HomeThe Many Faces of Paul

HomeThe Many Faces of Paul

The Many Faces of Paul

Pauline Exegesis in Pre-modern Times

*  *  *

Published on Friday, July 21, 2023

Abstract

The conference on the Many Faces of Paul is the opening workshop of the research project “Exegesis of Paul in the 16th Century”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Other than the project itself which will mainly focus on Reformation theology, our interest for this conference is to focus on other intellectual traditions, be they late antique, medieval, or early modern, that will help us later to contextualize Protestant perspectives. We are therefore deliberately interested in presentations on a broad spectrum of possible figures and sources, and we welcome contributions on the whole corpus that was historically associated with the Apostle, including the Epistle to the Hebrews and apocryphal material such as the Acta Pauli.

Announcement

Arguments

Call for Papers for theopening conference of the project “Exegesis of Paul in the 16th century”

Geneva, March 21-23, 2024

In the history of Western exegesis, the Pauline Epistles have always played an important role. It is true that the Protestant reformations claimed to be particularly inspired by the Apostle’s authority, but the Corpus Paulinum shaped Latin theologians ever since the teachings of the Church Fathers and throughout the medieval period, and that in many different ways. For example, almost one third of the ca. 700 biblical allusions in Peter Lombard’s Sentences refer to the Corpus Paulinum, underlining its authoritative status, and in the prologue to his Commentary on Romans Thomas Aquinas famously stated that «just as the Church uses most frequently the Psalms among the writings of the Old Testament, so it most frequently uses in the New Testament the Epistles of Paul, since in both writings almost the whole doctrine of theology is contained.» At the dawn of the Reformation era, humanists such as Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples and Erasmus gave their ethical projects an explicitly Pauline shape, but they differed from both the scholastics’ and the protestants’ approaches. Similarly, the theological controversies of the 16th century provoked an impressive number of doctrinal commentaries to the Pauline epistles not only among the proponents of Reformation theologies, but also among the defenders of traditional beliefs. In other domains, historians in the 12th century explored no less than those of the 16th century the Corpus Paulinum in order to recount the events of the 1st century BC, and teachers of rhetoric as well as predicants of both the mendicant orders and of more heterodox movements used the example of Paul as a model to imitate. These various, and often opposing uses and interpretations of Paul make apparent that, in the Western exegetical tradition, the Apostle had many different faces. To put it with Karlfried Froehlich: «There was never just one Paul».

This diversity, however, is far from having been sufficiently taken into account in modern research. While in contemporary New Testament studies the «new perspectives» on Paul that have emerged in recent decades have simply resumed more traditional readings as the «Western» (or, even more reductively, the «Lutheran») perspective on Paul, historians of theology have tended to identify rather quickly «typically» Pauline elements in their sources without asking what «type» of Paul they are referring to, and how their sources’ perspective on Paul was shaped. Our conference on the Many Faces of Paul aims at exploring this diversity and at promoting a contextualized understanding of the reception of the Corpus Paulinum in the vast Latin tradition from Late Antiquity to Early Modernity. When citing, using, and interpreting Paul, what image did his readers draw of the Apostle, and how did they get to that image? What goals did they pursue, and what resources did they have at hand?

The conference on the Many Faces of Paul is the opening workshop of the research project “Exegesis of Paul in the 16th Century”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Other than the project itself which will mainly focus on Reformation theology, our interest for this conference is to focus on other intellectual traditions, be they late antique, medieval, or early modern, that will help us later to contextualize Protestant perspectives. We are therefore deliberately interested in presentations on a broad spectrum of possible figures and sources, and we welcome contributions on the whole corpus that was historically associated with the Apostle, including the Epistle to the Hebrews and apocryphal material such as the Acta Pauli. In particular, we invite papers which, from Late Antiquity roughly up to 1600, focus on

  • a particular theologian, historian, philosopher and his use of (parts of) the Corpus Paulinum,
  • a particular commentary or treatise dealing with one of the Pauline Epistles or with the figure of Paul,
  • a particular Epistle and its reception in a specific milieu,
  • the uses of Paul in moral treatises or sermons,
  • biographical, historical, or historiographical knowledge of Paul as communicated in prologues, vitae, historical works, or images,
  • the reuse of earlier works on Paul in later treatises, sermons, or commentaries.

Since this is an interdisciplinary project, we also invite contributors to include modern exegetical perspectives when reading the historical sources. This is not meant to check whether the historical readers “were right” with their interpretations, but the modern perspective has proved a helpful contrast to recognize the specificities of individual historical approaches.

Submission and participation guidelines

The conference will be held in Geneva, from March 21-23, 2024. We will cover travel and accommodation fees for accepted speakers, but please be aware that, for ecological reasons, we are not allowed to cover flight tickets. For those who want to participate from far abroad, there is the possibility to join us on Zoom.

We invite you to submit proposals with a provisional title and a short summary (200 words) to be sent to matteo.colombo@unige.ch.

before September 30, 2023, 

Besides conventional papers, there is the possibility to submit contributions for a poster session. If you wish to do so, please specify it in your proposal. Papers can be given in English, French, or German.

Scientific Committee in charge of selecting the proposals

  • Ueli Zahnd (Université de Genève - Institut d’histoire de la Réformation)
  • Stefan Krauter (Université de Zurich - Faculté de Théologie)
  • Floriane Goy (Université de Genève - Institut d’histoire de la Réformation)
  • Noemi Schürmann (Université de Zurich - Faculté de Théologie)
  • Matteo Colombo (Université de Genève - Institut d’histoire de la Réformation)
  • Benjamin Manig (Université de Zurich - Faculté de Théologie)

Places

  • Institut d'Histoire de la Réformation
    Geneva, Switzerland (1201)

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


Date(s)

  • Saturday, September 30, 2023

Keywords

  • exégèse biblique, humanisme, histoire doctrinale, histoire critique,

Contact(s)

  • matteo.colombo@unige.ch Colombo
    courriel : teuz [dot] col [at] live [dot] itm

Information source

  • Matteo Colombo
    courriel : matteo [dot] colombo [at] unige [dot] ch

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The Many Faces of Paul », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Friday, July 21, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1bm4

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search