New Testament Studies

Domestic Space and Christian Meetings at Corinth: Imagining New Contexts and the Buildings East of the Theatre a

a1 Department of Theology, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QH, UK

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horrell d   [Google Scholar] 


Most scholars who have tried to understand the divisions that arose at the Lord's Supper in Corinth in the light of their concrete domestic setting have done so with regard to the physical structure of the Roman villa, with its triclinium, atrium, etc., often following the work of Jerome Murphy-O'Connor. However, there are a number of reasons, related both to the nature of the archaeological evidence and to the likely socio-economic level of the Corinthian Christians, why such a setting is far less plausible than is generally thought. Certainly, other possible kinds of domestic space should also be carefully considered. The excavations east of the theatre at Corinth carried out during the 1980s provide just one case study of a different kind of domestic space, which, it is argued, offers a more plausible background.


a A revised version of a paper presented to the SNTS meeting in Bonn on 1 August 2003. The initial research for this paper was carried out during a visit to Corinth with Edward Adams in March 2001 supported by a Small Research Grant from the British Academy. I am most grateful to the Academy for their support, and to the staff of the Corinth Excavations, especially the Director, Guy Sanders, and Assistant Director, Nancy Bookides, for their hospitality and assistance. I would also like to thank Mary Walbank for her most helpful comments on an early version of this paper, and Peter Lampe for the opportunity to discuss the paper in his Heidelberg Oberseminar. Further research and writing was undertaken during a period of research leave spent at the University of Heidelberg; for that opportunity I express my thanks to the Universities of Exeter and Heidelberg, to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and especially to my Gastgeber, Gerd Theissen.