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Trouble with Insiders: The Social Profile of the ἄπιστοι in Paul's Corinthian Correspondence

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Conventionally translated as “unbelievers,” the ἄπιστοι are usually taken to comprise an undefined class of “outsiders.” The ἄπιστοι are thus viewed as the undifferentiated mass of humanity who are unworthy to be called ἀδελφοί. The actual evidence in 1 and 2 Corinthians suggests that the designation ἄπιστοι was a technical term in the community’s sociolect for a group of individuals who maintained intimate social ties with the believers and could even be counted as “insiders” in the most socially serious ways. This article develops a social profile for the ἄπιστοι in which they emerge as a well-known group within the Corinth ecclesial network with intimate and even supportive ties to it—ties that are sustained by both believers and ἄπιστοι even in the face of severe social risks for both groups.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-1001
JournalJournal of Biblical Literature
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2018

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