Re: 1Cor 7:1 - Not to touch a woman....

Carlton Winbery (
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 21:04:26 -0600

Michael Holmes wrote;

>At 03:06 PM 12/2/96 MST, Wes Williams wrote:
>> Paul tells us in 1 Cor 7:1 to KALON ANQRWPWi GUNAIKOS MH hAPTESQAI.
>> Presupposing that Paul was here referring to legitimate sexual
>> intimacies within the marital arrangement, what references are there
>> in Greek literature where hAPTESQAI has the meaning of sexual intimacy
>> that may support this thought?
>First, the phrase is likely not Paul's; he appears to be quoting the/a
>Corinthian position from their letter (a view which goes back at least as
>far as Origen). For details see (among others) the commentary on 1
>Corinthians by Gordon Fee (Eerdmans, 1987) 273-276.

An old book (1965) J.C. Hurd, The Origin of I Corinthians takes a different
view here. (Its been a while since I read it) I think that he argues that
Paul is quoting from the Corinthian letter, but they are actually quoting
what Paul had preached early on in Corinth when he was advocating a more
ascetic life style. The ambiguity in I Cor. 7 is the result of Paul having
to modify his own earlier position. He really never repudiates his
preference for the ascetic life style.

>For the lexical question, see Fee, p. 275, who offers nine occurrances
>across six centuries, all of which, he says, refer to having sexual
>intercourse (not simply "not marry").
Gordon's commentary on I Corinthians is proving to be a very valuable
commentary, especially in language study.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Chair, Division of Religious Studies
voice 318 487-7241
fax 318 442-4996