Second Corinthians: St. Paul’s political displacement from Corinth and his rhetoric of return

Ensor, Jonathan Brent (2019) Second Corinthians: St. Paul’s political displacement from Corinth and his rhetoric of return. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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St. Paul’s tumultuous intermediate visit and subsequent absence is now commonplace in Corinthian research. Yet, little progress has been made in identifying the form of social interaction involved in this event and thus its impact upon the interpretation of 2 Corinthians. What form of antique social interaction best describes a situation in which a leader exits a community in response to communal hostility only to face a series of judgments including the erasure of his political legitimacy and withdrawal of support, all of which is found in a letter, 2 Corinthians, that aims to achieve Paul’s reconciliation with and return to his ἐκκλησία in Corinth? This thesis, employing a relevance-theoretic orientation, seeks to locate the macro-exigencies of strife and absence and the macro-aims of reconciliation and return within the ancient Mediterranean world in order to become familiar with the phenomena attendant to such exigencies and aims, for which is supplied the etic descriptor, political displacement. Sensitivity to the phenomena attendant to reconciliation and return and consistent with the exigencies of strife and absence indicates that Paul’s intermediate visit and subsequent absence functioned as an identifiable occasion of political displacement, a conclusion which supplies considerable explanatory power. Guided by relevance- theoretic principles, this thesis inquires as to what persuasive strategies Paul employed in light of an updated socio-historical background. That background material supplies a highly relevant contextual parameter for the interpretation of three narratives of apostolic ordeal (2 Cor 1:8–11; 2:12–13, 7:5–16; 11:30–33) and Paul’s final appeal for an amicable return (13:1–10). I conclude that one path by which Paul aimed to overturn the judgments emerging from the intermediate visit involved the appropriation of displacement tropes interwoven with Paul’s Christological logic. In this way, Paul aimed both to reverse the judgments against him emerging from the intermediate visit and undermine the evaluative structure of his detractors who viewed him as impotent, illegitimate, and displaced.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 35630
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2022 13:26
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:48

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