Pauline Literature


The research group “Pauline Literature” has a historical-critical focus, including material evidence from the first century world of Paul. At the same time, this seminar wants to foster dialogue between historical and contemporary perspectives, between exegesis and contemporary discussions in theology and religious studies. In both the historical and contemporary perspectives the seminar is particularly interested in the traces of Paul’s theology in the making that we can discover in the texts of his letters.



Reimund Bieringer

Dominika Kurek-Chomycz

Ma. Marilou S. Ibita

Member Area


Reimund Bieringer, Ma. Marilou S. Ibita, Dominika Kurek-Chomycz & Thomas Vollmer (eds.), Theologizing in the Corinthian Conflict: Studies in Exegesis and Theology of 2 Corinthians (Biblical Tools and Studies 16), Leuven: Peeters, 2013.


Historical-critical scholarship has as a goal to interpret ancient texts in their historical contexts. In his letters Paul frequently quotes the Jewish Scriptures, sometimes in crucial places of his letters. In order to know how Paul understood these texts, a historical-critical interpretation of the meaning intended by the author may not be very helpful. The more important question is, how these texts were interpreted by other Jewish readers at the time of Paul in the middle of the first century, and in ancient Jewish writings of the Hellenistic and Roman periods more generally.We propose to devote our 2017 session to the interpretation and reception in Second Temple Judaism of select scriptural texts which Paul quotes. We shall study some of the most significant biblical quotations in Romans, not from the perspective of the Pauline letters, but from ancient Judaism perspective. While there is a significant body of literature on Paul’s use of the Scriptures, often including discussion of ancient Jewish interpretation of the same texts, the focus is usually on Paul, and work is done mainly by New Testament scholars. For this panel we plan to invite specialists in ancient Jewish literature as presenters, and Pauline scholars as part of the dialogue.Please note that there is also an ISBL section devoted to Paul and the Pauline Literature, and that this year the EABS Orality and Literacy in Early Christianity group will also be focusing on the Pauline letters, so if you are interested in presenting a paper on a topic unrelated to the above theme, we suggest that you consider submitting your abstract to one of these units.

Leuven 2016
In 2016, we focused on the figure of Paul in New Testament apocrypha and beyond.
Papers presented in this session included:
Outi Lehtipuu (University of Helsinki): "Paul and the debates over the resurrection of the dead in the Acts of Paul and beyond"
Korinna Zamfir (Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj): "The Departing Paul: Some Reflections on the Meaning of Spendomai and its Patristic Reception"

Cordoba 2015

The following papers were presented in the session which we held in Cordoba, with the focus on Paul’s style and language:
Aida Besancon Spencer (Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary): “Apologetic for Style: What is style and why is study of style beneficial to the New Testament interpreter?”
Christina M. Kreinecker (Universität Salzburg): “How to style a letter? Paul’s skills in relation to papyrological evidence”
Simon Butticaz (Université de Lausanne): “Paul’s Construction of Self-Identity: Memory, Discourse and Narrative Identity”
Teodor Brasoveanu (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven): “Paul and the Language of Divine Violence: The Case of 1 Corinthians 1,19 and 3,17”

Vienna 2014
At the 2014 EABS & ISBL joint meeting the group organised an invited session entitled "Pauline Studies and Epigraphic Evidence". The aim was to explore the opportunities and limits of the use of epigraphic sources for the study of the letters of Paul. Our interest was in methodological issues arising from the use of inscriptions in Pauline Studies, but always linked to specific epigraphic evidence in relation to specific Pauline texts or themes in the Pauline writings.

Papers presented:
James R. Harrison (Sydney College of Divinity): “Paul and the Ambiguities of Graeco-Roman Honorific Culture: Intersections of the Inscriptional, Iconographic, and Monumental Evidence”
Ekaterini G. Tsalampouni (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki): “What’s in a Name? Epigraphic Evidence of Anthroponyms and the Reconstruction of the Socio-Cultural Context of the Pauline Communities”
Peter Oakes (University of Manchester): “Bodily Transformation in Phil 3:21 and in Funerary Inscriptions from around Philippi: A Case Study in the Analytical Impact of Epigraphic Imagery”
Steven J. Friesen (University of Texas at Austin): “Prospects and Perils in Pauline Epigraphy: Six Commandments for the Interpretation of Graven Texts”

Leipzig 2013
Papers presented:
Edward Pillar (University of Wales, Trinity, St. David): “Doubting the Gospel, Losing Your Salvation: A Consideration of the Central Motive for Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians”
Soeng Yu Li (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven): “Prophecy, Vision and Community in 1 Corinthians 12-14: More Than a Matter of Intelligibility”
Karin Neutel (University of Groningen): “Paul, the Law, and the End Time: An Eschatological Approach to an Enduring Question”
Raymond Edward Morehouse (University of St. Andrews): “Salvation and Wrath: the Righteousness of God in Romans 1”
Gert Jacobus Steyn (University of Pretoria): “Septuagint Quotations from the Twelve Minor Prophets in Paul’s Letter to the Romans”

Amsterdam 2012
At the 2012 EABS & ISBL joint meeting in Amsterdam the group held a thematic session on “Ritual and Pauline Theology in Early Christian Meals” as well as two general sessions, one of which was a joined session with the SBL International Paul and Pauline Literature section.

The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.