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Logos and Sophia: The Rhetorical Situation of 1 Corinthians
Stephen Mark Pogoloff
Publication Date
January 1997


“This is a strong first work by a bright and imaginative scholar. Stephen Pogoloff ties the situation of 1 Corinthians to the issues of rhetoric and social status in the Graeco-Roman world. The community of Corinth was divided into two factions, one group backing Paul and the other, Apollos. However, the dispute was not over the attractiveness of one theological position against another. Instead, one group pledged itself to Paul the orator while the other backed the “wise” speaker Apollos. Ultimately, the Corinthians—many of whom were nouveau riche, and consequently lacking traditional status claims—intended to bolster their social status by such rhetorical allegiance. Pogoloff insists that Paul’s rhetorical style was along traditional lines whereas Apollos’s was of the more fiery Alexandrian rhetoric. … Any scholar interested in the Corinthian correspondence, rhetoric, or the social world of early Christianity should welcome the opportunity to read this book.”
— Paul B. Duff, Journal of Religion

“Pogoloff gathers much useful information concerning the social practices and values associated with rhetoric in the Greco-Roman world, and the main lines of his argument are convincing. This book lines up with a number of recent studies on 1 Corinthians and should help finally to lay to rest the history-of-religions approach to this letter.”
— David W. Kuck, Religious Studies Review

“ This work has numerous strengths. Of particular value is the creative and judicious combination of the disciplines of rhetorical criticism, hermeneutics, and social history. These disciplines are increasingly understood as interrelated, and this volume serves as a paradigm for how integration of these disciplines can be accomplished fruitfully. As illustrated by the discussion above, Pogoloff provides penetrating and fresh analysis of 1 Corinthians 1–4 as well as the Corinthian correspondence in general. He debates effortlessly with pertinent literature and issues in Corinthian studies while providing several new directions. Pogoloff has moved the field of NT ahead on several fronts and his ideas will be adopted, adapted, and debated with appreciation for some time to come.”
— Duane F. Watson, Journal of Biblical Literature