Nanos and The Polytheist Identity of the 'Weak'
Loren Rosen III has done us all a favour by drawing attention to Mark Nanos' new article, "The Polytheist Identity of the 'Weak,' And Paul's Strategy to 'Gain' Them: A New Reading of I Corinthians 8:1-11:1". His position, that the weak mentioned in 1 Corinthians 8 were not Christ-believers at all but polytheists, is an option I toyed with for a short while after thinking on 8:7. There Paul writes:
VAllV ouvk evn pa/sin h` gnw/sij\ tine.j de. th/ sunhqei,a e[wj a;rti tou/ eivdw,lou w`j eivdwlo,quton evsqi,ousin( kai. h` sunei,dhsij auvtw/n avsqenh.j ou=sa molu,netaiÅ
With the genitive eivdw,lou, sunh,qeia is usually translated as something like 'accustomed to' idols. So the NRSV has 'It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled'.
However, BDAG has as the first meaning of sunh,qeia the following:
'a relationship in which the participants are compatible because of shared interests, friendship, fellowship, intimacy'
This would gel rather well with the use of mete,cw and koinwni,a used with the genitive in 1 Cor 10 in a few places. Hence I tried to make the following translation work:
'But not in all is the knowledge, but some, being in fellowship with idols until now, eat food as food sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled'
This was part of a translation I worked on a few weeks ago. However, I dropped the idea given a few points that I will perhaps mention on the blog in a few days in more detailed critical reflection on Nanos' essay. Despite the fact that I think Nanos had a couple of good points, I was far less impressed than Loren Rosen.
By the way, there have been some hilarious comments to my previous post, so do give them a read if you haven't yet!