Potpourri of Cultures
Corinth, the ancient Greek city, was ‘a corridor of commerce and potpourri of cultures’ (Montague, First Corinthians, 16).
Strabo, an ancient geographer, claimed that a thousand ‘sacred prostitutes’ practised in Corinth.
Modern commentators dispute this assertion, but Corinth certainly had its fill of prostitutes like other cities. It was renowned for fornication and sexual immorality (5:1-6:20).
Nevertheless, Paul had great success in reaching the hearts of the Corinthians.
Whereas the Athenians laughed at his preaching of the resurrection of Jesus, he changed tack with the ‘Corinth crowd,’ proclaiming the wisdom and power of God found in the cross (1:23-23) – the other crucial dimension of the paschal mystery.
Paul remained in Corinth for about a year and a half. He wrote his letter from Ephesus (16:8).
Actually, he wrote no letters:
His letters to the churches were oral both at their origin in dictation and at the point of delivery by a public reading (Montague, 21).
Imagine yourself sitting down with the believers of Corinth as the person assigned to proclaim Paul’s letter stands to deliver.
For it is in the Proclamation of the Word, not so much in the reading, that the presence of Christ is felt.