This article argues that, though it cannot be doubted that there is a subversive quality to Paul’s letters, attempts to identify subversive subtexts have failed due to their preoccupation with what is deemed inherently subversive vocabulary. A better approach to grounding Paul’s anti-imperial theology is to recognize that he affirmed the subversive late Second temple Jewish-apocalyptic, and particularly Danielic, narrative that viewed Rome as final earthly kingdom that will be destroyed by the coming of God’s kingdom.
Recent research in the school papyri of Egypt, especially Oxyrhychus, has illuminated our understanding of the pedagogical process in the Greco-Roman world. Particularly interesting in this respect is the acquisition and social function of grapho-literacy (i.e., the ability to compose writing). Since few were literate, and of those few, fewer could read than could write, understanding how one gained grapho-literacy, who gained grapho-literacy, and how that literacy was employed in day to day life shines new light on passages such as 1 Cor 16,21, Gal 6,11, Col 4,18, 2 Thess 3,17, and Phlm 19. In these passages, Paul draws attention
to the fact that he has personally written in the text. This paper will argue that these passages are not merely interesting asides, but rather significantly heighten the
rhetorical force of the text. They draw attention not only to Paul’s grapho-literacy, but also to his ability to avoid using it.
Rm 13,1-7 has been interpreted in many different ways, often incompatible. This article is an attempt to show that this passage cannot be understood without its immediate context and also that its aim is neither to work out a political doctrine,
nor to ground the legitimacy of political power; nor does Paul push Christians to influence political life, but he urges them to overcome a possible attitude of fear and implicitly to extend their agape to all human beings. In doing so he innovates.
Although the baptism of the Ethiopian is merely a baptism with water he can continue on his way to the south to await the power of the Holy Spirit at the ends of the earth. This return to Ethiopia is quasi a converse pilgrimage of the nations.
The new dispersion of the Jews among the nations is opposed to the OT prophecy of an assemblage on the Zion. Paul has to be converted to this new understanding of diaspora. He abandons the idea of an assemblage of captured Christians in Jerusalem and goes himself as a captive into exile. With his arrival in Rome a new Babylonian captivity of salvation is realized.
After having shown that Gal 5,13-25 forms a rhetorical and semantic unit, the article examines Gal 5,17, a crux interpretum, and proves that the most plausible reading is this one: 'For the flesh desires against the Spirit — but the Spirit desires against the flesh, for those [powers] fight each other — to prevent you from doing those things you would', and draws its soteriological consequences.
Acts 14:1-27 continues the story of the mission of Paul and Barnabas among the Gentiles, illustrating what happened when they had decided to turn from the Jews (cf. 13.46-47) to devote their attention to the Gentiles. Following an account of Paul's initial struggle with this decision, brought out more clearly in Codex Bezae, Luke describes the mitigated success of his first deliberate attempts to talk with the Gentiles about the gospel. The establishment of the first churches as a result of the missionary work of Paul and Barnabas is described as the passage concludes by bringing the missionaries back to Antioch of Syria, where Luke is careful to maintain the focus on the Gentiles.
Chains or bonds are a standard feature of representations of Paul in early Christianity. In the narrative of Acts 21–28 they appear to be an element of literary iconography employed by 'Luke the painter'. This iconography begins with Paul himself, who interpreted his bonds as worn 'in Christ' (Phil 1,13) and himself as 'prisoner of Christ Jesus' (Phlm 1.9). The Deutero-Pauline Epistles follow suit: In Colossians and Ephesians the bonds appear as the iconographical attribute, while in 2 Timothy they are perceived and tackled as a problem. In any event, Paul is remembered as the Apostle in fetters.
The question of Paul's prophet-like apostolate has gained renewed interest due to the "Radical New Perspective", claiming that Paul remained fully within the confines of his Jewish identity. His prophetic call to become an apostle (Galatians 1) serves to substantiate that. The only new thing is that Paul came to a new understanding of the time, i.e. the time for the ingathering of the Gentiles had arrived (Pamela Eisenbaum). The present article argues that the prophetic model is not sufficient to explain how the Damascus event influenced the apostle's theology and mission. This event initiated a process of "slow conversion" as well.
Paul's testimony of his post-conversion experience in Galatians—the only place in the New Testament this is found—is the starting point for the rest of his polemic against his opponents who avert the gospel he first taught his readers. What is interesting is that he highlights or emphasizes certain portions of his testimony, using the linguistic method of prominence. As others have written already, prominence in Hellenistic Greek is conveyed in many ways, but one major way is by the writer's choice of verbal aspect. By first identifying a theory of prominence in the Greek of the New Testament, the paper then applies that theory to Gal 1:11–2:10 to discover that Paul emphasizes preaching and gospel related items in his testimony.
In the text of Acts according to Codex Bezae, a fourth and final part of the book begins at 18.24. It is Paul’s ultimate goal of Rome that separates it from the earlier missionary phases and confers unity on the remainder of the book. In this opening section (Section I), his activity will be centred for three years in Ephesus, the main city of Asia, where he will meet with some success despite hostility from some of the Jews. In his dealings with the Gentiles, opposition will also be encountered because of the threat posed by his teachings to the trade of the city. The Bezan narrator indicates plainly that Paul’s travel to Ephesus should have been the initial stage of his journey to the imperial capital. Additional references in Codex Bezae to the directions given to Paul by the Holy Spirit make clear that his visit had been prepared for by the work of Apollos; however, it was contrary to his own intentions, which were rather to go back to Jerusalem. The struggle against the divine leading is seen as Paul terminates his stay in Asia once he has carefully prepared for his return to Jerusalem.