Is it responsible for any New Testament scholar, in the context of a scholarly study of the Christianity at Corinth, to describe those with whom Paul is in conflict as promulgating 'deviations and perversions'?
Those words belong to C. K. Barrett from his 1963 Manson Memorial Lecture at the University of Manchester. He goes on 'no wonder that the city could add to its trade fairs as fine an exhibition of Christian deviation as was to be seen anywhere in the world.'
Now I am in favour of 'committed' readings of NT texts, and want to include space for the appropriate recognition and expression of theological commitments in the interpretative process. Nevertheless, the language used by Barrett makes me feel distinctly uncomfortable. What about you?
Oh, and apologies to James for shamelessly using his name to secure a greater number of hits for this post.