Is it not a sharing? A Christian Politics of Koinōnia


Frist Theater

Over the last century, the Christian church has earned a reputation for promoting moralistic individualism. Some of its most recognized leaders seem to lay a little too hard on the "thou shalts." Christians are right to be wary of such accounts. The paper to be presented shows that the Biblical tradition gives little credence to such an individualist frame. In both the Old and the New Testaments, it is communities that are condemned and redeemed. Scholars desperately need to recover this Biblical understanding of communality. The proposed paper does so by considering the way the apostle Paul uses the language of koinÅnia (κοινωνία in Greek), to emphasize that which is shared. KoinÅnia helps us to name those acts which are irreducible to their constituent parts, but in which all constituents still participate. A koinÅnic model thus better underscores how political actions can be simultaneously communal and individual.