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Introduction YUNG SUK KIM The books of 1 and 2 Corinthians reveal a vast array of issues in Corinth, ranging from divisive ideologies to resurrection. As Corinth is well known among scholars for its thriving commerce with a vast influx of immigrants from elsewhere in the Roman Empire, the Corinthian community appears to reflect divergent social realities due to its diverse membership from lower to upper classes. Accordingly, it is not surprising for us to see the storehouse of problems in the Corinthian community—a battleground of competing voices coming from the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, men and women. The current volume of First and Second Corinthians in the Texts @ Contexts series features an intercultural reading of the Corinthian correspondence from the diverse cultural perspectives/contexts of the contributors—Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States. It is intercultural at several levels. First, as culture is broadly understood to encompass all kinds of ideologies and the way of life, we in the twenty-first century engage in intercultural conversations with the first-century Corinthian culture. Intercultural here means a conversation between those of two different time periods. Second, since most of the Corinthian issues are specifically cultural, our contributors easily find common cultural issues between themselves and the Corinthians such as identity, ritual, and community. Intercultural here means intercontextual discussion of cultural issues in Corinth and in our day. Third, since our contributors represent diverse cultural perspectives, they can provide unique interpretations that stem from their personal experiences in their respective environments. Intercultural here means a cross-cultural understanding of the given topic; for example, as will be explained later, each of our contributors approaches and discusses the topic of identity differently. This volume is divided into three parts, arranged according to the various topics of intercultural reading. The overarching theme for part 1 is identity, which includes issues of race relations and privileges in the United States, postapartheid identity in South Africa, and Latino/a identity in the United States. The major theme for part 2 is ritual, which includes purification rites in Africa, ancestor veneration in Chinese culture, and the Lord’s Supper in Filipino lowlands. The key word for part 3 is community, which includes hermeneutics of love in the community from a classical Daoist perspective, head veil community 1 in America, and a community of sexual minority in Spain. A brief introduction to each essay follows. In part 1, Love Sechrest (“Identity and the Embodiment of Privilege in Corinth”) discusses identity and privileges in Corinth and in America. Stimulated by concerns about race relations and privileges in America, she seeks to deconstruct and reconstruct identity and privileges through the embodiment of Paul’s gospel—specifically in “his likeness to a common, humble, disposable, and fragile piece of clay pottery.” According to Sechrest, while keeping cultural heritage or sense of privilege may be important, just as Paul himself is confident in his ethnic religious heritage, Christian identity ultimately comes from the embodiment of a Christlike life, especially when remembered through Christ’s crucifixion, through which God’s power is revealed. Therefore, what matters is what constitutes privilege and how such privilege is perceived, gained, and practiced. Sechrest’s reading challenges modern Christians across the board to envision a new model of Christian identity rooted in selfless love and sacrifice. Jeremy Punt (“Identity and Human Dignity amid Power and Liminality in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24”) similarly handles issues of identity in postapartheid South Africa in light of slavery and God’s calling in 1 Cor. 7:17-24, in which Paul encourages his audience to remain in the calling in which they were called (circumcision or slavery). According to Punt, it is difficult to know Paul’s firm stance on slavery, because, on one hand, he asks the Corinthians to stay where they were called, and, on the other hand, he asks them to remain with God without becoming slaves of human masters. Is Paul socially conservative, or is he implicitly challenging slavery in society? Or does he stand somewhere in between these extremes? Punt believes that Paul leaves room for his audience to challenge the world with their own interpretations of God’s calling, thinking about how to live sensibly with the power of God. Punt’s study implies the importance of interpreting God’s calling and moving toward the step-by-step improvement of race relations, economic justice, and desirable multiethnic society. Efrain Agosto (“An Intercultural Latino Reading...


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