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Title page for ETD etd-12082005-212203

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kim, Yung Suk
Author's Email Address youaregood@yahoo.com
URN etd-12082005-212203
Title Soma christou in 1 Corinthians: de(re)construction
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Daniel M. Patte Committee Chair
Douglas Knight Committee Member
Fernando F. Segovia Committee Member
Kathy Gaca Committee Member
Victor Anderson Committee Member
  • in Christ
  • Pauline theology
  • 1 Corinthians
  • body of Christ
  • biblical hermeneutics
  • biblical ethics
  • Pauline studies
  • Christ crucified
  • diversity
  • marginality
Date of Defense 2005-12-08
Availability unrestricted
The interpretation of body of Christ (soma christou) in 1 Corinthians is a pressing contextual/ideological concern for me because its predominant interpretation as an ecclesiological organism characterized by unity and homonoia (concord) serves as a boundary marker that tends to exclude the voices of marginality and diversity. This traditional reading, while plausible, ignores a deeper, ethical meaning of “body of Christ” that questions an ideology of hegemonic power in both the Corinthian context and today. The body of Christ re-imagined in terms of Christ crucified calls for a deconstruction of power ideology that exhorts the Corinthian community to live as a Christic body (viewed as a “living” metaphor) through radically identifying the body of Christ (as Christ crucified) with the broken bodies of the community and in the world.

Re-imagining a hermeneutics of embodiment based on Christ crucified and marginality requires 1) reviewing the history of interpretations of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians; 2) a postmodern hermeneutical approach to “embodiment” acknowledging marginalized voices; 3) recognizing voices pointing to both a hegemonic body and a democratic-inclusive body in the Greco-Roman and the Jewish world and in 1 Corinthians. This dissertation asks: When Paul talked about the body of Christ and Christ crucified, whose voice did he represent? A Was he concerned with a lack of “unity” in a Corinthian community? Or with the marginalization and exclusion of the weak and marginalized, because of a problematic view of “body of Christ”? The dissertation shows that this hermeneutics of marginality and embodiment is grounded in the figurative discursive structure of the letter, which focused on the figure of body of Christ. This analysis deconstructs power-seeking ideologies of the Corinthians (and of many readers of the letter), and reconstructs an ecclesia based on Christ crucified and others-centered love. Paul’s phrase “in Christ” interrelates Paul’s theology centered on the “body of (the crucified) Christ” to a way of life—an ethics of dying with Christ, or being “in Christ.”

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