The Easter break has brought welcome news in relation to my participation in two major conferences later this year.
In July I will give a paper at the 2016 ANZATS Conference here in Melbourne entitled “Carrying the Crucified One: Embodied Atonement in 2 Corinthians 4:1–15”. Here is the abstract:
Taking its cue from Paul’s remarkable reference to τὴν νέκρωσιν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματι περιφέροντες ‘carrying the death of Jesus in the body’ (2 Cor 4:10), this paper considers the nature of Paul’s rhetoric in 2 Corinthians 4:1–15 with specific reference to the notion of ‘embodied atonement’. I will argue that, just as Christ’s death brings life to Paul and the Corinthians (4:10, 14), so Paul’s apostolic suffering mediates Christ’s atoning work to the Corinthians (4:11–12). Furthermore, and by extension, Paul encourages the Corinthians to see that their participation in apostolic suffering mediates Christ’s atoning work to the world (4:15). Thus the atonement pattern ‘Christ and his benefits’ is, for Paul, embodied both in his ministry to the Corinthians and also in the Corinthians’ mission in the world.
In November I will be participating in the work of the SBL Seminar on “Second Corinthians: Pauline Theology in the Making”, giving a paper entitled “Paul in loco dei: Divine Jealousy, Marriage Imagery, and Apostolic Authority in 2 Corinthians 11:1–6″. Again, the abstract is as follows:
This paper argues that the phrase zēlō gar humas theou zēlō in 2 Corinthians 11:1 provides us with a key to understanding the nature of Paul’s rhetorical struggle to preserve his apostolic authority in Corinth. In contrast to readings of the text that see Paul moving from the image of betrothal in 11:2 to the unrelated ‘deceiving’ of Eve in 11:3, I argue that these verses evoke a coherent scene in which the marriage between Christ/Adam and Eve/Corinthians is threatened by the sexual advances of the serpent/Satan/super-apostles. This interpretation is supported by accepting the longer reading of 2 Cor 11:3, understanding the nature of Paul’s claim to ‘divine jealousy’, and tracing the broader deliberative themes of the Fool’s Speech and the whole of 2 Cor 10–13. This use of biblical imagery is understandable on the basis of Paul’s own framing of his argument, though consideration will also be given to Jewish traditions of interpretation relating to betrothal imagery and the Genesis account of Eve and the serpent. Within this proposed framework, Paul construes his own role in loco dei, as the mediator of the marriage covenant; a claim that undergirds Paul’s subsequent self-presentation as a fool, and overall quest to secure the Corinthians’ adherence to his gospel and authority.