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!