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Paul and the Politics of Diaspora
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Paul and the Politics of Diaspora


Fortress Press 2014

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


It is common knowledge that Paul was a Jew of the Hellenistic Diaspora, but how does that observation help us to understand his thinking, his self-identification, and his practice? Ronald Charles applies the insights of contemporary diaspora studies to address much-debated questions about Paul’s identity as a diaspora Jew, his complicated relationship with a highly symbolized “homeland,” the motives of his daily work, and the ambivalence of his rhetoric.

Charles argues for understanding a number of important aspects of Paul’s identity and work, including the ways his interactions with others were conditioned by his diaspora space, his self-understanding, and his experience “among the nations.” Diaspora space is a key concept that allows Charles to show how Paul’s travels and the collection project in particular can be read as a transcultural narrative. Understanding the dynamics of diaspora also allows Charles to bring new light to the conflict at Antioch (Galatians 1–2), Paul’s relationships with the Gentiles in Galatia, and the fraught relationship with leaders in Jerusalem.

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Key Features

  • Delves Paul’s understanding of his own identity as a Christian Jew living in a mulicultural society
  • Applies recent research from Diaspora studies to key events in Paul’s life
  • Unites Paul’s actions with his theological thinking


  • Introduction: Theorizing Diaspora
  • Negotiating Diaspora in Ancient Hellenistic Judaism
  • Paul, the Diaspora Jew
  • Paul and Others in Diaspora Space
  • Paul among the Nations
  • Paul’s Travels as Transcultural Narrative

Praise for the Print Edition

It should occupy an important place among New Testament introductions and should be of interest to the general reader who is simply tired of the same old, same old.

—Calvin J. Roetzel, Sundet Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Christian Studies, University of Minnesota

Charles revisits three well-trodden Pauline sites (the Antioch incident, Paul’s mission to the nations, and the collection project) and presents us with a provocative fresh description of what we had thought to be familiar terrain. Stimulating and warmly recommended.

Terence L. Donaldson, Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

Nno understanding of Paul will be complete without reading Charles’ insightful analysis of the role of diasporas in shaping the religious lives of early Christians.

—Hector Avalos, professor of religious studies, Iowa State University

Product Details

  • Title: Paul and the Politics of Diaspora
  • Author: Ronald Charles
  • Series: Paul in Critical Contexts
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Pages: 192
  • Resource Type: Monographs
  • Topic: Pauline Studies

About Ronald Charles

Ronald Charles is assistant professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. He earned his PhD in early Christianity from the University of Toronto.

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