The story of Paul is one of irony, the New Testament depicting him at the martyrdom of Stephen holding the assassins' cloaks. Then this same Paul is transformed into the biblical archetype for someone suffering for their faith. He becomes so entrenched, it would appear that he had walked with the Christians all his life, that he was the one who defined the faith, eventually being called the “second founder of Christianity.” But much of what we think we "know" about Paul comes from Sunday school stories we heard as children. The stories were didactic tales meant to keep us reverent and obedient.
As adults reading the New Testament, we catch glimpses of a very different kind of disciple—a wild ascetic whom Tertullian dubbed “the second apostle of Marcion and the apostle of the heretics.” What does scholarship tell us about the enigmatic thirteenth apostle who looms larger than life in the New Testament? The epistles give evidence of having been written at the end of the first century or early in the second—too late to have been Paul’s actual writings. So who wrote (and rewrote) them? F. C. Baur, a nineteenth-century theologian, pointed persuasively to Simon Magus as the secret identity of “Paul.” Robert M. Price, in this exciting journey of discovery, gives readers the background for a story we thought we knew.
A new translation for scholars and students of biblical interpretation and ancient Christianity
The ancient writer dubbed Ambrosiaster was a pioneer in the revival of interest in the Pauline Epistles in the later fourth century. He was read by Latin writers, including Pelagius and Augustine, and his writings, passed on pseudonymously, had a long afterlife in the biblical commentaries, theological treatises, and canonical literature of the medieval and the early modern periods. In addition to his importance as an interpreter of scripture, Ambrosiaster provides unique perspectives on many facets of Christian life in Rome, from the emergence of clerical celibacy to the development of liturgical practices to the subordination of women.
An up-to-date overview of what is known about Ambrosiaster, the transmission of his commentary on the Pauline Epistles, his exegetical method, his theological orientation, and aspects of Christianity in Rome in the fourth century
A scholarly translation of the final version of the commentary, along with notes that identify significant variants from prior versions of the commentary
Bibliography thatincludes a comprehensive list of the scholarly literature on Ambrosiaster
A collection that resets the terms of interpreting the Pauline letters
Interpretation of Paul's letters often proves troubling, since people frequently cite them when debating controversial matters of gender and sexuality. Rather than focusing on the more common defensive responses to those expected prooftexts that supposedly address homosexuality, the essays in this collection reflect the range, rigor, vitality, and creativity of other interpretive options influenced by queer studies. Thus key concepts and practices for understanding these letters in terms of history, theology, empire, gender, race, and ethnicity, among others, are rethought through queer interventions within both ancient settings and more recent history and literature.
New options for how to interpret and use Paul's letters, particularly in light of their use in debates about sexuality and gender
Developing approaches in queer studies that help with understanding and using Pauline letters and interpretations differently
Key reflections on the two "clobber passages" (Rom 1:26-27 and 1 Cor 6:9) that demonstrate the relevance of a far wider range of texts throughout the Pauline corpus
A new, sociorhetorical interpretation of the Letter to Philemon
Exploring Philemon shows how this letter entered the world of the ancient Mediterranean and the early church with a dramatic and powerful rhetorical force by analyzing the range of textures interwoven with each other to produce a profound effect on an early Christian (Philemon) and on the church that met in his home. It demonstrates that many striking and subtle features work together to present a rhetorical argument that the new Christian society must be one of freedom, brotherhood, and partnership not just for the powerful, but for all.
An analysis of the visual imagery of the letter
Application of up-to-date rhetorical, sensory-aesthetic, and intertextual interpretive methods
Use of Social and cultural, ideological, and theological strategies
A multi-faceted commentary that breathes fresh insight into Paul's letter
In Second Corinthians, Paul responds to reports of the Corinthian congregation questioning his competency as a divinely sent messenger. Through apologetic demegoria and the use of graphic imagery related to triumphal processions, siege warfare, and emissary travels and negotiation, Paul defends his constancy, persona, and speaking abilities as he extends the offer of clemency and reconciliation to his auditors. Oropeza combines rhetorical pictures (rhetography) with interpretative layers (literary features, intertextuality, socio-cultural, ideological, and sacred textures) to arrive at the rhetorical impact of Paul's message for ancient Mediterranean discourse.
A visual, sensory, and imaginative interpretation of the scripture
A comprehensive commentary
An avant-garde approach to biblical interpretation
A fresh examination of early Christianity by an international team of New Testament and classical scholars
Volume 5 of The First Urban Churches investigates the urban context of Christian churches in first-century Roman Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea. Building on the methodologies introduced in the first volume and supplementing the in-depth studies of Corinth, Ephesus, and Philippi (vols. 2-4), essays in this volume challenge readers to reexamine preconceived understandings of the early church and to grapple with the meaning and context of Christianity in its first-century Roman colonial context.
Analysis of urban evidence found in inscriptions, papyri, archaeological remains, coins, and iconography
Proposed reconstructions of the past and its social, religious, and political significance
A nuanced, informed portrait of ancient urban life in the cities of the Lycus Valley
This volume offers a translation of sixteen homilies by the most famous preacher in Christian antiquity, John Chrysostom. These homilies on Paul’s letter to the Philippians constitute the most comprehensive ancient surviving commentary on the letter in any language. The homilies have a direct and conversational style in which examples from daily life abound: children, the elderly, food, agriculture, seafaring, money, commerce, building, furniture, weather, illness, good health, animals, and slavery. Friendship themes, based on Paul’s relationship with the church at Philippi, and Christology also figure largely in these homilies. This volume, with Greek text and English translation on facing pages, situates Chrysostom’s homilies on Paul’s letter to the Philippians in their historical, homiletical, rhetorical, and liturgical contexts.
Develop a keener ear for Paul’s rhetorical strategy
Patterson uses cognitive metaphor theory to trace the apostle Paul’s use of metaphors from the Jewish sacrificial system in his moral counsels to the Philippians and the Corinthians. In these letters, Paul moves from the known (the practice of sacrifice) to the unknown (how to live in accord with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ). Patterson illustrates that the significant sacrificial metaphors in 1 Corinthians and Philippians are not derived from Jewish sacrifices of atonement, but rather from the Passover and sacrifices of thanksgiving. Attention to these metaphors demonstrates that imagery drawn from these sacrifices shapes the overall moral counsel of the letters, reveals more varied and nuanced interpretations of sacrificial references in Paul’s letters, and sheds light on Paul’s continuity with Jewish cultic practice.
Clarification of the strategic function of metaphors as a means of establishing an imaginative framework for ethical deliberation
Evidence of Paul’s active processes of theological reflection
Exploration of the intertwining of Jewish cultic practice with the rhetoric of moral commitment within early Christian churches
Engage compelling arguments that challenge prominent positions in Pauline studies
In this innovative book, William E. W. Robinson takes the reader on a journey through Romans 8:1–17 using Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Conceptual Integration Theory. Robinson delineates the underlying cognitive metaphors, their structure, their function, what they mean, and how Paul’s audiences then and now are able to comprehend their meaning. He examines each metaphor in the light of relevant aspects of the Greco-Roman world and Paul’s Jewish background. Robinson contends that Paul portrays the Spirit as the principal agent in the religious-ethical life of believers. At the same time, his analysis demonstrates that the conceptual metaphors in Romans 8:1–17 convey the integral role of believers in ethical conduct. In the process, he addresses thorny theological issues such as whether Spirit and flesh signal an internal battle within believers or two conflicting ways of life. Finally, Robinson shows how this study is relevant to related Pauline passages and challenges scholars to incorporate these methods into their own investigation of biblical texts.
Sustained argument that sheds new light on how Paul communicates with his audiences
Substantial contribution to current debates about central theological concepts
Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Conceptual Integration Theory applied to the metaphors in Romans 8:1-17
This book, which grew out of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Paul and Scripture Seminar, explores some of the methodological problems that have arisen during the last few decades of scholarly research on the apostle Paul’s engagement with his ancestral Scriptures. Essays explore the historical backgrounds of Paul’s interpretive practices, the question of Paul’s “faithfulness” to the context of his biblical references, the presence of Scripture in letters other than the Hauptbriefe, and the role of Scripture in Paul’s theology. All of the essays look at old questions through new lenses in an effort to break through scholarly impasses and advance the debate in new directions. The contributors are Matthew W. Bates, Linda L. Belleville, Roy E. Ciampa, Bruce N. Fisk, Stephen E. Fowl, Leonard Greenspoon, E. Elizabeth Johnson, Mitchell M. Kim, Steve Moyise, Jeremy Punt, Christopher D. Stanley, and Jerry L. Sumney.
A new reading of Pauline theology, ethics, and eschatology grounded in social-identity theory and sociorhetorical criticism
Readers often think of Paul’s attitude toward the resurrection of the body in individual terms: a single body raised as the climax of an individual’s salvation. In Paul and the Resurrected Body: Social Identity and Ethical Practice, Matt O’Reilly makes the case that, for Paul, the social dimension of future bodily resurrection is just as important, if not more so. Through a close reading of key texts in the letters to the Corinthians, Romans, and Philippians, O’Reilly argues that resurrection is integral to Paul’s understanding of Christian social identity. In Paul’s theological reasoning, a believer’s hope for the future depends on being identified as part of the people of God who will be resurrected.
A clarification of the eschatological basis for Paul’s ethical expectations
Exploration of the social significance of Paul’s theological reasoning
An integration of ancient rhetorical theory with contemporary social-identity theory
Explore the significance of maternal metaphors in the writings of a first-century male missionary and theologian
Paul employed metaphors of childbirth or breastfeeding in four out of the seven undisputed epistles. In this book, McNeel uses cognitive metaphor theory and social identity analysis to examine the meaning and function of these maternal metaphors. She asserts that metaphors carry cognitive content and that they are central to how humans process information, construct reality, and shape group identity.
A focus on “identity” as the way in which people understand themselves in relation to one another, to society, and to those perceived as outsiders
Examination of metaphor as part of Paul’s rhetorical strategy
Integration of the work of philosopher Max Black with the work of cognitive linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
Who are the people beside Paul, and what can we know about them?
This volume brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars with a broad range of expertise and a common interest: Philippi in antiquity. Each essay engages one set of contextual particularities for Paul and the ordinary people of the Philippian assembly, while simultaneously placing them in wider settings. This 'people's history' uses both traditional and more cutting-edge methods to reconsider archaeology and architecture, economy and ethnicity, prisons and priestesses, slavery, syncretism, stereotypes of Jews, the colony of Philippi, and a range of communities. The contributors are Valerie Abrahamsen, Richard S. Ascough, Robert L. Brawley, Noelle Damico, Richard A. Horsley, Joseph A. Marchal, Mark D. Nanos, Peter Oakes, Gerardo Reyes Chavez, Angela Standhartinger, Eduard Verhoef, and Antoinette Clark Wire.
An examination of the social forms and forces that shaped and affected the Philippian church
Essays offer insight into standard questions about the letter s hymn and audience, Paul's 'opponents,' and the sites of the community and of Paul's imprisonment
A focused exploration of more marginalized topics and groups, including women, slaves, Jews, and members of localized cults
In this volume, leading scholars in the study of Romans invite students and nonspecialists to engage this text and thus come to a more complete understanding of both the letter and Paul’s theology. The contributors include interpreters with different understandings of Romans so that readers see a range of interpretations of central issues in the study of the text. Each essay includes a short review of different positions on a topic and an argument for the author’s position, set out in clear, nontechnical terms, making the volume an ideal classroom tool. The contributors are A. Andrew Das, James D. G. Dunn, Victor Paul Furnish, Joel B. Green, A. Katherine Grieb, Caroline Johnson Hodge, L. Ann Jervis, E. Elizabeth Johnson, Sylvia C. Keesmaat, Rodrigo J. Morales, Mark D. Nanos, Jerry L. Sumney, and Francis Watson.
This volume, designed for classroom use, reflects contemporary trends in the study of an important and complex biblical text. Essays address major interpretive issues and emphasize the importance of interpreting Hebrews in light of its ancient Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman contexts.
Explore the embodied foundations of Paul's resurrection ideals
It is commonly recognized that Paul's resurrection ideals are bodily ideals, though this dictum is usually configured along literal and metaphorical lines. The realism of future resurrected bodies is disconnected from the metaphoricity of bodily transformation in the present. Drawing on cognitive linguistics, this fresh and innovative study addresses this problem. By eschewing the opposition of metaphor and realism, Tappenden explores the concepts and metaphors Paul uses to fashion notions of resurrection, and the uses to which those notions are put. Rather than asserting resurrection as a disembodied, cognicentric proposition, this book illuminates the body's central role in shaping and grounding the apostle's thought and writings.
Close examination of Paul's letters within multiple, interlocking cultural contexts
Provides a novel and fresh approach to assessing (in)coherence across the undisputed letters
Addresses the materialist nature of early Christian and Judean resurrection ideals without compromising the metaphoricity of those ideals
Winner of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies 2015 F. W. Beare Award
Did Paul have formal training in Greco-Roman rhetoric, or did he learn what he knew of persuasion informally, as social practice? Pauline scholars recognize the importance of this question both for determining Paul’s social status and for conceptualizing the nature of his letters, but they have been unable to reach a consensus. Using 2 Corinthians 10–13 as a test case, Ryan Schellenberg undertakes a set of comparisons with non-Western speakers—most compellingly, the Seneca orator Red Jacket—to demonstrate that the rhetorical strategies Paul employs in this text are also attested in speakers known to have had no formal training in Greco-Roman rhetoric. Since there are no specific indicators of formal training in the way Paul uses these strategies, their appearance in his letters does not constitute evidence that Paul received formal rhetorical education.
Explore Romans 4 from a sociorhetorical perspective
Andrew Kimseng Tan examines Romans using sociorhetorical interpretation to determine how Paul attempted to alleviate dissension between Judean (or “Jewish”) and non-Judean (or “gentile”) Christians. Through his analysis of Paul’s rhetoric, Tan reveals that Paul used Abraham’s faith in Genesis to demonstrate that the both groups were equally children and heirs of Abraham whose acceptance by God was through the same kind of faith that Abraham possessed, not through the Mosaic law, which Judean Christians claimed gave them a special honored status with God.
A model for the application of sociorhetorical interpretation for analyzing close readings of biblical texts
A demonstration of the persuasive power of Romans 4 through the use of sociorhetorical interpretation
Exploration of the relationships between important theological topics such as resurrection, the Mosaic law, the Holy Spirit, righteousness, ethical living, and eschatological salvation
Robert H. von Thaden Jr.'s sociorhetorical analysis examines Paul's construction of sexual Christian bodies in First Corinthians by utilizing new insights from conceptual integration (blending) theory about the embodied processes of meaning making. Paul's teaching about proper sexual behavior in this letter is best viewed as an example of early Christian wisdom discourse. This discourse draws upon apocalyptic and priestly cognitive frames to increase the rhetorical force of the argument. Reading Paul's argument through the lens of rhetorical invention, von Thaden demonstrates that Paul first attempts to show the Corinthians why sexual immorality is the worst of all bodily sins before shifting rhetorical focus to explain to them how they can best avoid this infraction against the body of Christ.
A programmatic application of conceptual integration theory using a sociorhetorical mode of interpretation
A vivid account of key aspects of conceptual integration theory and how they function in sociorhetorical interpretation
A detailed application of these strategies to interpret 1 Corinthians 1-4; 6:12-7:7
A new reading that troubles and transgresses the normal with regard to biblical studies and our understandings of gender and sexuality
Despite its lack of both historical and exegetical clarity, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 has often been fundamental to understandings of gender and sexuality in many Christian traditions. In particular, a hierarchical model of gender and a heterosexual model of sexuality tend to dominate and are presented as “natural” and “God-ordained.” With the materialist lesbian theory of Monique Wittig providing the theoretical basis for discussion, this book intersects various biblical, theological, and queer lines of inquiry across 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 in order to reveal and challenge these models of gender and sexuality that lie behind both the text itself and its various interpretations.
Reveals the complex relationship between effeminacy, masculinity and sexual relations in the first century Greco-Roman environment of the New Testament
Explores the ideologies of sexuality that underlie much of the debate within evangelical circles
Examines Karl Barth’s theology on the binary pairing of “man and woman” as asymmetrically related to each other and to God through the notion of the imago dei, revealing and challenging the ways in which this reflects androcentric and patriarchal ideologies
A fresh look at the development of Paul’s argument in Romans
The Greek word gar occurs 144 times in Romans and 1,041 times in the entire New Testament. However, many instances of this connective defy easy definition, and the English translation for is often inadequate, obscuring the clue that gar gives to the direction of the communicator’s thought. In this ground-breaking work, Sarah H. Casson argues that gar offers vital guidance to the coherence of Romans. The book applies the cognitive approach of relevance theory to show how garfunctions as an indispensable guide for tracing the significant points of Paul’s argument, helping resolve questions about the coherence of sections, as well as smaller-scale exegetical problems. The work engages with key debates regarding the purpose of Romans and challenges some recent influential interpretations.
An exegetically useful understanding of the connective gar
A new method for determining Paul’s audience and reason for writing
A challenge to recent key debates and influential interpretations of the purpose of Romans