Friday, July 31, 2009

Neil Elliott: Jewish Identity and Rome

Neil Elliott argues that the ‘dejudaization’ of Paul results ‘in the virtual obliteration of his Jewish identity and the Jewish character of his thought’ (1994 : 66). ‘Dejudaization’ occurs when the only questions that are asked of Paul’s letters are theological and then he is understood as a ‘champion of a fundamentally un-Jewish, and even anti-Jewish, doctrine of redemption’ (57). For Elliott, Paul is understood in the context of a Jewish apocalypticism that contains significant elements that were designed to negotiate empire in a subversive manner (149-51). Elliott suggests that ‘the Galatian controversy’ is ‘the result of colonizing pressures and nativist counterpressures, rather than’ a ‘hypocritical Jewish proselytizing campaign’ (2000: 35). Though the Corinthian situation is quite different with regard to ethnicity, the over-reliance on the power of Rome still serves as a concern for Paul as he writes this letter, and Elliott’s recent work is helpful with regard to discerning colonial ideology in Paul’s letters (2008: 21-23).

Elliott, N.
1994 Liberating Paul The Justice of God and the Politics of the Apostle (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books).

2000 ‘Paul and the Politics of Interpretation’, in Horsley (ed.) 2000: 17-39.

2004a ‘The Apostle Paul’s Self-Presentation as Anti-Imperial Performance’, in R. A. Horsley (ed.) 2004a: 67-88.

2004b ‘Strategies of Resistance and Hidden Transcripts in the Pauline Communities’, in R. A. Horsley (ed.) 2004b: 97-122.

2008 The Arrogance of Nations (Minneapolis: Fortress).

Synder's review of The Arrogance of Nations.

1 comment:

Helen A. Bridges said...

Elliott argues an essential point. I look forward to reading "The Arrogance of Nations." It will be helpful in my research. Thank you very much!