Synopses & Reviews
Was Paul an opponent of imperialism or a participant in the patriarchal social codes of his day? Joseph A. Marchal moves beyond this too-simple dichotomy to examine the language of power and obedience, ethnicity, and gender in Paul's letters, arguing that understanding the way rhetorics of power overlap and intersect requires a nuanced combination of feminist and post-colonial criticism and a thick description of colonized space. His analysis of gender and power dynamics in the Roman colony of Philippi is an exemplar of a new approach to reading Paul in his contexts, always attentive to the contexts of the contemporary interpreter as well. The Politics of Heaven offers new clarity and precision in the interpretation of the apostle and the social spaces in which he moved.
* Combines feminist and postcolonial criticism in a reading of Philippians * A multi-faceted approach to the culture of a Roman colony and the rhetoric of Paul's letter
In this provocative study, Joseph A. Marchal argues that biblical interpretation, but most especially Pauline studies, must engage the full range of critical challenges brought by feminist studies, postcolonial studies, and Roman imperial studies. A feminist, postcolonial analysis requires negotiating the gaps, overlaps, and tensions between these three strands by adopting an explicitly multi-axial focus and an interdisciplinary methodology. Using Philippians as a test case, the analysis covers issues of both ancient and contemporary import: from imitation and authority to travel and contact. As a result, Marchal provides strikingly new perspectives on Paul's letters and fresh challenges to the paradigms of Pauline interpretation.