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Title: Ambiguity in Paul's References to Greco-Roman Sexual Ethics
Author(s): PASCHKE, Boris A.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 83    Issue: 1   Date: 2007   
Pages: 169-192
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.83.1.2021748

Abstract :
The present study deals with an ambiguity in Paul’s express references to Greco-Roman sexual ethics that has not been mentioned by New Testament commentators so far. In 1 Cor 5,1 Paul mentions the sexual behaviour of the Gentiles as a positive and motivating example. In 1 Thess 4,5, however, Greco-Roman sexuality serves as a negative example. By way of studying the Greco-Roman background of both 1 Cor 5,1 an 1 Thess 4,5 the present investigation comes to the conclusion that in these two verses Paul does not intend to offer a correct description of ancient reality but rather makes use of rhetorical exaggeration. It must be stated that Paul’s evaluation of Greco-Roman sexual ethics is too positive in 1 Cor 5,1 and too negative in 1 Thess 4,5. This has not been sufficiently noticed and/or highlighted by most commentators on either First Corinthians or First Thessalonians so far.

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