Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Future for Pauline Studies?

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Paul is Dead. Long Live Paulinism! : Imagining a Future for Pauline Studies (Cavan Concannon).
The editors of Ancient Jew Review have asked me to think about the future of Pauline studies. To pronounce the future of a field is a weighty task. To conjure the future is beyond me. What I can do is gesture towards a future, a future in which I think I could have fun studying Paul again. The future that I conjure is not a neutral one. I am a partisan in the battles over Pauline studies. My prescriptions stem from my own roots in feminist biblical criticism, though I also invoke here other pathways toward solidarities that might yet be cobbled together.

When I think of what it would take to make Pauline studies fun, I am drawn to one simple idea: we have to kill Paul. ...
That seems a bit harsh, but the rest of the essay clarifies. For example:
What might it mean to kill the presumption of Paul’s authority over moral and ethical matters and reject our collective moratorium on ethical criticism of the Pauline archive?
If we stop caring about whether Paul might undergird our ethical, political, or theological projects, I think we should also stop pretending that our historical procedures can get us back to the historical Paul.
As someone who has a mild interest in Paul and Pauline studies, but is not a specialist, I found this essay very interesting.