‘A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough': incest and pollution in 1 Corinthians 5

Ethan Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Paul commands the Corinthians to give an incestuous man to Satan in 1 Cor. 5.5. Scholars often see this as a punishment for sin, but why does incest require this particular response? This article offers an answer by reading 1 Cor. 5 in light of other discussions of incest and pollution in Greco-Roman literature. It highlights connections between incest, pollution, and communal danger and explores means of resolving pollution. It then examines Paul’s discussion of incest in 1 Cor. 5.5 and concludes that his instructions concerning the incestuous man follow a logic common in ancient discussions of incest and pollution.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Early online date19 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2024

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