Keys to 1 Corinthians and J. Murphy-O’Connor

When I was taking an exegesis course on 1 Corinthians in seminary, one of our assigned textbooks was J. Murphy-O’Connor’s St. Paul’s Corinth (2002).  It was a sourcebook of archaeological and literary backgrounds and context for studying the Corinthian epistles.  As I did more research and work in 1 Corinthians, I came across is his work time and time again.

I recall being particularly impressed with his article ‘Philo and 2 Cor 6:14-7:1′ Revue biblique (1988) where he helped to diffuse the tenuous theory that this passage is a qumranic fragment; he shows that affinities can easily be detected with this passage and Philo as well.

In the recent (2009) Oxford collection called Keys to First Corinthians, M-O offers 16 articles in one volume on such topics as: co-authorship, 1 Cor. 5.3-5, 6.12-20; 7.10-11, 7.14, 8.6, 8.8, 8.1-13; 10.23-11.1, 11.2-16 (3x), house churches, Eucharist, redaction, and interpolations.  Some of the earliest articles reproduced here are from the middle to late ’70′s!

It is a bit surprising, though, that he has not written a large-scale commentary on 1 Corinthians, as he has made so many contributions to its scholarship.  [However, he gives high praise to Fitzmyer's new commentary (Anchor-Yale)]  In any case, what a delight to have a one-stop resource to check M-O’s thoughts on this complex and important epistle.  Indeed, it is nice to have a subject and Scriptural index in the back for quick reference.

Impressively, M-O has added to each article (all 16!) a post-script where he reflects on why he wrote what he did, how it has been received, and any latter-life reflections.  He has certainly done more than give us a reproduction!

I encourage you to make sure your library has this very useful volume!

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One thought on “Keys to 1 Corinthians and J. Murphy-O’Connor

  1. Thanks for drawing my attention to this book, Nijay. I have just ordered it. What I like about Murphy-O’Connor is that he is not afraid to speculate.

    I don’t think he is right about co-authorship. It seems to me that Paul included co-senders to add their authority to his own. They endorsed his letters, but did not co-author them.

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