Lectionary Year B
March 23, 2003
I Corinthians 1:18-25

Step IV: Broader Context

(EM) the outer margins of the Nestle text supply a rich variety of comparative date. Of special interest within the pauline corpus would be the developments in Romans 1:16-32 [perhaps even to the end of ch. 3] where human corruption of God's truth and wisdom are reflected on carefully by the apostle. The result is self-deception, idolatry, and the destruction of life in community; it is a serious matter to be a "fool" in the good or the bad sense! Worth mulling under step V.

Cf. also I Cor. 2:14ff and 3:19. For OT and Judaism compare Psa. 33:10 and Isa. 29:14; 19:12; 33:18; 44:25; 8:14. On the whole the OT fool or view of folly is the opposite of wisdom, the latter being the gift of God's revelation; folly is the disobedience to the law that leads to a denial of God. The wise one is among the group the understands and often belongs to the professional class (e.g. Daniel); linked to the practice of "observing" the law e.g. Deut. 4:6.

In Greek culture "moros" is the one who is dull-witted, though the term is used in a variety of contexts from animal husbandry to the preparation of food. As regards the human condition the closest parallels concern the deficiency of intellect or spiritual capacity or the impossibility for some to follow another in reasoning and understanding. The intersection of primitive Christianity, Old Testament theology, and Hellenistic anthropology in the reflections of Paul over sophia/word of the cross christology provides a fertile area for further discussion in light of this pericope.

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