Corinthian Democracy: Democratic Discourse in 1 Corinthians

Corinthian Democracy: Democratic Discourse in 1 Corinthians

by Anna C. Miller


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 18


In this innovative study, Anna Miller challenges prevailing New Testament scholarship that has largely dismissed the democratic civic assembly--the ekklēsia--as an institution that retained real authority in the first century CE. Using an interdisciplinary approach, she examines a range of classical and early imperial sources to demonstrate that ekklēsia democracy continued to saturate the eastern Roman Empire, widely impacting debates over authority, gender, and speech. In the first letter to the Corinthians, she demonstrates that Paul's persuasive rhetoric is itself shaped and constrained by the democratic discourse he shares with his Corinthian audience. Miller argues that these first-century Corinthians understood their community as an authoritative democratic assembly in which leadership and ""citizenship"" cohered with the public speech and discernment open to each. This Corinthian identity illuminates struggles and debates throughout the letter, including those centered on leadership, community dynamics, and gender. Ultimately, Miller's study offers new insights into the tensions that inform Paul's letter. In turn, these insights have critical implications for the dialogue between early Judaism and Hellenism, the study of ancient politics and early Christianity, and the place of gender in ancient political discourse.

""This groundbreaking work of Anna Miller provides greatly needed research on the democratic roots of ekklēsia. Miller traces a persuasive ancient discourse of democracy that emerged out of the Greek civic institution composed of the body of free citizens. Her interdisciplinary research confirms that such ekklēsia discourse constitutes a prevalent kind of social knowledge and cultural logics, defining debates over civic power and authority in a variety of ancient contexts. . . . This is a must-read, not just for those interested in the letters of Paul but for everyone concerned with a democratic vision of church. Corinthian Democracy will be an invaluable resource for all those concerned about Christian religious democratic roots. I greatly recommend it.""
--Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor, The Divinity School, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

""Challenging conventional wisdom concerning the demise of ekklesia discourse in the Roman period, Anna Miller brilliantly reclaims ekklesia as a designation for democratic political assemblies engaged in deliberations concerning freedom and equality in the first century, and situates Paul's first letter to the Corinthians within this framework. This is an exhilarating read, opening new windows onto arguments in Corinth, the legitimacy of women's speech in ancient assemblies, and the vibrancy of democratic ideals under empire.""
--Shelly Matthews, Professor of New Testament, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX

""Miller's book shows that discourses about democratic assemblies (ekklesiai) in Greek cities were still vibrant in the first century CE, despite the hegemony and bureaucratic structures of the Roman Empire, and it uses this insight to help us to understand the power of the term ekklesia which the earliest communities of Christians adopted for themselves, as is reflected in Paul's letters. The book's implications extend far past the field of New Testament Studies, into Roman history and women's studies, and her work provides food for thought as we consider present-day debates about democracy and the public square, as well.""
--Laura Nasrallah, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA

Anna Miller is an assistant professor of New Testament at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620329054
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 05/04/2015
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Anna Miller is an assistant professor of New Testament at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations x

Intoduction 1

1 The Ekklesia in Greek Education 14

2 The First-Century Ekklesia in the Writings of Dio and Plutarch 40

3 Moses in the Ekklesia: Josephus' Use of Democratic Discourse 68

4 Speech and Wisdom of the Corinthian Ekklesia 90

5 The Gendering of Democratic Participation 115

6 "As in all the Ekklesiai of the Saints": 1 Cor 12?14 154

Conclusion 187

Bibliography 191

Ancient Sources Index 205

Subject Index 215

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews