Remembering Paul: Ancient and Modern Contests over the Image of the Apostle
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Remembering Paul: Ancient and Modern Contests over the Image of the Apostle

Oxford University Press / Hardcover

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Who was Paul of Tarsus? Radical visionary of a new age? Gender-liberating progressive? Great defender of orthodoxy? In Remembering Paul, Benjamin L. White offers a critique of early Christian claims about the "real" Paul in the second century C.E.—a period in which apostolic memory was highly contested—and sets these ancient contests alongside their modern counterpart: attempts to rescue the "historical" Paul from his "canonical" entrapments.

White charts the rise and fall of various narratives about Paul and argues that Christians of the second century had no access to the "real" Paul. Through the selection, combination, and interpretation of pieces of a diverse earlier layer of the Pauline tradition, Christians defended images of the Apostle that were important for forming collective identity.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199370273
ISBN-13: 9780199370276

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Author Bio


Benjamin L. White is Assistant Professor of Religion at Clemson University where he specializes in ancient and modern interpretations of the New Testament, the reconstruction of Christian origins, and the development of early Christianities. He received a Ph.D. in Ancient Mediterranean Religions from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Editorial Reviews


"Remembering Paul... is an excellent example of recent trends to reconceive the Paul of Pauline studies...Its theoretical and methodological investments bring readers (and Paul) into fascinating conversation with a diverse set of thinkers...All scholars of the reception of Paul and Pauline texts will benefit greatly from White s work."--Review of Biblical Literature


"Simply put, this work represents by far the most important book on Paul in some decades. "It is the first book-length study that uses social memory to study Paul, and it challenges the foundational assumptions of the modern study of Paul and of Christian origins. Benjamin White writes beautifully and clearly, and he argues his case, in my opinion, flawlessly."
--Catholic Biblical Quarterly


"The overall thrust of this book articulates a reorientation to Pauline reception with which future scholars must contend."
--Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses


"Remarkably insightful and forward looking for a scholar's first book."
--Australian Biblical Review


"The implications of this brilliant book are massive."
--Marginalia Review of Books


"This book fills an enormous gap in Pauline scholarship by showing how collective memory has produced a variety of views of Paul that provide meaningful pasts for the present. It deconstructs especially the 'Paul' handed down to us by Luther, Baur, and nineteenth-century German Protestant scholarship. A must read for anyone interested in Paul!"
--Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament, Yale University Divinity School


"With a methodological sensitivity familiar from the 'remembered Jesus', White exposes the pervasive influence of the nineteenth-century narrative of a 'real Paul' against whom later traditions are graded according to their success or failure in 'correctly' understanding him, and offers instead a richly textured account capturing the importance of social location, rhetorical intention, and contextual construction in the reception of Paul as part of early Christian identity-making. Remembering Paul will become the new norm on which further work must build."
--Judith Lieu, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge


"This sparkling and enjoyable study offers the first full-length treatment of the Apostle Paul through the lens of second-century 'social memory'. Benjamin White urges Questers for 'the Historical Paul' to adopt Jesus scholarship's move from abstractly archaeological methods to a historical imagination attuned to memory's more integrated tissue of recurrent themes--yielding a whole that in the end promises greater certainty than its parts. A timely argument, sure to stimulate welcome debate!"
--Markus Bockmuehl, University of Oxford


"an engaging and wide-ranging work... a bold and ambitious book, and its author is not reticent in making sweeping claims about what he seeks to do. Thus, for example, he sets out not only to shed new light on how Paul was portrayed in certain second-century contexts, but also to begin to re-orientate the whole field of Pauline studies, reminding all interpreters of Paul of their own social and historical location, and doing for the 'remembered Paul' what others have done for the 'remembered Jesus'... I certainly learned from this book and I am glad to commend it to others." --Andrew Gregory, University of Oxford



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