Celibacy and Marriage in the Passing World, Chapter 7
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7 1 Part Ill: Answers to Questions. Chapters 7-15 Celibacy and Marriage in the Passing World. Chapter 7 1 Corinthians 7:1-7 General Observations Now concerning the questions you wrote about: It is well for a man not to touch a woman. 2/ But because of the sins of sexual immorality let each man have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3/ Let the husband give the wife what is due to her. and let the wife likewise also give her husband his due. 4/ The wife's body is not at her own disposal. but at the husband's. Likewise the husband's body, too, is not at his own disposal, but at the wife's. 5/ Do not deny yourselves to each other-save perhaps' for a time by mutual consent, so that2 you may devote yourselves to prayer and then come together again -lest Satan should lead you astray because of your incontinence (so Lietzmann; or: as a result of your unrestrained desire; so Bauer). 6/1 say this, however, by way of concession, not of command. 7/ To be sure. I should like all men to be as I am; but each has his own particular gift from God. one in one direction. the other in another.3 Following the general observations in vv 1- 7, Paul speaks ofvarious groups and their situations: the unmarried ginity: (a) vv 25-28; (b) vv 29-35; (c) vv 36-38. In an appendix, vv 39f, Paul also comes to speak ofwidows. vv 8f, the married vv 1Of, mixed marriages between Christians and pagans vv 12-16. Then comes the question of principle in vv 17-24, which works out the eschatological norm for the whole area ofconcern.4 Verses 25-38 make three approaches to the question ofvirIn Judaism marriage is a command ofduty. Its purpose is the procreation ofchildren. 5 The Essenes are reported to have renounced marriage. 6 The situation of the 2 3 4 114 group represented by 1QS is disputed. 7 For the Greeks, marriage is the normal thing. But there On av see Blass- Debrunner §376: "a hypothetical modification of El J.l.~ TL which was felt to be a unit ... after the analogy of OUTLS av, etc." clJI om. p46 B. tva is final, but begins to vacillate because ~TE is also dependent on it. p46 and others read os twice. Blass-Debrunner §250 observes that in the NT the forms with the relative 5 (os J.I.EV--Os 51:) are more frequent than those with the article (o J.I.Ell-0 ol:). Zuntz, Text, 52, prefers 6 this reading, arguing that the article in B, etc. is an 7 Atticist correction. E. Neuhausler, "RufGottes und Stand des Christen: Bemerkungen zu 1 Kor 7," BZ n.s. 3 (1959): 43-60, observes that in chaps. 6 and 7 we find two series of motifs which belong together-a presentative one and a futuristic one. But the presentative/futuristic pattern of popular eschatology does not help us to grasp either the Pauline eschatology or the motivation of these two particular chapters. Str.-B. 2:372f; Philo, Spec. leg. 3.1- 82;Jos., Ap. 2.199f. Jos., Bell. 2.120; Ant. 18.21. Cf. also 1QS• I, 9- 12. ·1 Corinthians 7:1-7 are also ascetic tendencies for which various reasons are given. 8 •1 From 5:9 it appeared that, subsequent to his earlier letter, Paul had received news from Corinth; he is aware ofa misunderstanding of his attitude toward dealings with 7rOpVOL, "sexually immoral persons." It could It reflects the discussion between the libertinist and ascetic persuasions within the community. Paul's letter had apparently had a stimulating effect on the latter.11 Paul's statement is not a prescription, but in the first instance a general thesis: Ka"Aov, "it is better." 12 not there be said with certainty whether it was a case of oral or written news. From 7: 1 onward we can be certain for a time; Paul is giving a direct answer to written questions. These apparently constitute the thread running through the part of the letter that begins here. The answer is introduced on each occasion by the phrase 7rEpl KTA., "now concerning, etc.": vv 25; 8:1; 12:1; There follows a summary of the individual cases. Paul's view has an ascetic stamp; he does not give reasons for it. 13 The manner in which he...