This study takes as case studies the traditions of three major Christian communities, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox church, the Korean Protestant church and the Western Christianity (including Western scholars from both Protestant and Roman Catholic backgrounds.) In doing so I examine the marked discrepancies in their interpretation of Scripture and the likely factors that might have influenced their various readings and subsequent applications regarding four issues - singleness, marriage, divorce and remarriage. I will begin by exploring the relevant scholarly literature, namely: previous studies of reception in general and of the Bible in particular, previous studies of reception of the New Testament texts (especially 1 Corinthians 7); previous studies of Korean and Coptic churches concerning the Bible in general and biblical texts on these four topics. I will examine how the contemporary reading of Coptic Orthodox Christianity about divorce and remarriage issues is likely to be affected by various aspects including the biblical interpretation of the Church Fathers as well as the unique social, religious and political circumstances of the Coptic Church as a minority group in a Muslim country. I will also look into elements of influence in Korean scholarship, where the interpretation of modern Korean Protestant scholars of biblical texts on divorce and remarriage might be influenced by the long-standing cultural influence of Confucianism, fundamentalism and liberal theology. Likewise, I plan to inspect the factors that may possibly affect the reading of modern biblical scholars of Western Christianity about the related biblical passages on singleness and divorce, including the individual circumstances, religious and social background, denominational situation, theological approach (e.g. evangelical, liberal or feminist), cultural view and gender of various scholars. I will also argue that the factors which might affect the ways that modern biblical scholars of Western Christianity read the related biblical texts on singleness and divorce include the views of two Greek philosophical groups (Cynics and Stoics), two Jewish sects (Philo's group and the Essenes), Church Fathers and apocalyptical literature, as well as Roman cults. Such a different approach of Western scholars is due to their scholarly discussion with an attempt to understand the original text through historical and critical method, unlike the approach of the two previous church groups. A final chapter will draw conclusions by evaluating each tradition in terms of their understanding and practice of these issues. In addition, the way that Paul honoured the rights of women in those areas in the first century will be briefly mentioned.
|Date of Award||1 Aug 2015|
- The University of Manchester
|Supervisor||Todd Klutz (Supervisor)|