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Raised on Christian MilkFood and the Formation of the Soul in Early Christianity$
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John David Penniman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300222760

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300222760.001.0001

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Ruminating on Paul’s Food in the Second Century

Ruminating on Paul’s Food in the Second Century

(p.79) Three Ruminating on Paul’s Food in the Second Century
Raised on Christian Milk

John David Penniman

Yale University Press

In the second century, the apostle Paul’s legacy was far from settled. This was especially true concerning the meaning of his reference to milk and solid food in 1 Corinthians. In the contentious exegetical battles that ensued during the next generations of Jesus followers, the argument for ownership of Paul emphatically relied upon the idea that common nourishment could establish one’s kinship with the apostle and with a legitimate Christian sociality. That is to say, in the unsettled world of second-century Christianities, appeals to a shared source of milk served a strategic function, insofar as it came to authorize certain arrangements of Christian social identities and relations over and against others. So many authors reflect an urgency about solving problem of Paul’s enigmatic references to milk and solid food. Nowhere is the urgency more evident than in the writings of two very different contemporaries, Irenaeus of Lyons and Clement of Alexandria, as they sought to wrest the Pauline text away from so-called Gnostic opponents. But rather than solving the problem, Irenaeus and Clement only intensified the theological and anthropological issues generated by Paul’s troublesome categories.

Keywords:   Gnosticism, Gnosis, Ireneaus of Lyon, Clement of Alexandria, Valentinus, Catechesis, Orthodoxy, Heresy, Milk, Food

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