Guest Lecture on Pauline Ethics (Audio)

Guest Lecture on Pauline Ethics (Audio)

I recently (as in the spring of 2012; wow, this post has been in draft for awhile!) gave a guest lecture in Bart Ehrman’s Introduction to New Testament and Early Christian Literature class.

Bart periodically has his senior students give a lecture or two for experience in a large lecture setting and had asked me to do the lecture on Pauline ethics, as he doesn’t especially enjoy Paul, while Paul is at the center of my dissertation. For my lecture, I tried to hit some of the main points from Bart’s own lecture, but I couldn’t talk about Pauline ethics in good conscience without first setting the stage by showing the foundational assumptions on which Paul is building. I therefore started the lecture by highlighting Paul’s apocalyptic emphasis on the impending eschatological judgment (not “imminent,” mind you—for Paul, the emphasis is that the judgment is coming, not when), a socio-historical understanding of Paul’s notion of “grace” (with an assist from The Godfather—more on this in a future post), and the Pauline emphasis on the Spirit.

The result was a lecture that admittedly tried to fit way too much into a 50 minute period (the material covered in this lecture would ordinarily have been covered over the course of three lectures in my own class), but overall I think I managed to get the main points across and get a few lightbulbs to go on among the students. I’ve attached the audio file here for those who might be interested, with a PDF version of my Keynote slides (I ordinarily eschew Powerpoint/Keynote, but since Bart uses it and the class was used to it, I departed from my usual practice) available here. I was starting to have real trouble with my voice by the time I gave this lecture, something that was only solved after vocal surgery that summer.

The lecture is available here: Staples – Pauline Ethics (2012)

  • John McHenry
    Posted at 23:21h, 18 May Reply

    Very interesting.. if it’s true that Paul thought the judgement is based on works, I wonder how Paul would’ve interpreted the thief on the cross being saved for his faith in Jesus right before he died and who Jesus said would go to paradise with him for that faith.

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 02:22h, 21 May Reply

      I imagine both Paul and James would have said that the thief demonstrated his faithfulness by the work of rebuking the other thief and proclaiming Jesus’ innocence. It’s not as though he only came to intellectual assent of a philosophical position; he actually did as much as he was able given by his circumstances at the time.

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