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Paul’s Sexual and Marital Ethics in 1 Corinthians 7

An African-Cameroonian Perspective


Alice Yafeh

Paul’s Sexual and Marital Ethics in 1 Corinthians 7: An African-Cameroonian Perspective provides readers with an innovative interpretation of Paul’s pastoral and pedagogical approach and solutions to the multifaceted ethical problems presented to him by the Corinthian community, revealing a wide-ranging, complex, and flexible decision-making process. Alice Yafeh’s analysis also illuminates two different evaluations of the same ethical problem may be simultaneously relevant where operating assumptions diverge: first as a community in pursuance of the goal of undistracted devotion to the Lord, and, second, as individual members who must pursue that goal within the specific lifestyles in which they have been called.
The author argues that Paul’s pastoral and theological approach, which is deeply motivated by a desire to inspire faithful Christian living and witness, can serve as a new model for evaluating pre-conversion polygyny; a model that is oriented toward positive and substantive change in the lives of women and children. Consequently, the implication of Paul’s approach and judgments for contemporary Christian communities suggests the same believing community may adopt different ways of faithfully living out the practical implications of Christian view of marriage extended by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7.
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Chapter 3 From Paul to His Interpreters: A Selective Cross-Cultural Interpretive History


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A Selective Cross-Cultural Interpretive History

There is no reading that does not bring to bear a certain context, interpret from a certain angle or set of interests, and thus throw one set of questions into relief while leaving others unasked.1

What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.2

C. S. Lewis, Book 1 of The Chronicles of Narnia


The purpose of this chapter is to present examples of the ways the multivalent, but inclusive, discourse of 1 Cor 7 has been read, interpreted, and appropriated in varying socio-cultural and historical contexts. The driving force here is not a description of the state of scholarship on 1 Cor 7. Therefore, the discussion is not intended to catalogue every interpretation of 1 Cor 7. The task of this chapter is to draw attention to the variety of ways the meaning potential of the discourse has been pragmatically realized across diverse socio-cultural, political, and theological contexts. The purpose is to demonstrate how socio-cultural, intellectual, and rhetorical contexts play an equally substantial role in determining the different realization of the meaning potential. ← 93 | 94 → To this end, I investigate the works of selected interpreters from the early Christian, patristic, reformation, and modern periods.

The methodology grounding this cross-cultural survey most effectively is...

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