St. Paul among the Philosophers

St. Paul among the Philosophers

Edited by John D Caputo and Linda Alcoff
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/06/2009
ISBN: 978-0-253-00363-8
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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 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.

Author Bio

John D. Caputo is Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities at Syracuse University. He is author or editor of several publications, including The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (IUP, 2006) and Transcendence and Beyond: A Postmodern Inquiry (IUP, 2007).

Linda Martín Alcoff is Laura J. and Douglas Meredith Professor of Philosophy at Syracuse University. She is author of Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self and editor (with Eva Feder Kittay) of The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy.


“In this insightful work, eminent New Testament scholars, historians, and philosophers debate whether Paul's promise of the universality of truth can be fulfilled. This scholarly dialogue ushers in a new generation of Pauline studies.”

“This is an exceptional work of scholarship with contributors who are distinguished in their fields, and who bring insight and excitement to the study of a set of classical texts.”
 — David Odell-Scott, Kent State University

“For those aware of the discussions surrounding the Apostle Paul, there is much to laud and appreciate. Caputo and Alcoff bring together many of the primary thinkers in the current embrace of Paul. In doing so, they offer the reader an introduction to the discussion. ”
 — Anglican Theological Review

“Caputo ... offers a concise, lucid introduction that is worth the price of this valuable book, which makes accessible Badiou's difficult text on Paul, and offers a compelling (postconference) essay by Zizek on Job. But context determines meaning, and much of the value in this book (and the drama of the conference) rests in the trenchant evaluations by biblical historians—especially Paula Fredriksen (Boston Univ.) and Daniel Boyarin (UC-Berkeley)—of Badiou and Zizek's appropriations of Paul at Paul's expense. Philosophers, beware of historians' careful constructions of meaning! They too believe in truth....Essential. --ChoiceFeb. 2010”
 — S. Young, McHenry County College

“The value of the collection lies primarily in its clear outlining of the stakes of the debates surrounding Paul, more than any particular solutions its confluence of scholars offer.Vol. 2.48 2009”
 — Matthew Kaul, Englewood Review of Books

“St. Paul Among the Philosophers makes a vital contribution . . . This is a very rich book, vibrating with possibilities.2/3/10”
 — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Postcards from Paul: Subtraction versus Grafting / John D. Caputo
Part 1. Paul among the Philosophers
1. St. Paul, Founder of the Universal Subject / Alain Badiou
2. From Job to Christ: A Paulinian Reading of Chesterton / Slavoj Zizek
Part 2. Paul between Jews and Christians
3. Historical Integrity, Interpretive Freedom: The Philosopher's Paul and the Problem of Anachronism / Paula Fredriksen
4. Paul between Judaism and Hellenism / E. P. Sanders
5. The Promise of Teleology, the Constraints of Epistemology, and Universal Vision in Paul / Dale B. Martin
6. Paul among the Antiphilosophers; or, Saul among the Sophists / Daniel Boyarin
7. Paul's Notion of Dunamis: Between the Possible and the Impossible / Richard Kearney
8. Concluding Roundtable: St. Paul among the Historians and the Systematizers
List of Contributors