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The Apostle Paul is the most important thinker in the history of Christianity. He wrote much of the New Testament and was one of the first to formulate and articulate the basic message of Christianity. In this course, we’ll start by exploring Paul’s writings in their original context, probing what his message would have meant for the inhabitants of the Roman Empire. Special attention will be paid to Paul’s contribution to ancient debates about Judaism, conversion, and ethnic difference. In addition to examining the first contexts and meanings of his writings, we’ll be especially interested in the legacy of Paul’s writings on modern political thought in Europe and America in the 20th and 21st centuries. In this portion of the course, we’ll see how Paul’s influence has shaped current theories of citizenship, with or without the knowledge or consent of modern thinkers and societies. The course thus explores the original significance of Paul’s thought as well as its hidden influence upon the political structures of secular modernity.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
four five-page papers, final paper, participation