ICS Calendar Title: “To the Unknown God” : Paul and Some Philosophers

ICS Course Code: ICS-220510-W15

Instructor: Dr. Ronald Kuipers

Term and Year: Thursdays, 1:30-4:30 pm, Winter 2015

Last Updated: January 8, 2015

Contents

1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Requirements

4. Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

Key contemporary thinkers within and beyond the borders of Christianity have engaged in a new exploration of Pauline texts, in order to uncover what Jacob Taubes has called Paul’s “political theology.” In this seminar, we will explore key texts in this growing literature, paying particular attention to that group of thinkers whom John D. Caputo has dubbed “the new trinity of Paul”: Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Žižek. The relatively recent interest in Paul amongs such “non-religious” thinkers as these prompts several initial questions: Why Paul? Why now? What is it about contemporary global society that has led these thinkers to become convinced that Paul’s writings hold a particularly important and salient message for our time? What do these thinkers say that message is? As we develop various answers to these and other questions through class discussion, we will also pay attention to the way in which this turn to Paul affects the future course of secular thinking. Could it be that this new interest in Paul is a further sign that the West is moving into a ‘postsecular’ era, one that is less allergic to religious sources of insight into the shared social and political problems that the global human community currently faces? In turn, we will also explore how the insights of these philosophers affect a Christian’s understanding of Paul’s writings.

2. Reading Schedule

1: Jan. 8

17 pp.

Introduction

§         John D. Caputo, “Postcards from Paul: Subtraction vs. Grafting”

2:

Jan. 15

54 pp.        

Jacob Taubes, The Political Theology of Paul

§         Introduction

§         Part I—Paul and Moses: The Establishment of a New People of God

3:

Jan. 22

40 pp.        

Jacob Taubes, The Political Theology of Paul

§         Part II—Effects. Paul and Modernity: Transfigurations of the Messianic

 

4:

Jan. 29

43 pp.        

Giorgio Agamben, The Time that Remains

§         The First Day: Paulos doulos christou Iēsou

§         The Second Day: Klētos

5:

Feb. 5

44 pp.        

Giorgio Agamben, The Time that Remains

§         The Third Day: Aphōrismenos

§         The Fourth Day: Apostolos

6:

Feb. 12

25 pp.        

Giorgio Agamben, The Time that Remains

§         The Fifth Day: Eis euaggelion theou

 

Romans 1-3

 

 Feb. 16-20        

 

Reading Week—no class

 

7:

Feb. 26

33 pp.  

 

Giorgio Agamben, The Time that Remains

  • The Sixth Day: (Eis euaggelion theou)
  • Threshold or Tornada

 Paper proposals due

Romans 4-7

8:

Mar. 5

39 pp.        

Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism

§         Prologue

§         Chapter 1: Paul: Our Contemporary

§         Chapter 2: Who is Paul?

§         Chapter 3: Texts and Contexts

Romans 8-9

9:

Mar. 12

34 pp.  

Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism

§         Chapter 4: Theory of Discourses

§         Chapter 5: The Division of the Subject

§         Chapter 6: The Antidialectic of Death and Resurrection

Romans 10-12

10:

Mar 19

37 pp.        

Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism

§         Chapter 7: Paul Against the Law

§         Chapter 8: Love as Universal Power

§         Chapter 9: Hope

§         Chapter 10: Universality and the Traversal of Differences

§         Chapter 11: In Conclusion

Romans 13-16

11:

Mar. 26

55 pp.  

Slavoj Žižek, The Puppet and the Dwarf

§         Introduction: The Puppet Called Theology

§         Chapter 1: When East Meets West

§         Chapter 2: The “Thrilling Romance of Orthodoxy”

 

12:

Apr. 2

63 pp.

Slavoj Žižek, The Puppet and the Dwarf

§         Chapter 3: The Swerve of the Real

§         Chapter 4: From Law to Love…and Back

 

13:

Apr. 9

49 pp.        

Slavoj Žižek, The Puppet and the Dwarf

§         Chapter 5: Subtraction, Jewish and Christian

§         Appendix: Ideology Today

 

3. Course Requirements

Total reading: 1250 pages, including research for paper, of which approximately 40-60 pages per week is required to prepare for class.

 

In-seminar leadership: In order to structure class discussion in a way that is both meaningful to students as well as guided by a close reading of the assigned texts, each week different students will take turns introducing the readings for that class.  The goal for these presentations, however, is manifestly not that of complete exegetical coverage of the assigned reading.  Instead, the presentation will begin with the most pressing question that the assigned reading raises for the student.  This question might be pressing for intellectual, but also existential and religious reasons.  After stating the question, the student will pinpoint the particular location(s) in the text where that question emerged for him or her, and then go on to offer a close reading of that limited portion of text.  This close reading should take the form of a line-by-line analysis of the selected text, complete with suggested interpretation and explanation of why that portion of text raises the question it does.  This interpretation may in turn radiate out from that selection and touch on other parts of the assigned text, but again, complete coverage is not required or requested.  I will provide formative assessments of these in-seminar leadership assignments throughout the course, so they are to be submitted to me after the class in which they are used.  They will also be used to assess the seminar leadership portion of the overall class evaluation.

Course paper: One course paper whose theme arises from in-class reading and discussion.

Length: Master’s: 3000–5000 words; Doctoral: 5000–7000 words.

A substantive outline, including tentative thesis statement (50-100 words), outline, and proposed extra reading is due on February 26, 2015. The paper is due on May 22, 2015.

4. Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

ICS Students:

Class Participation: 10%; Seminar Leadership: 30%; Paper: 60%

TST Students:

Class participation: 20%; Seminar Leadership: 30%; Paper: 50%

5. Required Readings

Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. The Time that Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2665.3 .A4413 2005]

Badiou, Alain. 2003. Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2650.52 .B3313 2003]

Taubes, Jacob. 2004. The Political Theology of Paul. Trans. Dana Hollander. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2665 .52 .T3813 2004]

Žižek, Slavoj. 2003. The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR121.3 .Z59 2003]

6. Some Recommended Readings

Barth, Karl. 1968. The Epistle to the Romans. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [ICS Library

Reserve Shelf: BS2665 .B34 1968]

Benjamin, Walter. 1968. Theses on the Philosophy of History. In Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken Books: 253-64. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: HM101 .B46 1985a]

Caputo, John D. and Linda Martin Alcoff, eds. 2009. St. Paul Among the Philosophers.

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2650 .52 S7 2009]

Critchley, Simon. 2012. The Faith of the Faithless. London: Verso

Donaldson, Terence L. 2005. Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle’s Convictional World. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. [Robarts Library: BS2651 .D66 1997X]

______. 2008. Judaism and the Gentiles: Jewish Patterns of Universalism (to 135 CE). Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. [Robarts Library: BM720 .N6 D66 2007X]

Dunn, James. D. G. 2008. The New Perspective on Paul. Revised Ed. Grand Rapids, MI:

Eerdman’s. [Robarts Library: BS2651 .D833 2008]

Elliot, Neil. 2007. The Rhetoric of Romans: Argumentative Constraint and Strategy and Paul's

Dialogue with Judaism. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2665.3 .E44 2007]

Harink, Douglas. 2003. Paul Among the Postliberals: Pauline Theology beyond Christendom and

Modernity. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2651 .H37 2005]

Hawthorne, Gerald F., et. al., eds. 1993. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters: A Compendium of

Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. [ICS Library

Reserve Shelf: BS2650.2 .D53 1993]

Keesmaat, Sylvia. 1999. Paul and his Story: (Re)Interpreting the Exodus Tradition. Sheffield:

Sheffeild Academic Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2665.2 .K43 1999]

Keesmaat, Sylvia and Brian J. Walsh. 2004. Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2715.6 .R65 W35 2004]

Kroeker, P. Travis. 2005. Whither Messianic Ethics? Paul as Political Theorist. In Journal of the

Society of Christian Ethics 25/2: 37-58. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf]

Milbank, John, Slavoj Žižek, and Creston Davis. 2010. Paul's New Moment: Continental

Philosophy and the Future of Christian Theology . Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press. [ICS

Library Reserve Shelf: BR100 .M45 2010]

Ridderbos, Herman. 1977. Paul: An Outline of his Theology. Trans. John Richard De Witt. London: SPCK. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2651 .R513]

Robbins, Jeffrey W. 2011. Radical Democracy and Political Theology. New York: Columbia.

Sanders, E.P. 1977. Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion. London: SCM Press. [Robarts Library: BM177 .S2 1977]

______. 1991. Paul. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Robarts Library: BS2651 .S23 1991]

Schmitt, Carl. 1985. Political theology: four chapters on the concept of sovereignty. Cambridge:

MIT Press [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC327 .S3413 2005 ; LAW: JC327 .S3413 1985-STL]

Segal, Alan F. 1990. Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee. New

Haven, CT: Yale University Press. [Robarts Library: BS2655 .J4 S44 1990]

Stendahl, Krister. 1976. Paul Among Jews and Gentiles. London: SCM. [ICS Library Reserve

Shelf: BS2506 .S76 ]

Taubes, Jacob. 2009. Occidental Eschatology. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Wenham, David. 1995. Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity? Grand Rapids, MI:

Eerdmans. [Robarts Library: BS2653 .W45 1995]

Witherington III, Ben. 1994. Paul’s Narrative Thought World: The Tapestry of Triumph and

Tragedy. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press. [Robarts Library: S2650.2 .W57 1994]

______. 1998. The Paul Quest: The Renewed Search for the Jew of Tarsus. Downers Grove, IL:

InterVarsity Press. [Knox Library: BS2506 .W56 1998]

Wright, N.T. 1991. The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology.

Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2655 .C74 W75 1993]

______. 1997. What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? Sutherland, NSW: Lion Publishing. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2651 .W75 1997]

______. 2005. Paul: In Fresh Perspective. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2651 .W748 2005]

Žižek, Slavoj. 2000. The Fragile Absolute—Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For? London: Verso. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT1102 .Z58 2008]

Žižek, Slavoj and John Milbank. 2009. The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT40 .Z59 2009

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.


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