The purpose of this series of studies in 1 Corinthians is to set aside, for the moment, the traditional interpretations and instead attempt to hear the letter as its original audience would have heard and understood it. We do disservice to both scripture and its authors when we approach it first from our 21st century, modernist, Western, Christian framework. The letter was written in the first century, in a Jewish, Greek, and Roman socio-religious context.
The primary guidebook we will be using in our studies is Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians by Kenneth E. Bailey. Dr. Bailey, a Presbyterian minister, has spent considerable time in the Middle East living, studying, and understanding the cultural, historical, and literary contexts that underlie the writings that today we call the Bible. His earlier published works on portions of the gospels, particularly Luke, provides valuable and new insight into how today's Christians should see the familiar texts.