Interpretations of Power in 1 Corinthians
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Interpretations of Power in 1 Corinthians book
For the kingdom of God does not exist in talk but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:20
The literature of the New Testament is steeped in the discourse and ideology of power. It imagines a world, indeed a universe, in which power infuses every sort of relationship, social and supernatural. Its narratives and letters are full of descriptions of the highly charged effects of power and prescriptions for comprehending their meanings. The language of power has of course been remarked upon by commentators on these texts, though such commentary has fallen generally into three categories: the apologetic/confessional, in which much is made of the claims about power in order to underwrite theological truth claims; the rationalizing, where claims about power and domesticated by interpreters embarrassed by the discourse’s unabashed hierarchical claims; and the sociological, in which models emerging from sociological theory are tested against New Testament evidence, that evidence also undergoing domestication in the process.1 Notably absent from the interpretive discussion is analysis emerging from the very fruitful area of cultural critique, whose modes of interrogation would appear uniquely helpful for understanding the discourses and ideologies of power in New Testament writings.