Christ, Community, and the Critique of Ideology: A Theological Reading of 1 Corinthians 1.18-31*An earlier draft of this paper was read at the meeting of the Society for the Study of Theology at Cambridge in April 1991.1 am grateful to members of the Society for the many perceptive comments that it evoked, and to Professor Vincent Brümmer for the invitation to publish it in this journal. | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 46, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



Instead of interpreting 1 Cor. 1.18-31 against its reconstructed historical background, it is possible to read it theologically in actualization of its canonical function. The examples of Clement and Tertullian and of Barth and Tillich illustrate the traditional role of this passage within the debate about the relation of revelation and reason. But the connection between ‘wisdom’ and ‘power’ suggests the possibility of another reading, in which the wisdom attacked is that of the powerful; that is, it has an idelological role. The various ontologies of the powerful are overturned by the word of the cross which creates a community in which hierarchical differences are set aside, a community grounded in a particular narrative above God as disclosed in Jesus Christ. It is, however, impossible to evade the gulf between this theological vision and the realities of church and society.


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