The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol 1, No 3 (2005)

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Hybridity and the Rhetoric of Endurance: Reading Paul's Athletic Metaphors in a Context of Postcolonial Self-Construction

Robert Paul Seesengood

Abstract


The ‘new perspective’ on Paul explores Paul the missionary and writer attending carefully to how he is both Jew and Roman citizen. At present, however, very few writers have used tools from postcolonial criticism in analysis of Paul's writings, even on questions of how Paul fashions his own identity from these dual cultural influences. Drawing from Bhabha, Boyarin, and Engberg-Pederson, this essay explores how understanding Paul as ‘Jewgreek’ – refusing to ask if ideas, language or arguments are either Hellenistic or Hebraic but assuming, instead, that Paul is the synthesis of multiple cultural and colonial identities – affect a reading of Paul's literature. I focus on Paul’s, most ‘agonistic’ or competitive metaphors, his use of athletic metaphors to describe Christian mission and proclamation with a sustained reading of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391