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Paul in Critical Contexts Series (8 vols.)

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The Paul in Critical Contexts series offers cutting-edge reexaminations of Paul through the lenses of power, gender, and ideology. Featuring the latest in methodology and criticism, especially from postcolonial and gender contexts, this series brings you to the front lines of Pauline interpretation around the world. Study Paul through a new lens—and you’ll be surprised at the depth of scholarship and real-world use of Paul’s eternal words in the twenty-first century.

In the Logos editions, these volumes are enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

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Key Features

  • Examines Paul and his writings from postcolonial, international, and gender perspectives
  • Delivers very recent Pauline scholarship
  • Investigates a number of Paul’s letters, including Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, Philemon, Romans, and more

Product Details

Individual Titles

The Arrogance of Nations: Reading Romans in the Shadow of Empire

Elliott offers a fresh and surprising reinterpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans in the context of Roman imperial ideology, bringing to the text the latest insights from classical studies, rhetorical criticism, postcolonial criticism, and people’s history.

By setting the letter alongside Roman texts (Cicero, Virgil, the Res Gestae of Augustus, Seneca, poets from the age of Nero, as well as later historians and satirists), Elliott provides a dramatic new reading of the letter as Paul’s confrontation with the arrogance of empire—and with an emerging Christianity already tempted by the seductive ideology of imperial power. The Arrogance of Nations explores such topics as:

  • Empire and the obedience of faith
  • Justice and the arrogance of nations
  • Mercy and the prerogatives of power
  • Piety and the scandal of an irreligious race
  • Virtue and the fortunes of peoples
  • Paul and the horizon of the possible
A tour de force, The Arrogance of Nations is one of the most thought-provoking books on Paul in years. Making sophisticated use of post-colonial theory while also reading with remarkable exegetical sensitivity, Elliott’s interpretation of Paul as a sharp and subtle critic of empire is cogent, compelling, and a much-needed corrective to the conventional image of the Apostle. Anyone who thinks the discussion of Paul is hackneyed and irrelevant to the issues of our day needs to read this book.

—Pamela Eisenbaum, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins, Iliff School of Theology

Elliott demonstrates skillfully and boldly how indispensable the Roman Empire is for interpreting Romans. He synthesizes an impressive array of historical data with wide-ranging political and ideological theory, challenges deceptions on the part of imperial propaganda (ancient and modern) that suppresses the truth, and makes eye-opening correlations with contemporary realities of empire. Even interpreters with different perspectives need to dialogue seriously with this book.

—Robert L. Brawley, Professor of New Testament Emeritus, McCormick Theological Seminary

This is a remarkable book. A sophisticated practitioner of rhetorical criticism, Neil Elliott also brings to Romans knowledge of Roman imperial ideology and its constraining effects on subject peoples and critical awareness of the imperial ideology and practices of the United States as well. His remarkable analysis makes Romans jump alive as never before. Under Elliott’s discerning eye, Paul’s most important letter becomes a challenge to North Americans’ privileged position as the beneficiaries of empire.

—Richard A. Horsley, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and the Study of Religion, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Neil Elliott received his doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary and has taught New Testament for more than fifteen years, chiefly at the College of St. Catherine and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He is biblical studies editor at Fortress Press and author of The Rhetoric of Romans. An Episcopal priest, he is also a frequent contributor to The Witness, the online social-justice journal.

The Colonized Apostle: Paul through Postcolonial Eyes

  • Editor: Christopher D. Stanley
  • Series: Paul in Critical Contexts
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 384

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Although the term “postcolonial” is contested today, not least by scholars who identify themselves as postcolonial interpreters, on any account it involves vital questions about ideology and identity, empire, ethnicity, gender, hybridity, political struggle, and all the overlapping tensions and ambiguities occasioned by the colonial situation. In recent years, postcolonial explorations in biblical studies and theology have intertwined and collided with feminist, liberationist, Marxist, and more traditional historical-critical perspectives. No part of the Bible has received more attention—or been the site of more controversy—than the interpretation of the Apostle Paul, his letters, and the communities in which he moved.

How did Roman imperial culture shape the environment in which Paul carried out his apostolate? How do the multiple legacies of modern colonialism and contemporary empire shape, illuminate, or obscure our readings of Paul’s letters? In The Colonized Apostle, Christopher D. Stanley has gathered many of the foremost voices in postcolonial and empire-critical scholarship on Paul to provide a state–of–the–art guide to these questions.

This volume includes essays introducing postcolonial criticism and applying its insights both to Paul’s context in the Roman world and to the reevaluation of contemporary interpretation.


In terms of its accessibility, breadth, diversity of topics, and generally exegetical focus, it is easy to recommend—including to those not yet acquainted with the academic study of postcolonialism. Any number of essays will interest a given reader, regardless of their political background or theoretical interests. Precisely because so many of the essays were written to provoke, the book’s contents are particularly appropriate for use in a group discussion or seminar setting. . . . Christopher Stanley has done a service in reprinting articles that were previously in more obscure venues as well as collecting new essays that are valuable contributions in their own right. One hopes they spur further interest in this topic.

Journal of Postcolonial Networks

This volume constitutes an important contribution to postcolonial biblical studies. The chapters attest to the field’s diversity, as do their definitions of the field itself, which are ironically but unsurprisingly balkanized. Also encouraging are the range of opinions on postcolonial criticism’s prescriptive aspect and the popularity of Segovia’s ‘postcolonial optic’ and decolonizing goals.

Review of Biblical Literature

Christopher D. Stanley is professor of theology and teaches courses in biblical studies and religion and culture at St. Bonaventure University. He is the author of numerous books and articles in biblical studies, including Paul and the Language of Scripture and Arguing with Scripture: The Rhetoric of Quotations in the Letters of Paul.

Onesimus Our Brother: Reading Religion, Race, and Culture in Philemon

  • Editors: Matthew V. Johnson Sr., James A. Noel, and Demetrius K. Williams
  • Series: Paul in Critical Contexts
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 184

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Philemon is the shortest letter in the Pauline collection, yet—because it has to do with a slave separated from his master—it has played an inordinate role in the toxic brew of slavery and racism in the United States. In Onesimus Our Brother, leading African American biblical scholars tease out the often unconscious assumptions about religion, race, and culture that permeate contemporary interpretation of the New Testament and of Paul in particular. The editors argue that Philemon is as important a letter from an African American perspective as Romans or Galatians have proven to be in Eurocentric interpretation. The essays gathered here continue to trouble scholarly waters, interacting with the legacies of Hegel, Freud, Habermas, Ricoeur, and James C. Scott, as well as the historical experience of African American communities.


  • Allen Dwight Callahan
  • Matthew V. Johnson Sr.
  • James A. Noel
  • James W. Perkinson
  • Mitzi J. Smith
  • Margaret B. Wilkerson
  • Demetrius K. Williams

Matthew V. Johnson is senior pastor of the Good Shepherd Church (Baptist), Atlanta, Georgia.

James A. Noel is the H. Eugene Farlough California Professor of African American Christianity at San Francisco Theological Seminary, coeditor of The Passion of the Lord: African American Reflections, and contributor to True to Our Native Land. He is also convener and founder of the Graduate Theological Union’s Black Church/Africana Studies Certificate Program.

Demetrius K. Williams teaches in the Theology Department at Marquette University and is the author of An End to This Strife: The Politics of Gender in African American Churches.

The Practice of Hope: Ideology and Intention in 1 Thessalonians

Although the political interpretation of Paul is still considered something of a novelty in North America and Europe, it is well established in Latin America and among theologians of liberation. In The Practice of Hope, Néstor O. Míguez brings the insights of historical-critical study and political analysis together with incisive theological reflection. Taking on European philosophical interpretations of Paul, the “North Atlantic consensus” regarding social stratification in the Pauline churches, and the distortions of “rapture” theology, Míguez situates Paul’s mission in the political context of Roman Thessalonica and reads his first letter in engagement with Latin American realities. The result is a surprising rediscovery of Paul as an organic intellectual for whom hope is always a socially concrete reality.

Néstor O. Míguez is professor of Bible at the Instituto Universitario ISEDET in Buenos Aires and the author of numerous books and articles on the theological and political interpretation of the New Testament, including Juan de Patmos: El Visionario y Su Visión, El Jesús del Pueblo, and with his father José Míguez Bonino, That You May Have Life: Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John.

Apostle to the Conquered: Reimagining Paul’s Mission

Davina C. Lopez here combines attention to Roman visual and literary representations of conquered nations with a gender-critical "re-imagination" of Paul’s apostleship. The result is a new and more critical perspective on the systematic violence of the Roman Empire, and a renewed understanding of "Paul’s politics of the new creation."

Davina Lopez has dramatically reframed two enduring themes of Pauline scholarship in this book. Paul’s ’gentiles’ gain a crucial new theo-political meaning. Gender in Paul’s thought obtains stunning new vistas as well, which reorder the entire debate. With striking visuals from the ancient world and incisive analysis of texts, Lopez joins Brigitte Kahl in recasting Pauline scholarship for the future.

—Hal Taussig, Visiting Professor of New Testament, Union Theological Seminary in New York

Davina C. Lopez is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and serves on the American Academy of Religion’s Board of Directors.

Galatians Re-Imagined: Reading with the Eyes of the Vanquished

Brigitte Kahl brings to this insightful reading of Galatians a deep knowledge of the classical world and especially of Roman imperial ideology. The first wave of scholarship on the Roman imperial context of Paul’s letters raised important questions that only thorough treatments of individual letters can answer. Kahl sets the letter to the Galatians in the context of Roman perceptions of vanquished peoples as represented in the Great Altar at Pergamum. Beginning with a perceptive discussion of the Great Altar, Kahl describes imperial representations of Roman power as well as the characteristics officially imputed to conquered peoples, including the "savage" Galatians (Gauls).

Brigitte Kahl is Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary, New York. She received her Th.D. and Dr.Sc.Theol. from Humboldt University in Berlin and is an ordained minister of the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg.

The Politics of Heaven: Women, Gender, and Empire in the Study of Paul

In this provocative study, Joseph A. Marchal argues that biblical interpretation, but most especially Pauline studies, must engage the full range of critical challenges brought by feminist studies, postcolonial studies, and Roman imperial studies. A feminist, postcolonial analysis requires negotiating the gaps, overlaps, and tensions between these three "strands" by adopting an explicitly multi-axial focus and an interdisciplinary methodology. Using Philippians as a test case, the analysis covers issues of both ancient and contemporary import: from imitation and authority to travel and contact. As a result, Marchal provides strikingly new perspectives on Paul’s letters and fresh challenges to the paradigms of Pauline interpretation.

In The Politics of Heaven, Joseph Marchal skillfully engages feminist and postcolonial analysis in order to explore the rhetorics of Paul’s letter to the Philippians in its Roman imperial context. He develops a tightly crafted, multifaceted, and nuanced approach to the ’colonized kyriarchal space’ of both the letter and the reader. This book is a fresh contribution to a new evolving rhetorical paradigm in scholarship on Paul. It is a must read for anyone in Pauline studies, and I highly recommend it to students and faculty alike.

—Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor, Harvard Divinity School

Joseph A. Marchal is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College and the author of numerous articles and papers in feminist and postcolonial interpretation.

Christ’s Body in Corinth: The Politics of a Metaphor

Yung Suk Kim takes up the language of "body" that infuses 1 Corinthians, Paul’s most complicated letter, and the letter that provides us the most information, and poses the sharpest questions, about social realities in the early church. Kim argues against the view that in speaking of the church as Christ’s body Paul seeks to emphasize unity and the social boundary. Against the conventional rhetoric of the "body politic" in Greco-Roman philosophy, Kim argues that Paul seeks rather to nourish the vitality of a diverse community and to criticize the ideology of a powerful in-group in Corinth, a message of particular importance for contemporary global Christianity.

A tour de force, The Arrogance of Nations is one of the most thought-provoking books on Paul in years. Making sophisticated use of post-colonial theory while also reading with remarkable exegetical sensitivity, Elliott’s interpretation of Paul as a sharp and subtle critic of empire is cogent, compelling, and a much-needed corrective to the conventional image of the Apostle. Anyone who thinks the discussion of Paul is hackneyed and irrelevant to the issues of our day needs to read this book.

—Pamela Eisenbaum, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins, Iliff School of Theology

I highly recommend this work to all who take seriously Paul’s metaphor of ’the body of Christ.’ Kim interprets the metaphor as an alternative vision of vital reconciling community, over against conceptions that emphasize boundary markers to establish social groups. What is at stake in the interpretation of 1 Corinthians, he argues, is not just the ways first-century Christians constructed and lived out social unity but the consequences of our choices for the way we live out our own responsibilities today.

—David Odell-Scott, Professor of Philosophy, Kent State University

Yung Suk Kim is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University, in Richmond, Virginia.

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    Collection value: $155.92
    Save $5.93 (3%)
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