Given what I've read on the historical context of Corinth in the first century CE, it seems likely that the audience of Paul's epistle known as 1 Corinthians1 are Gentile Christians in Corinth.
However, Philo notes that there was a sizable Jewish population in Corinth2 (but this does not necessarily mean that many of them became followers of Jesus after hearing Paul's message). Also, if the account of Acts is historical,3 particularly chapter 18, then likely there were not many Jewish adherents of Christianity in Corinth.
With the audience in mind, how should ἔθνος be translated in 1 Corinthians, particularly in 5:1?
Ὅλως ἀκούεται ἐν ὑμῖν πορνεία, καὶ τοιαύτη πορνεία ἥτις οὐδὲ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, ὥστε γυναῖκά τινα τοῦ πατρὸς ἔχειν (emphasis mine).
Many translations here have "Gentiles", but if the audience is largely Gentile Christians, would this be better translated "pagans" (or something else)? Or is this a shift in the letter where Jewish Christians are being addressed in 5ff?
Also, note that some scholars have suggested there are as many as three letters concatenated in this epistle. However, there seems stronger support for unity from what I've read (but this may be relevant).
NOTE: A good answer to this question will address both sub-questions:
- Who is the intended audience of 1 Corinthians?
- How should ἔθνος be translated in 5:1 (and throughout the remainder of the epistle in general)?
1 Paul references a previous letter in 1 Corinthians 5:9, which indicates this is not truly the first letter sent to Corinth.
2 Philo, De Legatione ad Caium (On the Embassy to Gaius) XXXVI, 281ff. Read on CCEL.
3 The historical reliability of Acts is questionable given its disparities with Paul's own accounts of his ministry (compare Galatians 2 & Acts 9ff for example).
This question stems from a comment on an answer to another question.