This book seeks to ground Paul's language of sin in the socio-cultural context of his original letters. T.L. Carter draws on the work of social anthropologist Mary Douglas to conduct a cross-cultural analysis of the symbolism of the power of sin in the letters, examining thoroughly Douglas' "Grid and Group" model and defending its use as a heuristic tool for New Testament scholars. He uses this model to examine the social location of Paul and the communities to which he wrote, and offers a fresh insight into key passages from 1 Corinthians, Galatians and Romans. Carter concludes that an important part of Paul's purpose was to safegaurd the position of law-free Gentile believers by redrawing social boundaries along eschatological rather than ethnic lines.