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The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians
John Paul Heil
Publication Date
October 2005


The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians, an exegetical analysis of all the explicit quotations and references to the Old Testament in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, examines the various authoritative roles that not only scriptural quotations but also other explicit references and allusions to scripture play in Paul’s rhetorical strategy in the letter. Through this careful examination Heil shows how each scriptural quote or reference speaks with the divine authority of the scriptures in general and affects the audience with its authority and rhetorical power. The end result is an enlightening portrait of the powerful impact that the Jewish scriptures exerted on Paul’s implied audience at Corinth.

John Paul Heil is Professor of New Testament at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. His books include The Transfiguration of Jesus: Narrative Meaning and Function of Mark 9:2–8, Matt 17:1–8 and Luke 9:28–36 (Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico); The Meal Scenes in Luke-Acts: An Audience-Oriented Approach (Society of Biblical Literature); The Gospel of Mark as Model for Action: A Reader-Response Commentary (Paulist); and The Death and Resurrection of Jesus: A Narrative-Critical Reading of Matthew 26–28 (Fortress).

“Heil makes a significant contribution to the study of the use of the OT in the NT in his study of the role of scripture in 1 Corinthians. … This important work takes the scholar beyond the limited discussion of these texts found in commentaries and provides an in-depth study. The broad perspective of rhetorical criticism Heil employs gives him freedom to explore the many dimensions to Paul’s use of the OT. The rhetorical-critical perspective provides many insights into how and why the quotation in the specific form quoted and in the specific literary context contributes to Paul’s argument. This is rhetorical criticism at its best. While a specialized study and aimed at a scholarly audience, anyone will benefit from this astute and accessible study.”
— Dennis L. Stamps, Journal for the Study of the New Testament