1 Corinthians 7 verse 5
In 1 Cor 7:5, Paul writes:
‘mh. avposterei/te avllh,louj( eiv mh,ti a'n evk sumfw,nou pro.j kairo,n( i[na scola,shte th/ proseuch/ kai. pa,lin evpi. to. auvto. h=te( i[na mh. peira,zh u`ma/j o` satana/j dia. th.n avkrasi,an u`mw/nÅ’ (‘Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control’ NRSV)A problem that has concerned some is how to understand the relation between the two clauses starting with hina. Rather impressive, even if perhaps slightly convoluted, is Thiselton’s translation:
‘Stop depriving each other of what is due in marriage, expect perhaps by mutual agreement for a specific span of time, that you may find unhurried time for prayer, and then come back together again. The goal would be nullified if Satan went on putting you through trials beyond your self-control’ (Thiselton, 1 Corinthians, p. 497)Just a thought, but could the two clauses be more directly related, in that the times of prayer are themselves a source of temptation?
Let me expand a little: I don’t mean the prayer times were a cause of temptation in the purely inward fantasy sense (as Theißen), but rather, given the Corinthian believers’ previous experience of sexual rites including women in certain city cults (like, e.g., that in the cult of Dionysos as described by Livy), Paul was sensitive to the tendency of the Corinthians to make association of present religious activities with older pagan ones (as with the ‘meet sacrificed to an idols’ issue).
Or has this line of reasoning been explored before?