1 Cor 5:8

by peacefulpete 4 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    6 Your boasting is not good.Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?

    7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

    8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    1 Cor 5:8 has been suggested to have arisen from the controversy surrounding the date of the fast and passover celebration in the 2nd century catholic churches and came to a head under Pope Victor who threatened excommunication with anyone who had a problem with the Western practice of celebrating the passover on Easter.

    This was the Quarto-deciman controversy. This situation continued until circa 190 CE. Eusebius records (Eccl. Hist., V, xxiii) that at the time of Pope Victor:

    A question of no small importance arose at that time. The diocese of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving Pasch [epi tes tou sõterion Pascha eotes], contending that the fast ought to end on that day, whatever day of the week it might happen to be (Cath. Encyc., Vol. V, art. Easter, p. 228).

    The text itself seems to be recommending a settting aside the strictness of the passsover details yet expresssing distaste for the use of old pagan traditions (Easter). This seems to be the position of Ireneus who expressed his unhappiness with Victor's firm had yet himself preferred the Jewish date for the feast.

  • Justin

    Actually, 1 Cor. 5:8 fits the original first century context perfectly and does not need to be understood as an interpolation. Paul is using the Jewish "feast of unleavened bread" metaporically. This happens to be the "disfellowship" chapter, and whether we approve of the modern practice of disfellowshipping or not, leaven is here compared to sin and to those who are expelled for sinful practices. The metaphor is based on the Jewish practice of keeping leaven or yeast out of bread products for seven days after the passover (even as no leaven could be eaten on the passover itself). Paul is saying that Jesus died as the passover lamb, and now we are continually observing a "feast" of unleavened bread in consequence of this. It has nothing to do with a literal feast.

  • Leolaia

    I also have trouble seeing how the present text at all addresses the Quartodecimen controversy. There is no concern over the principal issue of timing, and the heortazómen "keeping festival" in 1 Corinthians 5:8 is not the focus of the chapter but rather incest in Corinth which is merely discussed in metaphorical paschal terms. The metaphors are made explicit by referring to the "old yeast of evil and wickedness" and "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth". These metaphors are perfectly in keeping with the context of ch. 5 pertaining to the subject of porneia (cf. 5:1). The mention of Passover is secondary to the motif of leaven which precedes it in v. 6 and is a classic symbol of literal and moral impurity (cf. Philo, Spec. Leg. 1.193, Quaest in Ex. 1.15; Plutarch, Quaest Rom. 289f), and Paul uses this metaphor again in Galatians 5:8: "The yeast seems to be spreading through the whole batch of you".

    A very similar metaphor is found in Ignatius: "Throw out, therefore, the bad leaven, which has become old and sour, and reach for the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ" (Magnesians 10:2), which shares with 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 an imperative verb of removal (ekkatharate, huperthesthe), zumén "leaven" that is palaias "old", and a contrast with a neon phurama "new lump" or nean zumén "new leaven". This might reflect an acquaintence with 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 though it could also possibly draw from a common stock of Jewish-Christian metaphors. See also Justin Martyr:

    "For this is the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old deeds of wicked leaven. But you have understood all things in a carnal sense, and you suppose it to be piety if you do such things, while your souls are filled with deceit, and, in short, with every wickedness. Accordingly, also, after the seven days of eating unleavened bread, God commanded them to mingle new leaven, that is, the performance of other works, and not the imitation of the old and evil works" (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 14).

    Verse 7 then associates the motif of the unleavened bread with Passover, an association enabled by the custom of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that forms part of the Passover observance. But it isn't to the literal yearly Passover that Paul refers but to a symbolic Passover in which "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed" once and for all; the "celebration" (heortazómen) of v. 8 is thus the reconciliation and justification that follows from Christ's expiatory sacrifice (see especially Romans 3:21-26). The metaphor of Jesus as the paschal lamb occurs also in 1 Peter 1:19; John 1:19, 26; 19:36. The only timing issue I can see is that Paul sees the sacrifice of Christ as a turning point between the old and new (cf. Romans 6:6, 7:6; Colossians 3:9), and the present time is an extended metaphorical Passover of salvation and thus a time when the "leaven" should be put away.

  • vitty


    I really try to read and understand your posts but alas they are beyond me

    The only concilation I have is that someone obviously as intelligent as you, where duped like me. My husband, fairly bright, had a study with two articulate,clever men, was won over cos he couldnt fault their obvious interlect.

    Maybe if he had read your posts he would never have "come in" the truth

    Carry on the good work, even if divvies like me, dont unerstand a word

  • peacefulpete

    Actually I also agree. I was just home with the flue and slightly bored. Thanks for the researched comments.

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