Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ma. Marilou Ibita's doctoral defense

Last April 26, 2012, Ma. Marilou “Malou” Ibita defended her dissertation entitled If Anyone Hungers, He/She Must Eat in the House” (1 Cor 11:34): A Narrative-Critical,  Socio- Historical and Grammatical-Philological Analysis of the Story of the Lord’s Supper in Corinth (1 Cor 11:17-34) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Reimund Bieringer.  The event was chaired by the dean of the Faculty, Prof. Dr. Lieven Boeve and the dissertation was defended in the presence of three correctors, viz. Prof. Dr. Ekaterini Tsalampouni from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Prof. Dr. David Horrell from University of Exeter, and Prof. Dr. Joseph Verheyden from KU Leuven.  Amid the downpour outside and the friendly jest of one of the jurors of not being able to take his lunch due to the “unholy” schedule of the defence, (viz. 13:30), Malou presented her dissertation, answered questions, and parried with the  jurors  with wit, confidence, and mastery.

Using a variety of methods as reflected in the title, Malou defended the hypothesis that Paul’s command in 1 Cor 11:34 (εἴ τις πεινᾷ, ἐν οἴκῳ ἐσθιέτω, ἵνα μὴ εἰς κρίμα συνέρχησθε. τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ ὡς ἂν ἔλθω διατάξομαι) can be interpreted to mean that Paul advocates a celebration where the hungry members of the Corinthian ἐκκλησία, together with the rest of the ἀδελφοί (brothers and sisters), eat a satisfying κυριακὸν δεῖπνον (bread – meal – cup) with the same food and drink at the same time and ἐν οἴκῳ  (in the house)  where  they gather (possibly in a rotating manner) in order to uphold, nurture and maintain their symbolic universe in the making that is encapsulated  in the celebration  of the Lord’s Supper.   Whereas common English translations of 1 Cor:11:34  reads “If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation” (NRSV, cf. NAB, RSV), Malou’s study has shown that a more contextually appropriate translation of 1 Cor  11:34  is “If anyone hungers,  he/she must eat in the house (i.e. in the place where the ἐκκλησία gathers as κατ᾽ οἶκον ἐκκλησίᾳ) so that when you come together [to eat the Lord’s Supper], it will not be for your condemnation.”  The number of methods that have been used to study the pericope and the total number of pages of the dissertation (around 500) reflect the thoroughness with which research on the topic has been done.
Fittingly, the defence was followed by a reception with an Eucharistic celebration and a Filipino snack afterwards.  
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