2008 Pauline Symposium (Eastern Orthodox Church)

In October 9-17, 2008, in order to celebrate the Year of Saint Paul, the Orthodox Church organized a Pauline Symposium, inviting various academic speakers to participate.

Videos of some of the presentations are available on the GreekOrthodoxChurch YouTube channel.

Most of the papers were published in the volume In the Footsteps of St. Paul: An Academic Symposium (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2011). The paper by Prof. Turid Karlsen Seim on “Race and Gender in St. Paul” was not included.

Prof. Petros Vasilliadis, “St. Paul: Apostle of Freedom in Christ” (lecture begins 8:30)

Prof (em) Christos Voulgaris, “St. Paul and the Cosmic Dimensions of Christ’s Redemptive Work”

Prof. Helmut Koester, “The Charismata of the Spirit in the Service of the Church”

Prof. Karl P. Donfried, “The Life ‘In Christ’ in St. Paul: From Glory to Glory”

Prof. Brian E. Daley, “St. Paul: A Model of Preaching and Ministry in the Fathers of the Church”

Prof. Turid Karlsen Seim, “Race and Gender in St. Paul”

Heikki Räisänen: “Are Christians Better People?”

On March 23, 2011, Emeritus Professor Heikki Räisänen (10 December 1941 – 30 December 2015) presented the paper “Are Christians Better People? The Contrast Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ in Early Christian Rhetoric”. He examines in particular the Pauline and Pseudo-Pauline letters, noting the Pauline rhetoric which idealizes Christian morality and denigrates Greco-Roman morality.

Troels Engberg-Pedersen provides a response.



Lloyd Pietersen and an Anarchist Reading of Romans 13

From the Dead Letters and Living Words conference at Newman University:

The question about what is the relationship between church and state is one that has repeatedly been raised throughout Christian history. Romans 13 is a key passage in this debate and is often quoted to endorse a pacific and accepting attitude by the church towards state authority and rule. Is Paul, a frequent and hostile critic of the Roman Empire who spends much of the time contrasting it unfavourably with the new empire being established through Jesus Christ in the church, really saying that either the church should accept the dictates and of the state? [Lloyd] Pietersen’s paper challenges this reading…Pietersen presents a concise and extremely helpful introduction to the historical context of anarchism before exploring in greater detail the Christian anarchist tradition. He offers an anarchist perspective of the depiction of monarchy within the Hebrew Bible before introducing Tolstoy’s reading of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7:1-5) and an examination of Jesus as anarchist archetype. In the light of this, Pietersen then presents a very different reading of Romans 13 that considers its historical and literary contexts and in which Paul scathingly attacks the failures and injustices of Roman Imperialism.

Presentation notes are available here.

Paula Fredriksen on Paul in the Pagan, Polytheistic Ancient World

Professor Paula Fredriksen (Boston University; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) discusses the pagan background of Paul’s audience in three lectures available on YouTube.

The lecture “Paul, Pagans, and the God of Israel” was given at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Stanford University, on October 28, 2010 (the lecture begins at 5:30), and discusses polytheism and monotheism:

The lecture “Gods Run in the Blood, or, Why Paul’s Pagans were not ‘Converts’?” was given at the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters at Ben Gurion University, on March 18, 2014, and discusses the ethnic basis for ancient “religion” and the concept of conversion.

The lecture “Paul, Practical Pluralism, and the Invention of Religious Persecution in Roman Antiquity” was given to the Critical Thinkers in Religion, Law and Social Theory at the University of Ottawa, on October 24, 2013 (the lecture begins at 3:40), and discusses gods and religious persecution.

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Q&A, part 1:

Q&A, part 2:

Jonathan Norton on Paul, Faith, the Law, and Palestinian Judaism

Dr Jonathan Norton presented the following papers at the Heythrop Centre for Textual Studies, Heythrop College, University of London, on the topic of Paul, Faith, and the Law – issues which have been at the centre of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul” since the publication of E.P. Sanders’ Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977).

“Paul and Palestinian Judaism Forty Years On”, on May 27, 2015.

Part One:

Part Two:

“Reading Romans for Rhetorical Coherence”, on June 3, 2015.

Part One:

Part Two:

Yale Bible Study on Romans, with David L. Bartlett and Harold W. Attridge

Over eight videos, David L. Bartlett (Yale Divinity School) and Harold W. Attridge (Yale Divinity School) discuss Paul’s letter to the Romans.

The conversation is part of the Yale Bible Study Series presented in cooperation with The Congregational Church of New Canaan in New Canaan, CT.

The videos are accompanied by study materials on Romans, made available by the Congregational Church of New Canaan.

Romans, 1-3: Big Human Problem, Bigger Divine Solution


Romans, 4: Faith’s Poster Boy

Romans, 5: Living in Hope

Romans, 6: New Lord, New Life

Romans, 7-8: From Flesh to Spirit

Romans, 9-11: History Matters

Romans, 12-13: The Transformed Community

Romans, 14-16: The Generous Welcome

Yale Bible Study on Hebrews, with Harold W. Attridge and David L. Bartlett

Over eight videos, Harold W. Attridge (Yale Divinity School) and David L. Bartlett (Yale Divinity School) discuss the book of Hebrews.

The conversation is part of the Yale Bible Study Series presented in cooperation with The Congregational Church of New Canaan in New Canaan, CT.

The videos are accompanied by study materials on Hebrews, made available by the Congregational Church of New Canaan.

Yale Bible Study on 1 Corinthians, with David L. Bartlett and Harold W. Attridge

Over nine videos, Professor Harold W. Attridge (Yale Divinity School) and Professor Emeritus David L. Bartlett (Yale Divinity School) discuss 1 Corinthians.

The conversation is part of the Yale Bible Study Series presented in cooperation with The Congregational Church of New Canaan in New Canaan, CT.

The videos are accompanied by study materials 1 Corinthians, made available by the Congregational Church of New Canaan.

Douglas Moo: Two-Day Intensive Course on Galatians

In July 2014, Professor Douglas J. Moo (Wheaton College) presented his perspective on Galatians, in a two-day intensive course called ‘Galatians: a Letter for Today’, held at Oak Hill College, London.

Douglas J. Moo is the author of the 2013 Baker Exegetical Commentary on Galatians.



Says Dr Moo: ‘In this course, we look at the themes of Galatians in their first-century context and then discuss the shape they might take in the church today. My goals are to help us understand the issues in Galatians and Paul’s theology today; to read Galatians faithfully in light of Paul’s own situation; to find ways of appropriating the message of Galatians for today, and be emboldened to proclaim the gospel in our own ministry contexts.’

h/t: Chris Tilling

Michael F. Bird on Romans


Dr. Michael F. Bird (Ridley College) gave a talk on Paul’s letter to the Romans, on November 17, 2014 at Lincoln Christian University’s Las Vegas Extension.

Dr. Bird will be introducing a new approach to Paul’s most theologically sophisticated letter in his lecture entitled, “What is Romans Really About? A Fresh Look at a Favorite Pauline Letter.”

Michael Bird has recently written a commentary on Romans, which will be published in The Story of God Bible Commentary series (Zondervan, 2015).

The lecture begins at 5:00. The crowd sing “Happy Birthday to You”, to Michael Bird, at 4:40.

The Apocalyptic Paul – The Creation, Conflict, and Cosmos Conference

apocalyptic-paulThe Creation, Conflict, and Cosmos Conference was held at Princeton Theological Seminary on May 2-5, 2012. The papers were later developed for publication in Apocalyptic Paul: Cosmos and Anthropos in Romans 5-8, ed. Beverly Roberts Gaventa (Baylor University Press, 2013).

The Conference includes a paper from the late J. Louis Martyn (October 11, 1925 – June 4, 2015).

All of the conference papers are available in mp3 audio format on the PTS site.

Wednesday, May 2

Opening Worship sermon by Luke Powery, “Groaning with Love”


Thursday, May 3

Plenary 1
Stephen Westerholm: “Righteousness Cosmic and Microcosmic”

Plenary 2
Benjamin Myers: “Christ, Adam, and the Self: Revisiting Augustine’s Interpretation of Romans”

Plenary 3
Susan Grove Eastman: “Double Participation and the Responsible Self in Romans 5–8”


Friday, May 4

Plenary 1
Martinus de Boer: “Paul’s Mythologizing Program in Romans 5–8”
Plenary 2
Beverly Roberts Gaventa: “The Shape of the ‘I’: The Psalter, The Speaker, and the Audience in Romans 7”
Plenary 3
Neil Elliot: “The Spirit and Creation in Romans 8”


Saturday, May 5

Plenary 1
John M.G. Barclay: “Under Grace: The Christ-Gift and the Construction of a Christian Habitus”

Plenary 2
Philip G. Ziegler: “Love Is a Sovereign Thing”

Plenary 3
J. Louis Martyn: “Reflections on the Conference”


Daniel Boyarin, Two Pharisees: Flavius Josephus and Paul the Apostle

Professor Daniel Boyarin (University of California, Berkeley) delivered a lecture at Pontificia Università Gregoriana on June 25, 2014, which is available on YouTube. Boyarin’s talk (beginning at 10:50) addresses nomos in Paul by way of a comparison with Josephus, discussing also the (in)applicability of the category of “Judaism”. It is followed by a panel discussion with Prof. Philipp G. Renczes (Cardinal Bea Center for Judaic Studies), Prof. Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan), Prof. Romano Penna (Pontifical Lateran University) and Dr. Piero Stefani (BIBLIA and Pontifical Gregorian University). The talk was delivered in association with the Enoch Seminar.

Michael Bird has written … “Yet I remain unconvinced that it was Christianity that instigated the separation of cult from culture and then fostered the origin of ‘religion’ upon which the religion of Judaism was signified over and against Christianity and foistered upon Jews. Ioudaismos was considered a religio or a thrēskeia in the pre-Christian era long before Jesus, Paul, Luke, or John.” The number of errors in these sentences is perhaps exceeded by the number of words – but not by much. The author gives no references to support his claim, and this is not accidental…
– Daniel Boyarin (16:08-)

Update: Michael Bird replies.

John Barclay: Why did it matter to the early church to give to the poor?

Professor John Barclay (Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University) delivered a lecture at the Houston Baptist University (HBU) Theology Conference, on April 21, 2015, entitled “‘The poor you have always with you.’ Why it mattered to the early church to give to the poor”

John Barclay is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University (UK). After studies in Classics and Theology at Cambridge University, he took his PhD at Cambridge University, and has taught New Testament at Glasgow University (1984-2003) and Durham (2003 onwards). His research has been focused in Pauline studies, in Diaspora Judaism, and in Josephus. He is publishing a book on Pauline theology this summer entitled Paul and the Gift (Eerdmans).

Chris Tilling on Adoption, and the Old and New Perspectives on Paul

Dr Chris Tilling delivers a lecture on “Adoption and Justification” in Paul at the Adoption, justification and the hospitality of God conference, held by St Mellitus College, London and the Evangelical Alliance on February 25, 2015.

Further videos from the conference, of a more theological nature, are available here.

Benjamin Dunning on Universalism in the Philosopher’s Paul and Sexual Difference


Professor Benjamin Dunning presents a lecture on Paul’s universalism, the embodied human, and recent philosophical engagement with Paul by figures such as Stanislas Breton, Giorgio AgambenAlain Badiou, and Slavoj Žižek. The lecture is entitled “Christ Without Adam: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in the Philosopher’s Paul”, and is based on his 2014 book of the same title.

Benjamin Dunning discusses his book, Christ Without Adam: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in the Philosopher’s Paul. Trained in early Christianity as well as critical and feminist theory, Professor Dunning is especially interested in furthering the conversation between the history of Christianity, philosophical theology, and contemporary theories of the subject.