ABSTRACT

Within the recovery of virtue among theological ethicists, few concepts have proved as fruitful as that of practices. In this essay, I outline my view of formative practices as telos-shaped, embodied, social actions that carry an embedded intention to shape the character of the individual practitioner, the politics of the community, and the world “out there.” I will then argue that this theory of formative practices provides a useful heuristic to illuminate the way Paul understands the Lord's Supper in 1 Cor 11:17–34. Indeed, not only does formative-practice theory make clear certain aspects of Paul's view of the Supper but it also helps to solve the riddle how to understand Paul's apparent “compromise” with the “haves” in v. 34 just after his stinging critique of their shaming the “have nots” in v. 22.

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