ-movement identity at a key point in an integrated letter. First, I will critique arguments that the passage is an intrusion based on its alleged awkward positioning between 6:13 and 7:2, proposing instead that it is carefully sited within the larger unit of 6:11-7:4. Secondly, I will critically analyse arguments that its non-Pauline character is suggested by the language used. Thirdly, I will explain the presence of 6:14-7:1 in 2 Corinthians as a means whereby, at a critical point in his argument, Paul made a positive statement concerning Christ-movement identity for his Corinthian pistoi, that is, the ingroup of Christ-followers who accepted his version of the gospel, as opposed to apistoi. The latter category embraced both idol-worshipping non-Judeans and his Judean opponents in Corinth who advocated a rival identity based on a different gospel linked to the Mosaic law. In relation to Paul’s extended re-application of Israelite scripture in 6:16-18, I will argue for its decontextualized, indeed “oracular” character in a context where Paul aimed to communicate with actual addressees, most of whom were illiterate non-Judeans.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Paul; social identity; integrity of 2 Corinthians; opponents; use of Old Testament; oracular use of scripture
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2020 09:47
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:54

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