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Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  215 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In this ground-breaking study of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, Kenneth Bailey examines this canonical letter through Paul's Jewish socio-cultural and rhetorical background and through the Mediterranean context of its Corinthian recipients.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published September 19th 2011 by IVP Academic (first published September 1st 2011)
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M Christopher
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: bible-study
This is another solid contribution to the field of New Testament studies from Kenneth E. Bailey. Not quite as enjoyable or as potentially useful to the working pastor as his fine "Jesus through Middle-Eastern Eyes," it nonetheless contains several very helpful passages.

Bailey's approach continues to be based on his knowledge of ancient and modern Middle-Eastern languages and his experience of life in Middle-Eastern villages, which have changed little since the time of Christ. In "Paul through Me
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I recall learning in seminary that the ancient Hebrews thought, and wrote, differently then we do today and this difference is a big obstacle to understanding their writing. Where we tend to write in a linear way so that the argument builds to a climax at the end (A-B-C-D), the Hebrews (Biblical prophets, Psalms)often wrote in a way that the main point is in the middle and everything surrounding it mirrors each other (A-B-C-B-A).

The crux of Bailey's argument is that since Paul was a Jewish Phari
Jeremy Bouma
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
There is a pernicious Euro-American centricity that undergirds much of our understanding and perspective on the Scripture, which is why I am thankful that a number of scholars are taking a new look at the social, cultural, and rhetorical foundation that those Scriptures are rooted in order to help us re-capture a non-Western and pre-Western perspective on the Text.

Enter Kenneth Bailey's new book "Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians."

Bailey joins the likes of Ben Wi
Dave Courtney
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kenneth E. Bailey brings an extensive knowledge of middle eastern culture to his commentary on 1 Corinthians, most importantly his experience in middle eastern village life. He previously wrote "Jesus through Middle-Eastern Eyes", which I think is a good representative of his passion and area of interest. Here he expands this focus to apply the same sort of “cultural studies” approach to the world from which (he understands) Paul to have penned this letter. Bailey argues that with the East/West ...more
Karl Dumas
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ken Bailey skillfully meshes his knowledge of the New Testament and his knowledge of Middle Eastern Culture---he lived and taught in the region for many years.
I'm a bit of a nerd, so I enjoy the writing style that Bailey employs, but I realize that not everyone will get overly excited about his use of Chiasms. A.
Bottom line: it worked for me; I read and enjoyed the book.
And this book does deliver on the promise of being a cultural study of 1 Corinthians. What was going on in the a
Sam Eccleston
More great cultural context and rhetorical analysis from Kenneth Bailey. If you are familiar with his use of the 'prophetic rhetorical template' as an analytical lens then it can become a bit repetitive, but the substantive commentary is always enlightening.
Soul Survivor
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent for the reader who wants to study life at the time of Christ .
John Willis
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read and this will be added to my collection. Love the literary analysis and the breaking down of the text with the history and culture of the time.
Clint Walker
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A couple of weeks ago I received a promotional catalog promoting forthcoming books that were due to be released. I saw Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes and I had to have it.

Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes is written by Kenneth Bailey. For decades, Bailey has been known as an expert in Middle Eastern culture. He has lived and ministered as a missionary, pastor and professor in the areas the Bible people lived in. Along the way, he picked up new insights about the cultural context that God's Word
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it
"Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes" is a very thick commentary on 1 Corinthians. From the title, I expected a book focused on the cultural background of 1 Corinthians that would help us better understand Paul's points. However, the main focus was on the rhetorical style used in 1 Corinthians.

The author carefully constructed charts showing how the 1 Corinthians format matched that of the Old Testament prophets. He claimed that understanding this format would help us better understand the meaning of
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I ordered Paul through Mediterranean Eyes because I needed a commentary on 1 Corinthians and this one had won some important awards. Don't judge a book by its awards, I guess, is the lesson.

The strength of PtME is Bailey's close attention to the text and its rhetorical argumentation. Utilizing a methodology he seems to have developed elsewhere, Bailey highlights the potential parallels or thought echoes running throughout 1 Cor. Particularly, by highlighting some chiastic/ring structures, Bailey
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are plenty of other reviews that go in-depth, so I will limit my comments to a brief summary of my reaction and recommendation.

Dr. Bailey provides a perspective into interpreting 1 Corinthians that is different from most other commentaries. The rhetorical approach that sees the Hebrew rhetorical structure is valuable in uncovering meanings that may be missed or undeveloped in the typical linear reading of the epistle.

As some reviewers have noted, this book is much closer to a traditional c
Bob Wolniak
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
I really enjoy Bailey's books which bring to bear middle eastern scholarship and cultural background that is normally ignored in western commentaries. This is perhaps best used as a companion to Thiselton and Fee's classic 1 Corinthians commentaries (He refers to them frequently, as well as Wright near the end). I enjoyed the strong connections to the ring composition and prophetic template of Isaiah and Amos. His commentary and application is often very insightful in ways I don't get from other ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Bailey is always a good voice to have at the table when looking at the original context of Biblical passages. I appreciated this work since in the past most of his books have been focused on Jesus and his parables. This book helped to look at Paul more in his 1C context. Paul traditionally gets maligned more than Jesus. People try to associate him more with a 16C devotee of Martin Luther when in reality Paul was a 1C Jewish teacher with his heart and mind focused on Jerusalem and Torah.

Bailey a
The author has a deep understanding of the historical and cultural context of 1 Corinthians that enables him to provide satisfying explanations for some of the cryptic phrases used by Paul and to compare Paul's writings with works from a surprising range of other people, including Abraham Lincoln and Plato! The author reveals the beautiful poetic form of many passages in 1 Corinthians, as well as some interesting background on Paul himself, such as ways in which his identity as an experienced le ...more
Mike Klein
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really good book that wasn't exactly what I expected. Thought it would be more about the culture of Corinth, and while that's an underlying part of the whole book, it isn't specifically referenced for every section of the book.

What is there is wonderful, however. The case the author makes for organizing the book really answers a lot of the tough questions the letter presents. The author unapologetic-ally references the difficult work of others who have translated the letter and has added a struc
May 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is very in-depth but was not what I was expecting. It is more about the style of the writing in Corinthians than the customs of the day or new insights into the scriptures that Paul wrote. I found it difficult to wade through and hard to understand, but would have tried harder if the subject was what I was expecting and interesting. It was not. I finally quit without finishing book....however sad that is to say.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Meticuously researched, this book laid out the intricate arguments of Paul in the context of Corinth and his use of the rabbinical style.

In some sense you don't even recall you are reading a commentary. It simply carries you along in the brilliance of what Paul is writing.
Радостин Марчев
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Много интересна като стил и форма книгата не е типичен коментар. Според мен съдържа някои много точни попадения. Въпреки това трябва да призная, че не успя да ме "грабне" и като цяло я завърших с доста мъка. Което не означава, че не е почти задължително четиво за всеки изследовател на 1 Коринтяни.
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pastors, Bible teachers and scholars
Shelves: christian
I just finished taking a class with Ken Bailey at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge PA. This book was the text for the class. Both the book and the lectures were awesome. His premise about the "ring composition" of Corinthians is one of those "why hasn't someone seen this before" kind of things. It makes you look at many of the letter's passages with entirely new eyes and ears. Wonderful!
Dr. Bailey's lifelong study of the mideastern milieu brings amazing insights into the culture of Corinth and is very helpful in understanding what was going on in the letters to the Corinthians. I can't praise it enough.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dense, in-depth commentary on 1 Corinthians, with a strong dose of cultural explanation.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it

It took me a while to "get into this book" but it is worth keeping at it. Practical insights
Chris Termaat
Interesting commentary with emphasis on forms and structures ("rhetorical templates") taken from OT prophets like Isaiah.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bailey always is intriguing, thought-provoking and enlightening. Recommended reading.
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting approach: deconstructs 1 Corinthians using techniques of literary criticism. Not terribly useful as a commentary.
Dave Wainscott
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
April Yamasaki
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource for my preaching series on 1 Corinthians
Steven Wedgeworth
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I didn't always agree with Bailey, but his readings are always interesting. He combines cultural context with literary form in order to provide a stimulating commentary.
rated it liked it
Dec 22, 2011
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After undergraduate and seminary studies, Dr. Bailey completed degrees in Arabic Language and Literature, Systematic Theology and a doctorate in New Testament. Ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Bailey spent 40 years (1955-1995) living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus.

For 20 of those years Dr. Bailey was Professor of New Testament and He
“People with differences can work together if they have the same purpose. Paul wants all of them to think along the same lines, and to have a united purpose.” 2 likes
“The following high points are prominent in this brief homily.
1. Breaking into ethnic enclaves is unacceptable. Furthermore, loyalties to individuals is not an excuse for breaking the unity of the church. Their leaders are not adequate centers of primary loyalty.
2. No group in the church has the right to claim that they alone are loyal to Christ.
3. They are "called by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1:2) and in that name they can find their unity (1:10).
4. Baptism and the cross also call them together.
5. The question is not "Who is my leader?" but rather, "Who died for us?"
With the problem of this first essay stated boldly, Paul turns to the cross in the shadow of which their divisions can be eclipsed (1:17-2:2).”
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