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St. Paul

Lecturer: A.J. Bartlett

Originally Taught: Summer School 2015

6-8pm | 5 Tuesdays starting 20 Jan

In his work, Paul, Günter Bornkamm remarks on Saint Paul's ambiguous status in the history of the Church: a revolutionary founder whose gospel inspires the great upheavals in its history; a figure whose gospel has been domesticated to the point of irrelevancy by the very institution to which it gave rise. In this, Paul is accorded the fate of thought more generally.

This course looks at the thought of Paul or at Paul as a thinker, which is to say, the work of Paul is the thought and practice of a break or of the new. As he did literally on his travels across Asia Minor, Paul cuts a diagonal through known knowledge, establishing something new there, unknown.

This course explores this 'diagonal' through the work of five contemporary thinkers writing on Saint Paul, using five key concepts: Günter Bornkamm, Stanislas Breton, Giorgio Agamben, Daniel Boyarin and Alain Badiou – respectively; that of being a Jewish-Roman 'Apostle to the Gentiles'; that of being 'set apart' or 'I am'; of 'time'; of 'identity'; of the 'subject'. The five lectures will explore each of these in turn, telling us something not only of Paul but of his being thought today as 'our contemporary'.

Lecture 1. Jewish-Roman Apostle to the Gentiles (Paul's birth, upbringing, education as a Pharisee, persecutions, conversion, activity, letters and so on): Günter Bornkamm – Paul.
Lecture 2. Set apart I am: Stanislas Breton – A Radical Philosophy of Saint Paul
Lecture 3. Time: Giorgio Agamben – The Time That Remains
Lecture 4. Identity: Daniel Boyarin – A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity
Lecture 5. Subject: Alain Badiou – Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism