CONNUBIAL SEX AND THE AVOIDANCE OF Πoρѵԑια: PAUL’S RHETORICAL ARGUMENT IN 1 CORINTHIANS 7:1-5

Charles A. Wanamaker

Abstract


This paper employs socio-rhetorical interpretation in order to analyze Paul’s
argument in 1 Cor 7:1-5 regarding the role of connubial sex in Christian marriage.
The paper shows that Paul engages in Christian wisdom discourse, introducing his
argument in 1 Cor 7:1 with a maxim, probably drawn from a communication from
the Corinthians themselves. He then creates an argument from the contrary to
repudiate the maxim on the grounds of the requirements of Christian sexual morality
in v. 2. The paper shows that Paul elaborates his argument in vv. 3-4 before
constructing an argument allowing for a very specific and limited exception to his
own rule regarding the necessity of connubial sex for Christians. Paul’s argument is
analyzed with the help of insights derived from ancient rhetoric as well as cultural
information regarding sexual practices from Greco-Roman authors.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/90-0-1071

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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