Friday, 5 December 2008

How Does A Biblical Scholar Spend His Long Vacation? Book Writing in TTC Singapore - Part 8

Time really flies. Today is my last day at Trinity Theological College, Singapore, working on my second book project. This evening, I will be making my way home.

It has been a very fruitful 4-week stay at Trinity, literally locking myself in the conducive library from 9-5 every weekday, trying to work on my book on Paul's Use of Images in the Corinthian Correspondence.

The reading room - where I have been hiding myself for the past 4 weeks

Over the last couple of days, I have been thinking about the flow of the book, and decided to add another chapter, bringing it to a total of 11 chapters. In my attempt to consider the images used in 1 & 2 Corinthians, I am further convinced that Paul does not simple pluck these images from the vacuum, neither does he use them merely for the sake of rhetoric in order to enhance the force of his argument. Rather, Paul's choice of images is deliberate and calculated. These images are carefully selected not just simply to persuade, correct, or instruct the Corinthians, they are employed for a wider specific purpose: to build up the community and to create a Christian identity among the predominant Gentile community in Corinth.

In this book, I will be examining a series of images used by Paul as reflected in the Corinthian correspondence, ranging from temples, body, commercial transactions, to images borrowed from the building and construction industry. These images, drawn from the Greco-Roman milieu, are very familiar to Paul's audience, but their impact to the original audience is unfortunately lost or reduced to a 21st century reader who may not have a full understanding of the 1st century world.

It is my purpose to explore these images and examine how they would have impacted the Corinthians as Paul strives to build up this community he calls the ekklesia - an alternative assembly (to borrow the language of Richard Horsley) in Corinth that is transformed by the power of the gospel, and how the same could also be said for the ekklesia in the 21st century, that we too could be that alternative assembly for our community.

Over the next few months, I will continue to reflect, write, rewrite and rewrite the materials. I target to complete the manuscript by the middle of 2009. By then it is time to work on my 3rd book, where I will be co-authoring with two others, on Jesus: His Life and Message, to be published by SPCK. More about the 3rd book later. Right now, it is time to finish browsing through a few more books, and to pack up!


AARON NG said...

expecting your third book anxiously...

by nature, I am closer to Christ's characterization (more romanticise...) than Pauline rethoric...

Alex Tang said...

I am glad you have enjoyed your time in the TTC library. Did you enter L-space?

I am looking forward to reading about your reflections as you continue to revise your first draft.

I am fascinated about Paul's imageries and metaphors that you are dealing with. And his concept of communities. Personally I feel we have yet to fully understand his concept of Christian faith communities

I like the imageries of buildings which I am sure you will be well equiped to handle, given your background in real estate.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Aaron,

3rd book still a long way....haha

It's an introductory text book replacing the existing book of the same title by Margaret Baxter.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Alex,

Thanks for wishes. Now I really wish I have more time to do more work. Anyway, this 1-month break has been really good.

L-Space? Yes - Entering it everyday! The apartment that I stay in TTC is L-shape!

The more I work on the book, the more I am fascinated at Paul's choice of imageries, the more I am amazed at him, and the more I think of how far we have failed to grasp Paul's idea of community, like what you said.

Thanks for everything!

Sze Zeng said...

Hi KY,

Nice hanging out with you during your stay in Singapore. Journey mercy and have a great post-research writing back at home. :)


blogpastor said...

It was nice to have two LKYs in Singapore for that 1 month. Trust the momentum will not be lost but continue with greater energy back in PJ. Grace upon grace.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Sze Zeng,
Same here too!

Kar Yong said...

Hi Blogpastor,

Nice to have met you too. Thanks for wishes. It's a bit hard to get the momentum going as there would be lots of work in the church and seminary waiting for me. But will surely try my best!