CFP: [Theory] ACLA 2009 Seminar: The Political Theologies of Paul of Tarsus (11/1/08; Harvard U, 3/26/09-3/29/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Julia Ng
contact email: 

The Political Theologies of Paul of Tarsus

    * Seminar Organizer: Julia Ng, Northwestern U; Virgil Brower,
Northwestern U and Chicago Theological Seminary; Markus Hardtmann, Centre

The figure of Paul dominates the self-understanding of Western political
and social institutions as Judeo-Christian in their heritage; its
significance extends beyond purely religious concerns. The recent
resurgence of interest in Paul among theologians, philosophers, and
political theorists also attests to the importance of Pauline theology for
the contemporary socio-political realm. This “globalization” of Paul has in
no small part been enabled by the recognition that Paul’s concern for law
and justice has little to do with individual salvation or private
righteousness, and rather more with its own “globalization” of a “local”
context: the decaying Roman empire, in which “nationality” consisted in a
multiplicity of “ethnoi” hoping for a justice to come beyond any particular
instantiation of justice by law. Taking the plurality and multilingualism
of peoples and faiths underlying Paul’s universalizing aspirations as a
departure, this seminar invites papers to explore and elaborate on any
aspect of the politicization and radicalization of his thought. Possible
topics include: How does the recent focus on Paul â€" in texts by Agamben,
Badiou, Derrida and Taubes, for instance â€" seek to renew a critical
language of authority, hospitality, community and universality within
contemporary philosophical and political discourse? To what extent do these
political theologies join or part ways with other interpretive communities
such as psychoanalysis and Latin American liberation theology? How might
translation â€" by Paul, by his exegetes from Origen to Barth â€" help (re)draw
political boundaries in Pauline discourse? Does the engagement with Paul in
literature and film by Hölderlin, Hebel, Kafka, Pasolini or others
challenge the exegetical tradition, or does the local character of
interpretation participate in Paul’s epistolary message about radical

Please submit paper proposals by Nov. 1, 2008 directly through the ACLA
website at:

For further information, please contact Julia Ng ( or
visit the conference website at:

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Received on Mon Sep 22 2008 - 13:43:53 EDT