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St. Paul among the Philosophers

Edited by John D. Caputo and Linda Martín Alcoff

Publication Year: 2009

In his epistles, St. Paul sounded a universalism that has recently been taken up by secular philosophers who do not share his belief in Christ, but who regard his project as centrally important for contemporary political life. The Pauline project -- as they see it -- is the universality of truth, the conviction that what is true is true for everyone, and that the truth should be known by everyone. In this volume, eminent New Testament scholars, historians, and philosophers debate whether Paul's promise can be fulfilled. Is the proper work of reading Paul to reconstruct what he said to his audiences? Is it crucial to retrieve the sense of history from the text? What are the philosophical undercurrents of Paul's message? This scholarly dialogue ushers in a new generation of Pauline studies.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

The editors wish to acknowledge the support of Cathryn R. Newton, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University (2000–2008), for her generous support and leadership in making possible a series of conferences entitled Postmodernism, Culture and Religion, the first of which, St. Paul Among the Philosophers, ...

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Introduction Postcards from Paul: Subtraction versus Grafting

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pp. 1-24

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female” (Gal 3:28). As Paula Fredriksen says in the roundtable included in this volume, that is a great sound bite. That is exactly what we want St. Paul to say, we being contemporary democratic, fair-minded pluralists. ...

One: Paul among the Philosophers

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pp. 25

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1 St. Paul, Founder of the Universal Subject

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pp. 27-38

But each identification, whether a creation or a contrived fabrication of identity, creates a figure which becomes the material for its being invested by homogenization. The semblant of a non-equivalence is necessary for equivalence to be itself a process of identity. This leads us to a major correlation: any construction of identity is destructive. ...

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2 From Job to Christ: A Paulinian Reading of Chesterton

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pp. 39-58

The standard notion that Paul created Christianity as we know it is fully justified: it was Paul who shifted the center from Christ’s acts and teachings to the redemptive quality of his death. Today, two thousand years later, this death of God is still an enigma: how to read it outside the pagan-mythic topic of divine sacrifice ...

Two: Paul between Jews and Christians

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pp. 59

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3 Historical Integrity, Interpretive Freedom: The Philosopher’s Paul and the Problem of Anachronism

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pp. 61-73

In 1583, Matteo Ricci entered China. Trained in philology, philosophy, and rhetoric by Jesuits in Rome, gifted at languages, Ricci was uniquely suited to his mission: to bring the heathen Chinese into the Church. Once he finally held in his hands the religious literature of this foreign culture, however, he made a surprising discovery. ...

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4 Paul between Judaism and Hellenism

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pp. 74-90

The problem of interpretation is in part the problem of context: in the light of what views, events, and social structures shall we read X? The historian begins with the basic commitment either to read X in light of X’s own day or to determine how X was understood during some subsequent period. ...

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5 The Promise of Teleology, the Constraints of Epistemology, and Universal Vision in Paul

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pp. 91-108

After all these years of running from The Universal, should we now be embracing it? After learning so well to deconstruct so many statements claiming to represent Universal Truth, should we be putting other universal truths in their place? It has been shown, at least to the satisfaction of many of us, that all statements of universal truth ...

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6 Paul among the Antiphilosophers; or, Saul among the Sophists

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pp. 109-141

This is not the place (nor do I wish) to defend my reading of Paul.5 Of course, Dawson is exactly right: my project is to read Paul at his theoretically most accessible and thus make sense of the implications of his texts for those who “refuse to entertain as a real possibility the very conclusion that [Paul’s] argument advances.” ...

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7 Paul’s Notion of Dunamis: Between the Possible and the Impossible

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pp. 142-159

Paul’s writings on divine dunamis draw from the biblical message that what is impossible for us is possible for God. In various letters to the Corinthians and Romans, Paul invokes the transformative character of the possibilizing power of the Spirit (dunamis pneumatos). The radical nature of this message, I submit, ...

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8 Concluding Roundtable: St. Paul among the Historians and the Systematizers

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pp. 160-184

Linda Mart

List of Contributors

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pp. 185-186


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pp. 187-195

E-ISBN-13: 9780253003638
E-ISBN-10: 0253003636
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253353177

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion