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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Paul’s reality as a colonized Jew and an imperial subject of Rome means that the Roman Empire loomed large in his world, especially given his frequent travels to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to Gentiles of the Roman Empire. Although Paul’s letters seldom refer directly to the Roman Empire, the Roman Empire formed the content as much as it constituted the context of Paul’s letters. While these letters contain critiques of the Roman Empire, they also mirror the Roman Empire in different ways. Attempts to pin Paul down through his letters as either anti-imperial or pro-Rome are unrealistic and reductionist, because they do not take seriously the complexity of the Roman Empire, of Paul as a person, of language and writing, and of textual interpretation.

Keywords: Paul’s letters, Roman Empire, apocalyptic, Jerusalem. hierarchy, ambivalence

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