Paul and Empire

Whereas the new perspective on Paul considers Paul’s writings in the context of first-century Judaism, a more recent trend in Pauline studies considers Paul’s writings in the political context of imperial Rome. This development, pioneered most notably by scholars like Richard Horsley, Neil Elliott, and more recently John Dominic Crossan, was described as a “fresh” perspective on Paul by N.T. Wright in his 2000 Manson Memorial Lecture.

Might the new perspective and this more recent aspect of Pauline studies be considered two distinct but interrelated (complementary?) aspects of what may be more accurately characterized as a quest for the historical Paul? Perhaps this is a question that will be answered only in hindsight. Bracketing that question for the moment, here are a few helpful resources exploring this latest important development in Pauline studies.