Paul 2021 Programme

Chairs: Dorothee Bertschmann and Matthew Novenson

Session 1

Review Panel: J. Thomas Hewitt, Messiah and Scripture (Mohr Siebeck, 2020) and Teresa Morgan, Being ‘in Christ’ in the Letters of Paul (Mohr Siebeck, 2020)

Andrew Boakye, University of Manchester (15 mins)

Grant Macaskill, University of Aberdeen (15 mins)

J. Thomas Hewitt, University of Aberdeen (15 mins)

Teresa Morgan, University of Oxford (15 mins)

Discussion (30 mins)

Session 2

Clay Mock, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, ‘What is going on with the messiah’s dead? A Comparison of 1 Enoch 49:3 & 1 Thessalonians 4:16’

There is comparable “in”-messiah language to Paul’s in Jewish literature so far underexamined. Scholars have rarely noted the similar “in messiah” motif in 1 Enoch 49:3 relative to 1 Thessalonians 4:16. These two texts provide a double opportunity: first to test the translatability of J. Thomas Hewitt and Teresa Morgan’s models of Paul’s “in”-messiah language to 1 Enoch 49:3 and second to compare the texts’ concepts of messianism. Hewitt and Morgan’s Pauline models cannot locate 1 Enoch 49:3, a participatory instance of “in” rather than instrumental, solidarity, or encheiristic. A different messianic map, though, can place both texts and is developed through a comparison of “in”-messiah language as a common vocabulary for a common problem: what happened to those who died before the messiah’s eschatological appearance? That is, both texts evince a messianism interested in the righteous dead. The comparison shows the usefulness of redescribing Paul’s messiah with the Parables’ messiah for revealing new insights and for rectifying features of ancient Jewish messianism, like participation, that scholars have overlooked.

Barbara Beyer, Humboldt University Berlin, ‘To Be or not to Be “in Christ”: On Pauline Prepositional Language’

While Paul refers to the believers being in Christ frequently, marking it as the present state of their existence, he mentions less often what could or will happen to this condition. After they have come to be in Christ, could they possibly no longer be in him? This paper addresses how some of Paul’s prepositional language describes different modes of existence, each connected to a specific time: Firstly, Rom 16:7 shows that people are either in Christ or they are not. Those who are in Christ now, once experienced a time when they were not. Secondly, as Rom 9:3; Gal 1:6; 5:4 reveal, once a person has become a believer, being in Christ is opposed to being distanced from him. And thirdly, being with Christ is the future, eternal condition of those who are currently in Christ (Rom 6:8; 2 Cor 13:4; Phil 1:23; 1 Thess 4:17; 5:10). Therefore, Paul’s prepositional language serves to portray various times in the believers’ lives.

Justin Hagerman, King’s College London, Participation in Christ as Accordance and Conformation: An Analysis of κατὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦ (Romans 15:5) and σύμμορφον (Philippians 3:21)


This paper attempts to contribute to scholarly discussions on participation in Christ by analysing Romans 15:5 and Philippians 3:21. We will argue that these texts reflect two distinctive motifs related to those who participate ‘in Christ’. First, in Romans 15:5, Paul encourages harmony in the face of disagreement. For Paul, this harmony emerges by living in accord with Christ Jesus (κατὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦ). The character of this accord is given definition by Paul’s references to Jesus’ life (15:3) and his welcoming others (15:7). In the second selected text, Philippians 3:21, Paul anticipates a transformation of ‘our’ mortal body (τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν). Through this transformation, the ones being ‘in Christ’ are conformed (σύμμορφον) to the body of glory associated with his dying and rising. In conclusion, living in accord with Jesus and becoming conformed to his resurrected body are two motifs that give further definition to participation in Christ.

Session 3

Grace Emmett, King’s College London, ‘Becoming a Pauline Scholar: Masculinity Studies and “Proper” Pauline Studies’

How can a consideration of what it means for Paul to ‘become a man’ (1 Cor 13:11) invite us to consider what it currently means to become a Pauline scholar? This paper argues that recent developments in masculinity studies are valuable not only for our readings of Paul, but also for questioning the environment within which readings of Paul are curated. Engaging in this examination of our discipline reveals both masculine- and method-normativity as the unmarked undercurrents within much of Pauline studies. By remaining unnamed, these scripts serve to define what constitutes ‘proper’ Pauline scholarship, and thus indirectly, what is not ‘proper’ Pauline scholarship—as well as who is, and is not, a ‘proper’ Pauline scholar. This structural gatekeeping inhibits Pauline studies from being a more creative and diverse academic enterprise. This paper is therefore a call to interrogate how we as Pauline scholars continue to perform the scripts of masculine- and method-normativity, and how we might expand the boundaries of ‘proper’ Pauline scholarship.

Logan Williams, Durham University, ‘Is Torah-Observance the Essence of Judaism? An Historical and Decolonial Critique of the “Paul within Judaism” Schule

Scholars in the ‘Paul within Judaism’ (PWJ) Schule at times accuse other interpreters of denying Paul’s Jewishness on the basis of how they construe his relationship to Torah. While this paper will not argue for a particular interpretation of Paul’s Torah-observance, it will critique the operative notion that any specific form of Torah-observance constitutes the criterion for interpreting Paul as ‘within Judaism’. Using the analytical tools offered by Frantz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre’s critique of Négritude (a twentieth century literary movement), I suggest that some PWJ interpreters unwittingly recapitulate essentialist definitions of Judaism which are constructions of early Christian heresiologists and early modern German scholars. I provide historical examples in which people who ought to be historically understood as Jewish do not exhibit the kind of Torah-observance required by Paul within Judaism scholars to count as being ‘within Judaism’. In light of the diversity of ancient Jewish religious behaviour, it is inappropriate to consider any scholar to be denying Paul’s Jewishness simply on the basis of how she or he understands Paul’s relationship to Torah.

Leonardo Choi, Durham University, ‘Solidarity: Paul and la Teología del Pueblo in Dialogue’

The past decades have witnessed the proliferation of studies on the social dynamics present in the Pauline corpus, many of these focused on the Graeco-Roman categories of Patrocinium and Εὐεργεσία. The problem with these approaches is that they only consider the flow of gift-reciprocity between unequal parties. However, the majority in the Roman Empire (including the first Pauline assemblies) lived at near or subsistence level, and thus, operated under a different set of social dynamics. Hence, this essay intends to use some key concepts of la Teología del Pueblo (also known as Argentinian Liberation Theology), a theological movement based on the life and ethos of the poor, in order to illuminate aspects of communal solidarity in 2 Cor 8-9. This heuristic exercise will help us discover in these chapters a mode of gift-giving that is not motivated by a sense of self-sufficiency but by an awareness of one’s own vulnerability, creating as a result bonds of communal solidarity where the parties involved rely on each other in order to survive and flourish.