Introduction: "Know yourself" -- The revelation of God's wisdom -- Credo ut intellegam -- Intellego ut credam -- The relationship between faith and reason -- The interventions of the Magisterium in philosophical matters -- The interaction between philosophy and theology -- Current requirements and tasks -- Conclusion.
Apparent tensions, even contradictions, within the letters of Paul have led some to abandon the attempt to find coherence in his theology, and others to locate it in his psychological make-up lather than his thought, neither solution represents an adequate response to the apostle's theological reflections.
This article aims to apply the model of change agent to the interpretation of Colossians. Presuming a continuity between Jesus and Paul, the article introduces the concept of ‘by faith alone’ from the Pauline letters. By this expression is meant an undivided fidelity to an inclusive approach to understanding God’s work, with concrete historical roots in Jesus’ crossing of gender, ethnic and cultural boundaries. Living in this manner requires reformation, transformation and change. The study spells out in fuller (...) detail what is understood ‘by faith alone’ by discussing the meaning of ‘faith’ within its semantic domain embedded in the codes of 1st-century Mediterranean culture. Living in faith is both a change of one’s inner convictions and about a life in faith. (shrink)
Nihilism, for Nietzsche, is the nothing that results from the devaluation of the highest values. There is widespread agreement with Nietzsche’s claim that the apostle Paul was the great devaluer of the values of the ancient world, even to the extent of breaking the history of the world in two. Yet the mode of Paul’s devaluating nihilism is contested. Using Nietzsche’s three types of nihilist, I frame this debate over Paul as giving us, respectively, Paul the (...) reactive nihilist , Paul the active nihilist and Paul the overman . I then read Agamben’s messianic Paul as a way to avoid the problem of nihilism tout court, which the two earlier accounts, despite releasing Paul from Nietzsche’s charge of passive nihilism, do not. I finish by arguing that while Agamben’s construction of the Pauline messianic vocation does indeed break with Nietzsche’s categories of nihilism, nihilism remains necessary to a genealogy of both Paul’s and Agamben’s messianism. (shrink)
According to Giorgio Agamben, the messianic thinking of Saint Paul opens a new way of understanding our human existence. Paul’s ho nyn kairos or ‘the time of the now’ is a specific experience of time in which new possibilities of conceiving human lifeare unfolded. Agamben furthermore argues that we should not interpret the Pauline letters as testimonies of the past, but rather as texts that point to a radical contemporary experience. In this article, this radical actualisation of (...) the Pauline heritage is analyzed. It is argued that Agamben infuses Pauline thinking in his own understanding of contemporary political life. By applying a methodology of displacement to both the contemporary experience of human political life and the past messianic experience of Pauline community, a new interpretation of the human form of life is introduced by Agamben. This new form of life testifies of a non-representable human residue beyond every possible political representational act. This human residue is according to Agamben the true ‘subject’ of a new political ethos. In his philosophical thinking, Paul’s ‘time of the now’ thereby becomes a messianic possibility of our own ‘present’ or our own current historical moment. (shrink)
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 (...) class='Hi'>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. (shrink)
This paper interrogates some prominent post-Marxist engagements with St Paul’s messianism by reading them in the theological context of the anti-historicist revival of Pauline eschatology in the twentieth century. In both readings, the means through which the critique of historicism is delivered is the revival of the eschatological core of Paul’s proclamation. Paul is read as inaugurating a “new world” of freedom, love and redemptive hope as opposed to the “old world” of oppression, sorrow, death and (...) despair. And yet, it is exactly in such an apocalyptic reading of Pauline eschatology that both philosophical and theological critiques of historicism, despite protestations to the contrary, remain prisoners to the aporias of a historicist temporality. The symptom of the philosophers’ residual parasitism on historicism is expressed as antinomian negativism, while in the case of the theologians it can take the form of a self-assured Church triumphalism. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe remarkable philosophical present-day turn to Paul pays a lot of attention to the particular role played by the famous distinctions that structure Paul’s rhetoric such as the distinction between faith and law, life and death, and spirit and flesh. These distinctions lead to the question of whether Paul endorses a dualism or not. In this essay, the author investigates Badiou’s and Agamben’s readings of Paul and asks whether one cannot find a form of dialectics rather (...) than dualism in these readings. The concept of the exception seems to corroborate this suggestion. To examine whether this suggestion makes sense, the author first discusses Badiou’s focus on the antidialectics of death and resurrection as well as the dialectical remnants in Badiou’s reading of Paul. Subsequently, the author analyses Agamben’s dialectical account of the Pauline terms katargein, chrēsis and charis. (shrink)
Où en sont les études pauliniennes ? Après avoir examiné quelques-unes de leurs caractéristiques , l'article s'attarde sur quelques chantiers en pleine évolution : le rapport de Paul au judaïsme et à Israël, la doctrine paulinienne de la justification par la foi, qui reste encore un des principaux sinon le centre d'intérêt majeur des recherches actuelles. Si les anciens paradigmes se sont effondrés, on ne peut dire qu'un nouveau se soit vraiment imposé, l'éventail des positions restant toujours assez contrasté. (...) La présentation finit avec une brève question sur le futur de l'exégèse paulinienne dite scientifique.What is happening with Pauline studies ? After examining some of their characteristics The relationship of Paul to Judaism and Israel, , the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith, which still remains one of the principle, if not the center of major interest in present research. If the old paradigms have collapsed, one cannot say that a new one has really been put in place since the spread of positions still remains rather disparate. The presentation finishes with a brief question about the future of Pauline exegesis, called scientific. (shrink)
ZusammenfassungDargestellt und geprüft wird Paul Tillichs Anspruch, die reformatorische Rechtfertigungslehre im neuzeitlichen Horizont zur Geltung zu bringen. In diesem Rahmen werden die Grundzüge der Theologie Tillichs kritisch dargestellt. Es zeigt sich, dass Tillich für seinen Versuch, die paulinisch-reformatorische Rechtfertigungslehre im Kontext der Neuzeit zur Geltung zu bringen, den Preis einer Entgegenständlichung des Gegenstandes der Theologie zahlt.SummaryThis article offers an assessment of Paul Tillich's claim to offer a restatement of the Reformers' doctrine of justification in the horizon of modernity. (...) This provides the framework for a critical reconstruction of the fundamental structures of Tillich's theology. For his attempt at restating the Pauline doctrine of justification in the interpretation of the Reformation – this is the result of the critical examination – Tillich pays the price of losing the subject-matter of theology. (shrink)
À partir des années 1980, une nouvelle perspective s'est dégagée dans les études pauliniennes à partir surtout de la notion de "nomisme de l'alliance" (covenantal nomism) proposéee par Ed Parish Sanders. Cet article passe en revue la discussion suscitée par cette nouvelle perspective. Il conclut que les judaïsants se sont égarés, selon Paul, en faisant de la Loi une condition d'entrée dans l'alliance pour les païens. Cela revenait à désarticuler la juste balance entre les sources du salut en occultant (...) l'initiative de Dieu, son don gratuit. Pour sauvegarder celle-ci, Paul insiste sur la foi en Jésus Christ comme source de justification pour tous. Dans l'Évangile paulinien, comme dans le nomisme de l'alliance, la Loi ne constitue pas une condition d'entrée dans l'alliance. Elle joue un rôle important, mais en restant seconde comme réponse au don divin. Si tel n'était plus le cas, cela reviendrait à faire passer la grâce divine au second plan. / From 1980 onwards a new perspective has appeared in Pauline studies especially on the basis of the notion of covenantal nomism proposed by Ed Parish Sanders. This article reviews the discussion generated by this new perspective. It comes to the conclusion that, according to Paul, the Judaizers have gone astray by making the Law a condition for the pagans' entry into the covenant. This amounts to dislocating the correct balance between the sources of salvation by obscuring God's initiative, his free gift. In order to preserve this gift, Paul insists on the faith in Jesus Christ as the source of justification for all. In the Pauline Gospel, as in covenantal nomism, the Law does not constitute a condition for entry into the covenant; it plays an important role, but remains in second position as a response to the divine gift. If this were not the case, it would amount to relegating divine grace to a second level. (shrink)
C’est avant tout comme théologien que Paul est lu par les Pères grecs. La réception des épîtres dans les premiers siècles montre comment les premiers lecteurs de Paul hiérarchisaient eux-mêmes les textes et leurs données, même s’il n’y a pas consensus, d’autant plus que les lectures d’une même épître peuvent diverger. Cependant l’émergence est encore timide au milieu du IIe siècle, ce qui ne peut que valoriser le « tournant irénéen », Irénée étant le premier à présenter une (...) réception globale du corpus paulinien. Puis s’impose Origène et d’abord avec son attention à l’ensemble de l’Ecriture, en raison aussi de ses commentaires des épîtres de Paul, en particulier de l’épître aux Romains. Avec lui, le corpus paulinien est, - et sera de plus en plus après lui -, la source par excellence de la dogmatique chrétienne. Reste la question de savoir si cette manière dogmatique de comprendre la pensée de Paul ne l’a pas déformée en même temps qu’elle la mettait au premier plan.The Greek Fathers read Paul above all as a theologian. The reception of the epistles in the first centuries shows how Paul’s first readers themselves graded the texts and their themes, even if there was not a consensus, given that the readers of the same epistle could differ. The emergence, nevertheless, was still timid in the middle of the second century, which could only valorize the “Irenaean bent,” since Irenaeus was the first to present a global reception of the Pauline corpus. Then Origin imposed himself, first by paying attention to the whole of Scripture, and also because of his commentaries on Paul’s epistles, in particular the epistle to the Romans. With him, the Pauline corpus is -- and will be more and more after him -- the source par excellence of Christian dogma. The question remains as to whether this dogmatic manner of understanding the thought of Paul did not deform it at the same time that it put it in the forefront. (shrink)
L'interprétation de l'eschatologie paulinienne est dominée par la question de son rapport avec l'apocalyptique juive. Les points communs, soulignés par J.C. Beker à la suite de E. Käsemann, ne sont pas contestables, mais ne doivent pas occulter des différences notables, qui tiennent à la prééminence du Christ dans la vision paulinienne des événements de la fin. Ni l'attente ni le retard de la parousie ne semblent avoir eu, quoi qu'on en dise, d'influence décisive sur la pensée de l'Apôtre, mais bien (...) plutôt la réconciliation avec Dieu par la Croix et l'inauguration d'une humanité nouvelle dans la résurrection du Christ.Les lettres deutéropauliniennes ne rnodifient pas fondamentalement cette eschatologie, si ce n'est qu'elles accentuent encore l'emprise de la christologie sur la vision de la fin : à ceux qui attendent les ascensions célestes promises par la littérature apocalyptique, Paul répond qu'ils possèdent déjà leur être ressuscité avec le Christ, qui trône bien au-dessus de tous les être célestes. Ses idées sur le jugement dernier et la rétribution finale sont parfois dépendantes de celles du judaïsme, souvent imprécises et limitées, mais c'est toujours sa connaissance du Ressuscité, second Adam, qui conduit sa réflexion et l'aide à déchiffrer le destin final de l'humanité dans le Christ. The interpretation of pauline eschatology is dominated by the question of its rapport with Jewish apocalypse. The common points, underlined by J.C. Beker following E. Käsemann, cannot be contested, but should not hide the notable differences, which are based on the pre-eminence of Christ in the Pauline vision of the final events. Neither the expectation nor the delay of the Parousia does not seem to have had, despite what is said, a decisive influence on the Apostle’s thinking. He was concerned more about reconciliation with God through the cross and the inauguration of a new humanity by the resurrection of Christ.The deuteropauline letters do not fundamentally modify this eschatology, except in so far as they accentuate the dominance of Christology on the vision of the end. For those who await the celestial ascensions promised by apocalyptic literature, Paul answers that they already possess their resurrected being with Christ, who sits well above are celestial beings. These ideas on the Last Judgement and the final retribution are sometimes dependent on those of Judaism, often imprecise and limited, but it is always Paul's knowledge of the Resurrected, the second Adam, which directs his reflection and helps to decipher the final destiny of humanity in Christ. (shrink)
Abed Azzam offers a fresh interpretation of Nietzsche's engagement with the work of Paul the Apostle, reorienting the relationship between the two thinkers while embedding modern philosophy within early Christian theology. Paying careful attention to Nietzsche's dialectics, Azzam situates the philosopher's thought within the history of Christianity, specifically the Pauline dialectics of law and faith, and reveals how atheism is constructed in relation to Christianity. Countering Heidegger's characterization of Nietzsche as an anti-Platonist, Azzam brings the philosopher closer to (...)Paul through a radical rereading of his entire corpus against Christianity. This approach builds a compelling new history of the West resting on a logic of sublimation, from ancient Greece and early Judaism to the death of God. Azzam discovers in Nietzsche's philosophy a solid, tangible Pauline structure and virtual, fragile Greek content, positioning the thinker as a forerunner of the recent "return to Paul" led by Badiou, Agamben, iek, and Breton. By changing the focus of modern philosophical inquiry from "Nietzsche and philosophy" to "Nietzsche and Christianity," Azzam initiates a major challenge to the primacy of Plato in the history of Western philosophy and narrow certainties regarding Nietzsche's relationship to Christian thought. (shrink)
Nietzsche and Freud saw Christianity as metaphysical escapism, with Nietzsche calling the religion a "Platonism for the masses" and faulting Paul the apostle for negating more immanent, material modes of thought and political solidarity. Integrating this debate with the philosophies of difference espoused by Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ward Blanton argues that genealogical interventions into the political economies of Western cultural memory do not go far enough in relation to the imagined (...) founder of Christianity. Blanton challenges the idea of Paulinism as a pop Platonic worldview or form of social control. He unearths in Pauline legacies otherwise repressed resources for new materialist spiritualities and new forms of radical political solidarity, liberating "religion" from inherited interpretive assumptions so philosophical thought can manifest in risky, radical freedom. (shrink)
The apostle Paul deals extensively with gender, embodiment, and desire in his authentic letters, yet many of the contemporary philosophers interested in his work downplay these aspects of his thought. _Christ Without Adam_ is the first book to examine the role of gender and sexuality in the turn to the apostle Paul in recent Continental philosophy. It builds a constructive proposal for embodied Christian theological anthropology in conversation with--and in contrast to--the "Paulinisms" of Stanislas Breton, Alain Badiou, and (...) Slavoj iek. Paul's letters bequeathed a crucial anthropological aporia to the history of Christian thought, insofar as the apostle sought to situate embodied human beings typologically with reference to Adam and Christ, but failed to work out the place of sexual difference within this classification. As a result, the space between Adam and Christ has functioned historically as a conceptual and temporal interval in which Christian anthropology poses and re-poses theological dilemmas of embodied difference. This study follows the ways in which the appropriations of Paul by Breton, Badiou, and iek have either sidestepped or collapsed this interval, a crucial component in their articulations of a universal Pauline subject. As a result, sexual difference fails to materialize in their readings as a problem with any explicit force. Against these readings, Dunning asserts the importance of the Pauline Adam-Christ typology, not as a straightforward resource but as a witness to a certain necessary failure--the failure of the Christian tradition to resolve embodied difference without remainder. This failure, he argues, is constructive in that it reveals the instability of sexual difference, both masculine and feminine, within an anthropological paradigm that claims to be universal yet is still predicated on male bodies. (shrink)
This book presents an innovative challenge to the traditional reading of Paul. Troels Engberg-Pedersen argues that the usual, mainly cognitive and metaphorical ways of understanding central Pauline concepts must be supplemented by a literal understanding that directly reflects Paul's materialist cosmology.
The reception and interpretation of the writings of St Paul in the early modern period forms the subject of this volume. Written by experts in the field, the articles offer a critical overview of current research, and introduce the major themes in Pauline interpretation in the Reformation.
This highly original interpretation of Paul by the Jewish philosopher of religion Jacob Taubes was presented in a number of lectures held in Heidelberg toward the end of his life, and was regarded by him as his “spiritual testament.” Taubes engages with classic Paul commentators, including Karl Barth, but also situates the Pauline text in the context of Freud, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Adorno, Scholem, and Rosenzweig. In his distinctive argument for the apocalyptic-revolutionary potential of Romans, Taubes also takes (...) issue with the “political theology” advanced by the conservative Catholic jurist Carl Schmitt. Taubes’s reading has been crucial for a number of interpretations of political theology and of Paul—including those of Jan Assmann and Giorgio Agamben—and it belongs to a wave of fresh considerations of Paul’s legacy. Finally, Taubes’s far-ranging lectures provide important insights into the singular experiences and views of this unconventional Jewish intellectual living in post-Holocaust Germany. (shrink)
Taubes, Badiou, Agamben, iek, Reinhard, and Santner have found in the Apostle Paul's emphasis on neighbor-love a positive paradigm for politics. By thoroughly reexamining Pauline eschatology, L. L. Welborn suggests that neighbor-love depends upon an orientation toward the messianic event, which Paul describes as the "now time" and which he imagines as "awakening." Welborn compares the Pauline dialectic of awakening to attempts by Hellenistic philosophers to rouse their contemporaries from moral lethargy and to the Marxist idea (...) of class consciousness, emphasizing the apostle's radical spirit and moral relevance. (shrink)
Anticipating Mikhail Bakhtin’s appreciation for the unfinalizability of Fedor Dostoevskij’s universe, prominent Protestant theologian Karl Barth celebrates the Russian novelist’s presentation of “the impenetrable ambiguity of human life” characteristic of both the ending of Dostoevsky’s novels and Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Barth’s unique reading of The Brothers Karamazov not only demonstrates the barrenness of the “theocratic dream” but also complements Bakhtin’s discussion of polyphony with an explicitly theological dimension by focusing on the dialogue between Creator and the created. (...) Dostoevsky’s prophetic voice provides Barth with a poetic expression of the divine command that highlights the ethical dimension inherent in every theological choice. (shrink)
Paul's commanding place in the development of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is due to the fact and the way that he took the notions of Holy Spirit in his religious heritage and rendered them distinctively Christian.
This article studies the issue of natural knowledge of God in the Bible verses which speak most explicitly about it: Romans 1,18-32. 'Natural knowledge' means here knowledge accessible to all men by virtue of their innate forces, possible even for those who have not partaken in the biblical revelalion. St. Paul's passage is compared with Wisdom 13-15, which shares many doctrinal points with it. The Pauline discourse, though inserted into a theological reasoning within the perspective of faith, represents (...) a truly philosophical discussion for the social context in which it occurs. St. Paul presents his approach to God's reality with rational consistence, by emphasizing the central role of human freedom in this itinerary. (shrink)