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.
Our study has led us to some important conclusions regarding the literary unity of 1 Corinthians 8,1 to 11,1. Observations relating the Deuteronomic tradition with Paul's discussion on idol meats provide another link between the situation described in chapters 89 ("B"), the problems of idolatry in chapter 10,1-22 ("A"), and some of the major themes in 1 Corinthians. Both Paul's message and the Deuteronomic tradition uphold the monotheistic nature of God as they warn against idolatry and apostasy. The motif of the faithfulness of God and Christ, and oppositely, the unfaithfulness of God's people, run through both the Song of Moses and Paul's discourse. As well, Paul's entire message seems coherent even though he does not clarify the precise relationship between idolatry and meat sacrificed to idols. Yet the danger of apostasy permeates his discussion on both issues. This study provides another reason why the integrity of the entire discourse as a coherent unit be successfully maintained. It does not appear to be coincidental that in 1 Corinthians 8,111,1 Paul's language reflects Deuteronomic themes such as monotheism, idols/eating, and apostasy throughout the message. Put differently, it seems hard to imagine that Paul would have placed all these relevant innuendoes in an already existing "midrash". Such a view lacks crucial evidence. If there were such a midrash behind the message in 10,1-22, Paul has worked it over so thoroughly that it seems pointless to recover it.