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Paul and racial reconciliation: A postcolonial approach to 2 Corinthians 3:12–18

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Chapter Summary

Recently, Pauline scholars have explored ancient imperialism as an inescapable aspect of early Christianity. In the main, however, the emphasis in many recent political readings of Paul?s letters has been upon the ancient world. To read Paul against the backdrop of ancient Rome is intellectually profitable, but the Roman Empire crumbled centuries ago. A more intriguing question is: What happens if postcolonial critics begin to engage Pauline texts more fully with respect to the neo-imperialism of the twenty-first century? This chapter focuses on the question: how might a reading of another text in the Corinthian Correspondence shape twenty-first-century conversations about racial reconciliation among people still affected by the Trans-Atlantic slavery of the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries? The chapter unapologetically moves the interpretive conversation concerning Pauline texts from an emphasis upon ancient imperialism to an emphasis upon contemporary imperialism.

Keywords: Christianity; Corinthians; neo-imperialism; Paul; postcolonial approach; racial reconciliation; trans-Atlantic slavery



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