Feb 1, 2012
The Corinthians challenged the patience of St. Paul. After preaching in Corinth, he and had established there a small but strong local church. But influence by the larger number of Corinthians swayed them in a direction that disturbed Paul and prompted him to write them four letters.
Corinth boasted of sophisticated tastes born of every kind of Hellenistic philosophy. It was a mecca for the worship of pagan idols, the preeminent being Aphrodite Pandemos, the goddess of love. In the temple were some 1,000 prostitutes, a permanent part of the city’s pagan worship. Corinth’s other claim to fame was as a center of immorality. Paul had his hands full when he heard that the little community of Christians was reverting to these same practices.
Metaphor of the Body
The Corinthians’ preoccupation with the body became Paul’s. He used the theme of the body to refute their behavior. In his first letter to them (this is really his second; the first remains lost), Paul addresses the specious arguments of philosophical cliques that were splitting apart the body of the community: “God’s folly is wiser than the wisdom of the world, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1Cor. 1:25) Only Christ and Christ crucified is the answer to the specious arguments of philosophy.