B.J. Oropeza, «Laying to Rest the Midrash: Pauls Message on Meat Sacrificed to Idols in Light of the Deuteronomistic Tradition », Vol. 79 (1998) 57-68
Some scholars have suggested that Paul's discussion on meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians 8, 111,1 is composed of two separate documents: 8,19,23 and 10,2311,1 form letter B, and 10, 1-22, forms letter A. Unit A is often regarded as an early midrash which was written prior to its present form in 1 Corinthians. This article argues that the Deuteronomic tradition which Paul echoes in 8, 111,1 posits another reason why the literary integrity of his entire discussion on idol meats may be maintained. In this section of his letter Paul adopts the Deuteronomic motif of apostasy through idolatry which is prevalent in the Song of Moses (Deut 32). The language and ideas derived from this theme are integrated throughout the apostle's discourse.
discusses points related to idolatry and apostasy in both sections "A" and "B". I will examine this tradition, especially the Song of Moses (Deut 32), and then I will attempt a coherent assessment of Paul's message in relation to the major theme of the Song.
Deuteronomic Themes in Paul's Discourse on Idol Meals
The importance of the Israelite tradition as a backdrop for Paul's argumentation may be discerned in his appeal to the shema. At the beginning of his exhortation on idol meats, he sets in contrast the one true God with the "gods" of idols (1 Cor 8,1-6). Some Hebrew traditions are prominent in depicting the impotence of idols as false gods who are but lifeless products of human craftsmanship (Isa 40,18-20; 1 Chron 16,25-26; Jer 10,3-11). Others recognise the connection between demons and idols, yet they affirm that idols are still lifeless images (Deut 29,17; 32,17-21; Ps 105,28-37). Paul seems to accept the latter nuance. He acknowledges the tradition of worthless idols in 1 Corinthians 8,1.4-6 (cf. 12,2), but his focus shifts in chapter 10 to the idea that idols are demons (1 Cor 10,20-21). Perhaps he believed that although the idols are not gods but lifeless images, demons are a real power behind the idols.
The Deuteronomic tradition is likely the ultimate ground behind Paul's adaptation of the shema in 8,4-6 (Deut 6,4) and it is also his source when he warns against idolatry in 10,20-22 (Deut 32,17-21). His statement in the former passage may have presupposed a unity among community members based on the unity and love of God as emphasised in Deuteronomy. Discord between the strong and weak over the issue of idol meats would tend to violate an appeal to solidarity which is at the centre of early Christian messages (e.g., Matt 22,37-41) 9. Mitchell maintains that the content of 10,1-22 is concerned with the major theme of the letter: unity and discord (cf. 10,16-17) 10. This theme permeates the discourse on idol