Wow, really cool! I have been in contact with Robert Tren of Theological Research Exchange Network and he just sent me an unsecured Pdf file of my Master’s Thesis; that is way nice of him! I am now going to be able to have my Master’s Thesis available, free of charge, here at the blog — thanks to Robert’s work. I’ll create a “page” for my thesis which will show up at the top of this template, or somewhere on my blog (whatever template I have at the moment); I think this is great, I’ve always, personally, wanted to have a Pdf of my thesis, and here it is:

Christ Crucified the Wisdom and Power of God: An Exegetical Analysis of I Corinthians 1:17-25

Now remember, I wrote this 7 years ago now — which is crazy to me — but I do believe my writing has gotten better; although I’m not sure my Greek has 😉 . Anyway, just also remember that these kinds of things are supposed to be “academic” and such; so that’s what you’re going to get with my thesis. It is something of a “critical” commentary at points, but then I am arguing for a particular point of view. Also, just one more note: when I was defending this (before a panel of 3 “readers” or profs) one of the professors had fun with me on my usage of my thesis statement which was/is: The Apostle Paul believed that the integration of man-centered wisdom with the Christian gospel results in the denuding of the power and wisdom found in the simple message of the cross. He thought the word ‘denuding’ was funny; for some reason he thought I was just enamored with that word, and that’s why I repeated my thesis statement so often throughout the first chapter of my thesis — I actually did it this way for repetition’s sake (pedagogue) — I think this prof’s mind was just in the gutter that day 😉 . I ended up getting an A- on this thesis — by God’s grace — we were were required to get at least a B to pass; which of course made that day all that much more nerve wracking (the day I had to defend it). Anyway, I hope, if you read it, that you find something enlightening in the thesis; also, just one more thought, what actually motivated me to pick this passage was Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross.


I was just scrolling through my thesis, and I noticed that pg. 33 is missing for some reason. I am going to provide that below (for anyone who might actually read that far 😉 ) :


disappear; and if it is appropriated by another substance, the form will be unnatural, a mere mask that honest men will discard. [19]

Thus, from Lenski’s perspective, it is inevitable that Paul is confronting a wisdom that is radically different than the wisdom of the cross. Essentially, Lenski is saying that if the Corinthians are taken by a smooth orator or the modality of rhetorical categories of philosophy, then the motivation of these devices (i.e. “worldly wisdom”) is inherently tied to them and should be discarded.

C. K. Barrett is in essential agreement with Lenski. The only divergences between the two is that Barrett calls the σοΦíα λóγου, a “rhetorical device.” [20] He says, “. . . indeed here wisdom as a formal characteristic of skillful speech is not far from describing also the content of a preaching in which the cross may come to look like foolish error.” [21] Thus like Lenski, he sees the substance of the cross as incompatible with the device of rhetoric therefore concluding in an indirect way (i.e. relative to Lenski) that if Paul is confronting the form, then the substance behind the form is also being confronted.

Contrarily, Elizabeth Fiorenza places the emphasis on the rhetoric (i.e. the form) alone. She believes that there were a few people in the Corinthian church who were taken with the eloquence of rhetorical style. Her basis for this understanding is informed by a sociological perspective. This perspective believes that the educated were well versed in rhetoric and therefore more


[19] Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 50.

[20] C. K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Harper’s New Testament Commentaries, ed. Henry Chadwick (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1968), 49.

[21] Ibid, 49.