Yung Suk Kim takes up the language of "body" that infuses 1 Corinthians, Paul's most complicated letter, and the letter that provides us the most information, and poses the sharpest questions, about social realities in the early church. Kim argues against the view that in speaking of the church as Christ's body Paul seeks to emphasize unity and the social boundary. Against the conventional rhetoric of the "body politic" in Greco-Roman philosophy, Kim argues that Paul seeks rather to nourish the vitality of a diverse community and to criticize the ideology of a powerful in-group in Corinth, a message of particular importance for contemporary global Christianity.
A tour de force, The Arrogance of Nations is one of the most thought-provoking books on Paul in years. Making sophisticated use of post-colonial theory while also reading with remarkable exegetical sensitivity, Elliott's interpretation of Paul as a sharp and subtle critic of empire is cogent, compelling, and a much-needed corrective to the conventional image of the Apostle. Anyone who thinks the discussion of Paul is hackneyed and irrelevant to the issues of our day needs to read this book.
—Pamela Eisenbaum, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins, Iliff School of Theology
I highly recommend this work to all who take seriously Paul's metaphor of 'the body of Christ.' Kim interprets the metaphor as an alternative vision of vital reconciling community, over against conceptions that emphasize boundary markers to establish social groups. What is at stake in the interpretation of 1 Corinthians, he argues, is not just the ways first-century Christians constructed and lived out social unity but the consequences of our choices for the way we live out our own responsibilities today.
—David Odell-Scott, Professor of Philosophy, Kent State University
Yung Suk Kim is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University, in Richmond, Virginia.