Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Hidden Criticism?: The Methodology and Plausibility of the Search for a Counter-imperial Subtext in Paul
Heilig, Christoph

Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015 pp. xiii + 199. €69.00

Series Information
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2, 392


Description: Paul has been regarded as being uncritical of the Roman Empire for a long time, not least because of his apparent call to obey the state in Rom 13:1-7. However, recent scholarship has questioned this assumption by pointing to "hidden criticism" in the letters of the apostle. But how can we decide, in a methodologically sound way, whether such a counter-imperial message lies beneath the surface of the text? On the basis of insights from the philosophy of science, Christoph Heilig suggests several analytical steps for examining this paradigm. He concludes that the hypothesis that we can identify critical "echoes" of the Roman Empire in Paul's letters needs to be modified for it to be maintained. In particular, concern over the danger of overt criticism and subsequent persecution do not sufficiently justify this interpretative hypothesis. Nevertheless, Heilig concludes that the search for a counter-imperial subtext in Paul could turn out to be heuristically fruitful so long as the limitations of the approach are heeded. Hence, a re-evaluation of Pauline passages in light of Paul's engagement with ideas from his Roman environment is encouraged.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Greco-Roman Literature, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism, Social-Scientific Approaches, Sociology

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). Enter your SBL Member ID and click the "Log in" button. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.

I don’t remember my SBL Member ID.

Join SBL or renew your membership to read the review(s).



SBL Membership Id:  


Review by David J. Lull
Published 12/27/2018
Citation: David J. Lull, review of Christoph Heilig, Hidden Criticism? The Methodology and Plausibility of the Search for a Counter-imperial Subtext in Paul, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).


Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.

 

 
Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us