Ancient Corinth, Prostitution, And 1 Corinthians 5–7 -- By: Paul D. Weaver

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 19:1 (Spring 2015)
Article: Ancient Corinth, Prostitution, And 1 Corinthians 5–7
Author: Paul D. Weaver


Ancient Corinth, Prostitution, And 1 Corinthians 5–7

Paul D. Weaver

Bible Institute Director, Bible Teacher
Word of Life Hungary Bible Institute

Introduction

A simple surface reading of the book of 1 Corinthians makes it manifestly clear that the church of Corinth was a far cry from a model first-century church. The church of Corinth is infamous for its many problems, problems that demanded more of Paul’s attention and time than most other early churches did. Paul spent a great deal of time both seeking to address these problems in I Corinthians: divisions (1 Cor 1:10–17), lawsuits among believers (6:1–8), abuse of Christian liberty (8:9–12), abuse of the Lord’s Supper (11:20–22, 27–30), abuse of the spiritual gift of tongues (14:18–23), and disorder in the worship service (14:26–40). However, there is one subject matter that was intensely problematic and for which the city was notoriously known. This was the issue of “immorality” (πορνεία) (1 Cor 5:1–12; 6:9–11; 6:12–20; 7:1–9; 10:6–8; 2 Cor 2:5–11; 12:20–21).

There is no question that sexual sin was a problem in Corinth during the Greek era. However, there is scholarly debate regarding the temple of Aphrodite in the first century, the presence or absence of temple prostitutes, and whether the reputation of Greek Corinth should be applied to the Roman era as well. This article will attempt to address these issues, as well as any implications they may have on the passages in 1 Corinthians dealing with the issue of πορνεία.

To answer the above concerns, one must begin by studying the history and background of the city of Corinth. This article will examine the founding, development, and destruction of Corinth during the Greek era. It will then examine the Roman

era. Extant writings, archaeological sites, and archaeological artifacts will be the primary evidence used to establish ...

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