The belly is today a matter of much concern. Modern cultures, particularly in the West, have developed means to cultivate this part of the body: corsets, exercises, revealing fashions. In this compelling exploration of the 'belly' motif, Karl Olav Sandnes asks whether St Paul might be addressing a culture in which the stomach is similarly high on the agenda. The result is a surprising new insight into his writings. Paul twice mentions the enigmatic phrase 'belly-worship' (Phil 3; Rom 16). The proper context for these texts is the moral philosophy debate about mastering the desires, and the reputation of Epicurus' philosophy as promoting indulgence. The belly became a catchword for a life controlled by pleasures. Belly-worship was not only pejorative rhetoric, but developed from Paul's conviction that the body was destined to a future with Christ.
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The belly is today a matter of much concern. Modern cultures have developed means to cultivate this part of the body. Does St Paul in any way address a culture in which the stomach is similarly high on the agenda? To answer this question is the aim of this investigation.
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Abbreviations; Part I. Prolegomena: 1. Introduction, previous solutions, method and Pauline context; Part II. The Graeco-Roman Belly: 2. The belly as a sign - ancient physiognomics; 3. The belly in ancient moral philosophy; 4. Ancient critique of Epicureanism; 5. Banquets - opportunities for the belly; Part III. The Appropriated Belly: 6. The belly-topos in Jewish-Hellenistic sources; 7. The belly in Philo's writings; Part IV. Belly-Worship and Body According to Paul: 8. The lifestyle of citizens of the heavenly Politeuma - Phil 3:17-21; 9. 'Serving the belly' as kinship with Satan - Rom 16:17-20; 10. The Corinthian belly; Part V. The Earliest Expositors of Paul: 11. The belly-dicta of Paul in Patristic literature; Part VI. Conclusions: 12. Concluding remarks; Bibliography; Indices.
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'I have no hesitation in recommending Belly and Body in the Pauline Epistles and besides those curious about the belly-topos in Paul, it will also appeal to those interested in the role of the body in antiquity, and Paul's body theology.' Neotestamentica'... a volume filled with thoughtful proposals ...'. Biblica'... a thoroughly engaging study ... Sandnes' work makes two major contributions ... this is a solid book with a number of strengths ... the work is creative, thorough, and based on primary texts ... one gains the impression of a skilled scholar having a good time learning all he can that may shed light on the subject. This book will be required reading for any serious studies of Paul's perspective on the human body and its relation to his theological and moral reflection.' Reviews in Religion and Theology
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An exploration of the 'belly' motif offering a new insight into the writings of St Paul.


Cambridge University Press
509 gr
216 mm
140 mm
22 mm
06, P
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Karl Olav Sandnes is Professor in New Testament Theology at The Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology, Oslo.