Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

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robert j
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Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by robert j » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:51 am


Sexual immorality is actually reported among you, and sexual immorality such as not even among the pagans, so as for one to have (the) wife of the father. And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, so that the (one) having done this deed might be taken out of your midst. For I, though being absent in body, now being present in spirit, have already judged the (one) having thus produced this, as being present, in the name of our Lord Jesus, of you having been gathered together and of me in spirit, with the power of the Lord Jesus, to deliver such a one to Satan for destruction of the flesh, so that (his) spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

Paul may have drawn on Job 2:6 to formulate the last verse above. For the most part, I had previously thought Paul was just telling the Corinthians to kick the man out of the congregation thereby losing, at least temporarily, the salvific benefits provided by the Christ. Paul concluded the issue here with this ---
... Do you not judge those within? … "Expel the evil out from among yourselves." (1 Cor 5:13).

But what was Paul’s intention, and how might the Corinthians --- steeped in their own cultural paradigms --- have perceived Paul’s words?

I have always been a little surprised at the strong response of the Corinthians to Paul’s demand here. The issue continues in the now composite letter we call 2 Corinthians. Here is how I think the on-going issue evolved ----

Paul heard back --- from his junior-partner who had delivered the letter 1 Corinthians --- that the Corinthians were upset about Paul’s demand. And they didn’t expel the man, but rather they might have already forgiven him. Paul had other priorities at this point-in-time (like the collection for the “saints”). Choosing his battles --- and trying hard to spin the narrative on the grief he had caused them by blaming the man and focusing on his own anguish --- Paul gave-in on his demand, and forgave the man too ---

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote to you through many tears, not that you might be grieved, but that you might know the love that I have more abundantly toward you. But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part, that I might not put it too severely, all of you. The punishment which (is) by the majority (is) sufficient to such a one, So instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore I exhort you to confirm love toward him … Now to whomever you forgive anything, I also do. (2 Cor 2:4-10)

Were the Corinthians grieved just because Paul demanded that they expel the man, or might they have perceived Paul’s demand as something much more severe? I think the cultural background can shed some light. In his 1927 work, Light From the Ancient East --- The New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Gaeco-Roman World, Deissmann places Paul’s demand in the context of an execration. The technical language associated with these execrations --- common in antiquity --- were used to “injure an enemy or punish an evil-doer consecrating him by incantation and tablet to the powers of darkness below” (p. 302 --- page numbers from 2004 edition).

Paul ---
… in the name of our Lord Jesus, of you having been gathered together and of me in spirit, with the power of the Lord Jesus, to deliver such a one to Satan for destruction of the flesh … (1 Cor 5:4-5)

A 4th C. CE London Magical Papyrus, of which Deissmann says, “its formulae are ancient” ---
“Daemon of the dead … I deliver unto thee (such a man) in order that …” (Deissmann p. 302)

And a much older 3rd C. BCE lead curse tablet ---
“I will bind her … in fellowship with Hecate, who is below the earth, and the Erinyes.” (Deissmann p. 303) ***

In the eyes of the Corinthians, Paul demanded a very serious and potentially powerful curse --- a gathering together to call on the power of the Lord Jesus to deliver the man to Satan for destruction of his flesh. Such things were likely taken very seriously.

A roguish rascal or not, apparently the Corinthinas were not prepared to go that far with their friend.

robert j


*** In Greek mythology Hecate (Hekate) was characterized in various ways, as are most ancient deities, but was seen by many as a deity of the lower world who sent demons from the lower world at night and dwelled at times with the souls of the dead. The Erinyes were the “Furies”, deities of vengeance and retribution for crimes against the natural order.
Last edited by robert j on Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:10 am, edited 4 times in total.

robert j
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by robert j » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:04 am

Paul used Satan (σατανᾷ, dative in 1 Cor 5:5) in the Jewish sense at the time of an adversary of God, or an agent of God working on the earth to lead men astray, a slanderer. (1 Thess 2:18; 1 Cor 5:5, 7:5; 2 Cor 2:11, 11:14, 12:7; Rom 16:20)

That Paul’s Satan was not a demon or deity of the underworld was likely a distinction without a difference for how the Corinthians understood Paul’s incantation.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:11 am

robert j wrote:Paul ---
… in the name of our Lord Jesus, of you having been gathered together and of me in spirit, with the power of the Lord Jesus, to deliver such a one to Satan for destruction of the flesh … (1 Cor 5:4-5)

A 4th C. CE London Magical Papyrus, of which Deissmann says, “its formulae are ancient” ---
“Daemon of the dead … I deliver unto thee (such a man) in order that …” (Deissmann p. 302)

And a much older 3rd C. BCE lead curse tablet ---
“I will bind her … in fellowship with Hecate, who is below the earth, and the Erinyes.” (Deissmann p. 303) ***

In the eyes of the Corinthians, Paul demanded a very serious and potentially powerful curse --- a gathering together to call on the power of the Lord Jesus to deliver the man to Satan for destruction of his flesh. Such things were likely taken very seriously.

A roguish rascal or not, apparently the Corinthinas were not prepared to go that far with their friend.
Another very interesting thread, Robert. I was just perusing Betz's edition of the Greek Magical Papyri and found the spell of which Deissmann writes above (PGM V.304-369). In the same block are a few related curses, including:

"Let so-and-so's thoughts be bound so that he may not do ___ thing."

"I bind ___ with regard to ___. Let him not speak, not be contrary, not oppose; let him not be able to look me in the face nor speak against me; let him be subjected to me...."

There is also much talk in some spells of "binding and loosing" — which of course puts me in mind of Matthew 16.19. I am given to understand that the language of binding and loosing is also rabbinical, but to my mind magic and the like would lie on a spectrum of belief which would include more mainstream religious expressions, as well.
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iskander
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by iskander » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:54 am

Loosing and binding is the bread and butter of every religion. Once upon a time I was told Luther was an evil one because he wanted to be like God.

If evil is wanting to be like god, then the most evil people of them all must be the ones who claim to represent god on this earth and to have a god-like power ---what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

All professional religious people in charge of religious organizations make similar claims. They assert to have the god-like power to decide who deserves to be punished in life and in death and the power to reward the obedient one with happiness in life and in death.

robert j
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by robert j » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:00 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:Another very interesting thread, Robert.
Thanks.

robert j
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by robert j » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:46 am

robert j wrote:
Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:04 am
Paul used Satan (σατανᾷ, dative in 1 Cor 5:5) in the Jewish sense at the time of an adversary of God, or an agent of God working on the earth to lead men astray, a slanderer. (1 Thess 2:18; 1 Cor 5:5, 7:5; 2 Cor 2:11, 11:14, 12:7; Rom 16:20)

That Paul’s Satan was not a demon or deity of the underworld was likely a distinction without a difference for how the Corinthians understood Paul’s incantation.
But then again, Paul and the Corinthians may very well have associated Satan with the underworld in Paul’s incantation in 1 Corinthians 5:4-5.

Paul claimed that Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light” (ἄγγελον φωτός) in 2 Corinthians 11:14. And it doesn’t take much creative reading in one of Paul’s favorite books of the prophets to associate a fallen angel of light with the underworld ---

O how fell from out of the heaven the morning star (εωσφόρος) -- the one by morning rising --- the one sending to all the nations was broken unto the earth. But you said in your heart, ‘Unto the heaven I shall ascend; upon the stars of the heaven I will put my throne; I shall sit on a high mountain, upon the high mountains towards the north; I will ascend upon the clouds; I will be likened to the highest’. But now into Hades (άδην) you shall go down, and into the foundations of the earth. The ones beholding you shall wonder over you, and shall say, ‘This is the man provoking the earth, the one shaking kings; the one making the inhabitable world desolate, and its cities demolished; he did not set loose the ones in enslavement’. (Isaiah 14:12-17, LXX)


Stefan Kristensen
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:44 pm

It is such an intriguing passage. What do you think Paul means with "the destruction of the flesh"?

I have a theory concerning this passage, a very speculative one, that what we have is a witness to a harsh cleansing ritual of some sorts in the early communities: He was to be sent into solitude to fast for some specified period of time. This would be a contest against Satan, i.e. against his fleshliness, and if he could overcome this testing succesfully, then his flesh through its suffering, its "destruction" (like Job's flesh is destroyed), would be cleansed from the carnal sin he had commited, and he could return to the community having atoned and abased himself in humilitation and shown himself blameless in faith having defeated Satan.

So maybe Jesus' testing in the wilderness is a dramatization of this ritual and it corresponds to his 'handing over' to the authorities for his fleshly suffering and destruction. Note that it is not Jesus who 'goes into the wilderness to be tested', no, Jesus is "cast out into the wilderness by the spirit being tested by Satan". The spirit hands Jesus over to Satan. Also, in 1 Tim 1:20 pseudo-Paul likewise says that he has "handed over" two fellows "to Satan", but here he says "in order that they be disciplined/taught not to blaspheme". The handing over to Satan in that case, then, seems to be a disciplinary action and not a final excommunication. I'm just playing with ideas of course.

iskander
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by iskander » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:00 pm

It is an excommunication. The individual is cut-off from the community; In the Hebrew Bible, to "cut off" (Hebrew: כרת‎ karath), is a form of punishment which may mean killing or excluding from the people.[2][3] The Book of Numbers states that anyone who sins deliberately or high-handedly is to be cut-off from the community:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareth

It became a weapon in the punitive arsenal of the RCC in medieval times.
Paul is , perhaps, the first documented case of excommunication latae sententiae ,( 1 Cor 5: 1-8) Et dicuntur homines tradi Satanae, cum a tota ecclesia separantur.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4636&hilit=excommunication&start=10

Stefan Kristensen
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:04 pm

iskander wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:00 pm
It is an excommunication. The individual is cut-off from the community; In the Hebrew Bible, to "cut off" (Hebrew: כרת‎ karath), is a form of punishment which may mean killing or excluding from the people.[2][3] The Book of Numbers states that anyone who sins deliberately or high-handedly is to be cut-off from the community:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareth

It became weapon of the punitive arsenal of the RCC in medieval times.
Paul is , perhaps, the first documented case of excommunication latae sententiae ,( 1 Cor 5: 1-8) Et dicuntur homines tradi Satanae, cum a tota ecclesia separantur.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4636&hilit=excommunication&start=10
I think it also most likely means excommunication, but there seems to be more to it. A curse being involved seems plausible as far as I can see from this thread. But I still think the phrase "destruction of the flesh" is strange. Many commentators simply believe that Paul is saying that he must be excommunicated and this automatically means that he is going to be executed by the authorities. But that really doesn't make sense to me.

iskander
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Re: Boink the Step-Mother? – Look Out Below (1 Cor 5:5)

Post by iskander » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:13 pm

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:04 pm
iskander wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:00 pm
It is an excommunication. The individual is cut-off from the community; In the Hebrew Bible, to "cut off" (Hebrew: כרת‎ karath), is a form of punishment which may mean killing or excluding from the people.[2][3] The Book of Numbers states that anyone who sins deliberately or high-handedly is to be cut-off from the community:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareth

It became weapon of the punitive arsenal of the RCC in medieval times.
Paul is , perhaps, the first documented case of excommunication latae sententiae ,( 1 Cor 5: 1-8) Et dicuntur homines tradi Satanae, cum a tota ecclesia separantur.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4636&hilit=excommunication&start=10
I think it also most likely means excommunication, but there seems to be more to it. A curse being involved seems plausible as far as I can see from this thread. But I still think the phrase "destruction of the flesh" is strange. Many commentators simply believe that Paul is saying that he must be excommunicated and this automatically means that he is going to be executed by the authorities. But that really doesn't make sense to me.
Who can tell what " destruction of the flesh" may have meant for Paul?, but it is likely that Paul may have meant that the 'sinner' will not be resuscitated, his death will be eternal.

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