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Paul and the Politics of Diaspora

Author: 
Ronald Charles (Author)
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Description

It is a commonplace today 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.

ISBN: 
9781451488029
Price: 
$39.00
Release date: 
November 1, 2014
Pages: 
192
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Contents

Contents:
Introduction: Theorizing Diaspora
1.    Negotiating Diaspora in Ancient Hellenistic Judaism
2.    Paul, the Diaspora Jew
3.    Paul and Others in Diaspora Space
4.    Paul among the Nations
5.    Paul's Travels as Transcultural Narrative
6.    Conclusion

Endorsements

“This work, which focuses on the diaspora space of Paul and his converts, is remarkable and is accessible to the nonspecialist in a clear, no-nonsense style. 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 of New Testament and Christian Studies, Emeritus
University of Minnesota
 
"Paul was a diaspora Jew. Rarely has this almost self-evident biographical datum become the focus of extended scholarly attention; attempts to use it as the basis of critical analysis have been even rarer. For this reason, Ronald Charles’ Paul and the Politics of Diaspora is a notable contribution. Drawing on insights and categories from the burgeoning field of diaspora studies, 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
Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
 
"Ronald Charles has produced an important exploration of Paul as a diasporic male Judean of low social status negotiating his religious and political identity in the ancient Mediterranean world. Henceforth, no 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
Iowa State University