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Document Details :
Title: The Rhetorical Composition of 1 Cor 8,1-11,1
Author(s): FARLA, Piet
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 80 Issue: 1 Date: April 2004
In his book “About the Idol Offerings” (Leuven, 2000) Joop Smit offers an interesting analysis of 1 Cor 8,1–11,1 in the light of Classical, Hellenistic rhetoric. Careful examination of his arguments, however, shows the model to be unsuitable, at least in the form he employs (8,1-6: partitio; 8,7–9,27: argumentatio 2; 10,23-30: anticipatio; 10,31–11,1: peroratio). Smit’s model strains the text. But there is an excellent alternative: 8,1-3: a summarizing ‘address’ by way of introduction; 8,4a: exordium; 8,4b-7: narratio; 8,8-13: propositio; 9,1–10,13: argumentatio; 10,14–11,1: peroratio. This new way of structuring has major consequences for the contents. According to Smit the theme is ‘participation in public sacrificial meals’, and Paul forbids this participation, on both practical (8,7–9,27) and theological (10,1-22) grounds. This contribution will show that the theme is more general: Paul knows of no theological reason to forbid the consumption of sacrificial meat (for idols do not exist). He encourages the congregation very explicitly nevertheless not to take part in sacrificial meals on practical grounds (reminding them of living at the end of times with its hazards, 10,1-13), i.e. to spare fellow Christians who as yet lack the correct theological insight.