a1 Fordham University, Department of Theology, 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This essay explores the heuristic force of Alain Badiou's theory of ‘truth-processes’ for an understanding of the psycho-social effect of Paul's gospel upon first-century inhabitants of the Roman Empire, both elite and lower class. Badiou's analysis of the ‘situated void’ around which existence is constructed directs attention to figures of the subject as ‘living death’ in the literature of the first century, illuminating the process by which a new, liberated self came forth, in response to Paul's message of the resurrection. An immanent critique of Badiou's singular emphasis upon the resurrection as the Pauline ‘truth-event’ gives rise to an hypothesis regarding Paul's description of his gospel as ‘Christ crucified’ in his later epistles: Paul dared to name the ‘situated void’ around which the existence of slaves was constructed in order to redeem the oppressed, whose identities were submerged in shame, from the annihilating power of the cross.
* This essay is the revised text of a paper presented at a special session of the Pauline Epistles section of the SBL in Boston, November 2008. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all those who offered responses and criticisms, especially Lou Martyn, Ward Blanton, John Barclay, Neil Elliott, John Riches, Wolfgang and Eckhard Stegemann, and Robert Jewett. For sustained dialogue on Paul and the philosophers, I am especially grateful to Locke Welborn and Rabbi Bernard Barsky.