When seeking to understand what Paul and his coworkers were trying to accomplish, it is no longer possible to ignore Graeco-Roman cultural, economic, political, and religious beliefs and practices. Nor can one ignore the ways in which colonized and vanquished peoples adopted, developed, subverted, and resisted these things. Therefore, in order to properly contextualize the Pauline faction, the traditional background material related to Paul and politics must be developed in the following ways: Pauline eschatology must be examined in light of apocalyptic resistance movements; Pauline eschatology must be understood in light of the realized eschatology of Roman imperialism; and the ideo-theology of Rome (its four cornerstones of the household unit, cultural constructs of honor and shame, practices of patronage, and traditional Roman religiosity now all reworked within the rapidly spreading imperial cult[s]) must be explored in detail. This is the task of Pauline Eschatology, the second volume of Paul and the Uprising of the Dead. In it, we will witness how Pauline apocalypticism ruptures the eternal now of empire, and this, then, paves our way for the detailed study of Paulinism that follows in volume 3, Pauline Solidarity.
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The scope of the work is breathtaking—embracing eschatology and ethics, honor and shame, patronage and mutualism, lawlessness and loyalty. Oudshoorn is thoroughly conversant with contemporary scholarship on Paul and Paulinism, fairly representing and adjudicating the perspectives of conservative and liberal scholars, as well as radical interpreters. But Oudshoorn’s work is also informed by conversations with homeless youth, drug dealers, and sex workers—the contemporary ‘nothings and nobodies’ who have been chosen by God, according to Paul. Oudshoorn argues that interpreters of Paul must be rooted in communities of the oppressed, among those who are committed to the ‘uprising of life,’ precisely in order to understand Paul.
—Larry L. Welborn, Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature, Fordham University
This work is a tour deforce. . . . Repeatedly, the reader has the impression of someone who has read widely and deeply, thought and evaluated carefully, always with an eye fixed on current socio-economic realities and the experience of the most marginalized and oppressed today. . . . It’s splendid work and deserves highest marks.
—Neil Elliott, Episcopal priest, author of Liberating Paul and The Rhetoric of Romans
A magnificent book it is. . . . this is a truly amazing achievement. Preach it, D.
—W. Ward Blanton, Reader in Biblical Cultures and European Thought, University of Kent, author of Paul and the Philosophers
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