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Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes - Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians [Paperback]

Kenneth E. Bailey
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Sep 2011
The result of over thirty years of research and lecturing, Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes is a ground-breaking study of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians. Bailey examines this canonical letter through the lenses of Paul's Jewish socio-cultural and rhetorical background and the Mediterranean context of the Corinthian recipients. In a set of connected essays, he draws the reader's attention to the letter's rootedness in the Hebrew prophetic tradition, the intentional theological structure of Paul's epistolary organization and the Near Eastern cultural practices that inflect Paul's rhetorical performance. All of this is brought to bear in teasing out the nature of Paul's response to the critical situations facing the Corinthian community: racial, ethnic and theological divisions, sexual misconduct, intimate interaction with pagan practices and disputes about church practices.

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Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes - Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians + Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes - Cultural Studies in the Gospels + The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (23 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281064555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281064557
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Bailey shows the relevance of prophetic and rabbinic forms of language, uses Arabic, Coptic and Syriac sources, and rightly stresses the coherence of this epistle and its theology of the cross. He is alert to intertextual resonances, and offers distinctive ideas. I warmly commend this work.' --Anthony C. Thiselton, University of Nottingham

'Ken Bailey is pure gold. No writer I can think of has been a greater help for teaching the Scriptures with freshness and clarity. What a gift to have his insights on Paul.' --JOHN ORTBERG, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church

'As he works through the letter Bailey, drawing on neglected Syriac commentaries and his Middle Eastern experiences, presents a gem laden exposition of 1 Corinthians that engages topics of Christian unity, the cross, living in a pagan culture, men and women in worship, and the resurrection. This is a study on 1 Corinthians like none other I have seen.' --MICHAEL F. BIRD, Crossway College, Australia

About the Author

Kenneth E. Bailey is an author and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament studies. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he also serves as Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, USA. He holds graduate degrees in Arabic language and literature, and in systematic theology; his ThD is in New Testament. His many books, in Arabic and English, include Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes (SPCK, 2008).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars literary and cultural studies 17 Oct 2011
Having enjoyed "Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes", I jumped at the chance to pre-order this book. I dug into it as soon as I received the shipment. I find it harder to read than the first, and far more literary/rhetorical, but full of insights and answers, so continue to work my way through.
In many ways, the church owes a lot to the Corinthians, because Paul had to tackle a lot of very practical problems in writing the book, so this volume comes as a wonderful perspective on the many issues raised by his writing. Especially helpful is the extensive structural and literary critique throughout, breaking the work into the units that the writing structure suggests, rather than by chapter and verse. This brings what seem like stray thoughts into a larger context.
In spite the similarity of title, the two works are very different: the Jesus book dealt with a person, his life, his context, his way of relating to people, and his sayings; the Paul book engages with one sample of his writing, and is as much a book about the writing itself as the ideas. I have recommended the Jesus book across a broad spectrum of people and nearly everyone, even just dipping into it, gets something out of it. The Paul book makes more demands of the reader in terms of concentration and educational background. I still recommend it highly, just not so widely.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul through Mediterranean Eyes 15 Nov 2011
By Joyce
This is an extremely good book, full of insight and learning and has been a great eye-opener for me. I would recommend it for anyone who wants a deeper insight into St Paul and his world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a genuine eye-opener! Ken Bailey, who lived and taught in the Middle East for 40+ years has used his outstanding knowledge of semitic and other languages and culture combined with an awesome understanding of the text to show that Paul, who had been schooled in the Rabbinical Tradition, wrote the first letter to the Corinthians using a carefully crafted format throughout. The sheer skill and effort required to achieve this make one realise how much Paul had been influenced by and benefitted from his training under Gamaliel and the other Jerusalem academics. Ken Bailey shows the beauty of the chiastic structure in this unbelievably well planned letter and shows how this was cross-referenced to the Hebrew Scriptures over and over again. His demonstrates recurrent references to contemporary life in the port city of Corinth at the same time as addressing the pastoral concerns in the local church whilst sending a general pastoral letter to other churches.

I have more admiration for Paul as an academically skilled apostolic writer than ever before and am grateful to Ken Bailey for this wonderful exposition. It is a must for anyone who wants understand the Pauline letters and Paul himself. He encourages the reader to re-examine the place of women in the church and head-covering and other subjects which often polarise opinion in the light of textual nuances and authorial intention in a refreshing way. At the same time he acknowledges and freely refers to the work of many other skilled commentators on the epistle, both from history (including sources unavailable to the average Western reader) and from the present.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indeed Worthwhile 20 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I also found this book more difficult to read than the excellent 'Jesus through mediterranean eyes' but it was worth reading and was full of the usual wonderful cultural insights which add so much to the understanding of Biblical truth. It was fascinating and challenging to begin to understand there was an overall pattern to the book in a way that I had not even thought possible. He has added another dimension to my understanding!
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