Study Guide

Corinthians Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison names one of her characters after Paul's letter—literally. First Corinthians Dead is named when her father picks a name from the Bible at random. Thanks, Paul!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Our favorite boy wizard even quotes Paul. The inscription on James and Lily Potter's grave is from 1 Corinthians 15:26: "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." Whoa. We never knew Paul was a Death Eater.

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
When the Shylock's Jewish daughter decides to marry her Christian lover she proclaims, "I shall end this strife, become a Christian and thy loving wife." The idea, naturally, comes from Paul when he says, "The unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband" (1 Corinthians 7:14).

Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
When Hotspur's wife, Kate, openly wonders why her husband is holding out on her in bed, she's thinking of Paul, too. In 1 Corinthians 7:3, he wrote: "The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband." Whoa. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just us?

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare must really love Corinthians! Nick Bottom misquotes 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 with his comical speech: "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was."

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
As Cyrano woos Roxanne in another's place, he quotes 1 Corinthians 13:5: "Love seeketh not his own!" Want to win over a lady? Then Paul's your man.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
When Offred sees a single cushion with the word "Faith" on it, she naturally assumes that there must have been two others—"Hope" and "Charity." She's clearly got Paul on the brain. He wrote: "Now faith, hope, and [charity] abide, these three; and the greatest of these is [charity]" (1 Corinthians 13:13).

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Mrs. Who encourages Meg with some borrowed words of advice from Paul himself: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:25-27).

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Wife refers to Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 7:9: "It is better to marry than to burn." Not exactly a ringing endorsement of matrimony.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Why does Mr. Rivers tell Jane, "She could not eradicate nature: nor will it be eradicated 'till this mortal shall put on immortality?'" Because he's quoting 1 Corinthians 15:53, of course.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Chapter 38 of this classic anti-slavery story starts with Paul's words from 1 Corinthians 15:57: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory." This chapter also concludes with Tom not killing the villain of the story, which is exactly the kind of victory Paul would like.

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
The title of this 1977 science fiction novel is a reference to 1 Corinthians 13:12: "For now we see through a glass, darkly…"

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
This 1940 novel set in Regency England featured a main character trying to avoid marriage at all costs. Guess he agreed with Paul about a life of celibacy.

Pop Culture References

Wedding Crashers
Owen Wilson wins the bet and $40 bucks with this reading from 1 Corinthians 13. You don't bet against Paul.

A Walk to Remember
It's true. Everyone loves Paul. Especially a slowly-dying Mandy Moore.

The Mission
Want to hear Robert Di Nero read 1 Corinthians 13? That's a silly question—of course you do!

Speaking in Tongues by Justin Bieber
He's a Belieber! The title of this freestyle rap refers to the gift of speaking in tongues, which Paul discusses in detail in 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14.

In this 2005 movie, the Bible in Hell has five extra chapters from 1 Corinthians. It's the letter so good, even Satan didn't want it to end.

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
One of the villains in this comic book series is named the Corinthian. He's a ruthless serial killer who eats the eyes of his victims. How lovely. The origins of his name are a bit of a mystery…

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